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- Leadership, money and discernment
key topics at Leadership Assembly
Pastoral leadership development, fiscal concerns in times of economic
crisis, and a conversation about being a faithful church were the
major topics of discussion at Mennonite Church Canada’s Fall
Leadership Assembly in Calgary from November 12-15.
- Against all odds: committed
to Anabaptist study
An old engraving from the Mennonite Martyrs Mirror remains
burned into the memory of Félix Dakuo: The image depicts
Dirk Willems, a 16th century Anabaptist who escaped prison,
fleeing across a frozen river. His pursuer falls through
the ice, and Willems returns to save the man from certain
death, only to be re-captured and later burned at the stake
for his beliefs. Dakuo, a school teacher and volunteer assistant
to Pastor Coulibaly Abdias of the Orodara Mennonite Church,
deeply wants to learn more about Mennonite theology.
- Broadcast ministry hopeful
in Burkina Faso
It is Women’s Day at the Mennonite Church in Orodara.
The children’s choir has already sung, and now a parade
of women enter the back of the sanctuary, singing and swaying
in time to the balifone and drum music. In their hands, each
one clutches a field hoe. The women swipe at imaginary weeds
in time to the music. The hoe is a symbol of work and working
together in this culture. The presentation is a call to all
Christians to gather together to work for the Kingdom of
- The East and West of language
When Ana and I made the move from West to East in 2007,
we were determined to learn Korean quickly so that we could
go about our daily life independent of translators. When
we began serving at Jesus Village Church in Chuncheon, we
were assured that we didn’t need to learn a lot to
get by as most Koreans know at least a little English.
- English language teaching
as Christian mission
“Why should a church mission agency be supporting
English teaching?” That question is a familiar one
to Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers whose job it is
to teach English in various locations around the world, including
Philip and Julie Bender. The Benders, who teach English to
students and teachers at Chongqing Medical University in
China through Mennonite Partners in China (MPC) – a
program of four Mennonite church agencies – MC Canada
Witness, Mennonite Mission Network, Eastern Mennonite Missions,
offered a four-point response in a recent prayer letter.
- Exploring faith through an
In China, students hold teachers in high regard, which opens the
door to many conversations about faith and life. Interacting with
my students illustrates the vast difference between my Christian
formation and theirs. I grew up grounded in Biblical knowledge
and a Christian environment, but this is seldom a part of the Chinese
Christian experience. John took advantage of my open office door
to present some questions about the Bible that had arisen after
a conversation with a Japanese Christian acquaintance whose formation
was different again.
- Pastor’s pension plan:
Riding out the economic storm
Mennonite Church Canada’s pension plan is weathering the
economic storm better than some. So says Bryan Grom of Ardent Financial,
the broker for the MC Canada pension plan. Unless plan members
specify otherwise, the plan is invested in the Meritas Socially
Responsible Asset Allocation Fund.
- A most beautiful way
Burned out homes, evacuees tenting along the beach, helicopters
flying low overhead and soldiers patrolling the streets;
hard evidence of a community devastated by war. These scenes
greeted me as we drove into the municipality of Kauswagan
in Mindanao with Peacebuilders Community Inc. (PBCI), a ministry
supported by Mennonite Church Canada Witness, to distribute
relief to internally displaced people.
- Canada-Colombia free trade
Rebecca Bartel, Mennonite Church Canada Mission Associate
working with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Colombia,
reports that Colombian Mennonites and partner organizations
have expressed deep concern over the free trade deal that
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Alvaro
Uribe have recently signed. In a call to action, Bartel writes
that the deal has “… created a cloud of uncertainty
around the possible effects that this pact will have on Colombian
economy, the dire human rights situation and the humanitarian
crisis that is currently facing the country.”
