Grebel Now - Fall 2011

Conrad Grebel University College logo with a photo of Dr. Huxman speaking on the podium in her inauguration.

President Huxman inaug​urated

Professor Susan Schultz Huxman, formerly director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University in Kansas, was inaugurated as the seventh president of Conrad Grebel University College at Floradale Mennonite Church on Sunday, October 16. Susan Taves, Board of Governors Chair, moderated an elegant and energizing ceremony marked by a processional of Grebel faculty in academic regalia, choral and instrumental music from students, and with speeches and readings from Canadian and American professionals and academics. The inaugural address, delivered by Ed Diller, former moderator of Mennonite Church U.S.A., challenged the audience to get out of its Mennonite comfort zone and engage more actively with the world.

Huxman’s presidential address: “I love to tell the [unconventional] story” — unfolded as an inspirational examination of the power of storytelling in securing the bond from one generation to the next. Huxman used a medley of stories old and new, secular and religious, personal and institutional to illustrate her leadership style, her enthusiasm for Conrad Grebel, and her commitment to solidify mission-centredness, and leverage innovative partnerships to advance the college.

Calling Conrad Grebel “the best of both worlds,” as a Anabaptist-inspired liberal arts college and one affiliated with the world-class University of Waterloo she said,

Grebel is small and big; full of prestige and personal attention; at the cutting-edge of career preparation and engaged faith formation; a place to form powerful research teams and life-long friends.

President Huxman closed by observing:

I love to tell these unconventional stories of great faithfulness and discerning wisdom; stories that celebrate permanence and change. [Then, she invited the audience to write Grebel’s next chapter.] Will you join with me in crafting Grebel’s next story? Will you help stitch its next quilt block? 

Huxman received a standing ovation.

MSCU gives Grebel $1 million for peace

A CAD drawing/design of the planned new building design at Conrad Grebel.

On November 10, the eve of Remembrance Day, Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) and Conrad Grebel University College announced the creation of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel. MSCU’s $1 million dollar commitment has created the opportunity to add an entire fourth floor to the current building project.

We’re thrilled to make such a transformational commitment to peace building in our community, [stated Brent Zorgdrager, Chief Executive Officer of MSCU.] We believe the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement will be an innovative expression of our core values and are gratified that we’re able to share our resources to enhance the Mennonite tradition of building a peace-filled world.

Integrity, compassion, and responsible stewardship are our core values at MSCU. We strive to reflect our Mennonite faith in how we serve our members and our communities, [explained Pamela Fehr (‘97), Director of Marketing at MSCU.] This project is a natural fit as we focus our sharing around three foundational Mennonite themes: peace, social justice, and mutual aid.

Peace and Conflict Studies stool and globe.
This is the largest gift in the college’s history. Together, MSCU and Grebel envision an MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement that is a beehive of entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary collaboration around solid academic insights. The centre will provide shared seminar, research, and project space for students and faculty, as well as space for community service organizations, pastors, and other peace builders.

President Susan Schultz Huxman noted:

Grebel is uniquely positioned to accelerate peace innovation. Conrad Grebel and the University of Waterloo understand how interdisciplinary education and innovation work hand in hand. It’s in our DNA! The MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement will be dedicated to innovation and interdisciplinary study in an incubator style setting — where students, faculty, community leaders, and many others collaborate on projects to advance peace.

As envisioned, this centre will have the powerful potential to harness the imaginative energies possessed by students, [added PACS Director Lowell Ewert.] It will bring them into collaborative partnerships with grassroots agents working for change.

Third year PACS student, Caleb Redekop looks forward to the creation of the Centre:

The Centre for Peace Advancement speaks to the great work that Conrad Grebel has done at fostering the growth of Peace and Conflict Studies program at a scholarly level. It demonstrates that the greater Mennonite community does not just believe in the merits of peace but is willing to actively pursue it.

The additional floor will add approximately $1.8 million to the building project. Board Vice Chair, Lynn Yantzi observed that:

It is important to act on this opportunity now. We had plans to add a fourth floor in the future, but with this gift, we can build it as an integral part of this current project, which is far more cost effective.

A web diagram of the peace.
This addition is timely as the college anticipates final approval of a Master in Peace and Conflict Studies and may be ready to start classes in September 2012.

For more details on this exciting project visit The Next Chapter.

Mennonite Savings and Credit Union logo with Conrad Grebel University College logo.

100 people, 100 days

Susan Schultz Huxman
From the moment she arrived in Waterloo just before Canada Day, Susan Schultz Huxman, the new president of Conrad Grebel University College, has been meeting as many key Grebel stakeholders and community leaders in southern Ontario as she can. These one-on-one visits have revealed how Grebel has touched many lives: defining moments for alumni, purpose-driven careers for staff and faculty, and hope for future generations for donors.

Because communication is my discipline, I wanted to meet 100 key stakeholders in 100 days. I know that one can learn so much more about an institution and its special character by engaging in individual conversations, [Huxman stated.] The connections I’ve made and the stories I’ve learned have been tremendous. What a huge reservoir of goodwill exists toward Grebel. 

Huxman exceeded her goal, meeting with over 130 people.

From board members, faculty and staff, donors, alumni, and student council, to leaders in Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, the Kitchener-Waterloo business, education and non-profit community, the new president has been in offices, schools, churches, restaurants, farms, boardrooms, game rooms and homes to learn more about the institution she now leads.

Fred Martin, Director of Development, has accompanied Susan on some of her visits with key supporters:

Since Susan is from Kansas, she recognizes that she doesn’t come with many instant connections to the church and Ontario communities. This is a great way for her to turn a challenge into an opportunity. Like me, she recognizes that her best work for Grebel will be done outside her own office.

The unconventional story

Excerpts from the President's Inauguration Speech.

Today, my story intersects with Grebel’s unconventional story. Like Grebel’s founding president, I too am from Kansas, with ties to Bethel. I, too, spent 20 years as a professor before accepting the call to come to Canada. I, too, bring difference—though not in a bow tie, but in a skirt.

