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News releases: 2007

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December 19

  • Small organization has big impact
    In just ten years and with only nine member congregations, the North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship (NAVMF) has helped to plant over 200 churches in Vietnam and make inroads in Cambodia.

  • Language learning: A metaphor for how the church should be
    First person: Mark Wiehler. I have been teaching English in Seoul now for two months, and I have come to the conclusion that I don't know English. Sure I can talk about what I did today, what I will do this weekend, and at least sometimes I can accurately convey my emotions to friends or family, but I really don't think I know English.

  • Offended Still
    At a weeklong regional Hispanic Mennonite Church Conference in Uruguay, I witnessed a remarkable attempt at mending a broken relationship. The breakdown had taken two participating church groups from different countries completely by surprise.

  • God’s intentions for the church: An ecclesial vision
    Profile on Robert J. Suderman. Christians have lost sight of what God intends the church to be. This is the bold, perhaps prophetic, proclamation Robert J. Suderman makes. Suderman, appointed General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada in December, 2005, has devoted most of his life’s energy and passion to understanding the role of the church in the world.

December 3

  • AIMM moves administration to Africa
    Recent Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission Partnership Councils held in Burkina Faso and Democratic Republic of Congo were planned to empower African churches and promote mutuality in mission.

  • Hallelujah! First Person: Will Loewen
    Amidst a conversation I do not understand, I hear a word I recognize. “Hallelujah!” However, neither the man nor his mother are speaking dramatically. The conversation continues, and again I hear the word, “Hallelujah.” The man will tell me later that he was simply telling her that his family had attended that morning’s prayer service.

  • Bolivian day care turns tears to laughter
    Through Samuelito Day Care Center, love and laughter touch the lives of many children born into desperate circumstances in Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s largest city. This ministry of Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Boliviana (Bolivian Evangelical Mennonite Church), finds much to celebrate in the midst of daily struggles to survive.

  • In Hong Kong, new life
    For at least one Hong Kong immigrant, new life begat new life. On August 14, nine months after she was baptized in the ocean waters off of the coast of Cheung Chau Island, Hong Kong, Winnie Moyco Chan gave birth to a son. Zane Austin Chan’s arrival was the culmination of years of searching – for happiness and for God.

  • Walter Franz; a man of wisdom and vision
    According to friends and family, Walter Edward Franz had the wisdom, vision and strength of an eagle, a creature of spiritual significance to aboriginal communities. Considering Walter’s long-term commitment to Mennonite Church Canada’s Native Ministries, this image is particularly appropriate.

  • Serving with passion; Henry Dueck, 1927-2007
    Henry Dueck had passion for people and for the Word of God. He dedicated his life to a career in mission work that lasted for more than 40 years, including voluntary service after retirement. In partnership with his wife, Helen, Henry served in various educational and pastoral capacities, primarily in Latin America.

October 17

  • “Cries from the heart:” Rural churches focus on creation care
    Eighty-one rural Christians from 14 countries around the world have issued group statements on the state of rural resource stewardship and care for humankind.

  • Making a difference one choice at a time
    Dan and Crystal Kehler can’t forget Colombia. Since their visit earlier this year on a Mennonite Church Canada Learning Tour, they have struggled to come to terms with the contrast between their comfortable Canadian lifestyle and the poverty, violence and injustice that prevails in Colombia.

  • Three places, one message for mission
    Despite his 13 years of international ministry experience, Tim Froese continues to search for one message that will reach everyone, regardless of where they are along life’s journey.

  • Catholics and Mennonites: bridging baptismal traditions
    Despite the historical differences between Catholics and Mennonites, a growing number of believers from each group is benefiting from the customs of the other. Together, these believers form Bridgefolk; persons who bridge the two traditions by celebrating commonalities and learning from distinctions – including those related to baptism.

  • Language allows for Chinese connections
    Sichuan Province is a good place to avoid in August. Temperatures soar while heavy rains increase the humidity, making classrooms and accommodations uncomfortable. But for Mennonite Partners in China (MPC) teachers, the summer routine is set. It’s all about language.

September 28

  • Global gift sharing links Honduras and Canada
    Anabaptists in Honduras are looking for new ways to build relationships with fellow Anabaptists in North America as a result of an August visit to Honduras by Robert J. Suderman, Mennonite Church Canada general secretary.