- Vietnam Mennonite Church
“Mennonite Six” released, but eight
more are in custody
The Vietnam Mennonite Church has met all the requirements
for full legal status, reports Mennonite World Conference
(MWC) in a Nov. 24 release. MWC reports that on Nov. 15-17
an official, government approved General Assembly of the
Vietnam Mennonite Church was held in Ho Chi Minh City. Over
200 participants gathered, with 188 recognized as official
delegates representing 6,123 believers.
- Uncertain times call for
long term, responsible investing
The recent debt crisis and resulting economic uncertainty
are troubling many people – especially those who are
already drawing down their pension investments. But for Gary
Hawton, CEO of Meritas Mutual Funds Inc., the returns on
investment are not the only measure of value.
- Anne Kompaore: Twenty-six
years in Burkina Faso
In 1982, two single, white North American women showed up
in Kotoura, a remote village in southwestern Burkina Faso.
They brought with them a few suitcases, a passion for languages – and
their Christian faith. Twenty-six years later one of those
women, Anne Kompaore – a Mennonite Church Canada Witness
worker now married to a Burkinabe native and pastor Daniel
Kompaore – reflects on the early days of her work and
the formation of the Mennonite Church in Burkina.
- Caution: Culture Crossing
During our supper together, Tata Koti advised that we should
leave for Mt. Ayliff at 6:00 a.m. the next morning. That
meant setting the alarm for 4:45 so we could rise and prepare
tea for Tata and his wife Mama Bewana by 5:30. We departed
at 6:10 and promptly at 8:00 arrived at our destination,
a church in this rural area of the Eastern Cape province
of South Africa. In limited English, Tata Koti, chair of
the Bethany Bible School Committee, indicated that we should
be ready to start at 8:00… or 9:00. Two people were
waiting when we arrived.
- New curriculum reaches up
A new resource will help bridge the church/culture divide
between non-Aboriginals and Aboriginals in Canada. Reaching
up to God our Creator explores the wisdom of Jesus Christ
that is present in Aboriginal sacred teachings. It is in
and through wisdom that God created the world and all inhabitants.
- Burkina Faso Mennonites teach
The past few years have not been easy for Nafi.* Three years
ago she decided to follow Christ and began attending the
local Mennonite church in Samogohiri, her village in Burkina
Faso. At first, her Muslim husband had no problem letting
her attend church services, but as her faith continued to
grow, so did her husband’s opposition towards it. Regardless,
Nafi has remained firm in her commitment to Christ even through
the physical abuse and spiritual battle that followed.
- Burkina Faso Mennonites forge
With only about 500 active church members among the 15 million
people living in the former French colony of Burkina Faso,
Mennonites are virtually unknown – except for their
reputation as peace builders.
- Working for peace: Pax documentary
premieres on Hallmark
The story of Pax, an Anabaptist-based service program which
ran from 1951 to 1975, will premiere on Hallmark Channel
November 23 (7 a.m. ET/PT, 6 a.m. CT/MT).
- Canada to host G8 in 2010:
Christians can prepare now
Christians in Canada will have an unprecedented opportunity
to influence leaders of the G8 nations when Canada hosts the
meeting in Huntsville, Ont. in 2010, says the Canadian Council
of Churches (CCC).
- Economic crisis may open
door to SRI
Sustainability. Value. Transparency. As the world’s economy
quakes, these are key issues in the demand for restructuring of
the global financial system, and they may be qualities that open
the door to wider recognition of Socially Responsible Investing
- Assembly 2009 to take place
at the University of Saskatchewan
Mennonite Church Canada’s delegate Assembly 2009 will
take place at the University of Saskatchewan from June 5
to 7. The theme is Living Inside Out (Col. 3:12)
- Going green: the colour of
If you aren’t quite ready to “go green” to decrease
your environmental footprint, would you consider going green for
peace? That’s what Dan Kehler is doing. The Associate Pastor
of Bergthaler Mennonite Church in Altona says that society’s
addiction to oil has made it a commodity that drives war. “I
figure the less carbon I use, the less I participate in the economy
of oil and the less I participate in the war that is currently
going on in Iraq.”
