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that the nearby village of Blumengart was settled by Hutterites who bought most of their supplies wholesale in Winnipeg.
The Russlaender immigration, however, did strengthen the posi tion of the MCI at the expense of the MEL H. H. Ewert's involvement in the immigration gave MCI, rather than MEl, the goodwill of the numerous school teachers who came from Russia." Many of these teachers would receive their retraining at the MCl. The MEl had, over the years, also begun to hire non-Mennonite teachers and utilized the English language, to a greater extent than the MCl. The Russian immigrants, still strongly attached to the German language and culture, were thus more attracted to the MCl. When the MEl burnt down in 1926 it was never rebuilt due in part to severe financial difficulties, but also to insufficient support from the Mennonites themselves. The closing of the MEl, however, did little to reconcile Gretna and Altona residents. Many years passed before Altona families began sending their children to the MCl. In fact, the year that the Altona school burnt, enrollment at MCI dropped."
The Russian immigrants were themselves a cause for some tension in the area. Some Russlaender, especially those who had known consid erable wealth in Russia, considered their Canadian brethren primitive and naive. The Canadian Mennonites, on the other hand, regarded some of the Russian Mennonites as snobbish and of questionable honesty. The basis of the tension between these two groups of Men nonites was the cultural gap that had been created by fifty years of divergent development.
The Russian colonies, especially the Chortitza and Molotschna, had been under the influence of highly developed schools and trained ministers and this led to feelings of superiority among the Russian immigrants and feelings of inferiority among the Canadian Men nonites." Economic development in the Russian colonies had also produced a significant amount of industrialization as opposed to the strictly agricultural economy of the Manitoba Mennonites.
While too much can be made of this conflict, the cultural gap between the two groups was very real. While many of the recent immigrants joined existing churches, especially the Bergthaler and Mennonite Brethren, some did not feel at home in the Canadian Men nonite Churches. Separated from their home church in Russia and not wishing to be lost in larger Canadian congregations, a number .of families from the Reinland, Blumenort, Rosenort, Gnadenthal and Hochfeld areas formed a new immigrant church. Worshipping together in private homes at first, this group formed the Blumenorter Church in 1925 and purchased the old Reinlaender Church buildings in Reinland