Grebel Now Fall 2013

Table of Contents

A Golden Weekend for Grebel's 50th
​Peace Studies between Tradition and Innovation
Grebel is Golden
Reflections on Five Decades
Sound in the Land
From the Vault
Student Life
From Kenya to Canada
Second Generation Grebelites
​Grebel Grad Students Win National Research Scholarships
Academic Program Highlights
Project Ploughshares returns to Grebel

Grebel's Golden Weekend

PDF Version

A Golden Weekend for Grebel’s 50th

On the extended weekend of August 23-25, Conrad Grebel University College celebrated an anniversary that many in the Mennonite world thought would not happen. Over 50 years ago, “radical” visionaries, including a group of progressive young ministers, two university professors, and a handful of forward-looking businessmen (individuals such as Harvey Taves, Norman High, Milt Good, John Snyder, and Roy Snyder) dared to boldly dream of a Mennonite college in Ontario. Current President Susan Schultz Huxman observed that “we forget that these early visionaries were young people—in their 30s and early 40s—who diplomatically rejected the naysayers in Canada and the U.S. who said we should not accept the invitation to join the University of Waterloo as a “church college” and be responsible for creating a vibrant residence community and a values added rigourous liberal arts education.”
Over 600 people signed up for a portion of the weekend, coming from as far as Britain, California, and Winnipeg. The festivities began with the laying of a datestone near the entrance of the new $8.7 million academic facility expansion. This was followed by a book launch for Bridging Mind and Spirit: Conrad Grebel University College 1963-2013 which was authored by Grebel professor of History and Peace & Conflict Studies, Marlene Epp, with the assistance of archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing and graphic designer Jen Konkle. This colourful 96 page publication elicited many memories during the weekend celebration.
The gala was emceed by John Rempel (‘67), one of the college’s former chaplains, who had interviewed Fretz during the college’s 25th anniversary and video clips of this were interspersed in the evening. Sara Goering-Fretz, Winfield’s daughter, who was visibly touched after seeing this footage, shared greetings from the family. Liz Heinmiller (‘69), an alumna from the first year the residence opened, collected memories from fellow alumni who described Dr. Fretz as “supportive, encouraging, positive, and warm.” Many alumni recalled his get-to-know-you evenings at the beginning of term at his home. He took a genuine interest in each of us, making it a point to truly get to know us, not on a superficial level, but in a way which explored our goals in life and helped us set our sights on worthy things,” shared Heinmiller. The gala ended with the announcements of the winning bidders on the silent auction by Director of Development Fred Martin (‘87), who encouraged other ‘vocal’ bidders above the silent bidders in an effort to reach the $50,000 goal for the Winfield Fretz Seminar room in the new MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement.
Saturday’s activities included a brunch for the ‘60s era alumni hosted by Ed Bergey (‘67). Alumni shared about the impact that Conrad Grebel had on their lives, be that in volunteering or the careers of service that they pursued. Other decades gathered in the afternoon sun for reminiscing, to play Ultimate Frisbee, and for children’s activities. Wendy Chappell Dick (‘90), from Bluffton, organized Grebel HAD Talent, which replicated talent shows from across the eras. The outdoor show ended with some 8mm footage provided by Karl Dick (‘65) of a talent show and a skating party in 1965. 
The weekend ended with a Celebration Service on Sunday morning that featured a reunion of Chapel Choir members, directed by recently retired Professor Emeritus Leonard Enns. A former student from each of the 5 decades reflected on the spirit of the times and the impact of Grebel. Stories of pranks, weekly sheet changes and attempts at composting elicited much laughter. However, the Theatre of the Arts held a quiet hush when these alumni reflected on the impact Grebel had on their growth, friendships, values, and faith.
The anniversary weekend also had a multimedia component provided by Facebook, Twitter, and a variety of video clips on the College’s YouTube channel. This includes a 10 minute retrospective video called “Challenging Mind and Spirit: Grebel’s First Five Decades” with a script by Tim Miller Dyck (‘96) and narrated by Eric Friesen (‘67).
This weekend celebration kicked off 50 events during the college’s 50th anniversary year.

Peace Studies between Tradition and Innovation

by Emily Mininger, Peace and Conflict Studies student

Grebel Students at the conference
“Peace Studies between Tradition and Innovation” was the theme at the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) annual conference held from October 17-19. The conference was co-hosted by Conrad Grebel University College’s Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Global Studies program. The PACS program is a member of PJSA, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing together people from across North America and the world in exploration of alternatives to violence through peacebuilding, social justice, and social change. 
The PJSA conference drew together diverse groups of people - including activists, practitioners, scholars, teachers, students, and musicians - to engage together under the umbrella of peace and justice studies. The conference became a hub of experts in the field, hosting prominent speakers such as Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-landmine activist; Sylvia McAdam, Idle No More co-founder; James Orbinski, former president of Médecins Sans Frontières and Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) chair in Global Health; George Roter, co-founder and CEO of Engineers without Borders; Brigitte DePape, non-violent Canadian youth activist; and Ernie Regehr, co-founder of Project Ploughshares and recipient of this year’s PJSA Lifetime Achievement Award. Each speaker shared unique experience and expertise in ways that challenged and stimulated conference attendees.
Photo by Margaret Harder-Gissing of War Requium being performed
The strong music programs of Conrad Grebel and Wilfrid Laurier were on display throughout the conference as each keynote speaker was preceded by a special musical performance. The student conference was electrified by a performance by hip-hop artist Emmanuel Jal, who shared powerful music he wrote out of his experience as a child soldier in South Sudan. The main conference concluded on Saturday evening at Kitchener’s Centre in the Square with an epic rendition of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, conducted by Grebel’s own Mark Vuorinen.
Two workshops were held prior to the conference. PACS Professor Reina Neufeldt played a leadership role in a workshop which addressed the topic of Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. The other workshop, hosted by the PACS Conflict Management Certificate Program and organized by Sue Baker, engaged the themes of Restorative Justice and Mediation. This workshop featured Howard Zehr, Distinguished Professor of Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University with important contributions from PACS instructors Betty Pries and Judah Oudshoorn. 
Overall, the conference was a huge success with 320 delegates and 90 students participating. The conference included 200 presenters, who brought their knowledge and expertise to 80 panel discussions and sessions, covering topics ranging from disarmament to innovation to aboriginal affairs and providing a rich and diverse exploration of different themes. Academic representation from Grebel was strong, with eight Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies students and five faculty and staff members presenting papers or chairing panel sessions. 
“The conference was an extremely memorable event for us,” reflected Nathan Funk, Acting Director of Peace and Conflict Studies. “It was a great opportunity to be enriched by others, and also to share news about developments in our own program with the larger peace studies community.” The PACS department is proud to have taken part in hosting such an exciting and stimulating conference, as we work to shape and advance the critical field of peace and justice studies.
Nathan Funk and Ernie Regehr
PACS professor Nathan Funk (right) presents The Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement 
Award in Peace Studies to co-founding 
Project Ploughshares director, Ernie Regehr (‘68), given at the PJSA conference.

