This week in Cachipay Mennonite
Pastor dies in bomb blast
My mind was occupied as my daughter Katrina and I walked home from
town and I wasn’t looking ahead. Suddenly in front of us was
a 2 1/2 foot long snake across our path! I grabbed Katrina and we
moved out of the way, only to realize that (I think) it was dead.
The other snakes I had seen so far in Colombia had been smaller, and
squashed flat. This one hadn’t been there on our walk to town.
- South African churches lead
in AIDS response
Zolisa, thin and gasping for breath, strokes her two-year-old son’s
head as if she could pack a lifetime of love into the caress. Her
eyes glisten with tears that threaten to spill onto her cheeks. She
hesitates before speaking to Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker
Lynell Bergen (Arnaud MC, Man.) and Rev. Temba Samuel Kulati because
Zolisa’s community attaches stigma and shame to her illness.
- A short time coming: Baptism
by water, rain in Burkina Faso
The residents of Burkina Faso’s savannahs welcome rain on a
picnic day as a great blessing. So joy abounded when 25 baptismal
candidates waited inside the Kotoura Mennonite Church until a heavy
downpour – drowned out by complex rhythms of a drum, a marimba,
gourd shakers, tambourines and all manner of homemade metal gongs
accompanying the dancing congregation’s songs of exuberant praise
– ceased pounding the red, baked-mud walls.
Macau ministry moves into
In less than four months, Tim and Cindy Buhler (centre), new-to-Macau
Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers, were able to find a new space
for rent just one block from their previous location – a miracle
given the high demand for space in this city-state of nearly half
a million people which one can walk around in a couple of hours
- Church grew in China from
seeds planted by Mennonites | Sidebar: Million dollar Bible
For nearly 40 years, North American Mennonites worshipped with Chinese
at a church in the Shangdong Province. In 1947, they were asked to
leave the country. Until October of this year, Mennonites had not
been back. “We have been waiting a very long time for Mennonites
to return and visit,” said one Christian woman in the very rural
area of Dongming, China, where Mennonites first made contact in the
- Mobilizing the church for a
common good - General Board meetings cover broad territory
In a 160th convocation anniversary address at Knox College, TV journalist
Brain Stewart said, “…there is no alliance more determined
and dogged in action than church workers, ordained and lay members,
when mobilized for a common good.” So it is in Mennonite Church
Canada. From Nov. 11-13, the General Board met at Cornerstone Mennonite
Church in Saskatoon to discern and decide on issues that will eventually
manifest themselves on the front lines.
Cross-country funding conversation
There is much to give thanks for, and we want to ensure the stability
of our ministry. These were the messages that congregational leaders
and pastors heard when they met MC Canada spokespersons in meetings
across the country in November.
- World of Witness draw
Vic Falk’s winning entry in the World of Witness contest was
drawn by Ruth and Teddy Wiebe, owners of Bonaventure Travel in Winnipeg.
The donated voucher is good for travel to any one of 39 countries
where MC Canada Witness workers minister.
- Bible Commentary Series Editors
Elmer A. Martens and Willard M. Swartley, editors of the Believers
Church Bible Commentary Series, were honored for service spanning
three decades. The recognition took place at a dinner of the annual
meeting of the Editorial Council on November 19 in San Antonio, Texas.
“Teaching them to obey
everything I commanded you”: The mission of peace in Korea
A close reading of the Great Commission reveals that only one command
is given: to “make disciples." The method appears simple
enough: "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I
have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20). Baptizing seems obvious,
but what are we to make of “teaching them to obey” or
what some call “obedience oriented education”? In our
individualistic world, how do we get someone to voluntarily obey Jesus'
commands? And exactly what commands are we talking about?
- Round table discussion
results: Winkler 2005
The Round Table Discussion Results from Winkler 2004 have been recorded,
categorized, analyzed, interpreted, digested, and graphed. Delegates
at this year’s annual assembly gathered around tables for an
hour and a half each day and discussed a total of five questions.
Each table group – fifty tables of delegates and a varying number
of non-delegates – submitted summary statements for each of
- Charlotte 2005 to
help Mennonites share faith stories with each other, the world
When asked to define “Can’t Keep Quiet” – the
theme for Charlotte 2005 – no two planners answer alike regarding
the joint assembly with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church
USA. But what joint youth and adult planning committees do agree on
is that God is doing many great things among Mennonites in Canada and
the USA that are worth talking about.
- Korea Anabaptist Center finds
stability in new home
After having moved six times since opening in 2001, the Korea Anabaptist
Center has finally found a measure of stability in a new office space.
