Mennonite Trust was first known as the Mennonite Union Waisenamt. The concept came from Mennonites who emigrated from Russia. The trust organization dealt with inheritances and the caring for of orphans and widows. The first Waisenamt in Russia was officially formed on Sunday, August 31, 1792, at Chortitza, Russia (H.J. Gerbrandt in “Adventures in Faith”). The guiding principles of operation were based on Isaiah 1:17, “Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (RSV).
For various reasons and at different times, groups of Mennonites left their Russian homeland, settling in various locations in the United States and Canada. In all likelihood, some form of Waisenamt service was organized in many of these new Mennonite settlements. Certainly this is true of the settlements in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The formation and development of the Waisenamt in Saskatchewan, particularly in the area north of Saskatoon, is noteworthy in that a strangely unique company now known as Mennonite Trust Ltd. emerged. It is unique in several ways, firstly in that it is the only Waisenamt still in operation in Saskatchewan, and secondly, that it was able to combine three segments of Mennonites into its orbit, each with its separate distinctions and history, to work in harmony in this venture since 1917.
Mennonite Trust began services by renting space from Nickel Insurance in Waldheim SK. MTL began branching out into the surrounding communities, and grew into its own building in 1981. In 1995 a new branch was officially opened in Swift Current SK, and in 1997 Mennonite Trust’s second branch opened in Saskatoon SK.
In 1968 the name of the Company was changed to “Mennonite Trust Ltd.” In 1975, by an amendment to its Charter, the Company was granted the right to administer the estates of any Saskatchewan resident, regardless of religious affiliation.
The Church’s direct surveillance of the Company’s operation has changed; the three owning Conferences continue to appoint members of their own body to act as Directors and Advisors. These Directors and Advisors in turn report to their Conference bodies, usually at the respective annual provincial Conference sessions.
Society is constantly changing, bringing with it changing needs. Mennonite Trust has successfully adapted by tailoring its services to meet these new needs. A welcome development means that Mennonite Trust serves many people outside of the Mennonite tradition, regardless of affiliation or religious beliefs.
We offer services which are designed to help people where they are, as each individual is valuable. As a not-for-profit Company, MTL truly focuses on the need of the client. We think that’s a traditional value that should never change.