  • Thriving or struggling: Church study seeks solutions to pastoral issues
    It’s common to virtually all congregations and denominations: Some pastors thrive; others struggle to find meaning in their work, or in finding work/family/rest balance.

  • God opens doors to dream
    NHL hockey player Reggie Leach spent his first eight years or so growing up in a home on a lot that is now occupied by the Riverton Fellowship Circle.

  • Cab Connections
    After attending a weeklong conference of the Southern Cone Countries Latin Mennonite churches in Uruguay, we emerge from the Santiago airport attempting to locate an airporter van. But an eager taxi driver dogs us. “I’ll take you for the same price as the airporter and you don’t have to crowd in with others,” he insists. “I have to head back to the city anyway.”

  • Closet genealogist exposes passion for Mennonite heritage
    Alf Redekopp strains to slide the large, flat box off a sturdy steel shelf in the vault, and gestures for my help. At a reference table in the archives, we remove the lid, revealing a near-ancient hymn book measuring two feet wide by three feet long.

  • Art speaks to the dignity of all
    Visitors to the Invisible Dignity exhibit have the uncanny sense of being watched. It’s not a wonder; windows to the soul peer out from every wall; eyes of the hungry, the poor, the exploited and the displaced. The feeling is unsettling and more than a little compelling. Those eyes evoke compassion and they demand a response.

September 17

  • Hope and understanding for Pauingassi
    Since the tragic death of six-year-old Adam Keeper in August, Pauingassi First Nation has been under intense media scrutiny. Although a troubled image of the isolated reserve has emerged, Mennonite Church Canada workers believe there is reason for hope and that understanding cultural issues will lead to greater compassion for the community.

  • Disband the White Church!: A call for reconciliation
    “Disband the White Church!” proclaims the cover of Xola Skosana’s book. Skosana, founder and lead pastor of Way of Life church, demands the end of racially-segregated churches in South Africa. He proposes that the white church dissolve and reemerge within the black church.

  • Sports ministry softens convicts
    Sinethemba Gcwabe spent four years of his young life as a prisoner at Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town, home to some of South Africa's most dangerous criminals and roughest gangsters. During the apartheid era Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners spent time here.

August 22

  • Bold question on war inspires thought
    Conrad Stoesz promotes peace by sharing history with young people. His mission begins with a question. “If Canada went to war, what would you do?” Recently, the Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) archivist supported an Alternative Service display at the Red River Regional Heritage Fair.

  • Korean Mennonites model early church
    Considered heretics by their fellow citizens, 30 believers gathered to worship in a borrowed room. New Testament Christians from the Holy Land? Reformation leaders in Europe? Although these counter-cultural Anabaptists share a common vision with their predecessors, this congregation initially met on the first Sunday of 2007 in Seoul, South Korea.

  • Thai laborer now works for Christ
    Sweat dripping down his brow, Uthane Inchai bent his aching back to grab a long piece of wood from the endless pile. His arm flinched back to find several splinters sticking into his hand. He sighed and started removing the debris from his already-calloused hands.

June 26

  • Holy Spirit makes IMPaCT in Alberta
    Mennonite Church Alberta got an unexpectedly enthusiastic response from people wanting to participate in IMPaCT this year. IMPaCT – International Mennonite Pastors Coming Together – was held in conjunction with Mennonite Church Alberta’s Theology Study week.

  • IMPaCT 2007 marked by visa headaches
    A special event sponsored by Mennonite Church Canada in collaboration with Mennonite Church Alberta was once again marred by the inability of an invited guest to obtain a visa from the Canadian government.

  • Churches recommit to justice for Aboriginal peoples
    Representatives of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Central Committee, together with representatives of numerous Canadian church organizations, marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of a document entitled A New Covenant: Towards the Constitutional Recognition and Protection of Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada here on June 21.

  • The generous spirit of southern Africa
    A trip to southern Africa gave members of a Learning Tour the opportunity to witness generosity and grace in the face of issues such as racism, poverty and injustice. Mennonite Church Canada organized the Africa Learning Tour to connect Canadian Mennonites with its ministries in Africa.

  • Education and fellowship build church in India
    Ben Wiebe has seen God at work in India. The former Ontario pastor recently spent two months on a special Mennonite Church Canada Witness assignment teaching seminary students at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS) in Bangalore and Union Bible Seminary (UBS) in Pune.