Grebel is Golden!

by Susan Schultz Huxman, President

GREBEL IS GOLDEN! This year we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary! And to celebrate, we’re hosting 50 events over the course of the year. We are doing this not out of a sense of obligation but out of a sense of joy and thanksgiving. For fifty years Conrad Grebel has lived out its distinctive mission to seek wisdom, nurture faith and pursue peace in service to church and society. Grebel has been a bold and beautiful “both/and” connection to the Mennonite church and the world as an affiliate college of the world-class University of Waterloo since 1963. It is the only Mennonite academic model of its kind in North America! 

For four bright and beautiful days in August, we celebrated at our 50th Anniversary Weekend. We celebrated book launches from our faculty and former president, including the release of the College’s 50th anniversary book, Bridging Mind & Spirit: Conrad Grebel University College, 1963-2013. We held a datestone ceremony for our new academic expansion project and a fundraising “Fretz Bow Tie Gala” in honour of the first president of Grebel, J. Winfield Fretz. Alumni returned for reunions from each of the five decades, complete with slide shows, yearbooks, and superb storytelling. Children had lots of fun doing activities involving sand, paint, glue, and things to jump on. An awesome talent show featured no less than 18 musical acts from all 5 decades! The weekend culminated with an inspirational Sunday Celebration Service. We gave thanks and expressed great joy for this remarkably bold experiment in Christian-liberal arts education in Ontario. At the Grebel Celebration Service on the UW campus, I made the following remarks.
Not only have we celebrated this weekend, but we have also given thanks for: 
  • Over 600 people who registered for the weekend
  • The dozens of volunteers: students, alumni, board members and staff who have made events accessible, inviting, efficient and fun!  
  • The bold and radical visionaries of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s
  • Our “sister” church colleges and universities who form a consortium of faith-founded affiliate institutions with uWaterloo. 
  • The college presidents of Conrad Grebel: The 3 who are still living who joined us (Ralph Lebold, John E. Toews, and Henry Paetkau, pictured on the front cover) and the other 3 presidents who have passed on (Winfield Fretz, Frank Epp, and Rod Sawatsky) yet sent family representation
  • Our Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada partners
  • ALL who have served Conrad Grebel University College over the last 50 years. 
Placing Datestone
Most importantly, we give thanks for you — the college stakeholders — alums and supporters — “the great cloud of witnesses” — who have given sustenance and vitality, intellectually, socially, spiritually, and financially to this remarkably healthy college we all love: Conrad Grebel. And if you weren’t able to join us that weekend, or want to continue celebrating with us, we have many more anniversary events planned for you to attend!
Right: Susan Schultz Huxman and Board Chair Susan Taves (‘84) lay the datestone.

Reflections on Five Decades

Gordon Campbell ‘67

Gordon Campbell
The College opened in the autumn of 1964, and those of us who formed the inaugural tranche were a group of teenagers in the process of becoming adults. We were of course alert to the changing world around us and we cared about racial discrimination. In the course of that first year at Grebel, Martin Luther King received the Nobel ​Peace Prize and led the march to Montgomery, Alabama. Canada was not then a multicultural, multi-ethnic society, so we were bystanders, but we nonetheless felt strongly about the wickedness of racial inequality, even though we did little more than sing songs about our determination to overcome some day. In later years, however, many Grebelites acted on the conviction that all men and women were equal, and gave chunks of their lives to the cause of social justice. The seeds of those actions were planted at Grebel.
In those days Conrad Grebel was primarily a hall of residence with a Mennonite theme, but the seeds of its eventual evolution into a University College that also offered residential accommodation were planted in that first year. Walter Klaassen was the college chaplain, but he was also an academic historian of Anabaptism and he taught a course on the Bible, one that was informed by his formidable knowledge of the German critical tradition. One of my jobs at present is acting as historical adviser to a Museum of the Bible that will open in Washington DC in late 2016, and the bits of knowledge that I bring to that project have their origins in Walter Klaassen’s classes in this college. 
What do we take from Grebel? For some of you, the answer is partners. But in my case, and for many of you, the most precious legacy of my time at Grebel is friendship. I left Canada 44 years ago to return to England, but the Canadian friends that I retain are those that I met at this college. Some I have remained in touch with over the years and in other cases, we have followed each other’s lives from a distance. And yet the friendships that we established at Grebel seem as strong as ever. Why should this be? I offer the analogy of soldiers who seem forever bonded to their surviving comrades. Conrad Grebel was part of our formation, and although we were foolish and empty-headed, we were away from home for the first time, growing up together in a heady atmosphere. It was ideas rather than bullets that were being fired at us, but it was a heady experience. We were moulded here, long ago, and now that we are mouldy with age, we can look back with gratitude, having long ago consigned the bad memories to our forgettories and rejoicing in the good memories that improve with every retelling. 

