How much of your summer wages were needed to pay for your tuition? That question is being asked to alumni as part of the fall “Grebel Fund” appeal. Farhan Saeed, a coop student working in communications this term, did some research to create this graph that illustrates how times have changed for students over the span of 60 years.
Students at Grebel who are attending the University of Waterloo or Wilfrid Laurier University and have volunteered with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) are now provided the opportunity to earn a substantial scholarship toward one term’s tuition.
On July 16, 1945, the United States Army successfully detonated the first atomic bomb in a New Mexico desert. Codenamed Trinity, the test marked a pivotal moment in history, as it demonstrated the feasibility of atomic weapons – ultimately leading to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The recent box office success of Oppenheimer has prompted a new generation to discuss the origins and ongoing dangers of nuclear weapons. Building on this cultural moment, Mary Kavanagh’s exhibit, Trinity, Then and Now, located in the Grebel Gallery, explores the bomb test’s lasting impact in a narrative context
Conflict Management Certificate workshops at Grebel attract a diverse group of participants, including actors, dramaturges, dancers, filmmakers, producers, and directors. This foray into the arts enriches the learning experiences of all who are involved.
Ontario Mennonite Music Camp pairs exceptional musical instruction with all the fun of summer camp. The two-week camp is hosted at Grebel August 13-25, and is open to youth aged 12-17. OMMC is a partnership between Grebel and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.
This March, four Grebel students competed in the C. Henry Smith Oratorical Contest—an opportunity for students from Mennonite and Brethren in Christ colleges and universities across Canada and the USA to discuss peacebuilding and social justice issues.
It’s been a busy but fun term. Members of Student Council and Larger Leadership Team organized events for various facets of the Grebel community, including mocktails, upper suppers, an Easter egg hunt and weekly events like apartment socials and games nights.
Grebel will be creating a pollinator garden in the spring term! This garden will consist of a variety of native, pollinator-friendly perennials and shrubs, along with a picnic table, educational signs, and paths. We hope that it will be an eye-catching and inviting spot for Grebel students and anyone passing by.
Earlier in the year, Grebel students were really behind the 8-ball when their pool table broke right in half! After a request for help in the College e-newsletter, the Thomas family—Phil and Marg (parents of Grebel alumni Neil and Graham)—stepped in and generously donated their table. The Thomas family shared that many Grebel friends had played KERP on this table in its previous life.
What skills do pastors need to minister well with older adults? What is the role of volunteering in later life, and how can organizations adjust as volunteers grow older? How might we make our churches more dementia friendly? How do we go about planning meaningful rituals for later life, like legacy celebrations? How do we listen well to the elders among us? What role might technology play? What about intergenerational connections? How do we talk about dying and death in the context of faith? What about MAiD—how do we navigate this in our church’s long-term care and retirement homes? What does spiritual care look like, and how can we provide it effectively in today’s world?
This year’s Bechtel Lecture in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies, “On Dwelling: Shelters in Time and Place,” was presented on March 10 by Professor Sofia Samatar of James Madison University. The 2022 Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar was Professor Regina Shands Stoltzfus of Goshen College.
Climate change is a threat to archives and other centres of knowledge. Around the world, cultural heritage and community memory is threatened by fires, floods, severe weather, and environmental conflicts.
“On behalf of the Grebel Board of Governors, I am very pleased to announce the reappointment of Marcus Shantz as President of Conrad Grebel University College, supported enthusiastically and unanimously by the Board,” announced Board Chair Paul Fieguth in December 2021. “The reappointment committee solicited and received input from a great many people, and there was overwhelming appreciation for Marcus’ leadership. We are looking forward to his continued contributions to the broader Grebel community.”
Mennonite Heritage Week was proclaimed by Parliament in 2019 to recognize Mennonite resilience, cultural production, and peacemaking efforts. The designation encourages deeper public appreciation of Mennonite contributions to “building Canadian society.” This national recognition coincides with the increasing awareness among Mennonites of their historic involvement in colonization in Canada.
