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News releases: 2006

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December 20

  • Miracle on Nanchong’s downtown stage

    A Christmas Eve spectacle breaks all the rules: Christmas has always been a season of surprises, and last Christmas was especially surprising for me and a thousand or so other Nanchong residents.

  • New college peace program launches in Israel

    Glenn Witmer, peace worker in Jerusalem, will bring together a group of North American educators to pioneer a new peace initiative in a land where sides have been battling for centuries.

  • China Educational Exchange marks anniversary, name change

    China Educational Exchange’s 25-year anniversary and its name change to Mennonite Partners in China marks the program’s broadening work in China. MPC commemorated the anniversary with a program in Chengdu in October.

  • Peace tax resolution, Area Church Only Membership: MC Canada General Board wrestles

    Mennonite Church Canada General Board members wrestled with how best to engage a 2006 delegate resolution “urging the government to enact legislation which would allow conscientious objectors to direct the military portion of their taxes to activities of development and peace”. They also considered the deeper implications of Area Church Only (ACOM) membership and approved a Support Services Council recommendation on the topic.

  • Congregations embrace Gather ’Round Sunday school curriculum
    A complementary parent resource for the new Gather ‘Round Sunday school curriculum sold out by the second week of the quarter, reported Mennonite Publishing Network.
  • A Life of Service Ends
    Lena (Peters) Boehr, mission worker, friend, and servant of God, passed away on October 16th, 2006, after having struggled with Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years.

November 27

  • Bridging the Gap

    Since 1972, Neill and Edith von Gunten have been using a small, nearly invisible little quarterly magazine called Intotemak to share stories among non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal peoples.

November 15

  • Peace, church, and South Korea

    The Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) recently signed, with 19 other organizations in the Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict, a letter condemning North Korea’s nuclear testing. The statement also called for the U.S. – with whom the ceasefire is currently declared – to immediately engage in bilateral talks with the North Korea.

  • God’s People Now! Listening Tour concludes

    Tears were the most surprising – and mystifying – aspect of a Listening Tour for Robert J. Suderman when he visited 225 congregations across Canada. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada envisioned the tour as a way of getting to know the wider church when he was first appointed to the position in December of 2005.

  • Growing demand for English teachers: China

    Mennonite English teachers in China are so popular children are dragged from one instructor to another by parents demanding individually tutoring for their child.

  • Unity and diversity in the church

    Difference/diversity is a given in our church. There are 43 congregations in Mennonite Church Canada that have neither English nor German as their preferred language of worship. In one zone, there are three congregations that among them conduct services in nine different languages every week.

  • Need for money often disguised
    Representatives of the Lutheran, Mennonite, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and United Church gathered on common ground here recently to reflect on the pastoral task of stewardship ministry.

November 1

  • “Shalom activists” inaugurate new Peace School

    On a late summer evening, a convoy of self proclaimed “shalom activists” drives over the English North Yorkshire moors toward several enormous golf ball-like dome structures known as Menwith Hill.

  • New ministry to students in Burkina

    Siaka Traore and his wife, Claire congratulate Othniel Dakuo, worship and song leader in the new Ouagadougou Mennonite Church, while church members exchange blessings following the dedication service of their newly acquired church building. This was the first gathering in the house-church that will also serve as a home for some of the church’s members.

  • Convert Aeroplan loyalty points into ministry potential

    A tightening of rules for Air Canada customers with accumulated Aeroplan reward miles could mean losses for people unable to use their points before they expire. Al Rempel, Director of Resource Development at Mennonite Church Canada wants to see those losses turned into gains for the church.

  • “Give What You’ve Got”

    Mennonite young adults are asking themselves if they are ready to be transformative agents and to listen intentionally to the many voices that make up the body of Christ. This not-so-light question was framed in the bigger context of a 2006 North American Young Adult Fellowship gathering based on the theme “Give What You’ve Got” on Oct. 20-22 at Camp Ray Bird, South Bend, Indiana.

