Mennonite Heritage Village

A Successful Peace Trek – 2023

August 24, 2023

By Gary Dyck

This past Saturday Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) and Eden Foundation co-hosted the second annual Peace Trek. It is a 45-kilometer route that starts at the Mennonite Landing Site at the junction of the Red and Rat rivers near Niverville and finishes at MHV. This trail is being developed by the Mennonite Historical Society of Manitoba and is called the Peace Trail.

For centuries Indigenous people have been moving and migrating through this land that is now teeming with Mennonite villages and more recent immigrants to the area. Before our paved highways and grid roads there were several smaller trails and routes. The Peace Trek is about getting out of our cars and moving more slowly and closely on the land to develop a deeper connection with the land and each other.

When the Mennonites arrived 149 years ago, they used some of those same trails and created new routes. Today we are starting another trail. The Peace Trail. We don’t want to just speed through and miss the life that is around us. We are taking time to move through the land at a more mindful pace like those before us did. In this respect, their cultural sense of place and well-being was more balanced than our own.

As I rode my bike on Saturday, I noticed the flowers that fill the margins of the roadways, the birds that sang me along, the waterways and moisture that nurtures the green land. As I cycled along, I just had to shout out a holy ‘thank you’ or raise my hand as a grateful salute. I don’t get that feeling of awe in a car. I know Mennonites are mostly a thankful people and want our communities and land to continue to thrive as much as possible, just as the Métis and Indigenous Peoples who are the traditional caretakers of this land do as well.

To send us off on the Peace Trek, Elder Lucy Guiboche from Winnipeg gave the cyclists who were fundraising for MHV and Eden this rousing exhortation and prayer:

Doors are being opened to you for finances to come above what was expected. I bless you and your bank accounts and wallets to fill up speedily. A garden seed was planted in the ground to grow big returns. I bless that seed to multiply and to keep growing.  Psalm 85:12 says “Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good, and our land shall yield her increase…

I believe God has taught me as a little girl around 7 years old this truth.  As we traveled and walked through rough and wooded areas, I remember the beauty I saw.  I now know it’s the creation of God, it stays with me even now. It is written: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” The land, earth is important to God, and everything on or in the land and earth.

The land will provide for you, feed you, and give you shelter from the cold or storms, to protect you, and so we’ll each have a home for our children and family! It’ll give heat to us in the winter and give you clothing from the animals God gave to us. The land is to be respected and taken care of. We have been given a gift from these two: land and earth. There are rich resources that come from them for our use…

I give God all the glory and thank Him in advance for the blessing in Southeastern Manitoba and for the people in that surrounding area.

Although there was a slight reduction in the number of participants this year, almost $15,000 was raised which is more than the $13,000 raised last year. Thank you, Elder Lucy, for your prayer! It was beautiful day with the wind at our back. I hope more of you can join us in 2024 when we plan to add a walking component to the trek.

Upcoming Events:

Fall on the Farm, September 4, Celebrate the labours of the harvest by partaking in traditional demonstrations, children’s activities, corn on the cob, hog butchering, and cultural activities all day long!

MHV’s grounds and Livery Barn Restaurant are open seven days a week! The restaurant is open 11am to 4pm, and the grounds are open 9am to 5pm, except Thursdays 9am to 8pm, and Sundays 11:30am to 5pm, including our famous Sunday buffet till 2pm.