- Two winged concept flies
When small groups from Macau Mennonite Church meet, members include
one empty chair in the circle. Those gathered together pray for
the person who will eventually fill that vacant seat. Like members
of the early church 2,000 years ago, those at Macau Mennonite are
working to find wholeness by making space for both large and small
forms of church.
- Colombian Pastor vanishes
On Thursday, September 25, at 10 AM Pastor William Reyes left
Valledupar, Cesar, for his home in Maicao, La Guajira in northern
Colombia. He never arrived. Reyes is associated with Justapaz,
a ministry of our partner, Mennonite Church of Colombia (IMCOL).
- Colombian Mennonites share
bread of life
The tantalizing scent of rice and chicken wafted around children
with furrowed brows trying to decipher their homework. When the
volunteer cooks announced that lunch was ready, 60 children scrambled
to find places at the table. The balanced meal awaiting them
was insurance against the distraction of hunger when they resumed
- Colombia: Peace at what cost?
Mennonites and other faiths interested in pursuing peace through
dialogue met with President Ahmadinejad of Iran in New York City
on Sept. 25. The controversial dinner meeting saw Christians
outside the hotel protesting against Christians inside the hotel.
Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada,
attended the event at the invitation of organizers. He observed
how unhelpful and hurtful it was to have Christians name calling
and hurling insults at other Christians as they entered the hotel.
- Tuning in to Christ
Sontee* is facing expulsion from his village because of his
Christian faith. But it wasn’t always like this. Rad and
Pat Houmphan, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in Borabu,
Thailand, recently met Sontee. With his wife and six children,
Sontee lives in a Southeast Asian country that has no religious
- Taiwan group celebrates 60
years of medical ministry
With aboriginal dances, choirs and speeches, Taiwan believers
and former mission workers celebrated the 60th anniversary of
Mennonite medical ministry in Taiwan on September 19 at the Mennonite
Christian Hospital in Hualien.
MC Canada donations on
track, but looming economic crisis cause for concern
Donation income for Mennonite Church Canada is on track with projections
for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2009, and comparable to income
at this time last year, said Randy Wiebe, Director of Finance. As of
Sept. 30, $1.8 million dollars in donations had been received. Expenses,
said Wiebe, are tracking below budget due to some delays in filling
vacant staff positions.
- Denominational consultants
ponder timing of next hymnal project
esults of an online survey completed by individuals representing
Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada congregations
indicate that many congregations may be ready for a new printed
hymnal in 10-15 years. The survey, conducted in March 2008, included
questions designed to provide insight into current congregational
usage and needs regarding music and worship, and also predict
future ones. (complete survey at www.mpn.net/hymnalnews.) Congregations
were asked to submit one response representing their group. MPN
received responses from 264 USA and 94 Canadian congregations.
- Christians insulting Christians
Mennonites and other faiths interested in pursuing peace
through dialogue met with President Ahmadinejad of Iran in
New York City on Sept. 25. The controversial dinner meeting
saw Christians outside the hotel protesting against Christians
inside the hotel. Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite
Church Canada, attended the event at the invitation of organizers.
He observed how unhelpful and hurtful it was to have Christians
name calling and hurling insults at other Christians as they
entered the hotel.
- Native Assembly seeks justice,
Today is a pivotal moment in Native American history, according
to Adrian Jacobs, speaker at the July 28-31 Native Assembly in
Clinton, Oklahoma. Jacobs, a Canadian Six Nations pastor invited
to the event by Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministry, called
native people to take action in God’s salvation narrative.
- Power of forgiveness transcends
Forgiveness and reconciliation have a compelling effect
that can transcend generations. Just ask Cheyenne Peace Chief
and Mennonite pastor Lawrence Hart, or the group from Mennonite
Church Canada Native Ministry with whom he shared his story
during Native Assembly in Clinton, Oklahoma this summer.