I was born far removed from a Mennonite farming community, near Daytona Beach, Florida to an American Swiss Menno from Holmes, County Ohio and a Canadian Baptist influenced by Mennonites at Rockway Collegiate in Kitchener, Ontario. I was educated in public schools in Florida, England, and Kansas until college. And then I attended the oldest Mennonite college in North America in Kansas. 

I was baptized and married in the Bethel College Mennonite church. Though my husband came from a conservative Mennonite community, where traditional roles are still practiced, Jesse has been a hugely supportive spouse in making it possible for me to teach, publish, travel, move, and be promoted to positions of leadership while raising three children. 

The move today, 1,200 miles north, now feels like coming full circle. First, because we used to vacation here when I was a child and visit my grandparents, A.J. and Alice Schultz, both entertaining missionary storytellers—some of the first in the area to use “lantern slides,” to accompany their sermons, as a number of you recall. And second, because I can combine my public and private school backgrounds; I can serve and lead a Mennonite institution and at the same time be a full partner in the academic life of Canada’s most innovative university—the University of Waterloo. Truly the “best of both worlds.”

I love to tell these unconventional stories of “great faithfulness” and “discerning wisdom”; stories that celebrate permanence and change.

I welcome this opportunity to serve Conrad Grebel University College. Indeed, I pray that I may lead with purpose and conviction and to be an impassioned advocate of Grebel’s distinctive mission “to seek wisdom, nurture faith, and pursue peace and justice in service to church and society.”

Will you join with me in crafting Grebel’s next story? Will you help stitch its next quilt block? 

After the college’s very first year of operation, President Winfield Fretz observed in his annual report: Conrad Grebel College is a Child of the Church.

Now, in 2011, “the Child” is approaching its 50th anniversary — a maturing middle age. Let us hope “the best is yet to come”!


Alumni in healthcare

Despite the fact that the University of  Waterloo does not have a medical school, these Grebel alumni have found incredibly satisfying careers in healthcare.

A family proje​ct

Noel Erhardt
Noel Erhardt (’85), an optometrist, and his wife Crystal (’85), a psychology graduate, took their four teenage children to Arequipa, Peru on a two-week “eye project” with Medical Ministries International. They joined a large team of volunteers from Canada and the US which included eye surgeons, optometrists, opticians, nurses, tech people, and many others.

During the two weeks, about 5,000 people lined up, often overnight, to move through the different stations for medical help and a Gospel message. The Erhardt kids were very busy each day working in some area of the assembly line, testing visual acuity, doing auto-refraction, fitting glasses, and helping to move the crowd through the stations.

Crystal was involved in logistics and in the fitting of glasses while Noel examined eyes for disease. During their exhausting but rewarding trip, many cataract surgeries were performed and many pairs of glasses were distributed. 

Our entire family said they would definitely love to do another eye project. It was a highlight experience in our family life.

Family adventures aside, Noel loves that his job requires him to continually learn about new technology, medications, and treatments to provide the best service to his patients. The people he sees at his British Columbia-based practice make his job interesting and fulfilling.

The Erhardt Family

The body as a w​hole​

Helping people who are ill involves partly understanding the body as a complex machine and partly understanding that a person is much more than the body.

Larry Willms

Studying a combination of mechanical engineering and religion may sound like an odd mix, but Larry Willms (’85, ’86) found it to be a perfect combination as a basis for his career as a Family Physician (along with his wife Marilyn) at the First Nation Mishkeegogamang, and in the Emergency Department of the Meno Ya Win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout. Helping people who are ill involves partly understanding the body as a complex machine and partly understanding that a person is much more than the body. After 15 years, Larry says that his job is never boring, it’s frequently challenging and it involves a complex interplay of biomedicine, socio-economic factors, local politics, and more.

A defining event in Larry’s career involved completing the study of Integrative Medicine in 2004, which enhanced the understanding of his work, and equipped him to do it better.

I believe this to be the medicine of the future, [Larry explained.] Some of my most exciting partnerships with patients have involved moving beyond pills and surgery to address underlying issues that were impeding self-healing.

For example, a woman was here for one month with disabling back pain, away from her reserve and young child for 30 days, on first one, then two, now six medications.

We met and identified that a previously abusive relationship was connected to this pain. Our very skilled physiotherapist worked with her to recognize how her body was manifesting this trauma, and she also received acupuncture. Four days later she came back, pain free and mobile, and asked to come off her six medications and also asked to go home. Conventional medicine is a very powerful set of approaches and tools. I use it often. But frequently it is inadequate to address the real issue.

Reflecting on his work, Larry values working in a close-knit group where there is trust, mutual support, a strong shared mission and values statement, and collaboration with others. He enjoys partnering with people to optimise their health, relationships with elders, children, adults, and his fellow workers at the clinic. He also enjoys resting after a rewarding but exhausting day.


New lives in the ​world

Shirley Grove holding Mariana Diez de Bonilla's ('03) new baby, Sofia.
For the first 15 years after getting her Social Development Studies degree, Shirley Grove (’91) held various positions including Youth Counsellor at Pioneer Youth Services, Program Staff at Fairview Mennonite Home, and Family Studies Teacher at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. Although she enjoyed many parts of her roles, Shirley always felt drawn to the Health Sciences. After having both her children with a midwife, she began to consider midwifery for herself and eventually began studies at McMaster. Shirley graduated in 2010 and did her New Registrant year in Stratford.

Looking forward to the rest of her working years as a Registered Midwife, Shirley has just returned to Kitchener-Waterloo and has started at a new practice – Blue Heron Midwives. She hopes to find a model of balance to provide continuity of care to women coupled with a measure of personal and family time (she and Wes Dyck (‘95, ‘99) have two children).

Midwives are primary care providers for women and their babies throughout pregnancy, labour, delivery and in the 6 weeks following the birth. They work on call and do clinic each week, attend to women in labour, and deliver babies working closely with other care providers and make referrals if necessary. They also provide postpartum care and assistance with breast-feeding.

