Fractures form in a tight-knit Mennonite community, echoing the struggles experienced in small towns across North America
When a non-denominational megachurch opens on the edges of a rural Mennonite community, a quiet—but longstanding—battle begins to reveal itself. For years, the traditionalists in the community have held fast to the values and beliefs they grew up with, while other community members have begun raising important questions about LGBTQ+ inclusion, Indigenous land rights, and the Mennonite legacy of pacifism.
Through a series of vignettes, Shelterbelts explores the perspectives, experiences and limitations of a wide range of characters who find themselves increasingly at odds with their surroundings. A pastor and his queer daughter learn that a family has left their church because of the “LGBT issue.” Young activists butt heads with a farmer over the construction of a pipeline happening on his fields. A librarian leaves suggestive notes for readers inside popular library books.
By pulling these threads together, artist Jonathan Dyck has woven a rich tapestry—one that depicts a close-knit community in the midst of defining its future as it reckons with its past.