Vic Winter ‘75

Vic Winter
Said my Dad to me just before I got in the back seat of the car that would take me from my home to Conrad Grebel College in the fall of 1972: “Remember who you are.” And then he added in a husky voice, “Remember whose you are.”
Learning, I think he was saying, is remembering. Effective learning is somehow inextricably linked with remembering. Taking in new knowledge means integrating it into what you already are and have. In hindsight, the act of remembering was at the heart of my university life. Years later, I learned about Socratic questioning, a teaching technique that links learning directly with remembering. I’d like to recount for you some of those learning/remembering moments from my time at Grebel.
I remember eating in Grebel’s dining room at round tables, eating in community, professors eating with proles, men eating with women, the common assumption being that if you saw a person sitting at a table alone, you would take your tray and sit with them. What I remembered was what community feels like, how much it felt like my close-knit large important belonging is, and what a powerful effect that has on success and learning.
I remember being part of the second decade of Grebel, following the audacious opening act of the true radicals of the sixties...and wondering...what can we do to build upon that opening act? How could we make our mark in the ‘70s? But what I remembered is that we learn naturally from the ones who go ahead of us, we imitate and expand upon that foundation. I noticed in the new book how traditions have been passed on from generation to generation. Every 3 or 4 years the student body is replaced and yet each era is connected with every other one. 
In the new Grebel history book there’s a photo of the founders of this college - a photo of some serious-looking men standing in a ragged semicircle. As I looked at this black and white photo, it struck me that these men were remembering too - who they were and whose they were. And now were bravely carrying that knowledge forward in the act of starting a new college.
It was an audacious act, planting a little college beside a modern raging river - a powerhouse modern university. How has Grebel survived on the shore of the raging river? I suggest by remembering who it is and remembering whose it is. By learning and growing through remembering. By the grace of God in whose love we live and have our being. Thanks be to God!

Louise Wideman ‘85

Louise Wideman
Ah yes, the ‘80s – when there was a landline phone in every dorm room; when you carried pen and paper to class to hand write notes from a lecture; when there were spontaneous hymn sings in the stair wells or on the front steps. The ‘80s, when after a fresh snow fall, Grebelites could be heard sliding down the Grebel hill on trays “borrowed” from the dining room. The ‘80s, when there were dances in the dining hall and people who weren’t dancing could sit in the lower lounge. 
Laughter and well-meaning pranks helped build community while living here at Grebel. Lighthearted playfulness strengthened ties between we who lived here. With students immersed in a variety of disciplines that met in classes all over campus, playful pranks were occasions to foster a sense of community, this core value at a school boasting the best of both worlds. 
Community was deepened by the midweek practice of meeting for worship and eating together. These weekly disciplines of gathering around word and then table, strengthened community ties, where the generations interacted with each other – faculty, staff, students –singing, praying, nurturing faith and then enjoying the best food on campus. And after the meal, a brief program – sometimes serious, sometimes lighter. Intentional weekly gatherings created a common history and nurtured relationships – many that continue today.
As a music student, the majority of my classes were here at Grebel and I also took numerous other Grebel courses. All of these classes taught at this small college, with people from a variety of ethnic and denominational backgrounds, this Anabaptist presence on a large university campus challenged, inspired, and broadened the mind and life experience of this young Swiss Mennonite farm girl. The combination of stimulating classes and engaging community in a faith based context equipped us to go forth to encounter the new; to wrestle with the challenges; to engage in community. 
Conrad Grebel, this young 50 year old school, has the gift of introducing young adults to a broader world experience in the context of a small and loving community. You foster an interest in building a kaleidoscope of relationships – a network of friends who care deeply about global and interpersonal reconciliation and peace making. You provide space for questions, for testing leadership gifts, and trying new ways of being. And all of these qualities spring from the source of all love, the source of all life, from God, the Holy One. I give thanks for this place, for the people, for the memories and the incarnate God from whom all these blessings flow. 

Marcus Shantz ‘95

Marcus Shantz
I attended Grebel in the first part of the 1990s. It was an odd, ambivalent, sideways kind of time. A transition period. Out in the wide world, it was a time when many hopes seemed to deflate and expectation sank. We students would read about world events from the safety of a table in the front foyer of the Grebel residence where newspapers were delivered every day, but we didn’t really know what to think about what was going on. The world seemed to be in an uncharted and dangerous territory. Uncertainty pervaded the nineties, and not just in distant places. 
We attended Grebel in what felt like a tenuous time – both out in the wide world and in the College itself. And it probably did influence our outlook as students. There is a reason why we’re labeled Generation X. We’re supposedly the kids who kept our heads down, didn’t rock the boat, and became pragmatic and practical and maybe even a little cynical. Youthful idealism did not seem to be in great demand in the early nineties. 
A tough economic recession was underway in Ontario, which made it a great time to be in school. We did all the things that students have always done. We stayed up late, we slept in, we listened to music. We fell in and out of love without having to worry too much about what was happening outside. But some graduates felt as though they were being thrown from the nest into a rather hostile world. 
But tough times can also bring out the best in people and in colleges. You can also argue that the 1990s were Grebel’s finest hour because the place survived and endured and thrived. And because the Grebel experience for students was more valuable than ever during those uncertain times. We lived in a residence with adult mentors close at hand. We had rituals and routines that brought us together with friends and reminded us who we were. Every student was assigned to a small group led by a faculty member and occasionally met at that professor’s home throughout the year. Grebel professors would find the time to sit and talk with us. We were stretched and challenged in our thinking. 
My big insight from my Grebel experience is very basic and even obvious. It’s that people are shaped by place and time, for better or for worse. It makes a difference when you live and work in a humane place. When you have friends on your side and sturdy mentors. Where you know that people are concerned for your well-being. Not only do you live better and achieve more than you otherwise would have, but you become convinced that it’s the right way to live – you want it for everybody. So my time at the College inspires me to think about my places now: my workplace, my church, my neighbourhood, my city. I want to help make them in my own way, more friendly, more challenging, and more humane. More like Grebel.