- War in the Philippines
Ongoing conflict in Mindanao, Philippines escalated into war in
early August after the Philippines’ Supreme Court issued
a temporary restraining order on the official signing of a territorial
agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Since that
time, Peacebuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) in Mindanao, an organization
supported by Mennonite Church Canada Witness, has been working
at a grassroots level to bring relief to about 3,600 displaced
families and to rekindle peace talks.
- Peace building: don’t
call it church
For Daniel and Joji Pantoja, peace theology offers a way of life
that extends beyond traditional concepts of church. As Mennonite
Church Canada Witness workers, the Pantojas are developing a Peacebuilders
Community in the Mindanao region of the Philippines where longstanding
issues of land distribution have resulted in decades of conflict
between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and migrants,
largely Christian, from the Northern Philippines.
- Coffee for Peace: economic-ecological
The latte is artfully prepared and served with pride. A mango
shake arrives with a sprig of mint gracing the top. Chairs are
upholstered in locally hand-woven silk fabric. This is not just
any coffee shop; this is Coffee for Peace.
- Festival invites discussion
of Anabaptist theology
Participation in the Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival in England
gave Vic Thiessen an opportunity to use the prophetic nature of
science fiction films as a springboard for discussions about Anabaptist
- Precarious Peace
“War is easy. It can happen right now. All it takes is a
six peso phone call [15 cents Canadian] to say ‘start fighting’,” said
General Ferrer, leader of the 6th division of the Armed Forces of the
- Norm Dyck appointed
Norm Dyck, currently Pastor at Graysville Mennonite Church (Manitoba), has been appointed Director of Congregational Partnerships for Mennonite Church Canada Witness. He will begin his new full time position in early October.
- The Lord is my close companion:
Jacob David Giesbrecht, 1924-2008
Jake Giesbrecht’s down-to-earth roots and his commitment
to God gave him an indomitable spirit and the ability to connect
with people wherever he went. Jake passed away
on May 16, 2008, shortly after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
He was predeceased by Dorothy (nee Andres) in 2005.
- Pacifism in action
For Neill von Gunten, pacifism is not passive. The co-director
of Mennonite Church Canada’s Native Ministry knows
from personal experience that standing for peace demands
action. Von Gunten, who grew up in Berne Indiana, first took a stand
for peace when he was 18 years of age and chose to enter
the conscientious objectors program instead of fighting in
the Vietnam war. He was harassed for his choice and called
- Young Mennonite brings CO
project to National Historica Fair
Twelve-year-old Allegra Friesen Epp took her project on conscientious
objection to a national audience. She was 1 of 15 students chosen
to represent Manitoba at the National Historica Fair in Victoria
BC July 7-14, 2008. A student from École Golden Gate Middle
School in Winnipeg, Friesen Epp has family ties with conscientious
objection. Her great-great uncle, Nick Friesen, went to prison during
World War II when he was denied Conscientious Objector (CO) status.
- Female Asian leader a first
for Joint Christian Services International
In February, Kwai Lin Stephens took on the role of executive
director of Joint Christian Services International (JCS). In
doing so, she became the first woman and the first non-Western
person to lead the Mongolia-based Christian consortium. In spring 2007,
many at JCS began urging Stephens to consider succeeding interim
executive director Marlow Ramsay. Her initial response was “No
way! I can do anything, but not this one!" she
- Building on Solid Foundations
In Burkina Faso, the Bible story of the foolish man who builds
his house on the sand is lived out yearly; houses don’t
last. A common adage in the town of Orodara where Lillian and
Norm Nicolson work says that if your house continues to stand
through August, the month with the highest average rainfall,
it will probably stand for another year.
