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News releases: 2009

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December 2 - 18

  • Plenert appeals to feds to reconsider KAIROS funding withdrawal
    Janet Plenert, Executive Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, has learned that the federal government has abruptly ended its Canadian International Development Agency funding to KAIROS, an ecumenical peace and justice organization.

  • Churches call for Afghanistan peace mission
    The Canadian Council of Churches, Canada’s largest ecumenical Christian association, issued a brief on Dec. 10 – Human Rights day – calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan through diplomatic and political means. Mennonite Church Canada, a member of the 22 denomination Council, has signed on to the brief.

  • Unexpected Encounters with Spiritual Boys
    It was October 30, 2009 – All Hallows Eve – and the students of Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary and Middle School (WMEMS) were pulsating with the energy of the season. Some of them had already been to corn mazes and many were anticipating a time of trick-or-treating on the weekend.

  • Mission workers return to Korea
    Hun and Sunny Lee will return to South Korea as Mennonite Church Canada Mission Associates. The couple have been active mission workers in Canada for thirteen years, bringing Anabaptist theology to South Korean immigrants to Canada. The couple was commissioned for their service assignment on Nov. 29, 2009 at Trinity Mennonite Church in Calgary.

  • Rejoice! Full version now available online
    For many Mennonite Church members, the kitchen table and Rejoice!, the daily devotional from Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), go together. But an experiment conducted over the past two years shows that a growing a number of people are doing their devotions online, using their computers.

November 14 - December 1

  • Peacebuilders call for hope after Maguindanao massacre
    Daniel Pantoja, Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker to the Philippines and a leader of Peacebuilders Community in Mindanao, reports that on Monday, Nov. 23 2009, at least 57 people were killed in Maguindanao Province while either attempting to register a candidate for an upcoming 2010 election, or covering the event for media purposes.

  • Caught by the Light of Christmas
    In 1995, a retired couple from Leann’s rural Chinese village of Yang Ao Shan traveled to the nearby city of Neijiang to visit their son. There they met a group of Christians. Hearing their testimony about Jesus, the couple became believers.

  • Building church among Buddhist temples
    For the people of Thailand, the presence of a church building makes the Christian faith more visible, say Pat and Rad Houmphan, leaders of the Living Water Church in Borabu. And that visibility gives Christianity a new significance.

  • From selfishness to leadership
    Tonh, recovering from alcoholism and financial debt, is studying leadership and Bible training by correspondence and leads worship in his church. One Sunday, he shared a song he composed. After lunch and fellowship, Tonh joined a small group to discuss the things that he learned in his studies.

  • Listening and learning promote reconciliation
    Sometimes the varied and vast work of the church involves more listening and learning than doing.  During fall leadership meetings in Abbotsford Oct. 29-31, 2009, Mennonite Church Canada’s Christian Witness Council took time out on three different occasions to listen to and learn about First Nations people in Canada through a Native Ministry Tour.

  • Photo release: Laos Church Planting Team
    On Nov. 6, 2009, a Laos church planting team met in Winnipeg to explore ministry possibilities in Laos.

  • Photo release: Danisa Ndlovu interviewed for Church Matters podcast
    Danisa Ndlovu, President of Mennonite World Conference, visited Winnipeg during his tour of North America, and was interviewed for Mennonite Church Canada’s podcast program, Church Matters. Topic of discussion: Becoming a global church – one of three Mennonite Church Canada priorities. The episode, can be found online at

November 7 - 13

  • Symposium on War and Peace: Mennonites and Christian Reformed Churches discuss and discern
    Mennonite Church Canada leaders have logged another event towards the denomination’s collective “1,000 Acts of Peace” initiative. On Oct. 17, Bruce Adema, Director of Canadian Ministries for the bi-national CRC and current president of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), and Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada hosted a Symposium on War and Peace together with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) of Canada at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

  • Veteran pastor shares passion for outreach in new book
    For almost 50 years, David Eshleman has had a passion to help churches reach out and share Christ. He’s done it as a pastor, including serving at Capital Christian Fellowship in Washington, D.C. During his time there, from 1994-2006, the church grew from 45 people to more than 400. Now he is sharing his passion for outreach as author of Now Go Forward: Reaching Out To Grow Your Congregation.

  • Long-time editor looks back on rich experience
    Challenging, rich, full—those are the words that James E. Horsch uses to describe his 41-year career with Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN). Horsch, who retired at the end of October as editor of Adult Bible Study, Purpose and Mennonite Directory, among many other things, began his career with what was then called Mennonite Publishing House in 1968.

October 24 - 31

  • Faith leaders to urge governments: Stick to Millenium Development Goal pledges
    Add Mennonite Church Canada to the list of approximately 100 religious groups who will hold G8 leaders to their 9 year old pledges to the Millennium Development Goals.

  • New Worship Council Holds First Meeting
    What songs should be included in a new hymnal for the Mennonite Church? What new resources could be provided for worship leaders? How will the Internet and other technological changes affect the way people get and use music in the future? Those were some of the questions raised at the inaugural meeting of the Mennonite Bi-National Worship Council, which met Oct 4-6 at the St Jacobs, Ont. Mennonite Church.

