The Mennonites of St. Jacobs And Elmira: Understanding the Variety, by Barb Draper
2010. 378 pp. ISBN: 978-1-926599-15-1
The Mennonites were among the earliest settlers in Waterloo Region. Over the years, their churches have expanded and divided to form new branches, each with unique traditions. Today some Mennonites are clearly distinguishable by their dress, others are not. Despite outward differences, the deep roots of faith unite the Mennonites. Each community of Mennonites has grown out of a commitment to Christian beliefs centered in the teachings of Jesus. Look closely at the stories of Mennonites, and they reveal a complex and dedicated dialogue between faith and culture often concealed by a simple outward appearance.
Local Barb Draper guides her reader through the Mennonite community in all its different forms, looking closely at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, Old Order Mennonites, David Martins, and the other Mennonite groups that populate the Waterloo Region. She tells the story of Mennonite settlers’ immigration to the area and gives a vivid description of their community life and changing theology during the 19th century. This background provides the context for Draper’s main intention – to help the reader understand the diversity of Mennonites in Waterloo, the reasons for the splits in the church, and the ties that still hold them all together under the name “Mennonite.”
Barb Draper has deep roots in the local Mennonite community. She was born and raised in St. Jacobs and after her marriage to Roy Draper moved to Elmira. They have two sons. Barb has a passion for local history with special interest in Mennonite culture and theology. She is a member of Floradale Mennonite Church.