  • Polyglossia Series Released at Washington Religion Meeting
    The first title of Polyglossia, a new radical reformation series, will be released at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society for Biblical Literature (AAR/SBL) in Washington DC on November 18 to 22.

October 13

  • Death fails to stop woman’s witness

    Though they shared the gospel in life, death, for several Thai Christians, has been an equally effective ministry. Before her death from AIDS in October 2005, Tia Maxi had a final wish. She wanted to be remembered with a Christian funeral.

  • Mennonite teaching makes an impact in Botswana

    Although there are no Mennonite churches here, people say that Mennonite theological instruction is making a difference in sermons preached in local churches. A student recently told Glyn Jones, Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker, that “you can tell who has been a regular attender of the [Mennonite] Bible class because of the quality of their sermons.”

  • Young at heart teacher makes difference

    Julie Bender is a bit old, but young at heart. At least that’s what her English students say. In 2004 Julie moved to China with her husband Philip, to pursue a ministry assignment with Mennonite Church Canada Witness. Firmly believing that God navigates people’s lives through the longings of their hearts, Julie felt comforted in her placement.

  • Reflections on peace

    Born into a military family in Canada (her father served in the air force), Janet Plenert spent her earliest years moving from base to base – which gave her one perspective on peace. As a missionary adult living in Kananga, Zaire (now Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo), with two young children, she had to flee when riots broke out on her street – adding another perspective. Baptized in the United Church of Canada, confirmed in the Catholic Church, and then rebaptized into the Mennonite tradition as a young adult, Plenert was never far from the church and scriptural imperatives.

  • All - Canadian national youth assembly: B.C.

    The youth of Mennonite Church Canada are invited to a party in Abbotsford, B.C. from July 3-6, 2007. The celebration promises to be a party of a special kind: Mennonite youth from across Canada will gather to, in their words, “worship with other youth from across Canada, make new friends, serve and learn together with adults, deepen commitments to Jesus Christ, and experience the church’s geographic and multi-cultural diversity.”

  • Children’s cookbook and study guide to complement Simply in Season
    A children’s cookbook and a six-session adult study guide will be released in late October to complement the alternative cookbook Simply in Season, the latest member of Mennonite Central Committee World Community Cookbook series.

October 4

  • Venue for Assembly 2007 finalized

    Mennonite Church Canada’s 8th annual delegate assembly and biennial youth assembly will be held at Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI) in Abbotsford, BC from July 3-6, 2007. Assembly planners originally were working to finalize a contract with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, but moved to the Abbotsford location at the request of Mennonite Church British Columbia.

  • Mennonite Publishing Network sells Provident Bookstores to Berean Christian Stores

    On Monday, September 25, the Joint Executive Committee of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada ratified the decision of the Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) Board to sell the Provident Bookstore chain to Berean Christian Stores. The sale will be effective at the end of October 2006.

  • AMBS appoints admissions counselor for Canada
    Jonathan Neufeld of Winnipeg, Man., has been appointed admissions counselor in Canada for Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

September 29

  • If It Doesn’t Bleed, It Doesn’t Lead

    Israeli TV showed an interview with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert soon after the rockets began flying across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

  • Soccer steers teens to Christ

    The Mongolian team ran off the field in Gothenburg, Sweden, victorious. A goal scored on a penalty kick helped them defeat Swedish team Söderbärke GOIF to land in the top 16 in the Gothia Cup, a prestigious worldwide youth soccer tournament held July 17-21. For coach Jardel da Silva, however, the true victory was not on the field, but in the players’ hearts.

September 20

  • Military Coup – Thailand: Update from Witness worker Pat Houmphan

    In a country that has experienced 17 coups between 1932 and 1991, the latest ousting of the country’s leader has come as little surprise to Thailand’s 64 million people, say local media. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ostensibly relieved of his duties by Thailand’s military on Tuesday, Sept. 19, while he was in New York for United Nations meetings.

