“On Stony Ground” Book Launch at Mennonite Heritage Village

Apr 18 7:00PM

Mennonite Heritage Village

We invite you to join us at Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach (231 Highway 12N) to celebrate the launch of James Urry’s much-anticipated new book On Stony Ground: Russländer Mennonites and the Rebuilding of Community in Grunthal. The event will feature James Urry appearing by video from New Zealand as well as other guest speakers. Coffee and refreshments will be provided.


On Stony Ground presents a historical ethnographic account of a generation of Mennonites from the Soviet Union who, following Russia’s revolution and civil war, immigrated to Manitoba during the 1920s. James Urry examines how they came to terms with a new land and with their new neighbours, including other Mennonites, Ukrainians, French Canadians, and Indigenous Peoples.

The book discusses the impact of the Great Depression and how the immigrants struggled with their identity in Canada as Hitler and Stalin rose to power in Germany and the USSR. It reveals the immigrants’ desire to maintain their faith, language, and culture while encouraging their children to take advantage of an education conducted mainly in English. On Stony Ground explores how prosperity following the Second World War helped the immigrants to build a community in conjunction with others, including Mennonites and non-Mennonites, and to accept their new home in Canada.

“After making his scholarly mark a generation ago as the expert on Mennonite life in the Russian Empire, James Urry now lends his keen anthropological eye to a microanalysis of a single village: Grunthal, Manitoba. Here, as always, he boldly exposes the rich internal social dynamics of different socioeconomic classes, competing faith persuasions, and distinctive settler groups within a Mennonite population.” – Royden Loewen, Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg