of Alberta

Henry D. Goerzen fonds

Accession 2002.022, 2004.010 filed at 2002.022, 2015.003 (some filed separately, some with Accession 2002.022) Acession 2019.020 (filed separately)

Title and Physical Description

Henry D. Goerzen fonds. — 1906-2013. — 62 cm of textual records. — 1 compact disc

Administrative/Biographical History

Henry D. Goerzen was born 28 October 1928 in a cowboy shack near Didsbury.  His father, David H. Goerzen, was a member of  one of the earliest settling Russian Mennonite families in Alberta. Henry married Erna Warkentin who was born 11 June, 1928 at Munson, Alberta.   They were grain farmers in the Didsbury area with the help of their son.  Henry grew up in, and was,at the time of his death in 2019, the longest continuing attendee at the Bergthal Mennonite Church.  He served as chairperson and in other leadership positions in both the Bergthal Mennonite Church and the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta (now Mennonite Church Alberta) while Erna Goerzen provided leadership with the Bergthal and Alberta Women in Mission.

Henry was an avid historian for much of his life, spending over 25 years collecting Alberta Mennonite records, books and artifacts.  He also served for many years as the archivist of the Conference of Mennonites in Alberta, and also collected and preserved records of the Bergthal Mennonite Church, storing many of these records and other historically valuable materials in a granary on his farm.  That entire collection was donated and transferred to the archives of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta in Calgary in the summer of 2001 and officially accessioned in 2002.

Henry Goerzen was a founding member of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta.  He preserved and then faciliated the transfer to the MHSA archives of conference and congregational records and also collected and donated several collections of personal papers and records.  When the Library & Archives were officially launched in October 2001, honorary memberships were awarded to Henry and Erna for their longstanding service to Mennonite history in Alberta.

Apart from farming, church life (Bergthal Mennonite Church), and historical interests, Henry played an active role in many congregational, Mennonite Church Alberta, Mennonite Central Committee & other activities. He was also an artist who worked in various media and a wide range of subjects.

Scope & Content

The fonds consists of three series: A) Namaka History, B) Short Writings, and C) Initiatives

Source of Acquisition

Gift by Henry Goerzen

Related Materials

For published copies of the manuscript, see Namaka 1925-2000: Celebrating God’s Faithfulness from Generation to Generation,


Accession 2002.022, 2004.010 filed at 2002.022, 2015.003 (some filed separately, some with Accession 2002.022)
Last updated 30 Sep 2010 – Judith Rempel
Revised March 2012

GRANDMA #920518

File List

Box 1

A. Namaka History. — 1985-2001. — 4.5 cm. of textual records. — 1 compact disc

This series consists of research notes, manuscript drafts, photographs and correspondence related to the development of a history book on the community of Namaka. Arranged by subject

1-1 Correcting Copy and Additions – 2000
1-2 Drafts – 2000
1-3 Namaka Files from Erna – 2000 [separated]
1-4 Namaka Photo File – 2000 [separated]
1-5 Notes for Book on Namaka – 2000
1-6 Orders – 2000-2001
1-7 Payments – 2000-2001
1-8 Print Ready Copy and Correspondence re Photo Permissions – 2000
1-9 Working Copies – Correspondence – 2000
1-10 Working Copies – Namaka: 1925-2000 – Celebrating God’s Faithfulness – 2000

B. Bergthal Mennonite Church and Didsbury District archives

Henry Goerzen served as archivist of Mennonite Church, Alberta, the Bergthal Mennonite Church, and also wrote about and created his own collection of material related to the history of the Bergthal Mennonite Church.  Some material was donated as part of Accession 2002-022 and then, more recently, additional material pertaining to the Bergthal Mennonite Church, was received as part of Accession 2015.003.  It was not always evident how specific files were created.  Church minutes, annual reports and bulletins were found in several places but have now been integrated to create a single, but still not entirely complete set of minutes, annual reports and bulletins.  They are listed here and also in the finding aid of the Bergthal Mennonite Church.  Other material received as part of Accession 2015.003 has been interfiled and is listed here as part of Accession 2002-022

Accession 2015.003, the following files of this accession were transferred and integrated with the records of the Bergthal Mennonite Church (accession 2002-017).  Other files of this accession were integrated with Accessions 2002.022 as part of Henry Goerzen’s files.