September 15

  • On raising children in a dangerous world

    The horror that erupted in Dawson College in Montreal on Sept 13, 2006 has grabbed the attention of many, but it has especially gripped the hearts of parents and students. How can parents and educators protect and prepare children for life in a world where evil can erupt and lash out at them, even in places our society says are supposed to be safe?

  • Leaders trained for fast-growing West African churches

    Esther and Paulin Bossou, co-directors of the La Casa Grande children’s home, packed their bags and traveled with their infant son every four weeks to attend intensive week-end seminars at Institut Biblique du Bénin (Benin Bible Institute).

  • Newton bookstore transferred to local ownership

    On September 15, the Provident Bookstore at 724 Main Street in Newton, Kansas was sold by Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) to a local investor group. The store will be closed for two weeks for renovations. A grand re-opening is scheduled for early October.

August 18

  • Walking the way to discipleship

    What happens when an unlikely group of Christians living in different countries, speaking various languages and coming from diverse backgrounds, meet together for nine days of discipleship training from an Anabaptist perspective? They do justice, love kindness and walk humbly.

  • Fired-up youth build walls, unity in Burkina Faso

    Skin burned in the tropical sun. Biceps burned with the effort of mixing cement and carrying bricks. Enthusiasm for the church of Jesus burned in the hearts of young Mennonites from France and Burkina Faso as they sweated together to construct a recording studio for the Christian radio program of the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso.

  • Mennonites rekindle faith of young man in England

    What Tim Lawrence knew about Christianity did not make sense to him. Like countless young people growing up in the U.K., Lawrence was brought up in an Anglican family but knew almost nothing about Christianity – so he looked outside of the church for a spiritual community.

August 4

  • One family at a time

    Sensing ongoing health problems, Susan Allison-Jones paid a visit. There were three children under six months living in the rondaval (house). The rainy season had caused serious health concerns for not only the children, but for the whole four-generation family. Allison-Jones soon discovered that a young woman in the household had delivered twins – one healthy, the other stillborn.

July 19

  • Radio promotes gospel, preserves culture

    From inside a thatch-and-mud house in a remote village, Nango Ouattara spoke legends into a microphone. Weeks later, her stories captivated hundreds of listeners on The Samogho Program, a weekly radio broadcast that combines traditional lore and music with biblical stories.

  • Love of words leads to love of the Word

    Before Ali Traoré became a Christian, he stirred up the dust wherever he went in this country south of the Saharan desert.

  • Building bridges for 10 years

    Some 40 people gathered for an afternoon of English tea and hospitality in the garden of London Mennonite Centre to celebrate 10 years of ministry by the centre’s Bridge Builders program.

  • Korea Anabaptist Center hosts Yoder-Neufeld on lecture circuit

    The Korea Anabaptist Center, whose mission is to develop and provide resources, education, training and relationships in the Anabaptist/Mennonite faith tradition, invited Tom Yoder Neufeld, Director of the Graduate Theological Studies program at Conrad Grebel College, to be its guest speaker.

July 5

June 28

  • IMPaCT makes an impact

    Throwing together 11 Mennonite pastors from 3 continents and 6 countries for 10 days is bound to create some interesting challenges and new insights. The obvious tendency is to consider how different pastoring in Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Spain, and Brazil is from pastoring in Canada. The surprise, pastors found, was how many similar challenges they shared across geographic and cultural lines. Also see the IMPaCT Photo Essay.

  • Saved from spirits, believer baptized in Thailand

    For years, the dark, shadowy figure haunted Nukhan Latsaboon when she was asleep and when she was awake. The spirit would chase her and choke her, until she could bear no more. This year, on Easter Sunday, Latsaboon stepped into the waters of a lake near the village of Koklang, Thailand. For two years, the presence had left her alone. For two years, since she accepted Christ, she had been at peace.

  • Doctor's visit to mission couple, village clinics helps bring healing

    Dolores Logan examines a Buddhist monk during a medical clinic at Living Water Church in Borabu, Thailand. The monk, the uncle of a church member, was one of more than 425 people to receive medical attention. Organizers also offered a gospel presentation and showed the "Jesus" film.

