As soon as we see a sign indicating a historic site, we hit the brakes. (So if you’re driving behind us, look out!)
This was one of the first historic sites we visited, when our interest in Mennonite stuff was still pretty new. We were zipping along Highway 3 between Morden and Winkler when we saw the sign that says “First MB Church Historic Site” — or something like that. So we veered off the highway and bumped along the gravel until we came to this spot.
The stone says:
“Site of the First Mennonite Brethern Church in Canada. ‘To God be the Glory.’ We, the descendants of Gerhard Wiebe, are grateful that our great-grandfather, as far as is known, was called to be the first resident minister of the first Mennonite Brethern Church in Canada. 1888-1895. ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Thank-you Mr. Jacob Banman who donated this land for the building of the first Mennonite Brethern Church in Canada.”
Behind the stone, is a little wooden one-dimensional plywood image of what the little church had looked like. It is so charming, so lovingly crafted, that I almost can’t stand it. I love how it sort of super-imposes itself on the bushes behind it. Almost like… a GHOST CHURCH.
Ooh, I like that.
GAMEO says this church was officially established in 1888, with the help of MB evangelists from the United States. In 1898, this little church was moved to Winkler to reside next to the larger Winkler MB Church.
I really like this area. It was called Burwalde. Why did this place not remain a village? More on that later. (Not that I know the answer. I don’t. But I do have a weird book that talks about this place!)