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Conference on Mennonite Educational and Cultural Problems | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Conference on Mennonite Educational and Cultural Problems

Historical Note:

A number of American Mennonite leaders became conscious of the need for discussion of common problems on an inter-Mennonite basis. Harold S. Bender, Guy F. Hershberger, Melving Gingerich and J. Winfield Fretz organized a program for a one-day discussion of some of the common problems confronting Mennonites. It was called a Conference on Mennonite Sociology and was held on 31 December 1941. It was agreed that further conferences should be held. A committee drew up a two-day program for a conference to be held on 7-8 August 1942. There were 119 registered guests at the first session of what came to be known as the Conference on Mennonite Cultural Problems.

The Conference on Mennonite Cultural Problems met annually 1942-1947, and then biennially , changing its name in 1951 to "Conference on Mennonite Educational and Cultural Problems." After its first session, which had been sponsored by a Conference on Mennonite Sociology, it was taken under the wing of the Council of Mennonite and Affiliated Colleges. The conference was unofficial and open to the general public; its range of interest included Mennonite sociology, ethics, education, community interests, and other topics relating to the total life of the Mennonite community. The sessions attracted primarily faculty members of the participating colleges, public school teachers, ministers, and a scattering of laymen. Perhaps its most important achievements were the creative writing it stimulated, the research it encouraged, and the body of information on the cultural life of Mennonites it produced. It was the only officially sponsored American inter-Mennonite group that met regularly for intellectual fellowship and discussion. The last meeting of the Conference on Mennonite Educational and Cultural Problems was held in 1967. Proceedings of the 16 conferences are held at most Mennonite historical libraries.

Sources: Bender, Harold S. and J. Winfield Fretz. "Mennonite Cultural Problems Conference." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 27 Nov 2013.
Note Author: Bender, Harold S. and J. Winfield Fretz

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