  • Seeing opportunity in a pregnant rabbit

    Nina Ivanovna insisted that we accompany her to the saray – a small shed in a designated urban area in Kherson where residents keep garden plots and carry on small scale farming – to see her goats, chicken and bees. Tim Froese, Executive Director of International Ministries for Mennonite Church Canada Witness, and Hippolyto Tshimanga, met Nina while on an administrative trip through Europe.

  • Confession Continues Wide Distribution after 10 Years

    After 10 years, the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective continues to have wide distribution in sales of over 3,000 copies a year and is available in 11 languages. In addition, the Confession is available for personal use on-line at several web sites.

  • Barcelona hosts European conference

    In a gesture that ties the history of Mennonites in Europe symbolically to their present and future, the Dutch flag is held aloft at the 2006 Mennonite European Regional Conference (known by its German acronym MERK), which took place in Barcelona May 25-28.

June 14

  • IMPaCT pastors miss Cubans

    Manitoba hosts and their guests from Spain and Latin America hold up photos of missing pastors from Cuba who were invited to join IMPaCT (International Mennonite Pastors Coming Together), a first ever international pastoral exchange initiated by Mennonite Church Canada.

June 1

  • 60 years after occupation, Japanese and Korean Anabaptists seek peace

    For many in South Korea, Japan is still the enemy. Sixty years after World War II ended Japan's 35-year occupation of the Korean peninsula, Koreans' history lessons still teach them of the atrocities committed - resources stripped, dissidents jailed and killed, mothers and daughters forced to work as "comfort women" in Japanese brothels.

  • New tax rules increase benefit to charities

    A recent Canadian federal budget decision is creating extra work for Al Rempel, Mennonite Church Canada's Director of Resource Development. But it's work he's happy to do.

May 17

  • Stepping toward peace and understanding

    Daniel Pantoja, Mennonite Church Canada worker in Mindanao, Philippines, was invited by the Mindanao Peaceweavers, a major network of local peace advocates, to join the indigenous Tausug people in commemorating the Bud Dahu Centennial. Daniel and his wife Joji Pantoja are engaged in a peace building ministry with Muslims and Christians in the region.

  • Mennonite Church Canada signs on to AIDS/HIV letter

    Mennonite Church Canada has signed on to a joint letter from the Canadian Council of Churches members urging the Canadian government to play a strong role in transforming “the structures that contribute to the spread of AIDS.”

  • Ecumenical festival of faith

    Young adults and youth from across Canada will descend on Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. this summer for Nidus 2006. “Streams of Living Water” is the theme for the ecumenical festival of “faith, arts, and justice.” The Aug. 4-6 event is being coordinated by the Canadian Council of Churches.

May 3

  • Day of Action and Prayer for Colombia

    Evangelical church leaders in Colombia, including representatives of the Colombian Mennonite Church, have banded together to request wider church support for a Day of Action and Prayer for Colombia on May 21. A specific request seeking participation from Mennonite Church Canada congregations came from Rebecca Bartel, a Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker in Colombia.

  • A bus ride to friendship in China

    When traveling on a bus in rush hour, one may expect overcrowding, discomfort, and perhaps a wad of chewing gum stuck beneath the seat. One does not expect to find the making of a friendship that touches and enriches lives. But this is exactly what Philip and Julie Bender, former co-pastors of Hamilton Mennonite Church, found during a bus ride last August in Chongqing, China.

April 13

  • AIDS: Overcoming the secrecy stigma in South Africa

    While Brian Dyck and Lynell Bergen spent six-years in ministry with the people of Mthatha, South Africa, the country was ransacked by a potent and silent killer – AIDS. In 2004, an estimated 70 percent of adult deaths (ages 15-49) in South Africa were a result of the virus, or related health complications from it. So why aren’t the locals talking about it?

March 22

  • International Mennonite Pastors Coming Together

    IMPaCT – International Mennonite Pastors Coming Together is the name given to a brand new initiative of Mennonite Church Canada designed to help the denomination grow as a global church, and help pastors to learn from, shape, and challenge one another.