- World pressure needed to
bring change to Zimbabwe
“It is God's grace that sustains us,” said Bishop
Danisa Ndlovu from his hotel room the morning after Zimbabwe's
election. From Bulawayo, Ndlovu who is vice-president and
president-elect of Mennonite World Conference, was in Toronto
to speak at the Brethren in Christ General Conference (North
- MWC sending deacons to troubled
Zimbabwe, calls for intercession June 26 and 27
Mennonite World Conference is sending a deacon couple and
calling for two days of prayer and fasting, June 26 and 27,
as Zimbabweans face a tense run-off election on June 27.
It has also appealed to the heads of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and
the United Nations (UN) to intervene in the troubled country.
- The pursuit of peace a matter
The pursuit of peace is often mired in strategic questions
about “how” but for Robert J. Suderman, General
Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada, the real questions
are more foundational. If we acknowledge Jesus the Prince
of Peace as Lord of our lives, what does that mean for our
lives and for our churches? Given that Jesus chose strategies
of suffering and non-violence, how does that shape our attitudes
and ethics toward non-violence as disciples of Jesus?
- The rhythm of celebration
It’s not every Saturday night that I go to a church
dance, but that’s exactly where I found myself on May
18 at the end of a day celebrating the dedication of the
Living Water Church of Borabu (Thailand). Bualean, a Living
Water Church member, had insisted that I dance along with
her and the others so there I was, my uncoordinated feet
trying to keep rhythm with the more accomplished dancers
June 18: Breaking News
- Young Ukrainian believers
fight for faith
Until recently, Cliff Dueck began each school day scrambling
eggs or preparing noodles with milk for seven angelic-looking
adolescent boys. After breakfast, they would all pile into
his van to be dropped off before classes began.
- At the Crossroads: Come,
Given the chaos and confusing messages that surround us
everywhere, what is it that calls the church to live and
grow together as people of God? When pastor April Yamasaki
was invited to address that question as a plenary speaker
for the 2008 People’s Summit for Faithful Living, she
knew how she had to respond.
movement for peace
On April 19, 2008, the Mennonite Church Canada General Board
approved a Christian Witness Council recommendation for the
denomination to become a supporting organization of the Canadian
Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI).
- IMPaCT building global Mennonite
Fifteen pastors were drawn together from April 24 – May
5, 2008 for a life changing and life giving experience. IMPaCT – International
Mennonite Pastors Coming Together – drew seven international
pastors and eight Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) pastors
into deep discussion about what it means to extend the peace of
Jesus Christ to the world around us.
May 15 - Breaking News
- Nanchong workers safe but
It's one thing to swing back and forth on the swinging bridge
at Little Red River Park near my home town of Prince Albert,
Sask. but quite another to experience the same sensation
while standing in the middle of a Nanchong city soccer pitch
as the windows of surrounding office buildings bulge in and
- 2009 Youth Assembly: "Living
Planners of “Living Inside Out,” Mennonite Church
Canada’s 2009 Youth Assembly, promise it will be about
more than wearing your heart on your sleeve. It will be an
opportunity for youth to figure out just how God is working
in their lives – and embolden them to tell about it
as well as live it.
- Living faithfully: 2008
Assembly and Summit
Mennonite Church Canada’s Delegate Assembly will take
place this summer in Winnipeg, Man. at Canadian Mennonite
University (CMU) July 7 and 8, immediately followed by a
joint MC Canada/MC USA Summit at the same location. The Summit
begins on the evening of July 8 and concludes on July 10.
- National and Area church
In an historic move on April 19, 2008, Mennonite Church
Canada and each of five Area Churches – MC British
Columbia, MC Alberta, MC Saskatchewan, MC Manitoba and MC
Eastern Canada – signed a Partnership Covenant. The
document outlines their commitment to cherish, bless and
support each others’ ministries in a complementary
and collaborative fashion through ongoing dialogue as equal
parts of the body of Christ.
- General Secretary invited
to serve 2nd term
The General Board of Mennonite Church Canada has invited
Robert J. Suderman to serve a second term as General Secretary
during meetings here, April 18-19.
