Friends Bob Bartsch, left, and Dick Hildebrandt, members of Black Creek (B.C.) United Mennonite Church, both trace their ties to the original two Prussian Mennonite delegates selected to survey land that eventually led to the Mennonite migration to what became Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Bob Bartsch)
Two members of Black Creek United Mennonite Church in British Columbia have found a common heritage that goes back 234 years to the Russian Empire.
In the late 18th century, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia conquered land she called “New Russia”—now Ukraine—and invited Europeans, including Mennonite farmers from Prussia, to settle the southern plains.