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- Miracle on Nanchong’s
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.
- 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
- God’s People Now! Listening
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
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
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
- 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.
- “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
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
- 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
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.
- Death fails to stop woman’s
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
- Young at heart teacher makes
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
Jonathan Neufeld of Winnipeg, Man., has been appointed admissions counselor
in Canada for Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
- 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
- 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’
- 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.
- On raising children in a dangerous
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Radio promotes gospel, preserves
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
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Stepping toward peace and
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.
- 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.
- Day of Action and Prayer for
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
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.
- 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?
- International Mennonite Pastors
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.
- Eternal Springs offers eternal
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
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.
- Jesus Village Church celebrates
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.
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,
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.
- 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.
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.
People Now! Listening Tour
Jack Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada since
December 1, 2005, is planning a listening tour to churches across
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Chinese Christians looking
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
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
- 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.
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.