On Saturday, October 16, approximately 75 enthusiastic supporters
of the Korea Anabaptist Center gathered for the dedication service
of their new office space and English language institute, Connexus.
AIMM transformation takes hold
For the first time ever, Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission will have
leadership based in Africa instead of North America. From Sept 22
to Oct. 7, mission leaders from Africa and North America met with
national and local church representatives in Orodara (Burkina Faso),
Umtata, (South Africa), and Gaborone, (Botswana) to iron out structures,
and appoint leaders to newly formed posts. AIMM has been a major channel
of Mennonite ministries in Africa since 1912, pulling together partners
from various Mennonite groups in North America to support ministry
- This week in Cachipay
On August 25, Janet Plenert, executive director of International Ministries,
Mennonite Church Canada Witness, temporarily moved with her family (husband
Steve and daughters Gabrielle (17), Natasha (14), and Katrina (11))
to Cachipay, Colombia, as an expression of solidarity with the Colombian
Mennonite church. The following excerpt chronicles their experiences.
- Desire for healing and hope
crosses international boundaries
Gambling, prostitution, offshore employment, mistresses for married
men, and the resulting family difficulties are social ills that cut
across all social strata in the city-state of Macau. In this environment,
Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers George and Tobia Veith (Cornerstone
Mennonite Church, Saskatoon) are opening doors and inviting local
residents to explore Christianity and bring healing and hope to what
they describe as a spiritually dark place.
Gift-giving in the spirit of
A modest and lively older couple, Jake and Katherine Smith (a pseudonym),
have developed a Christmas gift exchange with an unusual twist. Instead
of buying each other things they don’t really need, they donate
money to a project identified by Mennonite Church Canada.
- News from Cachipay, Vol.
In August 25, Janet Plenert, executive director of International Ministries,
Mennonite Church Canada Witness, temporarily moved with her family (husband
Steve and daughters Gabrielle, Natasha, and Katrina) to Cachipay, Colombia,
as an expression of solidarity with the Colombian Mennonite church,
to improve her Spanish, and to assess the needs of the ministry there.
The following excerpts chronicle of some of their initial experiences.
- Expression of ecumenical
collaboration just beginning in Ukraine
Ecumenical collaboration is a relatively new notion in Ukraine. Cliff
Dueck, a Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker in Kherson, Ukraine,
hints at the tension between various church groups when he asks, “Pray
for unity amongst the different members of Christ's body.”
- God’s powerful and
precious word inspires long-term worker for mission
When a government coup d’état occurred in 1982, the
villagers of Kotoura hardly noticed. But a few weeks later on Christmas
night, awed discussion lasted far into the star-lit darkness in this
remote village in Upper Volta, today’s Burkina Faso. A young
Christian from another region, Siaka Traoré, delivered the
life-changing news. Traoré, the same man who stirred Mennonite
World Conference last summer with his address in Zimbabwe, explained
to the villagers of Kotoura who Jesus was and why God sent him into
Quest for healing and hope
The human quest for healing and wholeness is universal. And its hopes
are expressed in the common denominators of human life: a full stomach,
healing from a physical illness, and relief from addictions.
- Anabaptist training in Ghana
In Ghana, Bruce Yoder met for three days with Ghana Mennonite Church
leaders from six districts teaching Anabaptist history using the Arnold
Snyder book From Anabaptist Seed.
- News from Cachipay
In August 25, Janet Plenert, executive director of International
Ministries, Mennonite Church Canada Witness, temporarily moved with
her family (husband Steve and daughters Gabrielle, Natasha, and Katrina)
to Cachipay, Colombia, as an expression of solidarity with the Colombian
Mennonite church, to improve her Spanish, and to assess the needs
of the ministry there. The following excerpts chronicle of some of
their initial experiences.
Photo Release: Barbara Nkala
Barbara Nkala, energetic worship leader and mistress of ceremonies
at Mennonite World Conference (MWC) 14th Assembly in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
(2003) visited Winnipeg. She spoke to a full house at the Mennonite
Heritage Centre Gallery about the MWC assembly experience one year
- Winkler Assembly ranks
high on delegate satisfaction scale
Mennonite Church Canada folks like to meet in churches, and they like
to celebrate. What’s more, they like to meet at round tables in
Mennonite Church Canada churches.
- Bi-national Native Mennonite assembly
The retired leader of an isolated native community would rather not
have a road connecting his remote Manitoba village to the outside world.
A Métis woman and leader in the Anglican church (Métis
are persons of mixed French or Scottish and Native heritage) talks about
growing up in a normal, loving family and challenges the white stereotype
of native children who grow up in abusive alcoholic homes. A Cheyenne
leader from Oklahoma shares about how his ancestral tribe members practiced
restorative justice long before there was a name for it.
