Chortitzer Conference to change its name

Jun 23, 2014 by

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Chortitzer Mennonite Conference, a 1,500-member Canadian group, has begun searching for a new name.

“Many times when people hear the name Chortitzer, the response is . . . ‘What’s that?’ ” wrote Bishop David Reimer in The Chronicle, the conference magazine. “We want to be able to put our effort into explaining Christ to people, not explaining our name.”

Delegates decided to retire the Chortitzer name at their annual meeting at Fort St. John, B.C., in April. A committee will propose five names to the Ministerial Convention in October. The ministers will narrow the options to two or three. Delegates will choose the new name next April.

With roots in the 1874 migration of Mennonites from Ukraine, the conference takes its name from the Manitoba village of Chortitz (now Randolph), where its first bishop, Gerhard Wiebe, lived.

The name, Reimer wrote, “worked to distinguish us from the other churches around us. We were not Kleine­geminde, Sommerfelder or Bergthaler. We were Chortitzer.”

Now the conference will look for a name “that says what we are, who we connect with and [what] distinguishes us from the others who are like us,” Reimer wrote.

The conference has 12 congregations, with eight in Manitoba.

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