Henry J. Wiens (1885-1975) was Field Secretary for the Mennonite Brethren Church General Conference Board of Trustees and Solicitor for the conference's Mission and Educational Endowment Fund from 1947 to 1952. In conjunction with that position, Wiens and his wife Elisabeth traveled across North America, visiting almost every Mennonite Brethren church in the United States and Canada. In the course of those travels, they took photographs of virtually every church that they visited. Henry Wiens prepared a book describing these congregations entitled The Mennonite Brethren Churches of North America: An Illustrated Survey (Hillsboro, Kan.: Mennonite Brethren Publishing House, 1954).
The color slides were later donated to Fresno Pacific University. In 2007 the sides, which in many cases had become badly scratched and discolored, were scanned and edited by Rachel Regier.
The Henry J. Wiens Collection provides a virtually-complete visual depiction of North American Mennonite Brethren Church buildings during this five-year period. Most of the building portrayed here were designed and built by members of the local congregations, and so this collection is an invaluable resource documenting a distinctive form of vernacular architecture within a religious context.