Mennonite Heritage Village

The Best Way to Leave a Legacy

April 11, 2024

By Gary Dyck

There is a reason the Ten Commandments were written on stone tablets and that teenagers spray their names on Cambrian rock along public highways. Important things are meant to be seen and remembered for a long time, whether it be heaven’s wisdom or an individual life story. We want our lives to count and leave a legacy. The best way to do that is to first internalize the legacy of those who came before you. By knowing the overarching narrative and their stories you can add your chapter and keep the intrigue going. Legacy is not just about one person, but the community and story we are a part of. Today, we don’t know our place and we wonder why our lives and worlds are so disjointed.

I haven’t figured it out yet, but something inside of me says that our ancestors are more important to our well-being and vitality than we realize. That they are still with us. Providing us light as bright as a star even though it may have died centuries ago. Maybe this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he encouraged us to ‘shine like stars in the universe.’ That we should leave an enduring example and some traditions for our children to be guided by for years and centuries to come. However, if we don’t first honour and remember our ancestors, we should not expect the next generations to remember us when we join the ancestors. This is how we can leave a legacy.

Here is a poem I wrote about my five years of experience at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) so far:


A poetic phrase that sits heavy across the steel doorway to our galleries.

A phrase first recorded when God told His ancient people to remember.

Rising from the dead, they keep coming up in the fields and gardens that sustain us.

We pile them to the side, not sure what to do with them.

Another ancient people take them and put them into a sacred fire.

As they leave the fire and enter the womb of the sweat lodge they are welcomed as grandmother and grandfather.

‘Boozhoo Momonikiss! Boozhoo Nimishoomis!’

Who knew rocks could burn and cleanse?

Be sure to attend Dr. James Urry’s livestream at MHV on April 18th about his new book titled “On Stony Ground”.

Upcoming Events:

It Takes a Village… Spring Gala 2024, May 24th. Celebrate the MHV’s 60th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of Mennonites in Manitoba by contributing to this ongoing legacy. Tickets are on sale now at

Book Launch – “On Stony Ground: Russländer Mennonites and the Rebuilding of Community in Grunthal” by James Urry, April 18, 7pm. James Urry’s new ethnographic publication is for anyone interested in how people adapt and rebuild their lives in times of great upheaval. Come and enjoy a lively presentation by James Urry, livestreamed from New Zealand with opportunity for questions and refreshments.

Volunteer Orientation, April 25, 6pm. Ever wonder what it takes to run a printing press? Want to learn how to churn butter or bake bread in a brick oven? Whether serving ice cream in the short order booth, face painting, or blacksmithing, we have plenty of unique volunteer opportunities for you to explore. This is your chance to try something new! Join us for a BBQ at 6pm with a brief orientation of the volunteer opportunities to follow. New and returning volunteers are welcome – bring a friend!

MHV Spring Market, April 27, 10am – 4pm. Join us for our first Spring Market at Mennonite Heritage Village! Explore the work of local artisans and creators. There will be a lunch canteen, wagon rides and kids activities! If you are a vendor, space is limited to between 25-30 booths, so please contact or call 204-326-9661 for details about reserving a booth.

Mennonite Village Photography Exhibit, open now till summer 2024. See a beautiful collection of never-before-seen photographs left behind by four Manitoba Mennonite photographers who lived and worked in the early twentieth century. The images are from glass and film negatives from 1890 to 1940. After being scanned and given a new life in print, the photos provide a clear view into Mennonite life and early settlement in Manitoba.