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News releases: 2012

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October 26

  • Volunteers are a valuable resource
    “I love resources,” says Carrie Martens, who since the summer has volunteered over 100 hours to Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre. She is helping to sort and catalogue the generous collection of books and DVDs donated by the Mennonite Brethren In Christ Resource Centre in Kitchener, Ont. as a result of its recent closure.

  • New assignment in Burkina Faso
    Nancy Frey and Bruce Yoder are building a new home in Burkina Faso with their children Jeremiah and Deborah. In the capital city of Ouagadougou, the Frey Yoders connect with and help support the Foyer Evangélique Mennonite de Ouagadougou (FEMO), a congregation primarily comprised of young adult university students, 24 of whom live in the FEMO residence.

  • Shaping Families November guests tackle heavyweight issues - Jonathan Larson and Almeda Wright tackle race, religion, the Taliban
    A program looking at how one Christian humanitarian aid worker and his family made friends with Taliban followers in Afghanistan, and another exploring the impact of race on faith development, are two of the issues addressed in upcoming Shaping Families programs.

  • New generation of scholars refreshing John Howard Yoder theology
    John Howard Yoder was acclaimed as one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century. Now a new generation of scholars is ensuring his influence extends well into the 21st century.

October 16

  • Healing summer
    The hot sun beat down on me as I laboriously shifted my weight to pull weeds from the onion row. Gardening was a full time job, a constant battle against birds, weeds, slugs and deer - and not so easy when pregnant. At that point, the perfectly formed produce of Costco, already washed and bagged, looked awfully good.

  • Peace Church Philippines begins
    Darnell and Christina Barkman left Canada several months ago as Mennonite Church Canada workers with Integrated Mennonite Church (IMC) of the Philippines. Their goal: to plant a peace church in Metro Manila, Philippines.

  • Filipino Mennonites Study Vocation of the Church
    Nothing is outside the agenda of Christ. That was just one nugget of wisdom that went home with thirty-five members from Integrated Mennonite Churches (IMC) of the Philippines who attended a three-day study session on the Vocation of the Church in Society led by Robert J. Suderman.

  • Mennonite Church Canada internship announcement
    Daniel Paetkau is serving as a Mennonite Church Canada intern from September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013. He grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and recently graduated from Canadian Mennonite University with a B.A. in Literature.

  • Making Friends among . . . the Taliban?
    Two years ago, the world was shocked when 10 aid workers were murdered as they returned home from an eye care clinic in northern Afghanistan - a tragic event for which no one has claimed responsibility. Author, pastor, and close friend Jonathan Larson documents the far-reaching legacy of one of the ten, Dan Terry, in Making Friends among the Taliban.

  • ‘Improbable story’ of humanitarian worker in Afghanistan to broadcast on ABC-TV
    Weaving Life: The Life and Death of Peacemaker Dan Terry will air on network TV from Sunday, October 21 to December 16, 2012, at the discretion of participating ABC stations.

October 4

  • Photo Release: Pastor Benjamin Mubenga and Siaka Traoré
    Pastor Benjamin Mubenga, president of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Congo, and Siaka Traoré president of the Mennonite Church in Burkina Faso, visited Mennonite Church Canada offices in Wpg. on Sept. 27 and met staff at the invitation of Willard Metzger, Executive Director.

October 2

  • National church consults young adults
    Young adults have a lot to say about the future of the church - and the wider church is listening. Mennonite Church Canada and the five Area Churches invited 8 young adults from across Canada to Winnipeg for a Sept. 27 and 28 consultation about the future of the church.

October 1

Breaking News

  • National and Area Church Prayer Request
    On Sept. 28-29, the executive leaders and moderators of each Area Church and Mennonite Church Canada will be meeting in Winnipeg for a church-wide consultation. They will be joined by two young adults from each Area Church. Betty Pries will be facilitating the consultation.

September 14

  • Mennonite Church Canada staffer launches a best-seller
    Elsie Rempel’s new book, Please Pass the Faith: The Art of Spiritual Grandparenting, hit #1 on McNally Robinson’s non-fiction bestseller list for the week of Sept. 2, 2012. Although the book was officially launched in Vancouver, B.C. at Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2012, the McNally Robinson event brought the book into a larger public arena with its launch on Sept. 5.

  • Study of Anabaptist churches in the Global South
    Anabaptist churches in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have grown rapidly in recent years, while membership and attendance numbers in North American and European churches have declined. In Winds of the Spirit, authors Conrad Kanagy, Tilahun Beyene, and Richard Showalter examine some of the reasons for this pattern through a recent study of Anabaptist churches of the Global South.

  • New volunteers respond to questions about Mennonites
    Angela and Erwin Rempel of Harrisonburg, Virginia, are serving as volunteer respondents to questions about Mennonites sent to Third Way Café and Mennonite Church USA websites.