B-1 Minutes and Annual Reports, 1994-2014
1-1 1994 Annual Report and Minutes
1-2 1995 Annual Report and Minutes
1-3 1996 Annual Report and Minutes
1-4 1997 Annual Report and Minutes
1-5 1998 Annual Report and Minutes
1-6 1999 Annual Report and Minutes
1-7 2000 Annual Report and Minutes
1-8 2001 Annual Report and Minutes
1-9 2002 Annual Report and Minutes
1-10 2003 Annual Report
1-11 2004 Annual Report and Minutes
1-12 2005 Annual Report
1-13 2006 Annual Report and Minutes
1-14 2007 Annual Report and Minutes
1-15 2008 Annual Report and Minutes
1-16 2009 Annual Report and Minutes
1-17 2010 Annual Report and Minutes
1-18 2011 Annual Report and Minutes
1-19 2012 Annual Report and Minutes
1-20 2013 Annual Report and Minutes
1-21 2014 Annual Report and Minutes

B-2  Items about Bergthal Mennonite Church and Didsbury written or edited by Henry Goerzen, filed and integrated with Accession 2002-022

1-11 Bergthal Mennonite Church 100th Anniversary Celebration “2003” Master finished copy with inserts by Henry Goerzen
1-12 Drafts by Henry Goerzen of entries for the Bergthal Mennonite Church 100th Anniversary Celebration book
1-13 Drafts by Henry Goerzen of family histories for the Bergthal Mennonite Church 100th Anniversary Celebration book
1-14 Drafts of family histories and recollectons collected by Henry Goerzen for the Bergthal Mennonite Church celebration book
1-15 Drafts by Erna Goerzen of entries for the Bergthal Mennonite Church 100th Anniversary Celebration book.
1-15-1 Women in a Rural Church
1-15-2 Life of Women in Bergthal
1-15-3 Church Visioning
1-15-4 The Community of Didsbury and Surrounding Area
1-16 Bergthal Mennnite Church Minute Book related to Sunday School
1-17 Bergthal Mennonite Church “Crisis 2000” by Henry Goerzen
1-18 Bergthal Mennonite Church “Crisis 2000”  with numerous inserts and short notes and comments by Henry Goerzen
1-19 Bergthal Mennonite Church “Crisis 2000” correspondence by Henry Goerzen
1-20 Four devotionals by Henry Goerzen
1-20.1 Seed Blessing: The Farmer and the Seed, undated, typewritten.
1-20.2 Devotional: Canadian Conference Nominating Committee, undated, typewritten.
1-20.3. Longing for the Lord, undated, typewritten
1-20.4. Repentance and Confession, undated, typewritten
1-21 Short writings about the Bergthal Mennonite Church by Henry Goerzen.
1-21.1 Bergthal Mennonite Church – 1 page [c. 2005], typewritten
1-21-2 Introoducing Bergthal  – 3 pages [2011], typewritten
1-21.3 Story of Bergthal Mennonite Church – 12 page first handwritten draft and 8 page typed copy, undated.
1-21.4 Bergthal Mennonite Church, 1900-1920: Society-anthropology-relitious-agriculture, 5 Pages [1999], typewritten
1-21.5 Bergthal Church historic data, 2 pages, undated, handwritten
1-21.6. Bergthal in Broad Strokes, 4 pages, 2012, typewritten
1-21.7 Historical Insight Bergthal Church and Mennonites in Alberta, 2 pages, 2007, typewrittenn
1-21.8 Shaping Bergthal Mennonite Church, 2 pages, undated, typewritten
1-21.9 From the diary of Bergthal Mennonite Church, 1900-1920 (Monologue) 3 pages, undated, typewritten
1-21.10 Observations on Assessments on Bergthal Mennonite Church, 1 page, undated, typewritten.
1-22 Short writings about the Bergthal Mennonite Church by Henry Goerzen
1-22.11 Youth and Jugend Verein, 3 pages, undated, typewritten
1-22.12 Bergthal Men, 2 drafts, one incomplete, 3 pages, [2003], typewritten
1-22.13 Bergthal folk from a variety of Mennonite backgrounds, 3 pages, undated, handwritten
1-22.14 Sommerfelder Connections, 4 pages, 1992, handwritten
1-22.15 The Sommerfelder, Interview with Dick Neufeld, 1 page, 1992, typewritten
1-22.16 Three Anabaptist Streams,2 pages, undated, typewritten
1-22.16 The Charismatics: The Holy Spirit allows people to explore, 4 pages, handwritten, undated
1-22.17 The Charismatics in Bergthal, 2 pages, typewritten, undated
1-22.18 Bergthal’s Journey Onward, 3 pages, typewritten, undated
1-22.19 The Arts and Bergthal Mennonite Church, 11 pages, 1995, handwritten
1-22.20 The Mennonite Community and the arts, Newpaper article in The Didsbury Review, 1 page, 5 April 2005
1-23 Short writings about Bergthal Mennonite Church by Henry Goerzen
1-23.21 Bergthal Mennonite Church builds again, Newspaper article in the Carstairs Courier, 1 page, 6 March 2001.
1-23.22 Bergthal Mennonite Church. Typical Year Activity, 2005, 2 pages, handwritten.
1-23.23  Proposal to calling Ruth Harder to Ministry, 1 page, handwritten, undated.
1-23.24 Bergthal historian report, 2007, 2 pages, handwritten.
2-13.25 Development Plan for presentation to Bergthal Menn. Church, 5 pages, undated, handwritten.
1-23.26 Historic on Funerals, 2012, 3 pages, handwritten.
1-23.27 Fees for Church use for Wedding and Funeral Services, 2 pages, handwritten and typed copy, 2002.
1-23.28 Pastoral assessment Response to Pastor Wiebe, 1998, 5 pages,handwritten
1-23.29 Testimony, Evaluation and Thanksgiving, 1977, 3 pages, typewritten
1-23.30 Bergthal Church Visioning, January 6-7. 2012, 2 pages, typewritten
1-23.31 Bergthal. Year in a day -2013, 2 pages, typewritten.
1-24 Five short pieces on Bible Schools written by Henry Goerzen
1-24-1 The Bible School Movement
1-24-2 The gift of Menno Bible Institute education onBergthal
1-24-3 The Coaldale Mennonite Brethren Bible School
1-24-4 The Prairie Bible Institute Influence on Bergthal Church
1-24-5 My Expectations of Menno Bible Institute