Jessica Reesor Rempel ‘11

Jessica Reesor Rempel
In my Grebel days, I remember rolling my eyes a little when members of the faculty or staff would speak about how wonderful it was that we at Grebel were a community. At that point, community seemed as ordinary as the huge slabs of commie supper bread on the table. Why mention it? I thought. It was hard to imagine that not everyone chose to share meals with whoever sat down next to them, crowd 50 people into a small room to watch the Olympics, or gather as a group to plan worship services. It was only after leaving Grebel that I discovered that being in a tight knit yet diverse, vibrant yet comfortable community was as essential to me as breathing air. At this 50th anniversary celebration, I celebrate because Grebel was the place where I learned what was possible in community. I want to share two examples from my time at Grebel that helped to solidify to me just how much more is possible in community.
For one of my PACS classes as a student, a group of us wrote a play called Open. From what started as a class project, the play turned into an official production that was supported by Lowell Ewert and the entire PACS department. Grebel music students did the sound, drama students volunteered to direct, design lighting, and do make-up, and music teacher Ben Bolt-Martin composed original music for the play. We were encouraged to work with Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support (MCRS) and ended up raising awareness about refugee issues and $10,000 to support the work of MCRS.
Another of my meaningful involvements at Grebel was as a chapel convener. I became a chapel convener in my first year not because I was particularly interested in planning chapel but because I thought I should be involved in something at Grebel and Ed Janzen and the chapel committee would have me. I soon learned that planning worship as a group was a very powerful experience. By my third year, the team of chapel conveners had grown so large that Ed jokingly referred to us as the “chapel hoard.” With a wide range of theological perspectives and ideas about how worship could happen, we worked hard to prayerfully discern the needs of the community that week and put together a chapel that reflected that need.
Grebel taught me that if there is something I want to accomplish, then I should gather a team together to work alongside with.  Seemingly impossible things happen in community. Since leaving Grebel I have had to be more intentional about seeking out friends to share meals with. Community doesn’t come together quite so easily as it did at Grebel, but Grebel has given me a taste for community that I don’t think I will ever lose.

Re-live the 50th Anniversary Weekend

Grebel’s 50th Anniversary Weekend was a true highlight for the College community. While the events flew by in a flurry of visiting, memories, and food, the weekend was well documented!
Visit Grebel’s YouTube channel for a week-end highlight video, the complete talent show (we know you’ve been yearning to watch it), 50 year old movie clips of the infamous Swan Lake production, the official 50th Anniversary movie Challenging Mind & Spirit: Grebel’s First Five Decades, and the entire 50th Anniversary Celebration Service - a moving testament to Grebel’s mission and vision.
To check out what your old roommates and former love interests look like now, visit Grebel’s Facebook page to find hundreds of photos of the weekend.
50th Video Screenshot
And if you want to keep celebrating with the College, we still have half of our 50 events for 50 years coming up!
Follow us on Twitter too!

Swan Lake Vido Screenshot

Sound in the Land 2014

Sound in the Land
Sound in the Land 2014 will explore music and the environment while discovering new Mennonite perspectives. This event is a sequel to the highly successful Sound in the Lands 2009 which explored Mennonite music across borders and boundaries, and Sound in the Land 2004 which dealt with Mennonite musical diversities. Sound in the Land 2014 is both a festival with multiple concerts, performances and workshops featuring many musical styles, and an academic conference with papers and presentations exploring the new field of “ecomusicology” (music and the environment) from various Mennonite perspectives, locally and globally. R. Murray Schafer, well-known Canadian composer/founder of World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, will be a keynote speaker. Organizer Carol Ann Weaver is thrilled to add that “the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, the leading music and the environment organization, is endorsing Sound in the Land.” 

Proposals are already being accepted for presentations and musical compositions at Sound in the Land 2014. The proposal deadline is March 1, 2014, but are encouraged as soon as possible. Expect concerts (choral, instrumental, soundscape, folk/jazz), workshops, papers, nature walks, and singing! We will explore ways of hearing the earth and listening to the environment. For this we seek proposals that present new insights in ecological understandings of music and sound. We are seeking contributions from as wide a range of contributors as possible, including creative writers, environmentalists, scholars, and musicians. We look forward to rich dialogue across a range of related disciplines, as we explore new ways for Mennonite people to relate to the environment. By bringing together musicians, environmentalists and writers into fields of ‘creation care’ and ecomusicology, we will study sound from an environmentally ethical basis, consistent with long-standing Mennonite values.

