There will be a conference in Winnipeg next week that examines the diversity among Mennonites in Canada that has developed in recent decades. It is called 'A People Of Diversity: Mennonites In Canada since 1970'. Dr. Royden Loewen, Chair in Mennonite Studies at the U. of W., explains they will have a number of different experts examining diversity in such areas as agriculture, education, and sexuality.
"We often think that we know exactly who the Mennonites are. I think we might almost explode that idea here because Mennonites have really become a very diverse people and the intention is to look at Mennonites in all their various facets. And if you take the whole Canadian scene into purview, we have even more kinds of Mennonites than we might have expected."
Loewen says it may seem odd to think that there is wide diversity among Mennonites when it comes to agriculture, for example, but it's definitely the case.
"You might think that might be one place where Mennonites agree, but no, you have conventional farming, you have horse-and-buggy farming, you have chemical, you have organic."
He adds cultural diversity among Mennonites has also exploded in recent decades.
"We now have Chinese Mennonites, we have Korean Mennonites, we have Spanish Mennonites so we'll be looking at the changing face of the Mennonite world. A lot of this also relates to the growing phenomenon worldwide where you now have more Mennonites in Africa than in Canada. So we have black Mennonites, we have brown Mennonites, just an increasing diversity of who our people are."
The conference takes place at the University of Winnipeg next week Thursday through Saturday. It is open to the public at no charge.