Taking Community from the Farm to the World

Friday, February 27, 2015 4:30 pm - Friday, August 14, 2015 4:30 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Mennonite congregation

The Mennonite Archives of Ontario has partnered with the Hunsberger family to create a photo exhibit featuring a select number of David L. Hunsberger's iconic photos. Almost 5,700 of his images were donated to the Archives in 2005. 

Archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing remarked that "for 40 years, David Hunsberger’s camera was present at special occasions and ordinary days in the lives of Waterloo Region Mennonites. His love of his craft and of his subjects comes through in every frame. His collection continues to be a source of discovery and delight for anyone seeking a window into our shared local history.”

Advancing peace requires many hands. It requires shoulders to lean on, and to stand on. It is sustained by the mundane tasks that make daily life possible. It is invigorated by moments of joy. And it draws on the wellsprings of faith, hope, and love. 

Peace becomes possible when we experience genuine community.

This exhibition of David L. Hunsberger’s photographs provides glimpses into the experiences of community within one particular group of people: Ontario Mennonites in the 1950s and 1960s. But these glimpses speak to more than Mennonites.

For example, there is a photo of a barn raising, an iconic image of mutual aid that has come to define the essence of community for many, including Canada’s current Governor General (and former University of Waterloo President) David Johnston.

There are photos of family and friends sharing food, fellowship, and fun. Perhaps we eat different foods, gather in different settings, and play different games, but we can all recognize the power of the connections created when we do things like this together.

Finally, it is important to note that these photographs were taken during a time of transition for Mennonites in Ontario. A time when more and more Mennonites pursued their vocational callings in towns and cities. A time when new institutions such as Conrad Grebel University College and the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union were first envisioned. And a time when there was a new awareness of the diversity of the global Mennonite church community.

No doubt this transformed context brought with it many challenges, but it also carried the blessings of a new understanding of just how far the bonds of community could be stretched. It includes a renewed commitment to peace and to sharing the gifts of the Mennonite community with the world.

Gallery summer hours:
Monday to Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

Closed Victoria Day, Canada Day, Civic Holiday

Barn raising