Letter from the Mennonites to the King

To His Most Gracious Majesty George VI,

King of Canada

Representatives of the various branches of the Mennonite Church in Canada in Conference assembled at Winkler, Manitoba, on the fifteenth day of May last, unanimously resolved to have me submit on this the occasion of the visit to Canada of your Most Gracious Majesty and that of your most Gracious Consort the Queens, the deep feelings of loyalty and devotion of the 80,000 Canadian Mennonites both to Yourself and the Government of which You are the head. 

The Mennonite people have been severely oppressed at different times and in different countries during the course of their history because of their faith, but have at last found in this Dominion a haven of rest, freedom and security.

The first group of Mennonites came to this country in the year 1790 from the United States of America and continued to arrive here during the next several years. The reason for this migration was the War of Independence. They preferred to remain under the British rule and protection with its political and religious freedom, although this entailed pioneering in a new and undeveloped country.

The second group came to Canada from Russia between the years 1874 and 1877. The occasion for this movement was the rescinding by the Czarist regime of the privilege granted their forefathers not to be conscripted for military service. This group settled in the Red River Valley in Manitoba, and while they had to undergo great hardships as pioneers, they rejoiced in the new found liberty which had been denied them in Russia.

The third and last group came likewise from Russia during the years 1923 to 1930. The terrible revolution which convulsed that country just prior to the years named, and the bloody character of the Russian Government, brought the greatest distress to them. All they possessed was taken from them. Many, together with other Christians, were either murdered or banished to the bleak tundras and forests of Northern Russia. Famine and contagious diseases decimated their ranks. In their great need and distress they asked for help in order to be able to escape from the horrors of that country. The Canadian Government on the petition of the Mennonites here, granted the same and 21,000 of these refugees were permitted to make their homes here. It is hard to properly evaluate the liberties which Canadian citizens enjoy, yet the Mennonite people are anxious to express their gratitude to God and their country for all the privileges which have been extended to them every since they came here. The Canadian Government has dealt with them in a kindly manner, and by and large kept the promises made to their fathers. They have been allowed to live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience and follow their occupations as they pleased and enjoy the fruits of their labor without any molestation or interference.

The Mennonite people, therefore, cannot allow the opportunity to pass without assuring your Most Gracious Majesty and Your Canadian Government of their deepest devotion and unwavering loyalty and to express the hope that both Your Majesty and Your Royal Consort, our Most Gracious Queen, may enjoy to the full Your visit to this Dominion.

In conclusion we can assure Your Majesty that our people will always pray that Our Heavenly Father Who is Lord Over All, and on Whose blessings we all depend, may grant long life and happiness to Your Majesties and prosperity to the millions of our subjects so that Your reign may always be remembered rather because of its accomplishments in ways of peace than in the achievements of war.  

God be with You! [ExMCan, 54-56]