Fonds 316-323, 1284, 1298, 1299, 1301 - Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches

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Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches

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CA CMBS 316-323, 1284, 1298, 1299, 1301

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  • 1909-2001, predominant 1966-2001 (Creation)

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2.3 m of textual records
22 photographs
3 sound recordings

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Administrative history

During the pioneer years of the early 20th century, the Mennonite Brethren churches of the North and South Saskatchewan Districts met separately because of the distance involved. Travel with horse and buggy made it impossible to meet as one unified conference. As the two districts grew they developed strong provincialisms and barriers to mutual understanding. The immigration of the 1920s increased the membership in the existing church groups and led to the establishment of new churches. These new churches came to form a bridge to bring the North and South Districts closer together. Increasing economic prosperity and accelerated development of means of transportation and communication were other factors that brought the districts closer together. The result was a mutual desire for closer fellowship and a better working relationship. With this goal in mind the districts appointed a joint committee to study possibilities and ways of working together. They met in Herbert on March 23, 1946 to work out guiding principles for the amalgamation of North and South into one provincial conference. On June 11, 1946 delegates met in Saskatoon where they decided to form the Saskatchewan Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Saskatchewan. Thereafter, delegates from both districts met together annually to discuss issues pertaining to city missions, Western Children's Mission and Canadian Conference concerns. All local area business was still addressed at separate district conferences. Before long remnants of unconquered individualism became the fertile soil for new seeds of division. In the end only one area of common endeavour was left, the Saskatchewan MB Mission. (See Yearbook of the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches, 1966, pp. 22-24). As early as 1954 the North District raised the question of more complete amalgamation. On June 6, 1964 a South District Fact Finding Committee reviewed the pros and cons of a merger. Advantages were that rallies for Sunday school, music and youth work could be held in one location with all participating, camp work could be more unified, although each district would continue to run their own programs, the Saskatchewan MB Mission Board structure would change but its operation would continue as before, the Senior Citizens' Home, the Bible School work and radio work would continue as before. The recommendation was: "That the District Committee recommend to the Spring Conference that the South District Conference Executive meet with the North District Executive for further study and planning in this matter." (See 1964 Spring Conference June 6 [South District], pp. 25-27). The North District Board of Reference and Counsel also recommended that a six-member steering committee be elected with equal representation from north and south to give guidance and direction in the formation of one provincial conference. (See Yearbook of the North Saskatchewan District Conference, June 1965, p. 22). In 1965 a Steering Committee was elected consisting of 3 members from each district. Members from the South were Henry Voth, David Epp and G.B. Dyck. Members from the North were E. Gerbrandt (chairman), H.H. Epp and F.F. Froese. At the South District fall conference, the Steering Committee reported that the attitude of the MB churches throughout the province was favourable to the idea of amalgamation. Organizational structure was recommended as follows: A. Provincial Executive consisting of a chairman, a vice chairman, a treasurer and a secretary. The Steering Committee was to give direction of implementation for a Provincial Executive at the next Saskatchewan Mission Conference. B. Boards invited to come under the organizational structure Board were: Saskatchewan missions: Henry Voth would confer with this Board. Trustees: Already operating as a Provincial Board. Bethany Bible Institute: Corny Braun was to take the invitation to the Bible School Board. Christian Education Committee: Four members from each district should represent the areas of Sunday school, youth, music and camp together with a provincial chairman from this committee. The above committee was to join to work out various endeavours such as a Workers' Convention. Reference and Counsel: The two District Executives to form the first provisional Reference and Counsel together with the Provincial Executive. C. Provincial treasurer: Recommended that a provincial treasurer be appointed and that for the present the following would be his responsibility: Foreign missions Saskatchewan missions Canadian Conference designated funds D. Canadian Conference Representation Committees with two members from each province: Two candidates from each District to be presented to the Canadian Conference electing one from each District. (Provision to be made at the Provincial Conference that North and South receive proportionate representation). Committees with one member from each province. Both Districts present their candidates to provincial conference where nominees for the Canadian Conference are elected at large. Committees where provincial chairmen are automatically members of Canadian Conference committees (eg. Sunday school and youth). Representatives on the Canadian Conference committees are elected on provincial level from chairmen from districts. (See 1965 Fall Conference October 23 [South District], p. 10-11). At the Provincial Conference in 1966, the recommendation was accepted that "we the South Saskatchewan Conference of MB and the North Saskatchewan Conference of MB amalgamate to form the Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren." (See Yearbook of the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches, 1966, p. 22). In 1967 a proposed constitution was read and accepted. It specified that the conference should meet annually and that the time of meeting should be appointed by the Executive of the Conference. Under special circumstances the Executive could be called to a special convention. The churches were to be represented at the Conference by the pastor and additional delegates on the basis of one delegate to each 25 members. Committee members were to be elected alternately for three years unless otherwise stated and no brother should hold office in more than one Board at one time. All elections should be by ballot after opportunity had been given for open nomination on the part of the Conference. A simple majority was required except in major issues where a two-thirds majority would be required. (See Yearbook of the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches, 1967, pp. 20-23).

Custodial history

The records in this fonds came to the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in 1996 and 2009 from the Bethany Bible School where they had been housed.

Scope and content

This fonds consists of the annual and financial reports, minutes from the church council, board of ministers and stewards, the deacons, Christian Education, Ladies Fellowship, and various other committees, constitutions, crusade information, bulletins, and miscellaneous records.

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English and some German.

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  • English

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