Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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Wealth and Poverty in the Past and Present

DATE: 9 and 10 October 2008

PLACE: University of Winnipeg, Eckardt Gramatte Hall

HOST: Chair in Mennonite Studies

EMAIL: r.loewen-at- winnipeg 204-786-9391



"The persecution of Mennonites on account of their faith has often led to poverty and insecurity. But, in periods of peace and toleration they have shown a remarkable tendency to prosper and acquire wealth. Both situations have presented dilemmas and challenges to their faith. Those situations have also tested the continuity and coherence of community upon which the practice of faith depends. The internal dilemmas and challenges of wealth and poverty have been as important as external factors in shaping Mennonite life. This dimension of their history deserves attention." Abstract of Dr. Urry's Keynote Address"


Thurs 3:00-3:15 p.m.
Opening: "Backgrounder, Announcements"

Thurs 3:15-5:30 p.m.
Chair: Ted Regehr, University of Calgary

Piet Visser, Free University and Mennonite Seminary, Amsterdam, "The Moral Comfort of Material Wealth. The Case of the Mennonite Merchant and Maecenas Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-1778) from Haarlem." George Lehman, Bluffton University, "The Cadbury and Hershey Chocolate Barons: Philosophical Motivation and Marketplace Practices."

Paul Redekop, Menno Simons College: "Life and Work in the Shadow of the Metropolis: Redekopps, DeFehrs and Other Entrepreneurs in Winnipeg."

Carel Roessingh and Anna Smits, Free University, Amsterdam, "Religious Boundaries and Mennonite Entrepreneurship in Belize"

Thurs 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Keynote Evening
Chair: Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg
Brian Stevenson, VP Academic, University of Winnipeg, Welcome.
Piet Visser, Amsterdam, 'Mennonite Studies in the Netherland'
Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University College, "Mennonite Women: A Canadian History." Readings from a Book

James Urry, University of Victoria, New Zealand, "Wealth and Poverty in the Mennonite Experience: Challenges and Dilemmas."  Keynote Address.


Fri 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Wealth, Power and Status
Chair: Patricia Harms, Brandon University

Mary Sprunger, EMU, "Why the Rich Got Mennonite: Church Membership, Status and Wealth in Golden Age Amsterdam"

Mark Jantzen, Bethel, "Wealth and Power in the Vistula River Mennonite Community, 1772-1914."

John Staples, SUNY Fredonia, "Johann Cornies' Role as Community Banker in Mid-19th Century Russia."

Yme Kuiper, University of Groningen, "Between Frugality and Civility.Dutch Mennonites and Their Taste for the 'World of Goods' in the 18th Century."

Coffee 10:15- 10:45

Fri 10:45-12:15 a.m.
Poverty and Loss
Chair: Hans Werner, University of Winnipeg

Reina Neufeldt, Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame, "Narratives of Prosperity and Material Loss: The Formation of Russlaender Mennonite Identity, 1914 -1924."

Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg, "Born into Sorrow and Suffering: Intentional Poverty and the Old Colony Mennonite Migration to Mexico in the 1920s."

Hugo Neufeld, AMBS, Elkhart IN, "The North End Lives: A Journey Through Poverty Terrain in Hamilton, Ontario."

Fri 1:15-3:00 p.m.
For the Common Good
Chair: Brian Froese, CMU

Anna Voolstra, Faculty of Theology, University of Amsterdam, "Money Talks! Amsterdam Mennonites, Wealth and Safeguarding of Mennonite Principles."

Patricia Harms, Brandon/Paungassi "First Nation in Manitoba."

Laureen Harder, Mennonite Church Ontario, "Preserving the 'Wisdom in this Room': Themes from the life of the Mennonite Aid Union, 1866-2007"

Coffee: 3:00-3:30

Fri 3:30-5:15 p.m.
Critiques of Capitalism
Chair: Esther Epp Tiessen, MCCC

Karl Koop, Canadian Mennonite University, "'Mirror on Greed': 16th and17th Century Anabaptist Teachings on Capitalism."

Hector Mondregon, Colombia, "Liberation theology and Mennonites in Central America."

P. Travis Kroeker, McMaster University, "Reviewing Anabaptist Critiques on Capitalism: From Yoder to Sider."

Fri 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Democratizing Capitalism
Chair: Geoff Dueck Thiessen, CLAC

Janis Thiessen, Westgate Collegiate, "Twentieth Century:Mennonite Labour Activism in North America."

Werner Franz, Centro Evangélico Mennonita de Teologa Asunciòn, "Business and Church: A Paraguayan Company and the Ecclesiological Paradigm."

Wally Kroeker, MEDA, "Ministers of Commerce: How Mennonites in Business Have Sought to Create Economic Hope for the Poor."

Fri 8:30-9:00 p.m.
Surprises, Conclusions and Further Conversation
Ingrid Peters Fransen (CMU) and Charles Loewen (Loewen)

SPONSOR: Mennonite Historical Society of Canada/ Divergent Voices of Canadian Mennonites Sub Committee

FUNDING: Mennonite Central Committee Canada, University of Winnipeg, D.F. Plett Historical Research Foundation

PLANNING COMMITTEE: Bruno Dyck, Esther Epp Tiessen, Brian Froese, Patricia Harms, Megan Janzen, Wally Kroeker, Royden Loewen

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites,
Hotel Front Desk: 1-204-7867011 | Hotel Fax: 1-204-7721443
University of Winnipeg conference rate, $79 plus taxes

- Riddel Hall, University of Winnipeg, first floor
- Fast Food: Mr. Sub, McDonald's, Juniors - west on Portage
- Finer Dining: Holiday Inn, North Portage Mall - east on Portage
- Ethnic: Ellice Ave. and Sargent Ave. north and northwest of University

- Reception Catering:

PARKING: Bus Depot Parking Lot, Hudsons Bay Store Parking Lot, Imperial Parking Lots to the west and north of the University.

Specific Location: Eckhardt Gramatte Hall, 3rd Floor Centennial Building, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg

UPDATES: check

A book launch happens on October 8th, and you may wish to enjoy this special event as well.

an invitation to a book launch with Marlene Epp - who has written a new book, Mennonite Women in Canada: a History

[last updated - Aug/26/2021]

Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

Room 900 - 110 La Ronge Road,
Saskatoon, SK, S7K 7H8
Archive Hours: Monday: 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 1:30-4:00 p.m. & 7:00-9:00 p.m.