September 9

  • From refugees to church planters, Evangelical Mennonite Church of Congo celebrates 50 years
    Prime-time television news, amplified guitar riffs and deep-throated traditional drums announced to the city of Mbuji Mayi that Communauté Evangélique Mennonite au Congo (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Congo) was celebrating their 50th anniversary from July 23-27.

  • China to Canada: A Prairie Connection
    The flat lands of Manitoba’s wide Red River valley bottom would seem to have little in common with northern China – unless you’ve seen the expansive silkscreen prints of Chinese artist Liang Yu.

  • Short term ministry coordinator hired: Mennonite Church Canada
    Cheryl Woelk has joined Mennonite Church Canada staff as Short Term Ministry Coordinator for a part-time, term position until Feb. 1, 2012. Her assignment will initially focus on establishing guidelines, policies, and candidate review procedures for short term service assignments.

  • Melissa Miller and Phil Wagler join team of rotating radio speakers
    Two new “My Turn” speakers, both from Canada, have been added to a team of commentators who respond to each interview guest on the Shaping Families radio program. Shaping Families was launched by (then) Third Way Media in 2010 to address tough family issues from a faith perspective and includes guest interviewees each week.

  • Ted Swartz documents life after loss of creative partner
    Playwright and actor Ted Swartz has scripted his most personal work yet, this time, in autobiographical form. Laughter is Sacred Space: The Not-So Typical Journey of a Mennonite Actor is a mix of tragedy and comedy that will have readers shaking with laughter and wiping away tears.

  • Nationally-known line up on Shaping Families radio
    Tony Campolo, prolific author and comedic evangelical speaker; John Westerhoff, author of the classic 1976 volume on faith formation, Will Our Children Have Faith; Ted Swartz of Ted & Company videos, live shows and DVDs; and Lynn Hybels, an author and activist from Willow Creek Community Church, will speak various weeks in September on the Shaping Families radio program on behalf of Mennonite churches.

  • A path to renewal through many voices
    Throughout history, Christian renewal movements have repeatedly emerged as God’s Spirit energizes the church and changes lives. Most times this has happened, Stuart and Sian Murray Williams say, believers have turned back to what they call a “multivoiced” model of church. In their new book The Power of All: Building a Multivoiced Church, they examine multivoiced church and the way it can revitalize Christian life.

  • New titles added to Bible study and devotional series
    Each fall, many congregations seek new materials to recommend for adult Bible study groups and Christian education classes. Two new studies from MennoMedia in the With the Word series—on Matthew and Isaiah—offer fresh options. With the Word provides focused study on individual books of the Bible, with accompanying devotions on the same text and theme.

  • Real Life, Real Families: new study launched
    MennoMedia has launched a new audio curriculum, Real Life, Real Families, developed out of its weekly 15-minute radio program, Shaping Families.

July 31

  • Happy Birthday, MennoMedia!
    Pile the “presents” in your e-cart, post on our wall on Facebook, and send out a special birthday Tweet: MennoMedia just turned one. On July 1, the publishing agency of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA officially celebrated its first year of publishing as a new organization. MennoMedia’s first year included merging two historic entities - Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media - while also relocating its main office and warehouse and navigating with new leadership.

  • Canadian pricing change announced
    As of July 1, prices for Herald Press books and MennoMedia products in Canada got a little easier to swallow. “In light of the persistently high Canadian dollar, we’ve decided to again introduce a single pricing structure for all our products,” said Russ Eanes, executive director of MennoMedia, a bi-national agency serving Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

  • Episcopal churches using Mennonite VBS materials
    “Who would have thought Mennonites and Episcopalians could connect so well?” jokes Rev. June Hardy Dorsey, assistant rector of St. Thomas Episcopal church in Richmond, Virginia, who has used Mennonite produced Vacation Bible School materials for six years. “We don’t even look at anything else.”

  • Habitat for Humanity CEO featured on Shaping Families
    Jonathan Reckford, CEO of the international Habitat for Humanity organization since 2006, will speak on the Shaping Families 15-minute weekly radio program in July. Erin Ranck, head of Habitat for Humanity, Los Angeles, California, is also a guest on the July 14, 2012 program, telling how important housing is in addressing the welfare of families and their communities.

  • MennoMedia releases its first audiobook
    Just over a year after forming as a new agency, MennoMedia released its first audiobook, and the first audiobook with a Mennonite Publishing House connection for 23 years. As of July 10, Tobias of the Amish and Emma: A Widow Among the Amish are now available on CD and audio download, read by the author and Mennonite Church USA Executive Director, Ervin R. Stutzman.