I find it is a challenging job in many respects, with high levels of responsibility and accountability, [said Shirley.] It is also a highly rewarding job - being with women and their partners at such a transition in their lives is a honour and a privilege.

Once she has been a midwife for a few years, Shirley hopes to combine travel with work and to do some work with Médecins Sans Frontiers. She also looks forward to taking on students in the Midwifery Education Program and passing along some of the great mentoring she had as a student.

Helping h​ands

Maria Andrusiak Morland

​After training and practising for a number of years, Maria Andrusiak Morland (‘02) has started her birth and postpartum birth doula business full time. Helping Hands Doula Services assists mothers with prenatal assistance, labour and birth, and postpartum care. 

Maria explained:

I’ve been blessed to attend many wonderful home, water, and special circumstance births (twins, vagina birth after caesarean, breech, etc.), but welcome all situations. I’ve also worked as a certified breast-feeding counsellor for 6 years, and am always pleased to assist with bringing mothering through breast-feeding into practise.

My time at Grebel taught me about the global village and also the village within a village that is the people in need in our very own cities – I found my network, my village family, and my voice in the call for social justice, and assistance for all mother to have fair, safe, and respected births.



Family ​man

Max and Art Winter

Art Winter (‘05) had a clear goal in
mind when he started his science degree at Waterloo: medical school. Specializing in Family Medicine, Art has just finished a two year residency, and will soon be starting his own practice based in Kitchener-Waterloo. Art find practising medicine rewarding because it involves making a difference in people’s lives - even if it’s not just making something better. He especially loves the true (and often funny) stories that he comes across every day and is eager to get to know families and to be their doctor for many years. 

Art and Sue (Chappel) have a six month old son, Max, and hope that they can find a good balance between Art’s career and family life.


It all bega​n at G​rebel

Carol and David Ringer
David (‘70) and Carol (Wideman) Ringer met as Residence Dons in 1969–70 where the differences in their backgrounds (David a Pentecostal Newfie and Carol a Waterloo County Mennonite) were quickly bridged as they found commonality in their mutual aspirations for overseas volunteer work. After graduating from University of Waterloo, they went to Nigeria for three years with Mennonite Central Committee – David as a teacher and Carol as Nursing “Sister” (Head Nurse). Both continued to study while working full-time - Carol completed an MSc at McGill and a PhD at the Faculty of Medicine in Manitoba. David went on and completed BEd (U of T) and MDiv. (University of Winnipeg). David has been in teaching for most of the past 40 years in the community college, secondary, and elementary schools and he is still employed with the Durham Board of Education. He believes that his Master of Divinity degree has helped him immensely in the management of children and parents in the public education system. For David, teaching as part of a grade 9 teaching team at a Middle School in Winnipeg has been his career highlight. Carol has continued in healthcare for the past 40 years, holding executive level positions, in academic health sciences centres in three provinces. She is currently working in the private investment sector utilizing her clinical and management experience in the design and build of the hospitals of the future in Ontario. As a Vice–President, COO, and CEO, Carol has found her greatest satisfaction in removing impediments so that clinical staff can provide state-of–the–art and compassionate care. Three years ago Carol was hired to commission a Children’s Cancer Hospital in Cairo, Egypt, and overseas work continues to beckon to the couple. David and Carol’s greatest delights are, however, their two sons, who have expanded the family with three amazing grandchildren (one more grandchild is expected in the new year).


Retir​ement project

Lloyd Koch
Lloyd (’71) and Erla Koch have spent the last six years of their retirement volunteering in Tanzania, with Canada Africa Community Health Alliance. For the past three years the couple has volunteered for 2-3 months at a time at the Shirati Hospital - part of a Mennonite community on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Before retiring, Lloyd enjoyed a 35 year career in Hospital Administration,
serving a few times in African hospitals. Now Lloyd does administrative work and strategic planning at the Shirati Hospital, and is working on getting a better, more reliable water supply.

The organization has also taken infrastructure teams with them to Tanzania, who have installed solar lights all over the hospital. Since the electricity is often off at night, the lights are greatly appreciated. The team also updated the hospital computer and electrical systems, as well as provided computer training.

For the first time last year, the Kochs took a medical team who did free health care in the surrounding villages for two weeks and treated over 2,000 patients. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and logistical people joined with their local counterparts to work side by side in the Tanzanian villages. This year the team hopes to see around 4,000 patients. 

It feels good to be working in a community where Canadian and American Mennonites have worked for many years, and to know that today we are working as partners of the strong Mennonite church that has developed in East Africa, offering health, education and social programs.

Lloyd an Erla’s three children, Angie (‘99), Cindy (‘02), and Jamie (‘06) are all Grebel alumni.


John Rempel retu​rns for a role at TMTC

John Rempel
Former Grebel Chaplain, John Rempel (‘66), will be rekindling his connection to the college in September 2012. Rempel, currently Professor of Historical Theology and Anabaptist Studies at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Elkhart Indiana, will be the next Director of the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC) at the Toronto School of Theology (TST). Rempel will retire from AMBS at the end of the academic year and will begin his part-time responsibilities at TMTC in Fall 2012.

Jim Pankratz, Dean of Conrad Grebel University College, said:

We are thrilled to welcome John Rempel as Director of TMTC. He is highly regarded at Grebel and familiar with TST. He has rich experience as a chaplain, pastor, Mennonite Central Committee representative, and seminary professor. Those who know John will understand why we are confident that his deep commitment to students and to the Church and his wideranging expertise in Mennonite theology will enrich the TMTC student community and raise the profile of Mennonite and Anabaptist studies at TST.

[Having spent] many years in New York City in the midst of church encounters with many religious and secular worldviews, as well as some years at AMBS within an intensely Mennonite community, [Rempel looks forward to bringing that experience] into the encounter with many world-views and out of that be a resource to the Mennonite Church. [He is fascinated by the intersection of Anabaptist ways of thinking with the broader world of TST and U of T, and is] excited by the prospect of ongoing conversations with graduate students whose identity is formed at that intersection.

