Mennonite Heritage Village

The Value of a Peace Heritage

By Gary Dyck, MHV Executive Director

Recently, I had the privilege of talking with Cliff and Wilma Derksen. I don’t remember a lot from my early years of life, but I do remember sitting on my yellow school bus at 8am when my neighbourhood friend got on and asked if I had heard the news. I was a nine year old boy, oblivious to ‘news’, but it changed that day when I had heard about the disappearance of 13 year old Candace Derksen. My friend was visibly shaken, if it could happen to someone named Candace Derksen it could happen to her. Both of us grew up that day.

For the next weeks and months I followed the news; my young soul learning that the world is a sober place and that I needed to start praying for it – for me, for my friend. I cannot imagine how it was for Cliff and Wilma to find out that their daughter had been murdered. What I can imagine is how their heritage and community supported them. Anyone who has gone through major trauma surrounded by a supportive community and Anabaptist heritage knows what I’m talking about.

Cliff and Wilma chose to forgive. They told me one of the reasons is Anabaptist martyrdom stories like Dirk Willems that helped them move on from anger and revenge. It wasn’t easy, but it was easier. I believe that their heritage (those who went before them) helped them see a path out of their dark valley. The same night their daughter was found dead another man had come to their house whose child was murdered three years previously. He was still in that dark valley and declared to them that bitter anger would now be their only refuge.   

On Peace Sunday, November 8th at the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) you will have the opportunity to hear more of their story. Their education continues and so must ours. Invite your children and your friends. More details will be coming soon on our website ( and social media. Space will be limited and you will need to call in your RSVP, but we plan to provide a livestream. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out on events like this.

Our Dirk Willems Peace Garden project is still on until November 6th. Please spread the word and help us reach the goal of $20,000. At press time, we are at $2500 so we have much work to do.

On October 31st we also plan to host ‘Christmas at the Village’. It will be a time to see unique gift ideas provided by a variety of local artisans and sellers in our Auditorium. There will also be wagon rides and hot chocolate outside. Health protocols will in place in order to comply with Manitoba regulations.  

Calendar of Events

Galleries and Village Books and Gift are open year-round.

Now until October 27, South East Artists Season of Colour exhibit in our Art Hall.

Now until April 1, 2021, Exhibit: “MCC 100 Years”

October 31, 10am – 4pm, Christmas in the Village, Christmas Market in our beautiful auditorium, hot chocolate and wagon rides outside. Hot lunch available 11:30am – 1pm.

November 8, 4pm, Peace Sunday Faspa with Wilma Derksen. Space is limited to 50 please call in your RSVP. A freewill offering will be taken.

November 10, 7pm, Mennonite Village Photography book launch. Admission is free, but space is limited. Please call 204-326-9661 to reserve your spot.

May 1, 2021, Outdoor Village buildings and Livery Barn Restaurant re-open.