- Generosity, Botswana-style
With a passionate voice and enthusiastic gesturing, William
Monaka leads a group of eight people – ranging in age
from 16 to 78 years old – in a New Testament Bible study.
Throughout, he pauses, asking someone to read a passage, and
then prompts questions.
- Congolese Mennonites close
Although the Democratic Republic of Congo is home to approximately
200,000 Mennonites and three Mennonite conferences, an ongoing
war over resources coupled with transportation issues have
kept those groups from meeting together – until recently.
- Thousands celebrate milestone,
Indian Mennonites from the Bharatiyah General Conference
Mennonite Church celebrated 50 years of Bible festivals Feb.
6 - 10 by proclaiming Christ’s victory to their neighbors
and worshipping thousands-strong.
- Gather 'Round summer curriculum
connects all ages
"The Things that Make for Peace" is the Gather 'Round
theme for Summer 2008 (June 1 through Aug. 24).
- Futurists Tom and Christine
Sine to speak at People’s Summit in Winnipeg
Discovering the good life. That’s the way futurists and
authors Tom and Christine Sine from Seattle, Wash., describe their
mission. Not the wealth-is-good life that marketers for the new
global economy depict. Not the limiting life of a Sunday-only theology.
Tom and Christine Sine challenge Mennonites and others to discover
the good life that celebrates God’s Kingdom 24-7.
- Multiplying leaders trumps
church planting in Botswana
When North American Mennonite Church ministry workers first
arrived here in 1975 they met with many local church groups
to assess needs. In return, they received very specific advice
from the African Independent Churches (AICs) to work in partnership
with them to provide Bible teaching and leadership development
instead of planting a Mennonite church.
- Next group of writers trained
for Gather ’Round curriculum
A new group of writers has completed a week of training
and has begun writing for the 2009-2010 year of the Gather ’Round
curriculum. These Christian education materials are published
for the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada,
and Mennonite Church USA, and are also used by congregations
in at least half a dozen other denominations.
- A wedding – Beninese
It takes more than a wedding dress and an afternoon in church
to get married in Benin. Nancy Frey discovered that Beninese weddings
take place with three distinct ceremonies adhering to traditional,
legal and religious requirements. They celebrate not only the union
of the bride and groom, but the merger of two families.
- God provides for Living
When Pat and Rad Houmphan did not have enough funding for a new
church building and fellowship centre in Borabu, Thailand, they
trusted in God’s provision.
- On-line video sharing connects
international workers with home
A catchy chord progression on an electric guitar is what you hear
first, then the words “We heart [love] Isaac Toast,” flash
blue against a black screen. Cut to a bearded young man in a heavy
jacket and toque. “We’re on our way to Isaac Toast,
which is our first ever regular dining spot,” says Joel Kroeker
as he packs up his laptop computer.
Online encyclopedia reaches
A Mennonite historical initiative achieved a historic goal on March
12. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online posted the 10,000th
article on GAMEO’s website.
- Looking to a future of peace
While most anniversary celebrations tend to commemorate the past,
the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Chile (UBACH) marked
its 100th Anniversary by looking to the future with change in mind. UBACH
is in a journey of ‘rediscovering’ its Anabaptist roots
and intentionally working to create an Anabaptist identity. Robert
J. Suderman and Janet Plenert travelled
to Temuco in early January to lead workshops on Anabaptism, meet
the leadership and join in UBACH’s festivities.
- Of pencils and people
When my husband and I joined a Mennonite Church Canada Witness
Learning Tour to Cuba during the first week of February, we packed
a box of Mennonite Savings Credit Union pencils in our suitcase. Visiting
four of the Cuban churches partnered with MC Canada gave us the
opportunity to experience Cuba “up close and personal.”