Reflecting on TMTC founder, Jim Reimer’s contribution to TMTC, Rempel states:

My understanding of Jim’s dream is threefold. Jim’s vision was to provide a Mennonite point of reference and community for graduate students, to challenge Mennonites to speak their understanding of being Christian into a cosmopolitan world, as well as learning from it, within TST as well as U of T as a whole, and finally, to model the inner unity between scholarship and piety.

Grebel is very thankful for the recent coordinators of TMTC - Jonathan  Seiling, Christina Reimer, and Sarah Freeman - who kept the student program at TMTC active and vital during the past four years. Pankratz is confident that

John will build on what they have done and in addition
will greatly increase our teaching and mentoring role at TST.


From military to the mi​nistry

Dawne Driedger
By Dawne Driedger

I grew up in the church, but did not connect with the Mennonite tradition until I was a young adult. Through some (at times heated!) discussions with a young man who would become my husband Ken, I wrestled with issues of peace and justice while I wore the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces. I felt that I had been called to witness for Jesus in the military, but came to struggle with the issue of armed defense. As I met with Ken and his pastor, I began to more deeply understand Jesus’ call to non-violence in our words and actions.

When I became a US citizen, I refused to swear to bear arms. The first immigration officer to interview me challenged my non-violent position. As a result, I was required to write a theological defense before I would be given exemption on religious grounds. My testimony was accepted and I was granted citizenship.

Over time, I resigned from the military, became a wife, mother, registered nurse and then a campus minister. Through my experiences in ministry alongside my husband who was a pastor, and my MDiv. studies a  Gordon-Conwell Seminary, I felt called to pastoral ministry. Many wonderful people supported and encouraged me in that direction and so I began training as a pastoral candidate in the United Methodist Church. Eventually my husband and I felt drawn to the theology of the Mennonite church and were called as pastors of Zion Mennonite Fellowship in Elmira. We were also encouraged to pursue Anabaptist studies in order to better understand those we served and the faith family to which we had committed.

Every course that I have taken in the Theological Studies program has been very applicable to ministry in the congregation and to my own personal faith journey. Being in the Applied Option, I have appreciated class discussion led by gracious and knowledgeable professors alongside fellow pastors and theologians wrestling honestly with the deeper issues of faith in a era of great change for the church.

I would like to express many thanks to those who have contributed to the scholarships which have allowed me to study, and to the committed faculty as well as my fellow students for creating a safe place to stretch my faith and grow as a shepherd of God’s holy people.

Student life

The Gr​ebel "Communi-Tree"

At a time when students are making one of the biggest transitions of their lifetime, the Grebel community continues to be a safe and welcoming place. This year’s frosh have found an incredibly friendly and diverse group of upper year students to connect with. More than half of current students are returning students and with them comes the sharing of rich and meaningful traditions. Director of Student Services, Mary Brubaker-Zehr, said:

Upper year students, are organic mentors, living side-by-side with our first-years, role modeling how to have fun responsibly, how to welcome people, and how to engage in our community.

In fact, even after our older students move out, Grebel still remains a hub for group meetings, taking classes, and visiting over a meal.

Illustrating the importance of Grebel’s intergenerational connections, this year the college’s act of community involved creating a “Communi-Tree”. The students placed their fingerprint in an outline of the college’s Cortitza Oak - a symbol of community gathering from the Russian Mennonite tradition.

Reflecting on some of their first impressions of the college, many students mentioned how accepted they felt. Mary said that the Larger Leadership Team made inclusivity and hospitality their mission. The entire community seized that notion to create an unparalleled experience for new Grebel students. 

The tradition of community, passed on for 48 years, has solidified Grebel as a very special place at the University of Waterloo.
Students running out of the residence at Grebel in

Another alumn​a retu​​rns

Tamara Shantz
It’s always exciting when Grebel alumni return to work for the college. Tamara Shantz (‘03) has been hired to a new contract position as Student Services Program Assistant. In this role, Tamara will engage students in building and celebrating a living and learning community by assisting with residence admissions, the chapel program, organizing and participating in local and international service learning opportunities, and will give focused attention to the well-being of Grebel’s first year students. 

Tamara brings a wealth of experience to the job. She served as Assistant Campus Minister at Goshen College for the past four years and has also served as youth pastor in several congregations. Tamara received an MDiv. from Yale in 2007.

Tamara looks forward to getting to know the current generation of students and is eager “to return to the Grebel community and discover what has changed, and what has stayed the same!” She is especially interested in

continuing to develop the service-learning program at Grebel and to see where this work will lead.


The second generation co​ntinues

Our alumni continue to entrust us with their children. This year on Move-In Day, we welcomed back Greg (‘87) and Roselynn Reed with Ian Reed (right), Diane Lichti (Wilfrid Laurier University) with Evan Bechtel, Peter Klassen (‘85) with Matthew Klassen, and Cathy (Penner) (‘84) and Sal Maiolo (‘83) with Christine and son Michael (‘13). The tradition continues!

Greg, Roselynn and Ian Reed
​Greg, Roselynn and Ian Reed

Diane Lichti with Evan Bechtel
Diane Lichti with Evan Bechtel

Peter and Matthew Klassen
Peter and Matthew Klassen

Cathy, Sal, Christine & Michael Maiolo
Cathy, Sal, Christine & Michael Maiolo


An answer to t​he ministry call

Chris Brnjas
While a good old-fashioned hymn sing usually conjures up images of large, robust groups belting out favourite hymns from memory, fourth year Peace and Conflict Studies student Chris Brnjas had a completely opposite experience during a hymn sing he led at Parkwood Mennonite Home in Waterloo. Despite his sometimes solo performance, Chris had one of the most profound moments of his Ministry Inquiry involvement. Through music, he witnessed people singing who don’t usually talk, saw smiles from regularly solemn residents, and caught the attention of the restless wanderers. This somewhat uncomfortable experience taught Chris how to take joy in little things and how being self-conscious can be one of the biggest detriments to being able to help people.

