Spring 1992 · Vol. 21 No. 1 · p. 106 

Historical Endnotes

Paul Toews

North American Mennonite Brethren at Mid-century: (1940-1960): a Symposium

The General Conference Historical Commission and the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Fresno, are sponsoring a symposium to examine the history of the Mennonite Brethren during two formative decades. The symposium will take place at the Seminary, in Fresno, on February 4-6, 1993.

The twenty-year period from 1940-1960 is in many ways a transitional period for North American Mennonite Brethren. For the most part, they entered the period speaking German, living in rural communities and working with multiple lay congregational leadership. By 1960 the transition to English was virtually complete in the States and well underway in Canada. Urbanization and professionalization of the ministry were well in place. The 1954 General Conference reshuffled the conference organizational system into one more clearly national rather than regional and continental as practiced since 1912. Along side these alterations was the experience of World War II and its impact on conceptions of service and citizenship.

The intent of the symposium is to probe these and other important features of this twenty-year period of time. The focus will be on mid-century changes with the 1940-60 dates as guidelines rather than boundaries for the discussions.

The symposium will bring together scholars coming with research-based papers and will include a participant panel. The participant panel will be composed of individuals who lived through the two decades and who bring personal experiences to modify and enlarge the research-based perspectives. Thus the event will be a unique mixture of scholarly presentation and oral history. Both scholars and the participant panel members will be drawn from across Canada and the United States.

The event is planned as part of the interterm activities at the Seminary. Persons interested in more detail are invited to write the Historical Commission, 4824 E. Butler, Fresno, California 93727, USA.

Paul Toews, Director
Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Fresno