Die Mennonitische Post, one of the last remaining German-language publications in North America, celebrated its 40th anniversary in June.
Mennonite Central Committee, which supports the Post, has longstanding relationships with Low German-speaking Mennonites in communities and colonies across North and South America.
MCC promotes German literacy and education through two publications: the Post, a newspaper published twice a month, and Das Blatt, a children’s monthly magazine.
Post editor Kennert Giesbrecht said the paper owes its long life to support from MCC and the 13,500 subscribers from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Belize, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and beyond.
The paper’s goal, aside from promoting literacy and education, is to connect these communities.
“It’s all about informing people, broadening their horizons and building bridges between the Mennonite communities,” he said. “Almost half of the paper is letters where people write about what’s happening in the colonies and their lives.”
The Post founded Das Blatt in 1989 and published a number of German books. It also has a large book ministry, sending German books to Mennonite communities in Latin America. These three components make up Mennonitische Post Ministry.
Over the last 10 years the Post doubled its readership, largely because it’s now printed in four locations, making shipping easier and more cost-effective. The Post is printed in Steinbach, Man.; Asuncion, Paraguay; Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and Chihuahua, Mexico.
Giesbrecht said the Post hopes to expand and reach more isolated communities.
“Mennonite communities in Latin America are spreading out and starting new colonies in Peru, Colombia and Brazil,” he said. “It’s our goal to also reach those communities, too.”
For some of these colonies, the Post is one of the few periodicals received.
“The Post and the Blatt are widely accepted and trusted by Mennonite communities that would close their doors on many other organizations,” Giesbrecht said.
Through its Low German program, MCC assists families with applications for legal status and other resettlement issues. MCC helps Low German communities connect with local services and maintain relationships with leaders in the communities. This helps remove barriers between Low German communities and those around them.
In Latin America, MCC works with local leaders and organizations to address poverty, conflict, literacy, health and disasters. This includes operation of resource centers that provide reading material and other resources, and support of agricultural programs and disaster relief efforts, as well as addictions treatment facilities.