Fonds Vol. 5124-5129, 5295-5297; Photograph Collection 602; Audio cassettes 2566-2571, 2594-2595. - Bernie Wiebe fonds

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Bernie Wiebe fonds

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CA MHCA Vol. 5124-5129, 5295-5297; Photograph Collection 602; Audio cassettes 2566-2571, 2594-2595.

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  • 1949-1999 (Creation)

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2 m of textual records
5 photographs

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Biographical history

Bernie Wiebe, ordained Mennonite minister, educator, editor, counselor, husband and father, was born in Manitoba in 1935 just southwest of Altona, Manitoba. From a family of twelve, he was the only one that continued his education well beyond high school into graduate studies, earning a Ph.D in 1974 from the University of North Dakota in the area of counseling and guidance. His career included teaching elementary school in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario (1953-1958), high school teaching and counselling at Mennonite Collegiate Institute (1963-1965), conference minister for Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba (1965-1971), Student Pastor iwth United Methodist Churches in North Dakota (1971-1973), President of Freeman Junior College (1973-1976), Editor of "The Mennonite" (1976-1986), and teaching and research associate at Menno Simons College (and its predecessor Mennonite Studies Centre), University of Winnipeg (1986-1999).

Bernie Wiebe was ordained as a minister in the Bergthaler Mennonite Church of Manitoba and kept up a regular pulpit ministry in many local settings. He preached an average of 100 times per year during the first 30 years after ordination. He was the first salaried counselor for the Bergthaler Mennonite Churches of Manitoba. He started the Faith and Life Singers, a radical musical group in the 1960s that caught on very deeply with Mennonite youth of Manitoba and beyond. Wiebe also initiated a cooperative relationship among the General Conference Mennonite Church Radio and TV ministries, Mennonite Broadcasts (Mennonite Church) and the work of the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba in the area of radio and television.

Wiebe worked with numerous churches in conflict. He stood up for more inclusive attitudes towards brothers and sisters who are homosexual. He mediated town-wide disputes, clan conflicts, inter-personal disputes, church disputes and divorce mediation. He also participated in "peace missions" to Haiti and Northern Ireland (Belfast). He was largely responsible for developing the B.A. curriculum in Conflict Resolutions Studies in negotiation with the vice-president academic office, University of Winnipeg for Menno Simons College.

Wiebe was a world traveler and tour guide. He visited Southeast Asia in 1980, participated in a study tour of Cuba in 1983, led a Europe tour in 1984, toured the Middle East and Israel in 1982 and 1986, made numerous visits to the USSR (CIS since 1990)--1976, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1993, and visited Costa Rica in 1996. He also held volunteer positions in local congregations such as the Fort Garry Fellowship in Winnipeg, as well as in the wider Mennonite church structures such as the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba (CMM) and the General Conference Mennonite Church (GCMC). He was moderator of the CMM from 1979-1982 and assistant moderator of the GCMC from 1992-1999.

Bernie Wiebe married Marge Letkeman of Winkler in 1956. They had four children: Glen (1958-1981-suicide); Gayle, Greg and Grant. Marge Wiebe was Branch Manager of the United Church Bookstore in Winnipeg from 1987 to 1999, when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Bernie Wiebe retired as the Coordinator of Conflict Resolution Studies, Associate Professor, Menno Simons College on 31 August 1999.

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Acquired in 1999 from Bernie Wiebe. Recordings came via "The Goepel Message" program in 2006. The files related to conflicts in the church and private correspondence with the first presidents of Menno Simons College were donated by Bernie Wiebe on 7 November 2006.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of personal correspondence received and written from 1949-1999. These records document Bernie Wiebe's vocational and personal life as a Mennonite leader, educator, counselor, preacher, radio minister, editor of a denominational paper, and husband and father. Some files relate to the specific congregation or instituion for which he worked. There are also files related to his trip and tours to Russia, Europe, Holy Land, and South America; as well as a few items of family interest and a personal nature. One series of files contains his private correspondence with Dr. G.K. Epp and Dr. George Richert, the fiirst presidents of Menno Simons College, as well as private conrrespondence with specific churches and individuals regarding conflicts in the church between 1986-1999.

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Described by Darren Pries Summer 2005, Updated by Conrad Stoesz Dec 8, 2006. Updated by Alf Redekopp, January 30, 2008.

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Some restrictions apply (See MHC Director).

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inventory file list available

Online version of finding aid available at: http://www.mennonitechurch.ca/programs/archives/holdings/papers/Wiebe,%20Bernie%20fonds.htm

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English and a little German

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  • English

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