The Ministry Inquiry Program is an opportunity for a young adult to explore service and leadership in the church and its ministries. This relationship between a young adult student, a ministry mentor and a congregation or other ministry of the church is an opportunity for a young adult to observe good leadership in action and to participate in leadership responsibilities. A joint project of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, students have the chance to participate in committee work, various aspects of Christian education, outreach and mission, worship planning and leading, preaching, pastoral care, and visitation.

I have felt called into pastoral ministry and wanted to get my feet wet,

explained Chris. Since May, he has been serving at The Gathering Church in Kitchener, in addition to spending his summer working as Chaplain at Parkwood. 

My favourite part of the job is - without a doubt - getting to deliver a sermon, [said Chris.] Spending the week agonizing, praying, bargaining and typing wasn’t always the most peaceful experience in the world, but once I get up there and start preaching, it’s fun and feels very natural.

Chris was not always keen on public speaking but says that he’s been bitten by the preaching bug and now craves any opportunity for a speech.

Ed Janzen, Chaplain at Grebel, added that

the Ministry Inquiry Program is a great way in which the College can collaborate with a congregation in the development of leadership. Chris has had a chance to experience ministry in contexts beyond the student community with a variety of people he might not meet otherwise. These are special opportunities to grow awareness of gifts, and to grow abilities for use in the church.

As an active member of the Grebel Chapel Committee for the last two years, Chris’ appetite for delving into scriptures, prayer, deep conversation, and fellowship was nourished.

There will always be a tangible imprint of Grebel on me for the rest of my life, [adds Chris.] I feel much more equipped for leadership, and I have a more thorough understanding of both myself and my faith in Christ. I will leave Grebel eager and ready for whatever God has in store for me next!

News & Events​

Sound in the Lands book cover.
Ne​w book​

A sequel to the first Sound in the Land conference and essay collection, Sound in the Lands: Mennonite Music Across Borders re-evaluates the meaning of “Mennonite music” in the context of today’s global church. In this volume, leading Mennonite scholars, composers, and musicians representing a broad range of disciplinary approaches and personal perspectives, challenge readers to consider how Mennonite music-making is enriched by an interplay of historical circumstances, faith traditions, and cross-cultural experiences.

Edited by Maureen Epp, Carol Ann Weaver, Doreen Klassen, and Anna
Janecek, with many other contributuers. For more information, contact Carol Ann Weaver.


College journal's profile increa​ses​

Published three times a year, The Conrad Grebel Review is an interdisciplinary journal of Christian inquiry devoted to thoughtful, sustained discussion of spirituality, theology and culture from a broadly based Mennonite perspective. Established in 1983, the journal has published over 80 issues.

Recently, the entire back catalogue of The Conrad Grebel Review was added to the online American Theological Library Association (ATLA) Serials in full-text. ATLA is the standard index and search tool for academic sources in religion, and is available to subscribers of ATLA - primarily university libraries.

ATLA was eager to add to its roster of full-text journals, [remarked Editor, Jeremy Bergen.] The relationship with ATLA allows us to build on our good reputation and expand our impact. Through ATLA, researchers who may not know about the journal or the college will be able to find and read original research on a range of important topics.

The Conrad Grebel Review

As The Conrad Grebel Review’s profile heightens, recognition of the college’s areas of expertise increases as well, showcasing scholarship in theology, peace, and literature through an Anabaptist lens. Scholars throughout North America and from around the globe contribute to Conrad Grebel Review, generating important conversations and stimulating original research.

The Conrad Grebel Review is led by Jeremy Bergen, editor, Stephen Jones, managing editor, Hildi Froese Tiessen literary editor, and Arthur Paul Boers, book review editor.

The Fall 2011 issue consists of a series of essays engaging John Howard Yoder’s book Nonviolence – A Brief History, from the perspective of a Jewish philosopher, a Quaker in Kenya, an agnostic “radical democrat,” a peace studies scholar/activist, and a Mennonite theologian, and others.


Conflict Management and Congregational Leadership

On October 22, under the umbrella of the Conflict Management and Congregational Leadership (CMCL) certificate program, in association with Associates Resourcing the Church (ARC), a group of over 50 participants engaged in a Think Tank workshop on the topic of “Leading the Church in Post Christian, Post Modern Times.” Facilitated by Betty Pries, Master of Theological Studies alumna and Certificate Program trainer, the day included times of prayer, quiet reflection and small and large group discussions. The morning was anchored by presentations from John Lawson, United Church of Canada, John Borthwick, Presbyterian Church Minister and Derek Suderman, Assistant Professor, Old Testament at  Grebel.

The opportunity for inter-denominational discussion is invaluable because, as one participant shared:

we are all facing the same problems.

Individual churches and denominational conferences plan to continue the conversations.

The next workshop is Leading the Church through Times of Conflict and Change, November 23 & 24 2011 led by Betty Pries. For details and registration contact Susan Baker.


Celebrating Mennonite literature

Are you interested in hearing significant Canadian writers talk about how their writing sensibilities, their careers, and their Mennonite heritage intersect? This winter, Grebel will host a public reading and lecture series featuring writers of Mennonite heritage. Each of these writers from Rudy Wiebe, the father of Mennonite fiction, to Darcie Friesen Hossack, a newcomer whose Mennonites Dont Dance has garnered extravagant praise from critics and writers alike will offer a combined reading/commentary meant to take the audience on a journey that traces how the writers Mennonite heritage contributed to shaping his or her literary sensibility.

When Rudy Wiebes first novel Peace Shall Destroy Many threw the Canadian Mennonite world into shock in 1962, no one would have anticipated that fifty years later such a wide a range of Mennonite writers would have found so prominent a place in Canadian literature. Names of Mennonite writers are well known in Canadian Literature, and Mennonite literature has become a recognizable minor literature on this continent.