From the Vault

Archives Launches Guide to Ontario Mennonite Peace History 

by Laureen Harder-Gissing

Archives Launches Guide to Ontario Mennonite Peace History 
What was it like to be a conscientious objector during World War II? Did Mennonites participate in the War of 1812? Did Mennonite women contribute to World War I relief efforts? Do Mennonites celebrate Remembrance Day?
These are some of the questions asked at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario by genealogists, local historians, school children and academics. The “peace position” has been part of Mennonite doctrine and practice for nearly 500 years.  Naturally, there is a great deal of curiosity about how the Mennonite commitment to non-participation in war has provided them with unique historical experiences and perspectives.
Clothing Depot
To encourage this growing interest, the Archives has created a peace research guide to our holdings. Since archives are organized by creator not subject, identifying peace-related sources can be time consuming. The guide identifies source materials for peace history with a focus on Mennonite responses to military conflicts. 
Spanning the years from 1786 to the present, the guide highlights the rich collections in peace history held at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. Listings range from 19th century military exemption papers and World War I military tribunal records, to taped interviews with World War II conscientious objectors and efforts by Ontario Mennonites to raise awareness of Central American conflicts in the 1980s. As the guide is electronic, new listings will continue to be added as peace-related historical documents make their way to the Archives.
Currently the Mennonite Archives of Ontario is undergoing a large renovation that will make the collection more accessible. However, researchers can use the guide to locate materials of interest, and then make an appointment at the Archives to view them in person.  The new facilities are projected to be open in June of 2014. 
The guide is located at:

Student Life

Building on 50 Years of People and Programs

Students vs Staff and Faculty Volleyball Game
This school year marks Conrad Grebel University College’s 50th anniversary! As Grebel welcomed new students from coast to coast into residence and resumed teaching a variety of liberal arts courses at the University of Waterloo, the College community reflected on what has sustained Grebel in its first 50 years and what could be done to ensure another strong 50 years.
“This may sound like an enormously complicated and deep subject,” remarked President Susan Schultz Huxman in her annual commencement address, “but actually it’s profoundly simple: I maintain that building a healthy Grebel community for the next 50 years means that we pay attention to concrete blocks and quilt blocks. At a most basic level, you can’t build a successful college without bricks and mortar. Facility enhancement projects like the one we are undertaking now are a visible sign of strength, calculated risk, and investment in the future. But for a building to have character it needs lots of people who are willing to help, willing to come together to raise funds, design the floor plan, build the foundation, equip and furnish its rooms, and support each other along the way. It takes a variety of gifts to build a solid foundation.”
Huxman continued, “this summer Grebel residents and staff made a quilt. Collecting and stitching quilt blocks signals something very important to Grebel’s vitality: community building, creativity, generosity, compassionate service, creation care, and even global engagement. These are our core values. So quilt blocks are important too—especially if we want to imagine and create strength in diversity.”
Frosh Week 2013
“What I didn’t know when I started university was how positive of an impact my decision to come to Grebel would have on molding my life,” shared Jonathan Cullar, Student Council President. “It is the people that make up Grebel and they have been an encouraging, challenging, supportive, and loving community - the catalyst to inspire me to be the best that I can be and to reach for high goals. Residents, students, faculty, and staff come together as vital building blocks to form the beautiful, stimulating, and opportunity filled community that together, we call Grebel.”
Again this year, Conrad Grebel’s residence is filled to capacity. “We’re thrilled with the mix of students we have in residence and are actually pleasantly overwhelmed with the increased number of students who live off campus, but want to connect with our residential program,” says Mary Brubaker-Zehr, Director of Student Services. Grebel has beds for 174 students on campus and currently has about 100 students who live off campus but enjoy having a home base at Grebel for their studies at uWaterloo.
time capsule
For the fall commencement “Act of Community,” students, faculty, and staff placed glass pieces on a box to be used as a time capsule.
Students playing KERP
At Grebel’s annual family day, “Taste of Grebel,” students took a moment to teach their family the traditional game of KERP.

From Kenya to Canada

by Erin Yantzi, Peace and Conflict Studies student
Oswald Buhendwa
To anyone walking around Grebel, Oswald Buhendwa seems like just a regular student resident. He spends time with friends, occasionally calls his parents, has a stack of books on his desk. Oswald Buhendwa is a regular student. However, his journey to the University of Waterloo and Conrad Grebel is a little more complex than most student experiences. 
Although only twenty, Oswald has a confident manner of someone much older. He is happy to share, and articulately speaks about his experiences in Kenya, his childhood, the things he’s learned since coming to Canada, and his hopes for the future.
Oswald came to Canada through the World University Service of Canada (WUSC), a Canadian non-profit organization founded in the 1920s. WUSC sponsors students to come to Canada for post-secondary education. The University of Waterloo pays for six terms of fees and Conrad Grebel covers residence for a student for six terms. 
Oswald grew up in Nairobi, Kenya after he and his parents fled their native Democratic Republic of Congo due to persecution. Oswald became one of the best students in Kenya - one of the top one hundred in the entire country. After finishing secondary school, Oswald taught chemistry and biology for a year in a refugee camp through a NGO.
Speaking avidly about his time in the refugee camp, Oswald describes graduating from secondary school and specifically wanting to teach in a refugee camp. The refugee camp had only two secondary schools for a population of a hundred thousand. Teaching at the camp gave Oswald a maturity and life experience uncommon for someone his age.
He has only been in Canada for two months, but Oswald has already experienced so much. “Canada is a beautiful and social country,” Oswald says, “and Canadians are a little bit crazy.” Oswald has been adjusting to the cold and the food. 
Another thing he is adjusting to is the freedom to be able to choose what you want to do for school and to be who you want to be. If he was back in Kenya, Oswald would most likely be studying medicine rather than Arts. Currently enrolled in Honours Arts, Oswald is interested in studying political science, philosophy, business and legal studies, hoping to one day become a lawyer. He also hopes that in six years he will go back to Kenya.