  • Troubling trends in competitive sports at early ages
    Dave King, athletic director at Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg), is concerned for the way competitive sports can take over family life from a young age. King is not against participation in sports. He is the father of three sons who competed at high school and college levels and who was personally involved in education and sports most of his life. “I understand that coaches are putting a lot of pressure on, but I think it’s time families stand up and say wait a minute, enough is enough,” King says on the Shaping Families program.

  • Third edition of best-selling classic published
    After selling over 125,000 copies and being translated into over 20 languages, a third edition of a popular Herald Press title has been refreshed for new generations. Seven Things Children Need, by pastor and prolific author John M. Drescher, was re-released June 26, after previously being published in 1976 and re-released in 1988.

July 31 - Breaking News

  • Former mission worker shot in Afghanistan
    Al Geiser, a former jointly worker jointly supported by Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Mission Network worker (MMN), was shot and killed July 23 in Afghanistan.

July 27

  • Faithful response, remarkable document
    Last fall, the tables were turned and it became your turn to teach. Mennonite Church Canada leadership invited you—congregations, church groups and individuals—to share how you approach issues of discernment with scripture.

  • Gracious and dedicated service
    Any conversation with Andrew Reesor-McDowell garners his undivided attention. He listens intently and responds thoughtfully, allowing dialogue partners to know that they—and their contributions—are important. This gracious and meticulous approach to others has shaped Reesor-McDowell’s service as Moderator to Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board for the past four years.

  • Introducing Jennifer Otto and Gregory Rabus
    Jennifer Otto and Gregory Rabus, from Ontario and Connecticut respectively, have accepted an invitation to lead an urban church plant in southern Germany in partnership with the Verband deutscher Mennonitengemeinden (VdM) and the Deutsches Mennonitisches Missionskomitee (DMMK).

  • NHL’er spends face time with summer campers
    Not many kids at Mennonite summer camps have a chance to meet a bona fide Mennonite NHL hockey player, but that is exactly what happened when the Nashville Predators’ Nick Spaling spent the day at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp (Ont.) on July 4.

  • Relationships are key to healing and reconciliation
    “For the church in Canada to have any integrity, it must work to heal its relationships with host people and host land.” This statement from Mennonite Church Canada Executive Director Willard Metzger reflects the importance of Mennonite connections with indigenous people—and its involvement with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process.

  • Thinking out loud brings healing
    A mumble can be fateful. Two years ago, members of Sardis Community Church in Chilliwack B.C. sought ways to build connections with surrounding First Nations communities. At one resulting meeting, Isadore Charters, an indigenous artist and elder from the nearby Cultus Lake area, spoke out. Or, rather, he mumbled.

  • Zahara Kawje Ali featured in “Mennonites Everywhere” video
    Zahara Kwaje Ali is a Mennonite who proudly declares her affiliation with Peace Mennonite Church in Regina, Sask. in the latest installment of the Mennonites Everywhere video series produced by Mennonite Church Canada.

  • Dealing with the hard texts
    If the Bible is for everyone, how do we explain some of those difficult Old Testament texts to our children? Rodney Wiebe, adjunct instructor at Columbia Bible College, former pastor and father of young children himself, addressed this topic in the workshop, “What about the hard texts? Is the Bible a children’s book?”

  • Do good or do nothing?
    For many Christians, life is not so much a battle between doing good or doing evil, but between doing good or doing nothing. Pastor Valéria Alvarenga says she could stay home and watch television and serve her congregants between Sundays, safely away from risk. Instead she has chosen to confront drug trafficking, violence against women – and a rigid church – as she makes friends with the marginalized and vulnerable people in a surrounding impoverished neighbourhood in Recife, Brazil.

  • God’s word in my mouth
    Presenting scripture in worship is a holy and humble task that adults need to take more seriously. So says Ken Hawkley who led the very intentionally titled workshop, God’s word in my mouth. “It is both a terrifying and awesome responsibility that deserves to be treated with reverence.” The tips Hawkley offered were simple - but do require effort and advance preparation.

  • Introducing Cheryl and Michael Nimz
    Michael Nimz has accepted an invitation to serve with the Mennonite Centre Trust (MCT) in nurturing and resourcing groups in the emerging Anabaptist Network of Communities (ANC), part of the Anabaptist Network in the United Kingdom.

  • Making peace with the Old Testament
    The Old Testament can be troublesome, particularly when it comes to issues of violence. Afwat Marzouk, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, approached this topic in his workshop at Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012, “And the Lord smote them.”

  • Reading the Bible with the damned
    The Bible was primarily written for the damned, says Gareth Brandt. Brandt offered this provocative proclamation in a roving workshop called “Word on the Street” on Friday afternoon.

  • She is fighting a lonely battle
    She wept as she told her gripping story of being criminalized by the Canadian government for exercising her indigenous rights to fish from the Fraser River. And she drummed a prayer for “indigenous” Mennonites attending the overflow Sacred Scripture in Invaded Space workshop on Friday as she appealed for help in fighting a lonely battle in the courts for the past decade.

  • Training multi-cultural leaders
    Mennonite Church Canada has almost 50 multi-cultural congregations across the country speaking many languages other than English. Helping pastors of these congregations meet their congregation’s needs requires more than the provision of Anabaptist materials in their mother tongue. It involves negotiating cultural differences and helping newcomers to Canada adjust to an unfamiliar culture and lifestyle.

  • Gather ’Round cosponsors conference on children and youth
    An innovative conference on children and youth ministry, held in early May in Washington, D.C., drew well over 400 people from Canada, the U.S. and several other countries including Australia.

  • An invitation to listen
    When Mennonite Church Canada’s Faith and Life Committee (FLC) compiled 4 pages of potential issues for denominational discernment in the spring of 2012, they decided to ask the church body for help in narrowing down the list.

  • Spreading the Word: Erwin and Marian Wiens in South Korea
    North American churches forget how special Anabaptism is, say Erwin and Marian Wiens, recently returned from Korea from an assignment with Mennonite Church Canada.

  • New donate web interface for Mennonite Church Canada
    In the coming months Mennonite Church Canada will be launching its first major web site upgrade since 2002. The first component to go live will be a completely new donation portal that will allow donors to choose projects by theme, by country, or by worker.

  • Please Pass the Faith: Book launch at Assembly
    Elsie Rempel, Mennonite Church Canada Formation Consultant, launched her new book, Please Pass the Faith, at the national church’s Assembly 2012. The book explores “spiritual grand-parenting” as an intentional way to share faith with the next generation in a world full of distractions and busy schedules.
  • Spreading the Word: Andrew and Karen Suderman in South Africa
    Anabaptism is catching on in South Africa, thanks in part to a Mennonite Church Canada presence. Like Dan and Yvonne Nighswander and others before them, Andrew and Karen Suderman are helping to establish the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA), to “walk with, support, and grow communities of peace, justice, and reconciliation...”
  • 59 Cents Campaign grows out of peace building assignment
    On June 22, a small group of students from Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and CMU’s Menno Simons College launched a campaign to challenge the federal government’s decision to begin denying supplemental healthcare coverage to refugees on June 30, 2012.

  • 2013 Youth Assembly Coordinator Announced
    Dorothy Fontaine has been appointed to oversee the planning of the 2013 Mennonite Church Canada youth assembly in Manitoba. As Event Coordinator, Fontaine will work with other Mennonite Church Manitoba (MCM) volunteers and Mennonite Church Canada faith formation staff to lead all aspects of the gathering, which will take place July 29 – Aug. 2, 2013

  • Art Space at Assembly 2012
    For the third year in a row, Mennonite Church Canada’s Annual Assembly featured an art exhibit. Heritage Centre Gallery curator and artist, Ray Dirks pulled the exhibit together with the help of Laura Eriksson of B.C.

  • ‘Love of God’ most-sung in song survey
    “The Love of God” is the song most sung in Canada and the US in the Hymnal: A Worship Book and their two supplements, Sing the Journey and Sing the Story, reports Amy Gingerich, director of print media for MennoMedia and co-chair of the Bi-National Worship Council, from a nine-month survey of songs-most-sung.

  • Financial Report: Randy Wiebe, CFO
    Randy Wiebe, Mennonite Church Canada’s CFO, reported to delegates at Assembly 2012 that while total revenues increased by $55,000 over the previous year, the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2012 still ended with a $129,000 deficit, which was covered by draws on reserves.

  • Dusting off your DVD collection
    Film has become the most important entertainment medium of this time and can shed light on scripture, said Vic Thiessen, Mennonite Church Canada’s Executive Minister, Church Engagement and Chief Administrative Officer.

  • Behind the mask
    The mask tells his story, Isadore Charters tells me. Bold, wide strokes of red paint represent his mother and a song he fondly recalls her singing to him; The Red Horse. The deep carvings on the mask’s left cheek, and somewhat shallower marks on the right, represent scars belonging to his father. The black paint, except for the thin line above the mask’s upper lip, also represent his father.

  • Scripture In Exile: Bring back discipling and wisdom
    “Never in Canada’s 150 year history has an emerging generation been exposed to such an explosion of change and choice,” Tim Froese said in his “Scripture in Exile” workshop Saturday afternoon. Attended by persons of all ages, the workshop focused on how this generation, like no other, is working with a completely new set of cultural constructs as it struggles to find a faith expression based in the biblical narrative.