Featured within the series, alongside a number of Canadian writers, is American poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf, this years Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar. She will read from her work, including her new volume Poetry in America, while reflecting on the development of her career in the context of her Amish roots.

The Winter 2012 Wednesday evening series, which celebrates and builds on a decades long association between the college and Mennonite/s writing in Canada, will include besides author readings/reflections guest lectures on laughter in Mennonite writing, interpretations of the Russian Mennonite diaspora in fiction, Miriam Toews troubling of the Mennonite audience, as well as historical/contextual comments by Hildi Froes Tiessen in this, her last term of teaching before retirement.

Gather your reading family, friends and book club members and join us in the Grebel Chapel on Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm this winter, to hear these distinctive and important voices that speak to the contemporary Mennonite experience. Students may attend the series as part of a course-for-credit if they sign up for English 218: Mennonite Literature.


Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Julia Spicher Kasdorf: The 2012 Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar

Wednesday, February 15, 7:00pm

  • Public reading and discussion in the colleges Chapel
  • From Sleeping Preacher to Poetry in America - a writers journey

Thursday, February 16

  • Two free poetry workshops (one for the general public and the other for students)

Friday, February 17, 12:00pm

  • Public forum in the colleges Board Room
  • Everyone welcome

Friday, February 17, 7:00pm

  • The Sawatsky Lecture in the colleges Chapel
  • Mightier than the Sword: Martyrs Mirror in the New World
  • Everyone welcome and reception to follow

For more information, visit Jul​ia Spicher Kasdorf: The 2012 Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Visiting Scholar event webpage.

Mennonite/s Writing in Canada: the first 50 years​

A free public reading/lecture series featuring authors reading from their work and reflecting on the development of their careers as writers of Mennonite heritage.

January 11
Rudy Wiebe
On this Earth: 57 years of writing

January 18
David Waltner-Toews
From A Brotherly Phillippic to Tante Tina to the mysteries of disease, death and transformation: Mennonite reflections
on a life of poetry and science

January 25
Patrick Friesen
Stop Meaning, Start Singing

February 1
Magdalene Redekop
Here Come the Clowns: Laughter in Mennonite Writing, featuring Sush Funk and Her Old Bag of Secret Schunt

February 8
Rob Zacharias
Mennonite Literature as Communal Debate:
Tracing the Collapse of the Russian Mennonite
Commonwealth through Canadian Literature

February 15
Julia Kasdorf
From Sleeping Preacher to Poetry in
America: a writers journey

February 29
David Bergen
My work in retrospect, within the Mennonite world and without

March 7
Darcie Friesen Hossack
Writing Towards Home: A prodigal daughter looks back

March 14
Paul Tiessen
Miriam Toews: the trouble with Mennonite novels

All readings and lectures will take place on Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm, in Grebels Chapel.

Visit the Mennonite/s Writing in Canada event webpage for more information.


Stories from the Mennonite box

Among the Archives’ recent acquisitions is a series of letters written by Joseph Smith, age 21, to his mentor, Bishop Thomas Reesor. Reluctantly inducted into the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1918, Smith was anxious to maintain his non-resistant stance. This letter demonstrates the ability of archival documents to transport us back in time, living moments along with the people experiencing them.

Sunday Aug 11 1918
Dear Friend: -

I thought I would write you a few lines this afternoon. I did hardly think I would be here this long when I come. The Major called me in one day and asked me what they were doing with me. And he said he had not heard yet about my case but said
he would call me in again as soon as he heard. They have me
training with the rest of the soldiers most of the time and I don’t care much about the job. But they told me to do whatever they told me and it would be better for me, and I have done it yet so far. Do you think I will get off alright. There were ten Court Martials yesterday and one this morning before church read out to us and they all got ten years in prison, most of them were men that would not put the uniform on. Well I guess this is all for this time I am well hoping you are the same.

Yours Truly
3235665 Pte. Joseph Smith
Niagara on the Lake

P.S. If it should happen that I don’t get off what do you
think I should do?

Mennonite Archives of Ontario serves as the official repository for Conrad Grebel University College, Mennonite Central Committee (Ontario) and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. Other Mennonite institutions, organizations, congregations and individuals also have collections here. These collections come in many forms including letters, diaries, meeting minutes, photographs, films, audiotapes, artwork and clothing. Our growing collection currently consists of 780 linear metres of personal, congregational, and institutional records in print, audio visual and photographic formats. The collections are of local, regional, provincial and national significance. In addition, the Archives houses the Mennonite Historical Library, the largest collection of publications of Mennonite/Anabaptist origin in Canada.


Lorraine Roth Reading Room named

Lorraine Roth
Historian and genealogist, Lorraine Roth, was honoured at a dinner at Tavistock Mennonite Church on October 13. Family and friends paid tribute to Lorraine’s research and generous support in researching family histories. Over the years, Roth has compiled about 25 genealogies and has assisted with many more. She has also written more than 100 introductions to Amish Mennonite individuals or families. One of Roth’s better known books is The Amish and Their Neighbours: the German Block, Wilmot Township, 1822-1860.

The event was also a fundraiser to gather $75,000 to name the Lorraine Roth Archive Reading Room in the expanded Mennonite Archives of Ontario building project at Grebel. Over $45,000 has been raised toward this goal with the support of the 145 people in attendance and other sponsors and donors. Board member Lynn Yantzi stated that

We wanted to honour Lorraine’s important role in documenting the Amish-Mennonites of Ontario by naming a space for her.


A group photo of the 2000-05 era Grebel alumni.

A homecoming​

Excerpt from Amanda Hooykaas (06)

It is at Grebel that I began to really figure out who I was, and who I was not, what I believed in, and who I needed in my life. I learned that there was a family of sorts out there that extended beyond my blood relatives. I learned about Dutch Blitz. This whole Mennonite thing. I learned that having a locking door in a single room in Village One might not have been the best option for me. I learned that roommates are a-okay and that its not that creepy to sleep seven feet in the air with a stranger a few feet away. And I began to understand how to be a part of something larger than myself.