Box 2

2-25 Bergthal Mennonite Church and Didsbury Mennonite Missionary Church Artwork by Henry Goerzen
2-26 Bergthal Mennonite Church, 1964 Dedication Issue.
2-27 Bergthal Mennonite Church photographs provided by Henry Goerzen.
2-28 Margaret (nee) Wiebe) Wall Family History, 1987
2-29 Artwork for “Alternative Service for Peace” Book, 1991
2-30 Castor Group – 1991
2-31 Jake Peters and Logging Experience, 1992
2-32 John Penner
2-33 Interview with Albert Guengerich, 1993, 2002.
2-34 The Ministry of William Pauls, 1988.
2-35 Christian Faith and Farming, 1986.
2-36 Supplements and inserts in an annotated copy of C. L. Dick, The Mennonite Conference of Alberta.
2-37 Didsbury and district articles
2-38 Report on Archives work and related correspondence.
2-39 Notes and introduction of Anna Janzen’s story.  Erna Goerzen translated and published Anna Janzen’s letters.

B-3 Items about Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury and other subjects, written by others, filed and integrated with Accession 2002-022.

2-40 Anonymous – The Bergthal Mennonite Church
2-41 Bauman, Amos – 1906 Conroversial articles about head coverings for women.
2-42 Bergen, Peter, Bishop Abraham Doeorksen, from Sommerfeld Mennonite Church History.
2-43 Braun, David, A History of the Mennonies of Didsbury, Alberta, and New Bergthal School Re-union, 1987.
2-44 Braun, Malvin J. – Paul Voegtlin Memorial Service – 2004
2-45 Buhr, Joanna R. – Extract from Thesis: “Pursuit of a Vision: Persistence and Accommodation Among Coaldale Mennonites from the Mid-Nineteen Twenties to World War II” – 1986
2-46 Dueckman, J.H. – Martin Dueckman born 1802 – died 1869 married to Katharina Dueckman, nee Fast born 1815 – died February 25, 1898 – [1980s]
2-47 Dyck, Paul I, The Bergthal Church in Didsbury, Alberta, 1995.
2-48 Enns, F – Schools: Neither Problem nor Answer – 1984
2-49 Friesen, Cornie – The Forgotten Churches – 1991
2-50 Friesen, Helen – Translation of Obituary for Dietrich Epp (1875-1955) – 1999
2-51 Glick, Millie – A School is Born – [1980s]
2-52 Goertzen, Peter – Cultural Change – 1969
1-53 Harder, Jacob, Socio-Religious Structure of the Bergthal Mennonite Community, 1969
1-54 Harder, Jacob, Education for Mennonites and related inserts.
2-55 Holdeman, Rachel and Joy Holdeman Friesen, poetry and artwork.
1-56 Harich, Alex – A Study of the Mennonite Economic Contribution/Impact on Central Alberta – 1991
2-57 Heidebrecht, Herbert V. – Extract from Thesis: “Values of Mennonite Youth in Alberta” – 1973
2-58 Janz, J.B. and H.A. Wiens – Ahnen-Liste [Abram Wiens b 1896 and Anna Dickmann b 1897] – [1970s]
2-59 Kaehn, Michael A. – Descendants of Andreas Tobias Koehn – 1998
2-60 Letkeman, Peter – The Generation Gap (Talk Outline) – 1969
2-61 Lore, Jim, Mennonites as seen in the Community Mirror, 2011.
2-62 Penner, Hilda – Leave it to George [Loewen, b. 1937] – 1989
2-63 Peters, Ben – A True Story of a Grain Farmer in Northern Alberta – 1982
