Resource Leaders: 2010 Mennonite Heritage Cruise

Paul Toews and Rudy Friesen are founding & continuing leaders of the cruise
Additional Resource Leaders: Alan Peters
is the leading Mennonite genealogist
John Martens is a retired agronogmist and agricultural expert
George Dyck returns to lead the Mennonite Return and Outreach theme bus tour

Rudy Friesen in the Mennonite Villages - 1996 - a gathering of serious reseachers
(link to Rudy's Web Site)
The two Wiebe brothers (left) helped their historian sister Leona (Gislason) to the definitive Rueckenau history,  Medical Doctor & genealogist Tim Janzen (just right of Friesen) has since significantly added to the Mennonite archival  record in Crimea and other places.

Rudy Friesen is a practising and award-winning architect in Winnipeg. His parents immigrated to Canada from Russia in 1926. He received his architectural training at the University of Manitoba and has been active in numerous professional organizations.

Along with historian Paul Toews and genealogist Alan Peters, Rudy Friesen has helped create the international prestige and reputation of the cruise. Rudy Friesen is a founding member of the cruise and has participated in all of the cruises.


Historian Dr. Paul Toews
Paul Toews
Paul Toews (link to Center for M B Studies)

Paul Toews is Professor of History, Fresno Pacific University. He is also Director of the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary and Fresno Pacific University. He is the author of many articles and books on diverse aspects of Mennonite History including Mennonites in American Society, 1930-1970: Modernity and the Persistance of Religious Community, published in 1996. Like other leading Mennonite scholars today, he is involved in archival research projects in Ukraine and Russia. He is a leader of the international team which created the new Siberia Mennonite Archive and helped supervise a major international scholarly conference in Siberia in June, 2010, in association with the Russian Academy of Sciences. He has spent a year in Ukraine as a Fullbright exchange scholar. Dr. Toews gives four major illustrated lectures and hosts other significant cruise events. His presence on the cruise is much respected and universally loved. Passengers often comment that he uniquely symbolizes the spirit and excellence of the cruise.



Alan Peters and the genealogical laptop - a cruise resource specialist since 1996 .

Alan Peters is the master Mennonite genealogist.  He is acknowledged by his peers in the genealogical world as having done more work in tracking the Dutch/Prussian/Russian/North American Mennonite stream than anyone else. The  GRANDMA project, officially sponsored by the California Mennonite Historical Society and Fresno MB Biblical Seminary, is based on his work.  That project alone now includes genealogical information on nearly a million people out of this northern European Mennonite strand.  In addition to researching in Mennonite records Alan has worked in the civil records and state church records of Prussia/Poland and Russia/Ukraine.

On the last nine cruises Alan has presented computer-assisted seminars on genealogy that had passengers riveted for two hours, thanks to his profound knowledge of Mennonite genealogy and familiarity with genealogical software. Alan is an accomplished litanist and has helped shape many of the reflective occasions on the cruise. Genealogy has become a mainstream interest for many people and Alan has always been "ahead of the wave".

Having retired after a distinguished career in California Social Services, Alan is much sought after for workshops in genealogy.


Martens at Eichenfeld
John Martens explaining the Eichenfeld massacre on site in 1998

John Martens is a retired agronomist and agriculture expert, having worked in various parts of the world. He has unique knowledge of the Khortitsa and Yazykovo villages. His family was prominent in Schlachtin-Baratov and Krivoi Rog. He has also served faithfully as a backstage cruise administrative assistant and fixer.



George Dyck returns as Resource Leader for Mennonite Return and Outreach

George Dyck

George Dyck is a retired educationist and fruit farmer. He is a past chairman of the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine and currently its Treasurer.
George created the theme bus route Mennonite Return and Outreach in 2007. It visits the main building, a refurbished Girls School in Halbstadt/Molochansk and
interacts with local schools, orphanages, clinics and farmers. It offers the perfect opportunity to meet Molochna residents and see what Mennonites are
doing to help Ukrainians in the region where we once lived.




Ukrainian Cruise Team Members on the ship in October 2006
Team membersTeam members
                                            Volodymyr Kuzyk, videographer; Olga Shmakina, sr. guide          Lyudmilla Karyaka, sr. guide; Irina Kuzyk, videographer; Larissa Goryacheva, trip mgr; Galyna Zadorowska, cruise director

The success of the Mennonite Heritage Cruise has depended largely on the excellence of its Ukrainian partners. Here key members are on the ship sundeck as it sailed from Odessa on the Black Sea in early October 2006. Along with colleagues, they have all been involved in the cruise since its inception back in 1995.

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