  • Author on Mennonite mission impossible
    Arlette Kouwenhoven is on a nearly impossible mission to find a Mennonite family thread that can be traced from Netherlands to Mexico. Though Kouwenhoven has no personal connection with Mennonites, it is her personal passion for tracing the migration pattern of the Dutch diaspora that drives her.


June 13

  • Church should lead on Aboriginal justice issues
    Phil Fontaine, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada invited all Canadians and corporations to a day of peaceful action on June 29, 2007, as a response to years of government inaction.

  • God's people now- sharing the dialogue
    A 2006 cross-country Listening Tour of Mennonite Church Canada congregations affirmed General Secretary Robert J. Suderman's belief that "relationships and trust are key to building the church." His new book, God's People Now! brings the dialogue of that tour to the national body, highlighting "wisdom from the pews."

May 30

May 17

  • The shared, blackened pot
    While in quiet conversation with a friend, recently, I learned that her project to build a home in a suburb of our town had suddenly come to an awkward halt. The half- finished building, which had lain quiet for some weeks, had been occupied by a raft of strangers who had taken shelter there when no one was watching.

  • South Koreans affected by shootings
    The impact of the April 17 shootings on the Virginia Tech University campus that left 32 people dead has stretched across the Pacific. In South Korea, representatives from Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) have been dealing with the feelings of concern and shame welling up in their students, as well as assumptions about what the incident reflects of American culture, how it may have influenced shooter Seung-Hui Cho and what it might mean to future relations.

  • Mennonites gather within Emergent Conversation
    When participants gathered in suburban Philadelphia, for the 2007 Emergent Conversation, they were surprised at how many Mennonites were a part of the group. For Jess Walter, who works with Franconia Mennonite Conference, the reason was obvious: a combination of her job, a personal interest in post modernity and faith, and a desire to show hospitality were all motivated her to join the event.

  • Korean-Canadian pastor brings Anabaptism home

    Hun Lee, pastor of Vision Mennonite Church in London, Ontario, and former pastor at Charleswood Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, was invited by the Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) as a guest speaker to South Korea.

  • Mennonite Publishing tackles tough pastoral care issues
    Thousands of people in Mennonite churches are suffering in silence because they don’t get the help they need in facing their addictions, mental disorders, experiences of abuse, and other personal issues. That assumption, confirmed by therapists and pastors alike, has propelled Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) to spearhead the development of a series of pastoral care pamphlets that bring together professional therapy, Christian faith, and congregational care.

May 2

  • Mennonite Church Canada advocates for Peace Tax

    Mennonite Church Canada has sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking government to allow for the “… Conscientious Objection to the payment of those taxes designated for military purposes.”

  • Message to youth: You are not alone
    Three years after she first began listening to a Christian program on her portable radio in Wangprado, Thailand, Orathai Apong considered herself a believer. But in all that time in and around her small village, she had not met a single Christian.

  • Building the Church with newspaper

    The fourth chapter of Exodus reports that an incredulous fugitive thought the voice from a flame-shooting bush was calling him to an assignment beyond his capacity. But, God’s question, “What is that in your hand?” inspired Moses – and his spiritual descendants – to undertake to audacious projects.

  • First Person: Corner store counseling

    I like to walk to my temporary office while on a sabbatical teaching assignment with Mennonite Church Canada in Concepción, Chile. I have no car and prefer to use my bus fare money for snacks. And, I get 15 minutes of exercise to boot.

  • Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA sign covenant

    When the Joint Executive Committee of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA met here on April 10-11, they confirmed what their two boards had already approved – a partnership covenant that recognizes that the two distinct national denominations have a strong and intentional partnership in areas of mutual interest.

April 18

  • Mennonite hymnal links China, North America

    It’s about 12,000 kilometres from Chongqing, China to Washington, Iowa. But the distance between Julie Wang of Chongqing and the North American Mennonite Church is only as wide as the blue Mennonite hymnal.

  • First Person: Colombian experience transforms
    As we descended the windy road to Anapoíma, I wondered what the church would look like in this community. As we drove on, it became increasingly important to me that they would have a bathroom. Little did I know what I was about to experience.

