2016 Annual General Meeting
The Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS) had its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, March 5, 2016. John Reddekopp told stories of the years when softball was very important in many small Mennonite communities. He was both a player and a coach for teams in Osler and Warman, and at schools where he was a school teacher. He asked why there are so many Mennonites even now in softball? He showed softball games as metaphors, for living in a Body, or community.
After John's invocational prayer, Jake Buhler led the business portion of the meeting, calling on various people for their annual reports.
Victor Wiebe shared an enthusiastic report on the MAID program; a national online collection of historical photographs, to which many provincial historical societies are contributing. It can be accessed online by anyone.
Susan Braun, Board member, led the elections. Two Board members, Erna Neufeld and James Friesen, have finished their terms and were not ready to let their names stand again. John Reddekopp was willing, and was quickly elected as a new Board member.
Susan also announced that the cost of membership is finally going up this year. For one year it is now $35, for two years, it is $65, and for 3 years paid at one time, it is $90. The membership fee of course, includes a subscription to the Saskathchewan Mennonite Historian.
After a coffee break, Henry Harms, a life-long photographer, showed us, with stories and a slide presentation, many of the high quality photos he has taken over the years. He also had a display of framed photos to the right on the platform, and a table full of albums, which we were welcome to browse over lunch.
After a lovely lunch of chicken noodle soup with kringle and cold meats, and a choice of three kinds of fruit plautz, we reassembled to hear Korey Dyck, Director of the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg, tell us more of their archives and gallery. It is several times the size of our archives, yet he explained how all archives are like water in a sponge; the more you squeeze the more comes out. Again, like water, we really can't do without them. Our archives are memory institutes, and as the Baby Boomer generation downsizes, our archives get more STUFF! So we need to raise more money to care for it all.
The artist, Ray Dirks, had the rest of the afternoon. He told us how he became both a curator and an artist at the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg. He gave us his background stories and how he came up with the idea for the art collages featuring Mennonite women who, often with the loss of husbands, or other men in their lives, had to struggle to keep their children together, and they came to Canada. Families who wanted their mother or grandmother honoured in this way donated funds, which was how he was able to fund the project himself.
Ray described the process of interviewing the families and gathering the resources they had to define and illustrate each woman's life and values. The last painting was just finished on the Monday of that same week!
We were invited to pick up coffee and cookies, and then stay to watch Ray Dirks demonstrate his art. We were allowed to stand close by to see better. The artist handled this well, for he paused often to explain why he chose certain brushes, how his method was to do water-colour painting but in layers to get the sheer lifelike look and attention to fine detail.
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
Room 900 - 110 La Ronge Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K 7H8
Archive Hours: Monday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.