  • Understanding each other is key to scripture discernment
    Understanding the world views each of us hold can help us better understand each other when we disagree on matters of faith and biblical understandings. That was the central thesis of Gary Yamasaki’s workshop for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012 entitled the “Getting the Big Picture.”

  • 44 Young adults attend Assembly 2012
    Many people remark that it’s difficult to get young adults interested and involved in church. But this isn’t the case for the 44 young adults who attended the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012.

  • “We are the ones calling for blame”
    Jesus plays the role of scapegoat so that we don’t have to hate, kill and blame each other for those sins, observed Rose Graber in discussing the Three Views of the Atonement workshop led by April Yamaski on Saturday afternoon at Assembly 2012. The workshop focused on Christ-the-Victor, Substitutionary, and Moral Influence categories developed by biblical scholars over the ages.

  • Why the Bible?
    In an attempt to learn more about how young adults experience the Bible, Arnold Neufeldt-Fast and self identified young adult, Rebecca Steiner, led a workshop at Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012 about the role and future of the Bible.

  • Young adult beach party
    A normal beach party includes swimming, beach volleyball, and other fun activities, but by the time young adult delegates and participants of Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012 arrived at Garry Point Park in Richmond B.C. on Saturday evening, July 14, it was growing dark. Too dark to play any games requiring hand-eye coordination.

  • Photo Release - Mennonite Girls Can Cook—and celebrate!
    Eight of the ten women behind MennoMedia’s best-selling cookbook, Mennonite Girls Can Cook, came to Vancouver to help celebrate Mennonite Women Canada’s 60th Anniversary celebratory luncheon at Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2012 on July 14.

July 17

  • Dance with the Bible and let the Holy Spirit out
    Dance with the Bible? Rub the dust off its cover to let the Holy Spirit out? At first glance, these ideas may seem audacious or even blasphemous, but scholar, educator and author Tom Yoder Neufeld provoked thought by integrating them into his plenary sessions on July 14 and 15 at Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2012, Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century.

  • A gift beyond price
    The Bible was such an integral part of Tom Yoder Neufeld’s life that he can’t recall a time without it. His earliest memory of scripture brings to mind salty air and open seas. He taught himself to read German using the New Testament while travelling across the ocean with his parents on their first European mission assignment.

  • No Old Tome!
    Sheila Klassen-Wiebe has a vivid childhood recollection of the Bible. “I remember my parents reading me Bible stories. I can still picture the book; tan in colour, with green and blue trim.” Klassen-Wiebe is the Associate Professor of New Testament at Canadian Mennonite University and served as the Bible study leader for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012, Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century.

  • Worshipful journey toward community
    With a palette of thoughtful, striking photographic images, a gently probing poem and compelling music, Jane-Ellen Grunau created a worshipful multi-media presentation for Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2012, Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century.

  • Shaped and Called
    Gerald Gerbrandt cannot recall a period of time when the Bible did not play prominently in his life. He does remember one of the earlier translations he read as a preschooler—one that provides an interesting contrast to his lifelong vocation as a scholar and educator, and recently retired president of Canadian Mennonite University.

June 14

June 13

  • Where are the Mennonites?
    "The stories are horrific. You can't listen to them without a sick feeling of disbelief rising in your stomach. It's easy to tell yourself that because you were not personally involved, you have no blame for what happened. But the feeling of guilt persists."

  • Day schools: the struggle for inclusion
    Official government apologies and the national Truth and Reconciliation process do not include all prior students of government-funded, church-run schools for Indigenous peoples, a handful of which have associations with Mennonite communities.

  • Winners announced! A good home for Chris and Selah
    Chris and Selah have found a new home. The action figures, based upon Mennonite Church Canada’s Advent and Lent-at-Home resources, were awarded to Rebecca Stoesz (age 8) and her brother Andrew (age 10) after a draw held on May 1.

  • New staff to direct new curriculum series
    MennoMedia and Brethren Press have hired Rose Stutzman and Rebecca Seiling to direct and develop the next generation of Sunday school curriculum for children and youth. This new, yet-to-be-named curriculum will succeed Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News, which is scheduled to conclude after the summer of 2014.

  • Relentless Goodbye: the emotional journey of caring for a loved one with dementia
    Ginnie Horst Burkholder, author of the recently released memoir Relentless Goodbye, was only in her 40s when she first felt that something wasn’t right with her husband Nelson. A small group at church was doing a personality test just for fun, and it was obvious that Nelson needed much more help than warranted for the simple activity. She just blamed it on poor sleep.

  • Singer-songwriter headlines radio program in June
    Michael Card, a singer-songwriter, musician, and author reveals the story of how he met and pursued his wife over many years, and tells of their years of travel and homeschooling their children while Michael performed as a recording artist.

