File 1 - John H. Enns papers

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CA MHC ORG-Volume 2106-1


John H. Enns papers


  • 1934-1957 (Creation)

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2 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Johann Hermann Enns, minister, teacher, farmer, was born to Herman and Elizabeth (nee Braun) Enns on April 8, 1889 in Samojlowka, Southern Russia. Enns was the third of five children. He attended the village school and then went on to complete his education at the Zentralschule and seminary in Halbstadt. At the age of 18 he was baptized by Aeltester Abram Goertz and became a member of the Samojlowka church. That same year he began teaching at the village school in Altenau. Eventually his teaching career led him to Grigorjewka where his future wife, Agatha Unruh, also came to teach. They had known each other in Halbstadt where Enns had boarded at her father's home during his years of study there. Shortly after they became engaged, Enns was called up to work for the war effort as a Red Cross medic. After two years he returned and they were married on August 27, 1917. In 1921 Enns resigned from his teaching post in Jekaterinowk under pressure to teach from anti-religious books. In 1924 he was called to the ministry by the church in Samojlowka and ordained by Aeltester Abram Goertz. Enns, his wife and their two sons came to Canada in 1925. They first settled in St. Elizabeth, Manitoba where they farmed for seven years. In Canada Enns continued his ministry in the Lichtenau Church and his teaching career as well at the Bible School in Gretna. Enns' family grew with the births of three more children. In 1932 they moved to Winnipeg where Enns had been called to take on the position of full-time pastor at the Schoenwieser Church (later known as First Mennonite Church). In Winnipeg their eighth and last child was born in 1933. It required some adjustment to give up farming but Enns used his time well -- becoming involved in schools and the Conference, in addition to his church responsibilities. He was ordained to the office of Aeltester in 1939. During his 32 years of service to the church there was a period of great pain and disappointment for Enns which arose over his views regarding salvation. It resulted in a three year break with the Conference of Mennonite in Canada. During this time he and his congregation were effectively shunned by the Conference. Reconciliation was made possible by intervention from the Unity Committee of the General Conference. In 1964 Enns received the honorary title of Doctor of Divinity from the United College of Winnipeg. That same year he retired, giving him time to visit Europe in 1965. Enns was awarded the Medal of Service, of the Order of Canada October 28, 1970 in Ottawa. Johann Herman Enns died on September 1, 1974 at 85 years of age.

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This file contains 9 folders of hand-written and typed material including letters, sermons, lists, articles, Bible School curriculum, meeting minutes, a paper on ecumenism, and a report written for a congregational meeting held on October 14,1940.

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Hand-written Gothic German, typed German and English

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