2-64 Ratzlaff, Reuben – Ratzlaff Family Information – [1950s]

Box 3

3-65 Schmidt, Juliana, Descendants of Juliana Schmidt.
3-66 Stauffer, Harry – Correspondence and Stories – 1987-1997
3-67 Stauffer, Harry – Northwest Mennonite Conference Congregational Vignettes – [1995]
3-68 Van Dyke, Edward W. – Extract from Thesis: “Blumenort: A Study of Persistence in a Sect” – 1972
3-69 Wiebe, J. – Die Wichtigkeit unsere Schulen im geistlichen Bau unsere Gemeinde – [1960s]
3-70 Wiebe, John and Elsie Translation of Forty Years by Lena Fast of Karaganda
3-71 Bergthal Chruch, 1903-1978. 75th .Anniversary Celebration.
3-72 Obituaries and funerals of Bergthal and Didsbury area people.

C Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta records.  

Received as accession 2015.003 but filed with 2002.022

3-73 Minutes, Reports, Constitution and First Newsletter, 1986-1988.
3-74 Constitution, reports, correspondence, 1989.
3-75 Reports, correspondence, history and photos of Bergthal community, 1990, 1995, 1996.
3-76 Minutes, reports, correspondence. 1998.
3-77 Minutes, reports, correspondence, 1999.
3-78 Minutes, reports, correspondence, 2000.
3-79 Minutes, reports, correspondence, 2001.
3-80 Minutes, reports, correspondence, history and special presentations, 2002.
3-81 Minutes, Reports, correspondence, 2003.
3-82 Minutes, Reports, correspondence and photos, 2004
3-83 Minutes, reports, correspondence, 2005-2006.
3-84 Minutes, correspondence, 2009-2010.
3-85 Minutes, reports, history of MHSA, photos, 2011-2012.
3-86 Secretary and Archives Relations, undated.
3-87 Artwork for MHSA logo, 1999-2002.

Accession 2019.020, 8 cm, filed separately

This accession consists of a somewhat diverse collection files and papers, transferred to the archives of the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta after Henry Goerzen’s death in 2019.
1. Henry Poettcher correspondence, 1991-1992, includes several letters in which Henry outlines aspects of his early life and career as a church leader and college president,  It includes a paper by Henry Poettcher entitled “Critical Studies and the Christian Faith.”
2. Food Grains Bank, Linden-Didsbury.  The file contains a draft and a typed copy of the history of the Linden-Didsbury food grains farm, and a visit to the farm by members of the Food Grains Bank.
3. Memories (Erinnerungen) written by Peter Wiebe and translated by Erna Goerzen.
4. My Memories, by Mary Dirks Janzen.
5. Cornelius Neufeld, Didsbury, file containing genealogical information.
6. Abraham C. Neufeldt, Gerhard Neufeld, Jacob Neufeld, file containing genealogical information.
7. Translation under the title “Intoxicated with Blood Bolschevism” of K. Nilostonski’s “Der Blutrausch des Bolschewismus,” by Henry Goerzen.
8. C. L. Dick, The Mennonite Conference of Alberta.  A History of its Churches and Institutions, 1980, with numerous insertions, additions and corrections by Henry Goerzen.