May 28

  • New crematorium to lift burden
    When the Borabu’s first Christian crematorium is finished, it will finally bring peace of mind to members of Living Water Church in this region of Thailand, who have been concerned about how they will honour their loved ones who pass away.

May 15

  • Comedic exegesis coming to Assembly 2012
    Ted Swartz studied to become a congregational pastor but discovered that his true calling placed him on stage rather than behind a pulpit, using “comedic exegesis” to encourage scriptural understanding.

  • Dusty Bibles?
    This year, Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly takes place in Vancouver, BC, July 12-15 as a study conference themed Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century.

  • Beach party!
    Beach parties are not one typically associated with Mennonite Church Canada assemblies, but this year in Vancouver, young adults will have the opportunity to connect with each other for a late night, West Coast Beach Party at Garry Point Park on Sat. July 14, 2012.

  • Mennonite leaders support efforts to “keep” the water
    On Friday, May 5, Mennonite Church Canada executive attended a locally organized, public action at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg in support of the Yinka-Dene Alliance’s resistance to the development of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline.

  • Soccer and compassion make a difference
    The Compassion ministry of Living Water Church in Borabu, where Mennonite Church Canada worker Rad Houmphan ministers, hosted a sports tournament in February of this year. Six other churches also participated in the event, which drew more than 200 people together for a day of worship, play, laughter and fellowship.

  • New Bible study urges participants to seek justice
    A new Bible study guide sponsored jointly by Mennonite Women Canada and Mennonite Women USA highlights issues of justice around themes from the book of Amos.

  • Honouring Conscientious Objectors
    Although it’s common practice around the world to commemorate soldiers and pivotal wars, May 15 marks a quieter, more peaceful occasion: International Conscientious Objectors Day.

May 1

  • A godchild’s gift
    One of our greatest joys in China has been acquiring several “godchildren,” especially Kent. Kent, 24, in his sixth year of medical studies, was Julie’s oral English student at Chongqing Medical University in 2007.

  • Students care for convalescing teacher
    Last February, Mennonite Church Canada worker Julie Bender took a fall and sustained a hairline fracture to her right knee. The doctor ordered her to stay off her feet for six weeks.

  • MennoMedia wins U.S. media awards
    MennoMedia won two national media awards from a U.S. association during its annual convention in Philadelphia. The Religion Communicators Council recognized the Waging Peace documentary and the Shaping Families radio program.

  • MennoMedia’s VBS a ‘top pick’ for 2012
    MennoMedia’s Vacation Bible School curriculum for 2012 has been named one of four “top picks” by the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary in Richmond. This is the sixth year in a row that the Mennonite VBS has won this distinction.

April 16

  • Christ at the Checkpoint: hope in the midst of conflict
    At a time when conflict and injustice continue to plague the Holy Land, over 600 people from around the world gathered to focus on hope and options in Bethlehem March 5-9 for the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference.

  • Hespeler documents reflect Manitoba Mennonite history
    At first glance, the creased and yellowed pages simply appear old, but a closer inspection reveals something more. Some of the documents bear the personal signatures of 19th century rulers such as Queen Victoria and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia—and they have a Mennonite connection.

  • Witness worker will miss daily scenes in China
    One of the scenes Mennonite Church Canada worker Bob Dick will miss about his English teaching ministry at a university in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, is seeing the twice daily trek students make to this building to get hot water for drinking and washing.

  • Does biblical book of Joshua justify war?
    Over the years, Christians have often used the Old Testament book of Joshua to justify warfare, conquest, colonialism, and even ethnic cleansing. So what would a Bible commentary from a publisher in the pacifist tradition have to say about this book?

  • Radio program features Amish naturalist
    David Kline added an unusual but not unexpected twist when he agreed to be interviewed for the MennoMedia radio program Shaping Families.

April 3

  • Video series to challenge Mennonite stereotypes
    You don’t need to have a certain kind of ethnic surname or eat culturally specific foods to attend a Mennonite congregation. That’s the message a new video series from Mennonite Church Canada is promoting.

  • Between culture and faith
    The relationship between culture and faith is intimate and difficult to describe. But understanding that relationship is the first step toward building bridges between culture and faith traditions. At the annual Building Bridges event on Friday, March 16, 150 people gathered to hear Sr. Eva Solomon, Fr. Francois Paradis, and Brander "Standing Bear" McDonald reflect with word and song upon their experiences with that relationship.

  • "Earth Sunday" gaining prominence in churches
    Isaac Newton suggested things will not move or change without the action of an external force. Creation care advocates in Manitoba are exerting that force through their Christian faith in small but creative ways - from designing a shareable "Earth Sunday" poster to initiating a Facebook campaign for alternative worship approaches to our consumption-filled lives.