Second Generation Grebelites

We love welcoming second generation Grebelites into our residence and academic programs! Thank you alumni, for your continued involvement in 

The Neufeld Family
Grebel life.

(Photo to the right) l-r: Adam, Aaron, Adrian, Gayle (‘87), and Don Neufeld (‘87)
and Sue Culp Klassen (‘90)
Wayne and Emily Kornelsen
Wayne (‘87) and Emily Kornelsen
Micah and Mary 
Micah and Mary 
Brubaker-Zehr (‘85)
Paul, Nicholas, Daniel, Allison, 
and Dolores Penner
Paul (‘83), Nicholas, Daniel, Allison, 
and Dolores Penner (‘84)
Rodney and 
Erik Weber
Rodney (‘87) and Erik Weber
Taheera and Basmattie Mamujee
Taheera and Basmattie Mamujee (‘89)
Mark and 
Micah Diller Harder
Mark (‘89) and 
Micah Diller Harder

Grebel Grad Students Win National Research Scholarships

by Ally Siebert, English student

Conrad Grebel is proud to announce that among the recipients of the prestigious 2013 Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) are Melanie Kampen and Maxwell Kennel (‘13), two masters students in Grebel’s Theological Studies program. 

The Canada Graduate Scholarships, formerly known as Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants (SSHRC), are national awards for students enrolled in a masters or doctoral program. The objective is to provide financial assistance to students who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, and to foster opportunities to develop research skills in specific fields of study. The recipients of this scholarship “have demonstrated high academic achievement, proposed creative and insightful ideas for future research, and received very strong recommendations from faculty who have been their mentors,” said Jim Pankratz, Dean and Director of Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel.
Pankratz affirms, “Max and Melanie’s academic backgrounds and research projects are very different. But they have this in common. They are students with outstanding accomplishments, keen passion, and great potential. They are part of a strong cohort of Theological Studies students who stimulate, inspire, and support each other.”
Melanie Kampen
Melanie Kampen is from Winnipeg and a graduate of Canadian Mennonite University. She is conducting research for her Masters of Theological Studies (MTS) thesis on Western Christian theology and Native Christian theology, specifically, on the Western Christian doctrine of original sin as opposed to the views of Native or Aboriginal theologians on the same topic. “Because Native theologians have quite a different worldview than western Europeans, they understand sin in a very different way even when they are reading the same scriptures.” Her research is related to the physical and ideological colonization of North America. “By deconstructing the primary western theology of sin, and suggesting alternative readings of some key passages in scripture,” explained Kampen, “I hope to begin to decolonize western theology and stand in solidarity with Native Christians whose voices have been ignored and discredited for far too long.” Her interest has developed over eight years of involvement in a Partnership Circle between her home church and a Métis community on Lake Winnipeg, MB, as well as a summer living in Pauingassi First Nation. 
Maxwell Kennel
Maxwell Kennel, a University of Waterloo graduate in Philosophy and English Rhetoric and Professional Writing, is focusing on the philosophical views of existence that lie behind Anabaptist Mennonite Theology: “views on existence, or of being, or of what we mean when we say something has an essence or identity,” explained Kennel. His research is concerned with how a Mennonite philosophical theology would interact with general theology, Old Testament studies, and the works of theologians A. James Reimer and John Howard Yoder. “I hope to show how some areas of philosophy can help us to make our ways of doing theology less violent,” said Kennel. “If violence is a major problem for theology, then my goal is to help theology ensure that it not only promotes nonviolence but also thinks and converses in a way that is nonviolent.” Kennel’s undergraduate work in philosophy and literary theory, as well as his current position as Associate Youth Pastor at Crosshill Mennonite Church in Millbank, ON, have both contributed to his interest in this area.
National awards like these are vital to the advancement of innovative research in Canada. The University of Waterloo, in its 2013 Strategic Plan, calls for more “high-impact, highly-relevant research” poised to “change lives and advance industries.” Now with Masters programs in both Theological Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies, Grebel is playing a lead role in this forward-thinking academic endeavour. “The fact that the MTS program has two CGS recipients is a sign that we are attracting students who tackle problems in ways that are innovative, rigorous, and relevant,” said Jeremy Bergen, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Theology. “A CGS scholarship is the gold standard of graduate student achievement. These very competitive grants are given to students who show great promise to advance human knowledge through scholarly research.” 
Kennel and Kampen each receive a 12-month, $17,500 scholarship to put towards their individual projects. 

Academic Program Highlights

Last year Grebel’s Peace and Conflict Studies program began offering a Master’s degree. The enrolment target for the second cohort in Fall 2013 was reached, creating a total of 32 students. The Master in Theological Studies also has 32 students enrolled this fall. “With over 60 students, we are creating a strong graduate student culture at Grebel,” observed Jim Pankratz, the College’s Dean. “Having 25 new grad students at orientation activities generated an energizing dynamic. Seeing the students from both graduate programs interacting with each other fulfills our vision of creating inter-disciplinary programs. This will be strengthened even more with our graduate student centre in the new Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.”
Grebel has undergrad course enrolments of over 4,000 in the faculty of Arts at the University of Waterloo, including courses in Music, Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), Religious Studies, History, and Sociology. About 75% of these are in Music and PACS. This summer, three new faculty members joined the College - Maisie Sum in a new position in Global Music, Mark Vuorinen in the Choral Music role held by Len Enns until his recent retirement, and Alicia Batten in the New Testament position held by Tom Yoder Neufeld until his retirement. 
Gamelan Ensemble
Above: Maisie Sum (centre) with this year’s Gamelan ensemble.
Below: Alicia Batten spoke on “Doubting 
and Enduring in the Letter of James” at 
the 2013 Pastors Breakfast.
Alicia Batten speaking