Canadian Mennonite works for
peace in London, England
Deanna Douglas (Holyrood MC, Edmonton) managed to launch a new peace
initiative in London England and find funding for it to continue for
another two years after she returns to Canada.
- African Christians bring
faith back to Europe
The Christian church in Europe is thriving, if you know where to look
for it. You won’t find it in most of the cathedrals or established
denominations, many of which are withering like un-watered houseplants.
- Short term service leads to
long term commitment
A young couple with a passion for outreach in Italy, a pastor who inspires
enthusiasm for international mission and missional church thinking,
a supportive congregational partnership, and a new relationship with
a sister mission agency have combined to create a new international
ministry for Mennonite Church Canada Witness.
- WOW! What a draw!
Todd and Jeanette Hanson, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers,
are inviting guests to visit them in Nanchong, China. What’s
more, a trip for one person could be free.
- First Person: Ahn young
haseo – How is it with your spirit?
The friendly way to greet a Korean is with the words ‘ahn young
haseo,’ meaning ‘How is it with your spirit?’ This
greeting is an example of the deeply spiritual nature of Koreans,
which I experienced during my 11-day learning tour of South Korea.
- Church in South Africa plays important
social service role
In South Africa, the church is stepping in to help with family issues
that have become a minefield due to the cultural changes brought about
by the end of the apartheid era and the increasing influence of pop
culture, as well as the challenges of parenthood.
- New finance director appointed:
Mennonite Church Canada has appointed Randy Wiebe to the position
of director of finance.
- MC Canada releases financial
Mennonite Church Canada donation revenue results are in for the period
of Feb. 1 to May 31.
- Small churches do big things:
A few small churches in Ukraine are doing a big thing. Four congregations
in Ukraine with a combination of Mennonite Church and Mennonite Brethren
support led by pastors of mostly Baptist background are forming a
conference called the Christian Union of Mennonite Churches.
- B.C. delegate session marked
The world of marriage preparation is a crazy place for everyone,
including pastors trying to keep God as the focus of marriage amidst
the madness of the wedding industry.
- CMC history book to be released
at Winkler 2004
Canadian Mennonite University Press have published a new book on the
history of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada. The book was commissioned
by Mennonite Heritage Centre, a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada.
- Conscientious objectors story finally
About sixty years ago, over 10,000 Canadian conscientious objectors,
many of them Mennonite, chose alternative service instead of fighting
in the Second World War.
- Isbrand Hiebert: A tribute
Isbrand Hiebert: dedicated writer, editor, and faithful helmsman of
the German language magazine Der Bote (The Message), a publication of
Mennonite Church Canada Formation.
- Congregational Partnership
Facilitator named for Eastern Canada
Rebecca Yoder Neufeld has been named Mennonite Church Canada’s
Missional Formation and Congregational Partnership Facilitator for Eastern
- CMU student practicum at MC Canada
Annemarie Plenert of Dawson Creek, BC, is a Canadian Mennonite University
student with a passion for words and her Macintosh computer.
- Assembly festival to welcome
host community of Winkler
Planners hope that an experiment at this year’s Mennonite Church
Canada assembly (July 7-11, Winkler, Man.) will help residents of the
host community of Winkler and the surrounding area get acquainted with
- New wedding resource tackles
The world of marriage preparation is a crazy place for everyone, including
pastors trying to keep God as the focus of marriage amidst the madness
of the wedding industry.
- Bundle of new resources
A plateful of new resources will soon be available to congregations
of Mennonite Church Canada.
- First Person: Connecting
"The confusion of their suffering and our presence is revealed
by their eyes — love, desperation, uncertainty, gratitude —
a people displaced by terrible violence in their country." This
is what Christine Ens remembers most from her trip to Colombia five
- Explosive experience in
Rudy and Helen Baergen, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in Colombia,
recently wrote about an explosive experience near their home on May
- China Bound
A fondness for connecting with congregations and a fervor for the missional
church vision are just two reasons Phil and Julie Bender are preparing
to serve with Mennonite Church Canada Witness in Chengdu, China.
- Mennonite Church Canada responds
to Mexican Mennonite dilemma
Dan Nighswander, MC Canada’s general secretary, has written a
letter to Peter Stoesz, president of the Conferencia Menonita de Mexico,
expressing concern for the faith community in Mexico as well as offering
encouragement and support for church leaders there.