  • Financial news good: MC Canada

    Lloyd Plett and Randy Wiebe reported to the Leadership Assembly here on Mar. 2 - 4 that Mennonite Church Canada’s fiscal year ended well.

  • Wave of inspiration in Northern Ireland

    The decades of violent conflict that dominated Northern Ireland in the late twentieth century have become an obsession for Sherry Peters. For ten of the last twelve years she has invested her time and energy into investigating the root and cause of this conflict, always eager to learn more.

March 15

  • Renewed called to pray: CPT members in Iraq

    eaders from Mennonite Church Canada issued a renewed call to on-going prayer for Tom Fox's family, and the three remaining members of Christian Peacemaker Teams who are still in captivity.

March 8

  • Eternal Springs offers eternal life

    At the Eternal Springs café in Erdenet, Mongolia, youths work on computer skills. They can take classes in English, Chinese or Japanese and learn about budgeting money and time. When they finish their studies, they can relax with a cookie or a cup of tea and play games. And once they are there, the youth can learn about Jesus’ transformative life and ministry.

  • Native Ministry magazine strives for national audience

    Intótemak, meaning “my friends” has been a staple in the outreach plan for Mennonite Church Canada’s Native ministry since 1972. Now, with a complete re-design and plans for increasing national exposure, Edith and Neill von Gunten, the new Native Ministry coordinators, hope to reach more readers with a newsy approach that also highlights a variety of available resources.

  • Field trips more than an education

    In late January, teachers at Rosslyn Academy in Nairobi, Kenya were robbed by armed invaders while most of the students slept through the ordeal. Although one shot was fired, no one was injured.

February 22

  • CMU student reflects on practicum experience in Bolivia

    What Iliana Norio remembers most fondly about her recent experience in Bolivia is her farewell. Not because she was happy or even ready to leave the place where she had served for six months, but because the community organized a surprise goodbye party to celebrate her contribution.

  • Returning to Mennonite roots in Paraguay

    Helmut Isaak’s ministry has nearly circled the globe – twice. His commitment to God unwavering, Isaak constantly seeks opportunities to share his faith with others. Recently he accepted a position to return to his birthplace of Paraguay to teach at a Mennonite seminary.

  • Survey provides insight, but few surprises

    Who are we as Mennonites in Mennonite Church Canada? That kind of soul searching was one aspect of a survey sent to 5,000 MC Canada members across the country in the spring of 2005.

  • The Tears of a Bishop—Servant at Their Feet

    A man self-described as an Arab Christian Israeli Palestinian will be the first Israeli-born leader of the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East as the archbishop of Galilee.

  • Jesus Village Church celebrates 10 years

    The Jesus Village Church (JVC) here celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 14-15 with food, festivities, and a commemorative book by Sang-Uk Nham, the coordinator for JVC. A common thread throughout the celebration was the acknowledgement of God’s leading hand in the life of the church.

  • First lady visits Nazareth Village flock

    Several years ago, during the height of the armed intifada in Israel and Palestine, a worker arrived at Nazareth Village one morning to find all of the sheep had been lost. A gift from Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter allowed the village to purchase more animals.

  • Preparing Sunday Dinner

    Authors Marlene Kropf, Rebecca Slough, and June Alliman Yoder introduced a collaborative approach to worship and preaching in a day-long leadership clinic on January 23 at Associate Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.

  • Colombia peace summit promising

    The Colombian government last October initiated a Commission on Re-compensation and Reconciliation, similar to Truth Commissions held in South Africa. Canadian delegates to the summit, Jack Suderman and Janet Plenert, learned more details about this and other developments.

February 8

  • Nigerian uses pedal power for Anabaptist training

    Etim Akpan Usen biked 1,800 miles on his Hero one-speed bicycle through shirt-drenching heat and rain to receive his certificate from Mennonite Bible College. On Dec. 3, he joined 11 other exuberant graduates in marching across the makeshift stage at the Summit Hills Hotel complex in Uyo, the first leaders to be trained by Mennonite Church Nigeria.