Next Chapter Campaign Update

In 2006, under President Henry Paetkau’s leadership, the College developed a strategic plan which included six areas of focus. The largest was “review institutional needs and priorities for facility expansion.” 
With the help of over 1,000 donors, we are checking off this last item on the strategic plan. The building expansion has grown from a 3 storey $6 million building with a $3.7 million fundraising target to a 4 storey $8.7 million project with $6,265,620 raised! 
Donations continue to reduce our borrowing costs. Naming opportunities still remain for the digital music lab, ensemble rehearsal studio, the entry to the Library and Archives and 2 study rooms in the Library. For more information on the Campaign visit

Bow Tie Gala raised $46,000 

Bow Tie Gala
The 50th Anniversary celebrations were kicked off with a sold out Bow Tie Gala in honour of Grebel’s founding president, Winfield Fretz, who had a penchant for wearing a bow tie. Donors can still help us reach the $50,000 goal to name the seminar room in the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement to honour Fretz and his entrepreneurial spirit and passion for peace. 

Building Project Update

Construction is progressing very well inside but the exterior is experiencing some delays.  Floor tile is being installed and walls painted in the new music facilities on Level 1 as this area is slated to be ready for classes at the beginning of the winter term in January.  “Our Furnishing and Decorating Committee is working hard now,” noted Director of Operations Paul Penner. “We need to ensure that our rooms have furniture when we open!”  
Building Project
The entire project will not be complete until the renovation to the current library is finished in late spring. This will be an extensive process as “absolutely everything needs to be removed from the old library, including 58,000 library materials. When finished, the original library will be nearly unrecognizable. Refinished from floor to ceiling, the accessible space will include two study rooms, an archives reading room, graduate student carrels and 30% more shelving for books”  says Archivist-Librarian Laureen Harder-Gissing.
A Grand Opening for the new facility is scheduled for Sunday, June 22 at 3 PM. 

Project Ploughshares returns to Grebel

Conrad Grebel President Susan Schultz Huxman and Executive Director of Project Ploughshares, John Siebert, are pleased to announce that the Ploughshares office will be moving back to Grebel in the Spring of 2014. After more than a decade of being located at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Uptown Waterloo, Ontario, Project Ploughshares will return to the place of its birth. 
Susan Shultz Huxman and John Siebert
Project Ploughshares will become an anchor partner in the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement. This fourth floor of the new building will also provide a new home for Grebel graduate students, peace organization start-ups, artists and musicians, and visiting scholars. 
In welcoming Ploughshares’ return, Schultz Huxman said she looked forward to deepening the collaboration that already exists with the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program in the areas of research, teaching and community outreach. Grebel PACS professor Nathan Funk sits on the Ploughshares Governing Committee and noted the ongoing contribution of Ploughshares staff to Grebel courses as guest lecturers.
Siebert recalled Ploughshares deep roots on the campus. Former Grebel President Frank Epp encouraged Ploughshares’ co-founder Ernie Regehr in 1976 to establish an ecumenical peace advocacy and disarmament NGO at Grebel. Epp also suggested the name, which is taken from Isaiah 2:4 – “they will beat their swords into ploughshares.” 
As an operating agency of The Canadian Council of Churches, Ploughshares has established a world-wide reputation for working with and for churches in Canada and abroad, as well as with civil society organizations and governments, to provide evidence-based research and practical policy recommendations to advance peace.
Fred W. Martin, who is helping to coordinate the start-up arrangements for this space, is excited by Ploughshares’ involvement. “Ploughshares will help to attract other participants who may want longer arrangements in the CPA, or other peace practitioners, consultants or emerging groups who will find a space in the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator.”
Participants in the Centre for Peace Advancement will be part of a collaborative network of individuals and organizations that provide mentoring and initiate ideas to foster creative peacemaking. The facilities include lounge space for graduate students, a “Buzz Space” for CPA participants to share a coffee and ideas, a “Think Tank” for informal meetings and the Grebel Gallery, which will be an art exhibit space not only used for exhibitions, but for small receptions, coffee houses and book launches.

MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement searches for founding Director

An Advisory Committee for the new MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) has been working to create program plans for the new Centre on the 4th floor of the new building. This floor will be home to faculty and graduate students in Theological Studies and PACS and will include the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator for individuals and organizations involved in peace research, training, and community engagement. “Project Ploughshares will return as an anchor partner in the MSCU CPA,” noted Dean Jim Pankratz, “so a strong core is in place.” A search committee has been established to find a Director for the CPA. This will be a .5 FTE position which may be coupled with a teaching role. The Director will lead the creation of the Peace Incubator and the integration of all of the CPA programs, including developing mentorships, curating exhibits in the Grebel Gallery, and planning workshops and seminars. The goal is to have a Director in place before August 2014.