  • Spiritual churches celebrate 35 years of training

    In the past four decades, African Initiated Churches have moved from the periphery of the Christian world onto center stage. A crowd of about 400 gathered at Good News Theological College and Seminary on Feb. 24 to celebrate this institution’s 35-year legacy in training AIC leaders for their role in the transformation.

  • Vineyard churches use Upside Down classic

    Almost three decades after its first release in 1978, Donald B. Kraybill’s book, The Upside-Down Kingdom, continues to influence a new generation of Christians in unusual places.

April 3

  • Salsa dancing as preparation for prayer

    As a unique way of preparing for an hour of prayer, the lively community of Christian believers in Puerta del Rebaño engages in an hour of salsa dancing together every Wednesday night.

  • Martha Vandenberg, long time mission worker in Taiwan, passes
    Martha Vandenberg (Boschman), long time Mennonite mission worker with her husband Han in Taiwan, passed away peacefully on March 13, 2007 at the Olds Long-term Care Centre in Olds, Aberta, after a long struggle with Lewy Bodies (DLB), a form of dementia similar to Alzheimer's disease.

  • God’s People Now! Listening Tour continues

    In recognition that the church is a system with many interconnected and intersecting parts, Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada will extend his 2006 listening tour of over 200 congregations to area churches, schools, and affiliated agencies this spring.

March 19

March 7

  • Send a Friend draw winner

    Werner De Jong, Senior Pastor at Holyrood Mennonite Church (Edmonton) won Mennonite Church Canada’s “Send a Friend” draw on January 31. De Jong plans to use the $2000 travel voucher to visit West Africa.

  • Other denominations recommending Gather ’Round to their churches
    The United Church of Christ (UCC) has signed an agreement to become a cooperative user of Gather 'Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News, the new Sunday school curriculum from Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network.

February 16

  • MC Canada launches radio program

    Mennonite Church Canada will launch a radio program called Church Matters on Feb.18. The program is the combination of an offer from the Elmer Hildebrand, owner of Golden West Broadcasting – the host network – and the ponderings of MC Canada leadership on how to reach more people both in and out of its member congregations.

  • Resource advocates available to help churches
    Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre just got a little bigger and more personal. Four volunteers – Lisa Carr-Pries (Eastern Canada.), Jeff Thiessen (Man.), Marion Bueckert (Sask.), Tracy Brown Ewert (Alta.) – are in place and eager to serve as extensions of the MC Canada Resource Centre in Winnipeg.

  • Mennonite Partners in China Teachers Honored in China

    Four teachers with Mennonite Partners in China have chosen to receive their first provincial “Most Excellent Foreign Teachers” award. Schools in China have always appreciated the work of teachers from MPC (formally China Educational Exchange). In the provincial capital of Chengdu, the four MPC teachers, Todd Hanson, Catherine McKinlay, Carol Park and Holly Showalter, along with 44 others, were recognized at an awards ceremony on December 22.

  • Neil Young, gardening and faith: A conversation with Dave Bergen
    There are few things that give Dave Bergen more pleasure than digging his fingers into freshly tilled soil of his gardens after a long winter. This expression of nurturing and coaxing new life out of recently thawed ground is an annual pilgrimage for Bergen, executive secretary of Formation ministries for Mennonite Church Canada.

February 6

  • Anabaptism a growing edge in Chile

    A door has opened for seminary students in Chile and their respective congregations, thanks to the teaching of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) professor Titus Guenther and the commitment of Mennonite Church Canada to the region.

  • “Put your money where your faith is”
    Gary Hawton has had a lot of time to think about ethical financial investing. After all, he’s been investing since he was twelve years old. Today he is the CEO of Meritas Mutual Funds – a socially responsible investment (SRI) company in Cambridge, Ont.

January 24

  • Seniors and the Future of the Church

    In one MC Canada congregation, a teenage girl prefers to attend her grandparent’s small, rural, and aging congregation rather the congregation of her parents. She has few peers there, and it means driving about an hour rather than going to the big, modern, easily accessible, and impressively programmed congregation where her parents attend. Why? “The seniors in this congregation love me and encourage me,” she simply responded.

January 8

  • Shirley’s Gift

    The best gift that my wife Julie and I received this past Christmas did not come wrapped in brightly colored paper. In fact, it could neither be boxed nor bought. Our gift was given to us by Shirley, a Chinese student friend.