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The new era is upon us. February 1, 2002 is the official birthday
of Mennonite Church USA-and of its Historical Committee.
To prepare to serve the new church, the Transformation Team
of MC USA appointed a six-member committee-the Historical Committee
Transformation Group. Rachel Waltner Goosen, Topeka, Kan., served
as chair. Other members were Sue Biesker-Mast, Bluffton, Ohio,
James Juhnke and John Thiesen, North Newton, Kan., John D. Roth
and John E. Sharp, Goshen, Ind.
The group designed a program proposal for the Historical Committee
(HC), which was accepted by the Transformation Team. The new
program includes: administering two denominational archives,
assisting and directing research that will include People of
Color, supporting local and regional historical groups, and promoting
heritage and identity. The Transformation Team has also asked
the HC to take a more active role in interpreting history in
a way that will help engage the church in discussions of current
There are two major structural changes. The HC will have a
stronger link to the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA.
The Executive Board now appoints the HC director. The other major
change is the partnership with the Mennonite Library and Archives
(MLA) at Bethel College, North Newton, Kan. The HC will assume
responsibility for the operation of the archives portion of the
MLA. Consequently, There will now be two denominational archives-North
Newton, Kan. and Goshen, Ind. The HC is ready and eager to serve
the new church.