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Video series to challenge Mennonite stereotypes

   
 


Willard Metzger (back row, left) and Nick Spaling (back row right) pose with children from Drayton Heights Public School who participated in the first “Mennonites Everywhere” video.

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March 27, 2012
-Deborah Froese

Winnipeg, Man. — 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. The first video features Nick Spaling,of Drayton Community Mennonite Fellowship, enjoying a game of ball hockey with children from his hometown, Drayton, Ont. Spaling is not a “cradle” Mennonite, but relies on his church family to ground him in the midst of an exciting and very public career as a left winger in the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

“I try to keep my faith front and centre in both my life and in playing hockey,” says Spaling in a short interview that accompanies the one minute video.. The 22-year-old acknowledges it’s a challenge to spend most of his year on a grueling schedule of training, games and travel that severely limits contact with family and church.

The 60 second Spaling video (www.mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1) is the first in a series designed to include people from many walks of life and cultural backgrounds, said Willard Metzger, Executive Director of Mennonite Church Canada’s national church office. “Whether you have a public profile or not doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we want to profile people who have found a spiritual home in a Mennonite congregation, but have not necessarily been born into it.”

The video will rely on YouTube and other social media to create a hoped for “buzz,” said Dan Dyck, Director of Communications. “We don’t have the dollars to put it on broadcast television despite the continued popularity of that medium.”

Production of the Spaling video was funded by a generous donor with a special interest in the project.