Oct 12, 2010

Media contact: Anne Russell
Cell: 604-798-3709
Office: 604-795-2826

UFV to host Mennonite Studies panels

You can’t go too far in the Fraser Valley, especially Abbotsford, without experiencing the influence of the Mennonites.

Approximately 25 per cent of the population of Abbotsford is affiliated with the Mennonite community. Throughout the Fraser Valley, Mennonites have founded businesses, agricultural enterprises, educational institutions, credit unions and cooperatives, relief and development organizations, and health care facilities. Mennonites are also represented in the public realm and in the arts.

In an acknowledgment of the influence of the Mennonite community on the region, the University of the Fraser Valley is launching an interdisciplinary Mennonite Studies certificate program. Designed to be taken in tandem with their major field of study, students taking the certificate will study the heritage of the Mennonite people, and learn more about the diversity of the Mennonite community, and the numerous regional endeavors initiated by its members.

As UFV develops its programming for Mennonite studies, it is seeking the insight of Mennonite scholars, writers, and academics, and engaging the local community through a series of public events.

The first will be on the theme of Perceptions: What constitutes Mennonite Studies? It will be held on Tues, Oct. 19, from 5:30–7:30 pm in the Abbotsford campus lecture theatre (B-101).
Guest panelists for this event will be Dr. Royden Loewen, Chair of Mennonite Studies University of Winnipeg; Dr. Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University College; and Dr. Bruce Guenther, Trinity Western University.

The second event will focus on Reflections: Mennonite Literature and Culture. It will be held on
on Tues, Nov 23, from 5:30–7:30 pm in the Abbotsford campus lecture theatre (B-101).
Guest panelists for this event will be Rudy Wiebe, Professor Emeritus University of Alberta; Hildi Froese Tiessen, Conrad Grebel University College; and Andreas Schroeder, Rogers Communication Chair, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Steven Schroeder, a UFV historian, is the coordinator of the new Mennonite Studies program at the university. He says that offering Mennonite Studies at UFV will give students the opportunity to look at the influence of the Mennonite people on Fraser Valley culture from many perspectives.

“The wide range of courses that will be offered in the Mennonite Studies program at UFV will allow students to understand objectively the history, culture, and faith of the Mennonite people, and to analyze critically this community that contributes significantly, in many ways, to the Fraser Valley region.” 

Admission to the two public panels is free and the public is welcome. Pay parking is in effect at UFV.

For more information about the program, or the event, contact Marlene Murray at marlene.murray@ufv.ca or 504-7441, local 4075.

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