- "Gather 'Round"
chosen as name for new curriculum
"Gather 'Round: Hearing and Sharing God's Good News",
was chosen as the name for a new Brethren and Mennonite Sunday school
curriculum by an advisory group that met April 14-17 in Elgin, Ill.
The group discussed goals for the curriculum as well as theological
and educational foundations, a theme scripture, Bible outlines, print
pieces, printing technology, electronic media, and marketing.
- General Board: Getting down to
The General Board of Mennonite Church Canada met here on April 16-17
to review assembly plans, build on relationships with Area Conferences,
and receive updates from MC Canada’s Councils. Included in the
agenda were discussions relating to Canadian Mennonite University, financial
reports, and changing trends in North American funding arrangements
for international mission workers.
April 21, 2004
MC Canada Finance Director
Paul Klassen, Mennonite Church Canada’s Director of Finance,
has resigned to take on a new position as Team Leader with Funds Financial
Services area of Investor’s Group.
March 24, 2004
March 11, 2004
- Angels unaware
When Erwin and Marian Wiens agreed to a Mennonite Church Canada Witness
assignment to work with the Jesus Village Church here in 2002, they
never dreamed it might start a healing process for their 34 year-old
Church a challenge in China
Tony is a young man, a student, who feels drawn to church to explore
ideas about God with the only registered Protestant congregation in
this city of 400,000. But he is upset and disappointed at what he
- Mexican Mennonites and MC
Canada form partnership
A 1920s migration of Canadian Mennonites to Mexico has grown into a
formalized fraternal partnership with Mennonite Church Canada. Mennonite
Church Canada moderator Henry Krause signed the agreement on behalf
of the Canadian Church during the Leadership Assembly meetings here
on March 4.
- "Enough for all”
- theme for Winkler 2004
“Enough for all” is the theme that has been chosen for
this summer’s annual Mennonite Church Canada assembly in Winkler,
Manitoba (July 7-11). It is based on the story of Jesus feeding of
the 5,000 as recorded in John 6: 1-14. The focus is on verse 11: “Then
Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed
them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.”
- MC Canada year end: Returning
to financial health
Mennonite Church Canada is on the road to fiscal health, returning $125,000
to reserves that were seriously drawn down last year (all figures un-audited).
- Colombian churches seek
Mennonite presence at talks
The ecumenical council of churches in Colombia has approached Mennonite
Church Canada to be present at talks with some Colombian armed groups
to explore possibilities of disarmament and re-insertion into the civil
life of the country.
February 25, 2004
- Financial future
Encouraging preliminary financial reports for 2003-04 show 99.8% of
a $3.9 million donation budget has come in. The results are generating
renewed hope for the possibilities of Mennonite Church Canada ministries,
February 11, 2004
- Chicken flu: Growing
concern in Thailand ministry
The chicken flu has not yet reached this area populated by poor subsistence
farmers in rural Northeast Thailand, reported Pat Houmphan, Mennonite
Church Canada Witness worker in a recent telephone interview.
- Chilean church revels
in its Anabaptist identity
People were eager and enthusiastic. The details were in place. The
keynote speaker had arrived. It was the first time a group of emerging
Anabaptist congregations in Concepción, Chile, had met together
for formal Anabaptist studies.
church serves community, develops leadership
Last year, at the request of the Colombian Mennonite Church,
Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers Gamaliel and Amanda Falla returned
to their native Colombia to plant a church in the city of Barranquilla,
the fourth largest city in the country.
- MPH retiree couple holds
on to faith in church even in the midst of hurt
The journal entry that David E. Hostetler, a retiree of the former
Mennonite Publishing House (MPH), wrote in 1957 rings as true for
him today as it did then, he said. “In that entry I searched
for truth, for the integrity to keep the will of God in sight,”
Hostetler said. “And isn’t that what I still need today
in my own life and what we need in the life of the church -- the desire
to seek the truth and the integrity to follow where it leads?"
January 26, 2004
January 23, 2004
- Unraus installed in Niedergoersdorf
MC Canada Witness workers Jake and Dorothy Unrau (Rosemary
MC, Alberta) were installed as pastors at the Christliche Glaubensgemeinschaft
on November 30 (First Advent).
- Herald Press changes in fiction
After 14 titles, and over 240,000 books in print, Herald
Press is ending a decade of publishing Carrie Bender stories. Her final
Herald Press title Beyond Mist Blue Mountains was published at the end
January 14, 2004
- Justina Heese retires
Thoughtful, reflective, gentle, encouraging, and enabling
are just a few characteristics that describe Justina Heese's mark on
her role as executive secretary of Mennonite Church Canada's Christian