Series s00008 - MCC Canada Restorative Justice Program Series

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US MCC s00008


MCC Canada Restorative Justice Program Series


  • 1976 - 1997 (Creation)

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(1975 -)

Administrative history

MCC Canada’s Restorative Justice program began with the establishment of the Offender Ministries program in 1975. Leading up to this throughout the 1960s and 1970s, provincial MCCs initiated prison visitation ministries and other offender ministries programs, which were staffed by Voluntary Service workers. The M2 (Man to Man) and W2 (Woman to Woman) programs were among the earliest Canadian MCC programs that aimed to help offenders. Other experimental programs and projects based on the work of M2 and W2, such as the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), were developed to reconcile victims of crime and offenders. These programs were precursors to MCC Canada’s Offender Ministries national program, which began in 1975. In 1981, the program became part of the National Program Department and in 1983 was renamed Victim Offender Ministries (VOM).

Throughout the 1990s, Victim Offender Ministries developed new and innovative ways of responding to the criminal justice system. Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) began in 1994 to help reintegrate released sex offenders into society. Another initiative called the Victims’ Voice Program began in 1996 and was intended to provide victims of violence with emotional support through a national network of victims committed to advocacy and social change.

Victim Offender Ministries contributed to changes within the criminal justice system in Canada in the first twenty years of the program. By 1996, federal and provincial correctional systems had begun to fund programs related to victim offender reconciliation, mediation, prison visitation, and victims’ advocacy. In response to its success and broadening vision, the program restructured in 1997; a Restorative Justice network made up of provincial MCC Restorative Justice programs including Victim Offender Reconciliation Programs, prison visitation ministries, and Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) was established. The MCC Canada Restorative Justice Program works collaboratively with the provincial MCC Restorative Justice programs through the Restorative Justice Network. Since ca. 2007, MCC Canada’s Restorative Justice Program has also worked within the Abuse Response and Prevention Network alongside the MCC abuse response and prevention programs run by MCC British Columbia and MCC Manitoba.

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Administrative history

MCC Canada is a peace, relief, and service agency of Canadian Mennonites and Brethren in Christ. It was founded in December of 1963 through the merger of seven regional Mennonite and Brethren in Christ service organizations: the Non-Resistant Relief Organization (NRRO), the Canadian Mennonite Relief Committee (CMRC), the Canadian Mennonite Relief and Immigration Council (CMRIC), the Conference of Historic Peace Churches (CHPC), the Historic Peace Church Council of Canada (HPCCC), Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), and the MCC Binational Kitchener Office. This merger into one national inter-Mennonite body in Canada was intended to allow for more effective use of time, volunteers, and resources in conducting relief work.

Upon establishment, MCC Canada worked closely with MCC Binational (also known as MCC International); MCC Canada conducted most of its overseas relief and development work through MCC Binational, while all Canadian programs were administered by MCC Canada. MCC Canada was given a broad mandate to work in the areas of peace education, relief and development, voluntary service, immigration, government lobbying, and other areas of concern. Provincial MCC offices were also established to work alongside but independent of MCC Canada in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, MCC Canada’s activities expanded, especially in terms of the number of national programs administered across the country. MCC Canada’s Canadian Programs Department established programs to raise awareness on peace and other social issues, to advocate on behalf of Indigenous communities, to bring reconciliation into the justice system, to assist people with disabilities, to bring attention to women’s concerns, and to provide resources for those experiencing economic hardship. In 1976, MCC Canada established a Food Bank as a means of channeling surplus grains grown by Mennonite farmers to countries around the world. In 1983, this Food Bank became the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Since 1969, MCC Canada has received matching grants from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) of the Canadian government to administer its many programs.

In the late 1970s, conversations began between MCC Binational and MCC Canada regarding responsibility for MCC international programs. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, some MCC international programs were transferred from MCC Binational to MCC Canada; these included the Kanadier Concerns program, USSR Mennonite program, Refugee Sponsorship program, some control over the delivery of material aid overseas, and the Ten Thousand Villages program in Canada.

Beginning in 2008, MCC began a process of consultation and discussion concerning the purpose and structure of MCC Binational, MCC Canada, and MCC U.S.; this process was called New Wine/New Wineskins. The goal was to more effectively and efficiently administer MCC’s international programming. At the conclusion of the New Wine/New Wineskin process in 2012, MCC Binational was dissolved and ceased to be an MCC entity, leaving MCC Canada and MCC U.S. to jointly administer a single MCC International Program.

MCC Canada continues to provide national programs within Canada and deliver international programs jointly with MCC U.S. The MCC Canada Canadian Programs Department offers programs that address social and economic issues in Canada and form the core of MCC Canada’s mandate. MCC Canada’s commitment to international programming continues through the Shared International Program’s material aid, peace work, and assistance in economic development.

Archival history

Since 1976, MCC Canada has regularly deposited records at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives. The records in this series were maintained in MCC Canada's central files in the Winnipeg office until transferred to the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives in regular intervals throughout the years.

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Scope and content

This series contains records created by MCC Canada’s Restorative Justice program, dating from 1976 to 1997. The records within the series include records of program projects and initiatives including M2/W2, National Victims Program, capital punishment, work relating to prisons. Also included are records relating to provincial MCCs and the Ottawa Office, publications and research material, audio-visual material, chaplain records, and conference and seminar records.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Further accruals to this series are expected.

System of arrangement

The records in this series are arranged according to volume and file numbers which usually correspond with the year of the record’s creation. Sometimes best guesses had to be made about which records belonged to which series.

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Restrictions to materials may apply. Contact Archivist for further information.

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A note for researchers: Initially, in 1963, all the work of MCC Canada was done by the MCC Canada Executive Office. In the years that followed, departments and program offices were formed, dissolved, merged, and restructured, and projects and areas of responsibility shifted within the organization. This means that multiple record series may contain relevant material detailing MCC Canada's work with specific areas, programs, and projects.

For example, if researchers wish to examine all MCC Canada's restorative justice/ victim-offender initiatives, they should consider MCC's Restorative Justice Program series, Victims' Voice Program series, National Program series, Executive Office series, Information Services Department series, Peace and Social Concerns Program series, Ottawa Office series, Voluntary Service Program series, and MCC International Program series.

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Created by Jared Warkentin, March 24, 2020




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