Some of my best friends have sat here with me, here at Grebel weve sat in Conflict Resolution classes, organized Student Council events, plugged away at the yearbooks, paddled Dragon Boats, taken trips, and played soccer in the snow together. Weve walked to Williams in the middle of the night, weve seen plays, sung songs at Talent (or in our case, not so talent Shows), and have gone trayboggoning once or twice or never.

In the years since I was a Frosh in 2001, I have returned to Grebel for both weddings and Community Suppers and have found myself at this very place. Its strange, coming back, sitting at the head table at Commie Supper, eating bread, listening to Student Council announcements, and catching up on all the excitement of life. Sitting here, its like I never left or, that if I did, I would always be welcomed back.

Ah,​ the memor​ies

From the 2000-2005 reunion, September 24, 2011.

  • Funeral of Dog the fish
  • Women living on the fourth floor
  • Cracker, cheese, jam, and pop parties
  • The kiddie pool in the third floor lounge
  • Garbage bag diving event
  • Jungle in the girls bathroom
  • Guys bathroom moved to the dining hall
  • Whats going on? at talent shows
  • Planting Jenny-Lees artificial tree
  • Silver Lake trips
  • Midnight swims
  • Balloons in the hall
  • Survivor Thursdays
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Three-man slingshots
  • Jello eating contest
  • Alive: The Musical
  • Puck bunny hockey
  • Birthday butt drags
  • Narnia readings
  • Coaching hockey
  • Crazy German music
  • Green horny lamp
  • Luau banquet
  • Ransom notes
  • Square dances
  • Godspell
  • Skybunks
  • Frosh week
  • Floor chicken
  • Creek on fire
  • Patio hockey
  • Broken rules
  • T-shirt Ninjas
  • The Chicken
  • Slideshows
  • Playing poker

G​et cooking

For a residence known for its amazing food, it should come as no surprise that a Grebel 50th anniversary cookbook is in the works! The cookbook will feature many Grebel favourites including Commie Supper bread, peanut butter cereal squares, Death Muffins, and many varieties of the fabled Grebel Cookie. We also want your favourite recipes! Whether current favourites or memorable dishes from your university days, we’ll start collecting the recipes online in early 2012, for a book release date of August 2013.


50th anniversary music commission

The 50th anniversary committee is inviting applications from Grebel alumni to compose a choral or instrumental piece for the college’s 50th anniversary. The selected alumnus will receive an award from the Henry A. and Anna Schultz Memorial Fund which supports the performance and commissioning of choral or instrumental music. The commissioned composition will be performed by student musicians at a concert during the college’s 50th year, 2013-2014.

Applicants are invited to submit a letter of intention describing the work they envision, along with a list of previous compositions, to the Chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee by April 30, 2012. The committee and music faculty will select the successful candidate.

Fred W. Martin, Director of Development, Chair of the 50th Anniversary Committee

Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6


Winterberries and Apple Blossoms: Reflections and Flavors of a Mennonite YearNan Forler (‘87) has written a second book, Winterberries and Apple Blossoms: Reflections and Flavors of a Mennonite Year. With an evocative poem for every month of the year, young Naomi introduces us to her family and hosts a journey through the seasonal rhythms of her rural Mennonite community. The poems are illustrated by Peter Etril Snyder and are coupled with delicious, seasonal recipes. 


Arnold Wayne Heideman
After Arnold Wayne Heideman (circa 1968) left “Connie G”, he worked for 10 years as a technical sales representative in the packaging industry. He then decided to try education again and take it seriously this time. Wayne received a diploma in Civil Engineering from Humber College in 1980 and worked in the construction industry for 2 years. Having a renewed love of learning, he went to Tyndale Seminary and completed his Masters of Divinity (‘85), U of T to finish a BA in Ancient Near Eastern Studies (‘88), and a BEd at Western in 1989. Wayne taught for the Dufferin Peel Separate School Board - teaching grade 7 and 8 for ten years and mathematics in high school for ten years. In January 2011 Wayne retired. He and his wife Catherine have just started teaching at the International Christian School of Hong Kong.


Will and Ana (Fretz) Loewen with their children.

Will (‘02) and Ana (Fretz) (‘05) Loewen are the proud parents of a daughter Ruby (3) and a son Sebastian (6 months). After their wedding in 2007, they spent two years in South Korea on a volunteer service assignment. Will is the Pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church just outside of Calgary, Alberta.


After 4 years in Paris, three years in Rome, and two years in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Caroline Presber (‘92) has moved to Kuwait with her French husband, Lionel, and their children, Juliette (7) and Joshua (2). Caroline ceased practising law (at least for pay) in 2006. When not spending time with her kids, she acts as a Leader for La Leche League International and a monitor for the International Baby Food Action Network. Caroline can be reached at and on Facebook. She also has a blog: visit Caroline Presber's blog.


Solitary Bird CD cover
Jeremy Moyer (‘97) released a new CD called Solitary Bird, based on a Chinese folk song in Taiwanese dialect from the period when the Japanese occupied Taiwan. It was a traditional folk song sung in a high calling voice by political prisoners from inside the prison walls to let their relatives outside know that they were okay. Interpreting Chinese folk songs today in modern Shanghai, Jeremy transmits beautiful melodies across cultures. Visit Jeremy Moyer's website.


John, Robin (Wright), Daniel and Nathan Peace.

John and Robin (Wright) (‘96) Peace, with their sons, Daniel (8) and Nathan (6) have just moved back to Thunder Bay, Ontario, after working in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East since 1998. Robin is starting a part-time MA in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), while John is doing part-time administration work and freelance writing.


Dana Honderich
Dana Honderich (‘11) is working as a Resident Director at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia in leadership with students living on campus. She is enjoying the opportunity to interact with and intentionally mentor student leaders.


