Mennonite Heritage Village

Allies and Families

By Gary Dyck

The concept of sponsorship as we know it originates from the Greco-Roman world when Roman elites would sponsor sporting events (such as the gladiator games) to garner public affection for themselves and their syndicates. In some cases, their contributions were voluntary and in other cases, sponsorships took the form of a tax on the wealthy class for the benefit of the common class. The word sponsorship comes from the Latin word spondére which means ‘to promise, to be betrothed’ and yes, it is also the origin for our word ‘spouse’. To have a spouse is to have someone you have promised to uphold. 

Recently, a business expert shared with me how we don’t just need partners in the charitable world, but we also need family. Each non-profit needs organizations that come alongside them and work with them in a closer way. Building an organization family may look like increasing engagement with planning and envisioning. It can also be reciprocal, since both organizations can be impacted by the other as family members tend to do.  

At the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), our relationship with Eden Health Care Services we are working toward this. This year, MHV is hosting our 13th annual Tractor Trek fundraiser with Eden. For 13 years we have envisioned, planned a great event for the community, and then shared the proceeds 50/50. It is a pleasure to work closely with them knowing that we are helping the cause of good mental health while simultaneously helping our operations. On August 20th, we will be taking our relationship further by hosting a joint Peace Trek. The Peace Trek will be using the new PeaceTrail that is being developed by the EastMenn Historical Committee. The trek starts at the original Mennonite Landing spot on the Red River near Niverville and will end at our new Dirk Willems Peace Garden on the museum grounds.  

With Eden’s extensive experience hosting their cyclathon in the Winkler/Morden area, they will be a great partner for a cyclathon on our side of the river too. Eventually, we want to add a two-day pilgrimage to this fundraiser for those that like to walk. In the meantime, join me in getting in shape for this 50k trek! An app or website will be provided that will make it easy for you to ask your family and friends to donate towards your cycling trek, there will be waystations along the route and help provided as needed. It will be an exciting and meaningful event to participate in. Find a friend, a grandchild to join you, buy an electric bike if you need to! I hope to see you on the trail this summer. More information will be coming soon. 

As for our modern-day sponsors, I encourage you to keep giving to our community causes and events. At MHV we have a great sponsorship program that includes sponsoring our festival events, a new site guide that we will give to over 12,000 people annually, barrel train rides for the kids, and more. MHV welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Our facilities provide open spaces allowing visitors to safely experience Mennonite history, culture, and faith. These visitors stay in our community, shop in local stores, and utilize local services. By sponsoring what happens at MHV, businesses promote their image and product while also supporting Steinbach’s #1 tourist destination. All sponsorships include complimentary family passes and special logo placement to promote their business. This is a promise that we love to keep. Contact Melissa Unger at for more information. May we all have helpful allies and family in our lives! 

Upcoming Events:

MHV’s galleries and Village Books & Gifts are open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 5pm. Our award-winning ‘Mennonites at War’ exhibit is now closed, but you can see it virtually here

The Great Easter Egg Hunt, April 16. Bring the children and join in the fun as we hunt for easter eggs and kick-off Spring at the museum.

Annual General Meeting, April 19, 7:30pm. Members and the public are all invited to MHV’s AGM held in the Auditorium at the Mennonite Heritage Village. Come hear reports from 2021 and the exciting plans for the upcoming year. The AGM will include exciting reports and updates. There are also proposed amendments to our current by-laws to bring them up-to-date with current means and regulations. Documents including the by-laws, our 2021 audit report and MHV report booklet will be available on our website before the AGM.

Volunteer Orientation, April 26, 7pm. We are preparing for a full season of visitors at the museum. We love our volunteers and want to make sure that we are prepared for the work that needs to happen! If you would like to volunteer at the museum contact Robert Goertzen.

MHV Auxiliary Perogy Fundraiser, April 21, 5:00pm – 6:30pm. Back by popular demand, the MHV Auxiliary will be hosting a drive-thru perogy fundraiser night! Tickets are $20 per meal and can be purchased at