Title and Physical Description
Johann Wichert fonds. – 1956. – 1.5 cm of textual records
Johann J. Wichert, minister and elder, was born 1 October 1897 in Mariawohl, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, Russia, the son of Jacob and Maria (Peters) Wichert. He received his elementary education in Mariawohl, his secondary education in Gnadenfeld, and his teacher training in the University of Kharkov, completing his formal education in 1914. He taught in Mariawohl (1915-16) and Rudnerweide (1917-22), where he was baptized by Elder David Nickel in 1918. He married Lydia Koop on 20 August 1944.
Wichert migrated to Waterloo, Ontario in 1925. He was ordained as minister on 20 May 1928 and as elder on 3 September 1944. He served the Vineland United Mennonite Church, Vineland, Ontario, as minister from 1927 and as elder from 1944 to 1966, and remained active as a member of that church until his death on 12 November 1983. He was an outstanding teacher and a member of numerous conference committees. Together with Lydia, he also served Mennonite immigrants in Europe in 1947 under the Mennonite Central Committee.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of a revised manuscript containing a series of questions and detailed answers based on the Mennonite catechism used by the Conference of Mennonites in Canada at that time. Wichert regarded the catechism as a general guide, but added much explanatory and interpretive information. He compiled the manuscript after years of catechism instruction during the time when he served as elder. It documents the thinking, understanding and interpretation of Mennonite theology at those times, and provides insights into what Mennonite young people, at least those in the Vineland United Mennonite Church and other churches affiliated with the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, were taught.
Wichert submitted an early version of the manuscript to the Education and Publications board of the conference of Mennonites in Canada in July of 1955. It was reviewed and parts of it were revised, mainly by adding additional scripture references. In 1956, in anticipation of possible publication, the revised manuscript was made available for further constructive criticism and corrections. It was never published, but provides insights into the thinking and teaching of an influential Mennonite leader.
Source of Acquisition
Donated by Ted Regehr.