By Gary Dyck
If this task of building a peaceful world is the most important task of our time, it is also the most difficult. It will, in fact, require far more discipline, more sacrifice, more planning, more thought, more cooperation and more heroism than ever war demanded. -Thomas Merton
The Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is a museum that is now engaging more in the promotion of peace and improving society’s wellbeing. A few years ago, a group of Mennonites from the Steinbach area felt that they needed to do more to pass on the peace position that we have held for the last five centuries. Through the tumultuous Reformation, societal upheaval, the Great Wars and more, Mennonites have held fast to their belief that we should not resort to violence but approach all people with Christ’s compassion and restorative peace-making.
Today, our knowledge and value of the peace position is not being taught much in our churches and in society. Therefore, MHV with this group of concerned citizens is now establishing the Dirk Willems Peace Garden near our pond. It will be the first monument of the Anabaptist Dirk Willems in the world and will tell of how he turned back to save his captor from drowning in frigid waters instead of running away. There will also be pergola with panels that share additional stories and reflections.
A peace garden is a first for MHV, as is raising funds on Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that helps people and institutions to raise funds on a global platform. If you google ‘Kickstarter + Mennonite’ you will find our project near the top of the list. Try it out and even a $5 contribution will get you a reward from MHV. There are several intriguing tiers of rewards. Please recommend this site to all your friends as that is how Kickstarter sees so many excellent projects become fully funded!
We need to raise at least another $20,000 to establish the peace garden itself. With your help, we hope to get even more than $20,000 to then use for our operations fund. The Dirk Willems Peace Garden will provide visitors and students a place to come and actively learn and contemplate about peace and compassion in our violent world.
Quick Update: Our October 2nd ‘Farm to You’ onsite event tickets are all sold out. We still have offsite tickets available to reserve until September 25th. We can deliver a meal kit to your door and then you join our live stream event from the comfort of your home. Andrew Unger, author of the Daily Bonnet, will entertain us with his satirical wit and others from our community will share their thanksgivings. Celebrate community, eat delicious food and give thanks for all our blessings!
Calendar of Events
June 24, 2020 to April 1, 2021: MCC 100 Years exhibit.
October 1, 2020, Village grounds and Livery Barn Restaurant closed for the season. Get your last meal of Vereniki and Farmer Sausage before it’s too late!
Christmas at the Village, Christmas Market in our beautiful auditorium, hot chocolate and wagon rides outside (weather permitting).