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Lecture to look at first Mennonite mission

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In 1872, the participants in the sixth session of the General Conference formed the Foreign Mission Board. In 1875, at the seventh session, Samuel S. Haury was accepted as missionary, but it was not until May 1880 that Haury and his bride, Susie L. (Hirschler) Haury, arrived in Darlington, Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), to begin the first “foreign” missions of the General Conference of the Mennonites of North America.

Barbara Thiesen, Bethel College co-director of libraries and technical services librarian, will reprise her presentation on “the first seed of Mennonite mission,” which she gave last spring at the conference “Journey from Darlington: Cheyenne, Arapaho Mennonite” in Clinton, Okla. She will speak on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Administration Building chapel on the Bethel College campus.

In “Every beginning is hard: Darlington Mennonite Mission, 1880-1902,” Thiesen notes that little seems to have been written about the mission work at Darlington, which was primarily among the Arapaho, with much of the focus to date on Mennonite mission work among the Cheyenne, which began in 1883 at Cantonment, Indian Territory.

Thiesen cites annual reports from the federal Commissioner of Indian Affairs between 1881 and 1894, issues of the Mennonite, the official General Conference publication, between 1887 and 1900, and a number of German-language sources.

Thiesen’s presentation is the first Friends of the MLA (Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College) event of the 2006-07 school year and is free and open to the public. For directions or more information on the Friends of the MLA, call 316-284-5360.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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