  • Learn, serve and play
    Energy and enthusiasm for the church-and for life-keep Gerd Bartel busy. On December 21, 2011, he retired from his position as Mennonite Church Canada's Western Director of Resource Development, a job he describes as primarily visiting and saying "thank you" to the generous donors who support national church ministries.

  • Pamphlet series on tough issues completed
    Most Christians, including Mennonites, would probably rather not talk about issues like child abuse, alcoholism, or pornography—especially at church. Yet Close to Home pamphlets, published by MennoMedia, have brought these difficult topics and many more right into congregations' front entries, foyers, hallways and even the privacy of washroom stalls.

  • MennoMedia sales reach nearly $2.5 million
    Since MennoMedia merged Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media in July 2011, sales have reached nearly $2.5 million. The top sellers have been Christian education materials and cookbooks. Other top sellers are hymn books, a cappella music CDs, periodicals like the Rejoice! devotional, and newer books like The Naked Anabaptist.

March 16, 2012

  • Modest fundraising plan, fiscal year end date change approved: Mennonite Church Canada
    After an unsettling year of cuts to ministry and staff, financial news from Mennonite Church Canada’s Spring Leadership Assembly is cautiously hopeful. “Individuals and corporate donors have increased their giving compared to last year."

  • Spring Leadership Assembly revisits priorities, refocuses efforts
    Taking a hard look at how to prioritize activities in the face of change proved central to Council discussions at Mennonite Church Canada’s Spring Leadership Assembly (SLA). The event took place at First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg Mar. 7-10.

  • Mennonite Women Canada look to the future
    When the leadership of Mennonite Women Canada get together, they do their best to enjoy every moment—even if it means posing for a photo. They were in Winnipeg, Man., March 7-10 at First Mennonite Church during Mennonite Church Canada's Spring Leadership Assembly to discuss their plans for the future.

  • Youth help shape new devotional
    High school youth had a direct hand in shaping the development of a devotional book for their age group. Their input came through a Sunday school class led by the author and at a national youth convention.

  • Gather ‘Round cosponsors major conference
    The Gather ’Round curriculum project is cosponsoring an innovative conference on “Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity.” The event takes place May 7-10 in Washington, D.C. Mennonite Church Canada is subsidizing the cost for ten youth and children’s ministry leaders from across Canada to attend the event.

  • Radio program offers Easter special
    An Easter special plus an interview with Duane Sider about his father’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease highlight the Shaping Families radio program line-up for April. Two additional programs have been updated for re-release this year on “Facing Cancer” and “Eating Healthier.”

March 2, 2012

  • Call to heal the memory of mission
    According to Hippolyto Tshimanga, our memory of mission work needs healing. Tshimanga, Mennonite Church Canada’s Mission Partnership Facilitator for Africa, was one of more than 60 administrators and scholars who gathered in Chicago IL, Jan16-21, for the annual Council of International Anabaptist Ministries.

  • Art featured at Assembly 2012
    For the third year in a row, an art exhibit will be featured with Mennonite Church Canada’s Annual Assembly. In keeping with the 2012 Assembly theme, Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century, artists are invited to submit scripture based artworks for possible inclusion in the exhibit.

  • Department of Peace gathering packs room
    Alex Atamanenko may not be a pacifist, but he still supports Bill C-373, which would create a federal Department of Peace within Canada’s federal government.

  • Henna, Coffee for Peace, cookies engage students
    Students at Canadian Mennonite University came out in strong numbers to sample Coffee for Peace, henna body art, and cookies on Feb. 7 – all supplied by Mennonite Church Canada.

  • CTV News names Muslims and Christians local heroes
    CTV News of Southwestern Ontario named Mennonites and Muslims “local heroes” on its Feb. 15 broadcast covering a recent tour of MennoMedia’s new documentary, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives. In addition to interviews with Muslim and Mennonite leaders, the news report showed Mennonites and Muslims kneeling to pray at the Islamic Centre of Cambridge.

  • Four years of YouTube
    Since its launch on December 12, 2007, videos on Mennonite Church Canada’s YouTube channel have been viewed more than 32,000 times. The site currently offers 55 uploaded videos covering topics that range from educational and worship themes to interviews with people and pastors, various ministry projects, and church gatherings.

February 23, 2012

  • Formation Consultant "protected by God" in traffic accident
    A traffic accident in Choma, Zambia on the morning February 10 left Elsie Rempel with a hairline fracture in her left ankle and a gash on her right ankle. She is recovering well and says that she is grateful for the good care she has received.

February 17, 2012

  • Book explores new ways of understanding the Bible
    Should Christians in North America and Europe understand the Bible in fresh ways in an era when Christianity no longer dominates Western civilization? Yes, says professor Lloyd Pietersen, who wrote a book on the subject, Reading the Bible After Christendom.