- Saying farewell
Approximately 80 people gathered on February 29th to honour the
staff of the German language magazine, Der Bote (The Messenger)
and retiring Mennonite Church Canada Denominational Minister, Sven
Photo Release - Christina
and Darnell Barkman
Christina and Darnell Barkman departed on March 16 for a 10-12
month internship assignment with Mennonite Church Canada Witness
in the Philippines.
- Faith and money talk: MC
Canada helps lead the way
Faith-guided investments can spur change at corporate levels. When
Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) asked their pension consultant,
Ardent Retirement Group Ltd., to find Socially Responsible Investment
(SRI) options for its pension plan holders, Great West Life (GWL)
created a new suite of SRI funds for investors, taking church values
to the wider marketplace.
- Students illustrate human
In Matthew 18, Jesus demonstrates how adults can learn about faith
from children. Ray Dirks, curator at the Mennonite Heritage Centre
Gallery believes adults can also learn about dignity from them.
- Always at home with God
After three years of general study at Canadian Mennonite University
(CMU), Leah Buermeyer recently embarked on a trip to Thailand where
she will participate in a four-month internship assignment, a joint
appointment through Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) Witness
and the CMU practicum program.
From lost to found
Bualean Bootbangyang’s troubled life was transformed by Jesus,
the man in white who appeared in her dreams.
- Church declared solution
to social ills in South Africa
In 1994, many South Africans were making plans to leave
the country, fearing a violent political upheaval in the
aftermath of the country’s first democratic elections.
That this did not happen, says Dr. Charles Mahlangu, remains
a miracle. Though South Africa has made democratic progress,
Mahlangu says the outlook for much of African continent is
bleak. He contends that only the church can reverse it.
- An unlikely alliance
It used to be very difficult for Elwyn Neri to trust a military
officer or trooper. Colonel Pedro Soria, the commanding officer
of the 602nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, used
to think of "peace
and order" as mere anti-insurgency. For him, maintaining
peace and order meant "more highly trained military
troops and more firepower." Elwyn and Colonel Soria went
through a personal transformation when they both attended the
2007 Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute.
- New church in Burkina Faso
celebrates first baptisms
It was a rare chilly and windy morning in Ouagadougou for the
first baptism in our little church known as the Foyer Évangélique
Mennonite de Ouagadougou. The baptism service on January 6 was a
suitable way to open the New Year.
On December 23, 2007, Lindy celebrated her birthday. Not, however,
her natural birthday. That comes on August 11. Rather, two days before
this past Christmas, through baptism in the Agape Church of Chongqing,
Lindy was born anew.
- Navigating inter-generational
Elsie Rempel is eager to navigate some confounding spiritual
intersections. The mother of three adult children and a former
elementary school teacher with 13 year’s classroom
experience gets excited about finding the intersections of
theology and practice, and is keen to apply this knowledge
to the spiritual development of children.
- Down means up for MC Canada
The trend of internet shopping has entered spiritual territory.
When Arlyn Friesen Epp, Mennonite Church Canada’s
Resource Centre Manager heard radio reports that on-line
Christmas shopping had again increased dramatically in 2007,
he sat up and listened.
- Christians debate Zuma’s
values in South Africa
Under headlines like “Power plays and political warfare in
South Africa” (Stephanie Nolen, Globe and Mail, Dec. 17, 2007)
Canadians have read about the most recent political manoeuvring in
South Africa. In short, the African National Congress (ANC), which
dominates the political scene, held a policy and leadership convention
where the presidency of the party was determined. Jacob Zuma was
elected as President of the party over Thabo Mbeki, who continues
as President of the country.
- Witness workers credited
for “love fund” scholarships
The presentation of twelve scholarships to freshmen at Chongquing
Medical University last fall caught the attention of a student
reporter. The resulting college newspaper article credits Julie
and Philip Bender, Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) Witness
workers, and Mark Sunderman, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)
worker, with helping poor students financially so that they can
focus on their studies.