  • Joining up: Mission workers examine church memberships

    From their home in the Himalayan region of South Asia, a pair of Mennonite workers* see people leaving due to ongoing violence in their region. In the midst of what they described as havoc, the couple sought to send a message to their friends and colleagues. After more than a decade of attendance, they officially joined their local fellowship in a summer ceremony.

  • God’s People Now! Listening Tour

    Jack Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada since December 1, 2005, is planning a listening tour to churches across Canada.

January 25

  • From Maoist revolutionary to Mennonite peace worker

    Dann Pantoja, a former Maoist revolutionary, thanks a driving offense for getting him on track to a gospel of peace. In January, 2006, together with his wife Joji, he will begin a peace ministry in Mindanao, Philippines, a Christian-Muslim conflicted region in his home country.

  • De revolucionario maoísta a pacificador menonita
    En enero del 2006 comienza un ministerio de paz junto con su esposa Joji en Mindanao, Filipinas, una región de su país natal que está afectada por un conflicto entre cristianos y musulmanes.
  • Tragedy transformed

    Gloria Lizcano, a humble 55-year-old Colombian mother and dedicated church volunteer was able to accomplish a rare event in this civil-war embattled country: She got her country’s leader to visit her church.

  • Tour reveals hidden resources

    Unannounced, Neill and Edith von Gunten knocked on their door just as family birthday festivities for Grandma were about to begin. This was just one of many experiences Neill and Edith von Gunten, Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministries Co-directors, encountered on their recent cross-country learning tour of aboriginal communities.

  • Frightened by white faces

    When Serge Kaptegaine walked into a Mennonite Church in Winnipeg one sunny summer morning, he turned to leave – frightened by all the white faces in the congregation. Kaptegaine recalls the two words from the pulpit that stopped him in his tracks: merciful peace. He sat down, suddenly eager to hear more.

  • French Mennonites fan African flames of mission

    During a week when the rhetoric from French officials toward immigrants of African descent flared as explosively as the cars burning in the streets, Mennonites in the northeastern part of the country warmly welcomed delegations from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Canada and the United States.

January 11

  • Standing together for peace

    On a recent December morning, a group of international Christian teachers traveled from Jerusalem to the auditorium of the Rev. Elias Chacour’s new Church of the Sermon on the Mount in Ibillin, part of Israel’s Galilee region, to hear George Frideric Handel’s oratorio.

  • Chinese Christians looking to lead

    Mr. Deng, a Nanchong farmer, is no relation to the more famous political leader Deng Xiaoping, although they did grow up within miles of each other. They share rural roots, a commitment to their home communities and a desire to leave home to make their way in the world. That’s where the similarity ends. Deng, the farmer, never left home.

  • Power to teach needed in Burkina Faso

    The theft of Lillian Haas’ solar panels has left her without the power she needs to teach. The panels were stolen from her home compound in Tin, Burkina Faso, leaving Haas and her neighbours without electricity.

  • Being in communion: Should we stay or should we go?

    In the spring of 2004, Mennonite Church British Columbia (MCBC) began a discernment process regarding the desire of some congregations to be provincially active only. And a five year agreement between MCBC and Mennonite Church Canada to offer provincially active only status on a trial basis will expire in 2006.

  • Free sample sessions of Gather ’Round curriculum posted online

    Preparations for a new denominational Sunday school curriculum are bearing fruit as trainers are being selected and sample sessions are added to the Web site. Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News is a curriculum for children, youth and parents in the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.

  • New history project holds first editorial meetings

    The capacity for the Anabaptist and Mennonite faith community to share its stories just got a lot bigger. The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) has been broadened with the addition of the Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee and the binational Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission as partners.

  • Catholic-Mennonite relations featured on Interfaith Voices radio

    Dr. Helmut Harder, Professor Emeritus at Canadian Mennonite University, and former general secretary of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (now Mennonite Church Canada), was recently featured in an interview with Hyattsville, MD, based radio program, Interfaith Voices.