  • Former Virginia Conference coordinator joins MennoMedia
    Steve Carpenter, former coordinator of Virginia Mennonite Conference, will join MennoMedia on March 19 as the first full-time development director.

  • Radio program features Mennonite guests
    For the month of March, the Shaping Families radio program will focus on working parents, volunteering, critical illness, grief, and overseas adoption. All but one of the programs features interviews with Mennonites.

February 3, 2012

  • Assembly registration begins!
    Registration for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012 has begun. All those who plan to attend are encouraged to register by May 15 to save a late registration fee, streamline their arrival, and receive confirmation and other helpful information prior to the Assembly. Registration closes on June 15th.

  • Introducing Chris and Selah
    For the past year, Chris and Selah have been taking young children on a journey discovering the deeper faith meaning of Lent and Advent. Now, parents of those children are invited to enter a draw for Chris and Selah action figures.

  • Church Matters celebrates 5 years
    Does the church matter in today’s world? Five years ago, Mennonite Church Canada launched the radio podcast, Church Matters, in response to that very question.

  • Praying together for more than 10 years
    For over 10 years, PrayerNet subscribers have been sharing in a ministry of prayer for Mennonite Church Canada. In 2001, Steve Plenert, who then served as Constituency Connections Coordinator, was inspired to start PrayerNet by his previous experience as a mission worker.

  • Peace work paperwork
    Filing, processing paperwork and managing correspondence may not seem exciting to some, but for Mennonite Church Canada Peace Education Volunteer Sarah Blackwell, these tasks provide a way to serve and to nurture peace building relationships.

  • Waging Peace will screen in Ontario
    MennoMedia’s new documentary, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives, will be screened in nine locations in Ontario in February.

  • How do churches disciple members?
    Mennonite congregations are being invited to respond to a survey arriving in mailboxes soon. The broad curriculum survey is being conducted by the Protestant Church-owned Publishers Association.

  • MennoMedia releases first catalogue
    The first catalogue representing the newly branded MennoMedia arrived in homes and churches in January. Copies will also appear in upcoming mailings to church educators and pastors.

January 24

  • Sustainable urban agriculture flourishing in Cuba
    Krystofer Penner’s studies in international development piqued his interest in food supply issues and drew his attention to Cuba and its established system of sustainable urban agriculture. That sparked a conversation with Mennonite Church Canada to explore internship possibilities with some of its church partners in Cuba.

  • Optimism after Korea Anabaptist Center divides
    Separation does not always mean subtraction. In fact, for Mennonite Church Canada’s partner in South Korea, the Korea Anabaptist Center, separating from Connexus, the English-language institute that it created in 2004, is becoming a multiplication factor for both.

  • “Naked Anabaptist” author on tour
    Stuart Murray, British author of the popular book The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith, will speak in Canada and the U.S. this spring.

  • Vocational choices rooted in church community
    For years, Gerald Mast, a professor at Bluffton University, has been teaching that a Christian’s life decisions should be made in consultation with other members in the church.

  • Radio program tackles teen drinking and drugs
    Shaping Families, the 15-minute weekly radio program of MennoMedia, will tackle the effects of alcohol and drugs on the adolescent brain in February.

  • Formation Consultant on service leave in Zambia
    In early January, Mennonite Church Canada Formation Consultant Elsie Rempel took up temporary residence in the guest house of the Brethren in Christ (BIC) regional offices in Choma, Zambia. Rempel is in Zambia’s Southern Province for a three month service leave to mentor schoolteachers in the region’s BIC Schools through a program supervised by Mennonite Central Committee Zambia directors, Eric and Kathy Fast.

January 9

  • Nazareth service experience awesome!
    Kayla Thiessen bubbles with enthusiasm when she talks about her short term service experience via Mennonite Church Canada in Nazareth. The University of Manitoba graphic design student experienced life far away from her prairie home, learning about life in biblical times and sharing her faith with children and youth in the area.

  • Bring me a fiancé
    As we said farewell to Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) staff before leaving for brief vacation in Canada last June, I asked Hee Joung what we could bring her from Canada when we returned in August. “Bring me a fiancé,” she responded. “He doesn’t have to be rich or handsome as long as he is a Christian and is kind and generous!”

  • Nearly 100 churches report on their singing
    Nearly 100 congregations in Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA are reporting on the songs they sing. They are helping to determine what the next collection of music for the church will look like. But the planners of the next hymnal or song collection are looking for more churches to participate in the current song survey.

  • MennoMedia’s radio program starts third year
    Shaping Families, the 15-minute weekly radio program of MennoMedia, begins its third year of broadcasting in January with 4 programs.