On January 27, Grebel held a virtual chapel service to celebrate the arrival of the new "Voices Together" hymnal. With almost 200 attendees, this gathering also recognized the research and expertise that alumnus Sarah Kathleen Johnson (BA 2007, MTS 2008) contributed to the development of the hymnal, and she was presented with Grebel’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
A group of international attendees will gather at Grebel May 13-15, 2022 for an education conference titled Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters in Time and Place. As a preview of the conference, a sampler video as been released on YouTube. This presentation includes messages of welcome and introductions from Indigenous and Mennonite scholars, collaborators, community members, and musicians.
Budgets in the university sector are increasingly challenging, even without the COVID-19 pandemic. A tuition cut and freeze for students in Ontario has meant a reduction in revenue for Grebel by $227,000 this year.
Alumni, family groups, friends and roommates from throughout Grebel’s history have joined together to name tables—a symbolic level of donation to the kitchen and dining room project. One of these tables has been named for Arnie Dyck (1945–2017) by his family and friends.
On January 30, Grebel retirees gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of the treasured Pauline Bauman. Pauline was an important part of Grebel’s beginnings as secretary to the College’s first three presidents.
On March 11, three Grebel students competed in the C. Henry Smith Oratorical Contest. The contest invites students from Mennonite and Brethren in Christ colleges and universities across Canada and the United States to speak on peace issues.
Two notable lecture series took place at Grebel in January and March
Before COVID 19 event restrictions, Grebel was able to host two of it's lecture series programs in January and early March. The Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies gathered farmers and agriculture experts to discuss the relationship between food and faith, while the annual Fretz lecture discussed Anabaptist archives and their social history. Read on and enjoy recordings of each lecture.
“Our task this evening is to go in pursuit of a mystery and its implications for how we believe and how we live our lives.” It is with these words that Dr. John D. Rempel (BA 1966, PhD 1996) began his lecture, “An Impossible Task: Trinitarian Theology for a Radical Church?” in front of a packed audience at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC).
Grebel’s 2019 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies snuck up on me. Dr. Irma Fast Dueck’s topic “Take me to the Waters: Baptism, Commitment, and the Church” did not initially pique my interest or engage the relevant parts of my psyche until I was already immersed in the subject. It was not until Dueck started sharing her research around the newfound hesitance Christians have towards participating in the ordinance of baptism, that the voice of curiosity within me rose up in unison with the concerns she brought forward.
A treasured tradition at Grebel centres on the celebration of all students who have been connected to the College over their university career. Whether these students lived in residence or associated, took courses in Music or Peace and Conflict Studies, or achieved master’s degrees in Theological Studies or Peace and Conflict Studies, the Grebel Convocation Celebration is a time to acknowledge the achievements and connections of each individual. On April 14, a crowd of around 400 friends and family members marked the end of a journey and the beginning of a new path for about 55 undergraduates and 20 graduates in attendance.
“My grandfather had a little yellow piece of paper with a list of names and birthdates. The names were written in an unintelligible gothic script, but my grandfather was familiar enough with it to interpret them.... I recognized that there was a great deal of information hidden in that little list.”
The University of Waterloo is a rigourous academic institution and our students are incredibly dedicated to their studies. How fortunate then, that each term, Grebel’s Music Department offers hundreds of students a way to connect to others, a way to express emotion and passion, and a way to take a break from their studies.
“The force of the human voice is unmatched.” On March 8 and 9, Grebel welcomed an extraordinary musician as the 2019 Rodney and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar, Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell. Barnwell is a commissioned composer, arranger, author, actress, and former member of the African American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock.®
The windows in Grebel’s Chapel are one of the College’s most iconic features. They were designed by local artist, professor, writer, scholar, teacher, novelist, and poet Nancy-Lou Patterson, who passed away on October 15, 2018.
Sometimes at Grebel, an underlying theme for the year emerges so clearly that it is difficult to believe that it was not prearranged. As September approached this year, several College department plans and activities serendipitously focused on Korea—a divided land of dramatic landscapes and political tensions.
The inaugural Empowered Woman Preach conference took place at Grebel over the October 19–20 weekend. It brought together women of different denominations to encourage each other and become more equipped to proclaim Christ while working to renew their local church communities.