Eli and Isaac
Andrew (’01), Lynda (Freeman) Martin (’02) and big brother Eli welcomed Isaac Andrew on May 20, 2010 Eli and Isaac keep their parents busy spending lots of time in their backyard sandbox in Wellesley. Andrew continues to work as a Planner with the Township of Wilmot and Lynda has recently returned back to teaching at  Westvale Public School.


Shawna (Klassen) and Chad Hiley and their daughters with Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
Shawna (Klassen) (‘98) and Chad Hiley are on the move! Chad has accepted an internal transfer with Barrick Gold and will be based in Santiago, Chile for the next couple of years. In August of this year they moved their whole family - Carlyn (6) yrs, Alyssa (3) and the family dog - south and are now thoroughly settled in their new life ‘on the bottom of the world’. Shawna left her job at Centennial College and is enjoying having more time at home with the girls and is spending all her spare time studying Spanish. Both girls are studying in English at an international school but are learning Spanish very quickly. Follow their adventures or email at


Max Kennel, Ilene Bergen, and Steve Drudge.
Max Kennel had a placement this summer as a pastoral intern at Steinman Mennonite church. He is pictured here with pastors Ilene Bergen (’05) (left) and Steve Drudge (‘79). 


Henry Regehr
Henry Regehr, former sociology professor at Grebel (‘84-’97) passed away at his home in Waterloo on August 22, 2011 at the age of 71. Henry continued to preach, teach and umpire right up until his unexpected death.


Sue Croley, Fred Martin, Nathan Scott, and Jennifer Thiessen.
Sue Croley (‘74) (left), Fred W. Martin (‘87, ‘92), Nathan Scott (‘01), and Jennifer Thiessen (‘00) took in an “Across the Creek alumni event” at Jesus Christ Superstar in Stratford on October 28. Professor Ted McGee from St. Jerome’s provided some historical context for the 70’s musical at a reception prior to the show.


Front Row (L-R): Katie (Robertson) Bowman, Brenda (Shantz) Prins, Meg Bauman, Dave Braun, Mike Steinmann, and Ryan Lebold. Back Row (L-R): Gideon Prins, Mike Ratcliffe, Tyler Bowman, David Martin, Sara Cressman; missing: Annastasia (Davey) Lebold, Gena (Van Boom) Braun, Derrick Rempel, Andrea Wiebe, and Phil.
A bunch of Grebel alumni formed a soccer team this summer. They got first place for spirit!
Front Row (L-R): Katie (Robertson) Bowman (‘07), Brenda (Shantz) Prins (‘02), Meg Bauman (‘03), Dave Braun (‘03), Mike Steinmann (‘04), and Ryan Lebold (‘02).
Back Row (L-R): Gideon Prins (‘01), Mike Ratcliffe, Tyler Bowman (‘08), David Martin (‘02), Sara Cressman (‘01); missing: Annastasia (Davey) Lebold (‘01), Gena (Van Boom) Braun (‘03), Derrick Rempel (‘04), Andrea Wiebe (‘04), and Phil. 

We want to know what you're up to! Send your updates to


Annually putting people first

In many of her initial meetings President, Susan Schultz Huxman has observed that,

when I look at the priority for resourcing colleges, it is clear to me that we start with funding people first, then programs and finally facilities.

The Annual Fund addresses the first two of these priorities — 9% of the Grebel operating budget depends on the Annual Fund and other donations and revenue. Your support is critical to keep Grebel a special place! 

Each year, regular donations from loyal donors and alumni support the operating budget that funds bursaries and scholarships to students, subsidizes programs like our Peace and Conflict Studies Internships and Noon Hour Concert series, and helps support our Chaplain and other leadership development initiatives.

Our library and archives are a rich resource for our students and the broader community. However, the revenue from “Late Fees” does not offset the expenses to operate the program or purchase new books. The Annual Fund helps fill that critical funding gap.

Conrad Grebel also takes leadership in providing pastoral training in our graduate Theological Studies program and provides the infrastructure for the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre, which was the dream and passion of the late Dr. Jim Reimer. The Annual Fund helps support this important venture.

Donations to the Annual Fund make resources available for people in all of these programs. The enriched program at Grebel is only possible through your support of the Annual Fund.

Director of Development Fred Martin says,

I’m thrilled when I go to my mailbox and find donations from generous supporters.

If you want to make Fred Martin’s day, drop him a line or visit the Office of Development website and follow the links to make a credit card donation.

Melanie Goodfellow with Meredith and Matthew Ballaban.
Melanie Goodfellow, recipient of the Nathan Paul Krueger Wiebe Award, sits with Meredith (‘01) and Matthew (‘01) Ba​llaban at this year’s Student Awards reception. The Ballabans established the award in honour of Jennie (‘99) and Colin (‘01) Wiebe’s baby boy who passed away shortly after birth in 2007.


Writing the Next Chapter

Since the launch of our campaign in May there has been generous support for the building project at Grebel. This academic building expansion will enhance the library and archives, add 5,000 square feet to the Music department and create new seminar rooms and a better entry to the college. Over 430 donors have given or pledged a total of $3,921,851!  Scott Beech, who chairs the Fundraising Advisory, noted that

while we had met the $3.7 million minimum goal, our task now is to keep fundraising to reduce the $1 million that was budgeted as a mortgage.

I am thrilled by the level of support for this campaign, [said President Susan Schultz Huxman.] It really illustrates the commitment to the vision and mission of Grebel.

Construction is slated to begin in March of 2012 and Operations Director Paul Penner is working with Nith Valley Construction and architect Lawrie Carter to bring the project in on budget.

Visit The Next Chapter campaign website for more details, stories and updates at The Next Chapter.

Grebel Now is Conrad Grebel University College’s tri-annual newsletter. Editor: Jennifer Konkle. Send all comments, submissions & ideas to:

Grebel Now
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G6

Phone: 519-885-0220 x24229

Publications Mail Agreement No. 0040065122