Show your Grebel spirit! We’ve got some great Grebelwear and other branded items available for purchase. Email Alison Enns to get yours now!
Fleece blanket with waterproof side $20
Umbrella $15
Grebel mug and coaster $5
Bridging Mind & Spirit book $20
Women’s red zippered hoodie $50
Men’s black zippered hoodie $50
Women’s lilac t-shirt $10
Unisex dust or blue t-shirt $10
Kids Future Grebelite t-shirt $8
Please specify the size of top you’d like.
Across the Creek Express
Rain certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of this Grebel alumni & friends crew, as they took a ride on the “Across the Creek Express” in Waterloo.
Old photo of Grebel
In Bridging Mind & Spirit: Conrad Grebel University College, 1963-2013, Lloyd Koch was accidently omitted from the Board of Governors list. His years of service to Grebel were:
1986-1989 Member, Board of Directors                               1989-1992 Chairman, Finance Committee                               1989-1992 Member, Building Committee
Also in Bridging Mind & Spirit, we want to thank Carol Fay for providing the photos used on page 20 (see below) and 24.
Thursday, March 6 & Friday March 7, 2014
Bechtel Lectures in 
Anabaptist/Mennonite Studies
Steve Nolt
Royden Loewen
Speakers: Steve Nolt & Royden Loewen at Conrad Grebel University College
day’s activities.
Tim Vickery and Allen Flaming
Last month, Toronto alumni and friends spent an evening reconnecting with each other at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre.
Susan Shultz Huxman and Governor General David Johnston
At the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Rotary Club of Waterloo, Grebel President, Susan Schultz Huxman, presented a copy of Grebel’s history book, Bridging Mind & Spirit, to Governor General David Johnston. His picture is also in the book!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
War and Peace
Ottawa Alumni Event
Paul Heidebrecht
Canadian War Museum
View “Peace – the Exhibition” and listen to MCC Ottawa’s Paul Heidebrecht (’94) speak about the exhibit.
Tickets are $10/person or $25/family. Register online at


Peter Hart
Neil Thomas
Peter Hart is taking a leave of absence as Grebel custodian from September 2013 – May 2014 to attend teacher’s college at Nipissing University. Neil Thomas (‘13) is filling in for Peter during this time.
Evelyn Mary Langeman
Matt (‘04) and Amy Langeman (‘06) welcomed Evelyn Mary to the world February 14, 2013. New baby, first house, new town... The past 8 months have been an amazing adventure! Matt has continued to work from home for Peace Works while Amy has been on maternity leave. This fall Matt will try his hand at being a stay at home Dad while Amy returns to work as a Paediatric Nurse in Owen Sound. Life is beautiful.
Sophia Werden Abrams
Sophia Werden Abrams (‘13), a recent Grebel Music grad, is the new accompanist for MYS. She spent her summer working as a vocal director. 
Tom Yoder Neufeld, Sung Youl (Steve) Park , Nak Sun Kim
During his travels, Professor Emeritus Tom Yoder Neufeld preached at the Central Baptist Church in Suwon, South Korea - a church with twelve congregations. There he met with Sung Youl (Steve) Park (‘08), a pastor in Korea, and Nak Sun Kim (‘05) who is a pastor in Vancouver, but was in Korea visiting his family at the time of Tom’s visit. 
Rod and Doris Weber and extended family
In the past few years, Rod and Doris Weber have had numerous grandchildren come from the U.S. to study at Grebel. Family members are pictured here at Taste of Grebel.
Children wearing Grebel shirts
As a 50th Anniversary gift to you, we will be giving a free Grebel shirt (we have kids and adult sizes) to the first 20 people who send in a “People” update before our next issue! We want to know about marriages, new children, job changes, interesting travels, volunteer work, retirement adventure, or general life updates. Send your updates and photos to Jen at
Dick's Practice Room
The Dick family toured the John and Helen Dick Family Music Practice Room while it was under construction this August: Ernie (‘69), (left), John, Marlene Neufeld (‘69) and Sharon Johnston (‘78). Other family contributors not pictured are Bob Neufeld (‘69), Ken Dick (’79) and mother Helen. 
Julie Wilson (‘12) and Dylan Campion (‘13) got engaged recently!!! They’re super excited, and plan on having a lot of Grebel family and friends surround them on their big day in June of 2014!
Janna Lynn Cressman
Janna Lynn Cressman (‘07) is the new choir director for Menno Youth Singers. Janna is a music teacher in the public school system, chair of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp board, and a former director of OMMC. She has also led church choirs, organized and directed a 150-voice mass choir concert, and been involved in church music in many other capacities. 
Sarah Connors (‘09) has recently opened her Naturopathic practice at Inspire Health and Wellness. She graduated in May 2013 from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, and after completing her licensing exams in August she moved back to the KW area. If you are looking for a Naturopathic Doctor you can contact Sarah through the clinic website:
Book signing
Grebel took the opportunity of the 50th Anniversary Weekend to celebrate the accomplishments of former faculty. Retired Music professor Helen Martens was on hand signing copies of her newest book Passion Vs Duty: Felix Mendelssohn. John E. Toews presented on his new book The Story of Original Sin at a book launch - the first event of Grebel’s 50 events this year.
Mike and Will Turman
Kimberly and Caitie Walker
These Grebel grads are passing the Grebel tradition onto their siblings! Mike Turman (‘08) (left) helped his brother Will move into the residence this September, while Kimberly Walker (‘12) (left) brought her sister Caitie to experience Grebel life! 


Including some of our 50 events for 50 years

Saturday, November 23, 2013, 3:00PM
War and Peace - Ottawa Grebel Alumni Event
Thursday, November 28, 2013, 7:30PM
John Ruth Book Launch
Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, 8PM
Chamber Choir, Chapel Choir, University Choir
Celebration in Song World Premiere
Fall 2013
Term-end Concerts
Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 8PM
An Evening with Bruce Cockburn
Winter 2014
Sawatsky Lecture
Saturday, March 1, 2014
President’s Circle Dinner
Thursday & Friday, March 6 & 7, 2014
Bechtel Lectures with Steve Nolt & Royden Loewen
Winter 2014
Term-End Concerts
Sunday, April 13, 2014
May 24, 2014
Alumni event in Niagara
June 3, 2014
Alumni Event at Brubacher House
June 26, 2014
Lebold Fundraising Dinner
May 28-June 1, 2014
Mennonite Education Agency Marpeck Conference
June 5-9, 2014
Sound in the Land 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Ribbon Cutting for New Building