The Lichtenau Church is highlighted as an important piece of Mennonite history when approximately 23,000 Mennonites came from the Soviet Union to Canada 100 years ago. 

Andrea Klassen, senior curator at Mennonite Heritage Village, says the Lichtenau church was built in Ste. Elizabeth, near Morris, and now sits at the museum in Steinbach. 

In the current exhibit, we can find a communion tray and a hand-copied choral book from the opening of the church in 1930. 

Faith carried these people 100 years ago into this new life of a lot of struggles; leaving struggle behind in the Soviet Union, but life in Canada was not easy either,” Klassen says. “They came during the Great Depression and had a lot of travel debts to pay off. You have to find your footing in a new country, and so these artifacts point to that history.” 

While the Lichtenau church is now located at the museum, Klassen notes we can still find the heritage cemetery at the original location in Ste. Elizabeth. 

“They do have a cemetery that remains there, and they have a cemetery committee who keeps up the grounds, keeps up the historical cemetery and I think they have some historical markers there on site as well,” says Klassen. “They've been very good partners with us, on thinking of ways of how to interpret the church here as a museum.”

-With files from Michelle Sawatzky