  • “Simply Me” Author aims to prepare all “Simply in Season” recipes in one year
    First there was Julie and Julia, the book and then hit-movie, about one woman’s quest to make all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking. Now there is “Simply Me: A year of eating locally, mindfully and simply,” a new blog by Wendy Hammond of Grand Rapids, MI about her goal of making every recipe in Simply in Season (Herald Press, 2005).

  • Old Book Continues To Find New Readers
    The goal of every publisher is to make sure there are new books for readers to buy—books that address current issues, topics and situations. So it may come as a surprise to learn that one of the most popular books from Herald Press, the book division of Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), is almost 350 years old.

October 16 - 23

  • Principles of Peace gain broader recognition
    What if peace were held as the organizing principle for society? What if non-violent conflict resolution, rather than defence and offence, shaped national and international strategies for peace? What if military “boot camp” for soldiers focussed on intensive training in violence prevention, mediation, and reconciliation instead of physical prowess, aggression and weaponry? Mennonite Church Canada is taking an active role in promoting a culture of peace, including non-violent conflict resolution, within Canada and abroad.

  • Young Adults serve the church abroad
    Six young adults have each made a one-year commitment to serving the church abroad with Mennonite Church Canada. Four are serving as Interns with Radical Journey, a program of Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) in partnership with Mennonite Church Canada Witness, while two others are Witness Associates with Connexus; a language institute associated with the Korea Anabaptist Center in Seoul, South Korea.

September 25 - October 2

  • New rhymes for pandemic times
    Many of us grew up with simple rhymes: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away;” “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Rhymes often grow out of situations where advice is needed. Their sing-song nature sometimes makes the advice more palatable and memorable. As we enter an era of heightened pandemic awareness, will we respond by writing rhymes to help our children live into a new situation?

  • Der Bote index completed
    The completion of a thirty year project of the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg was celebrated on September 2, 2009. The MHC released the final title of its six-volume Der Bote Index series. Der Bote was a German language newspaper that kept primarily Russian Mennonite readers informed and inspired for 105 years.

  • New editors aim to help people engage with God’s story, make faith practical
    Sharon K. Williams believes that Bible study is an important part of Christian life and discipleship. That’s why she’s looking forward to her new assignment as editor of Adult Bible Study, produced by Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN). For Carol Duerksen, being named editor of Purpose magazine is an “exciting opportunity to help people find ways to make their faith practical for their daily lives.”

September 30 - Breaking News

  • Filipino Mennonites lose homes in typhoon
    Mennonite Church Canada pledges money for relief efforts

    Members of Integrated Mennonite Church (IMC) in the Philippines have lost homes in a September 26 typhoon, reports Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker Daniel Pantoja. At the time of the storm, Pantoja was in Manila to meet with IMC leaders. In early reports he indicated that the storm and flooding affected areas where IMC churches are located, and the homes of several IMC church members have been completely destroyed.

September 17 - 24

  • You’re not alone; reflections on the Mennonite World Conference in Asuncion, Paraguay (July/2009)
    Looking back on my experiences at the conference, I realize that the ‘extreme togetherness’ we felt there was in itself a gift and a lesson.

  • Youth Assembly 2009 continues to resonate; community and acceptance
    The five days I spent at the Youth Assembly with the Home Street youth group felt like the perfect way to let go of the pressures of a public high school, and enter a university-directed mindset.

  • Going to give: a reflection on Youth Assembly 2009
    As the Home Street Mennonite Church youth group, we knew we would 'get' stuff (fun, inspiration, adventure, new friends, stainless steel mugs, challenges, etc) when we went to the Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly in Caronport, but I'm not sure we realized how significant our giving would be.

  • Spiritual abundance in spite of low registrations
    The spiritual experience was a high, even though registration numbers were low for the 2009 Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly in Caronport, Sask. (July 6-10). Almost 200 youth and youth sponsors attended – down by about 50%; youth assemblies in past years have generated an average of about 400 registrations.

  • A forest of signboards
    “I'm often curious what Western people think of Korean culture, especially signboards [advertisements and signage for businesses],” says Ki-Dong, an artist and student in my discussion class. “Sometimes when I get off the subway I feel as though I'm walking through a forest of signboards.”

  • Artist uses gift to reach out to comic book readers
    The gospel, we are told, is supposed to be shared with every people group. But does that include comic book readers? For Canadian Steven Reece Friesen, the answer is yes. “They’re a people group,” he told a packed-out youth seminar titled “Pax Avalon: Can art change the way we think?”

September 11 - Breaking News

  • Devastating floods follow fires in Burkina Faso
    On Sept. 1, a flood disaster of epic proportions devastated the capital region of Burkina Faso. The devastation follows a destructive fire that swept through three villages in rural Burkina Faso on May 21– villages that are home to members of the fledgling Mennonite Church here.

September 10

  • Ashamed, but hopeful in Christ
    Usually I take pride in being a Christian. I am profoundly moved by stories of God bringing about deep and complete transformation of people across the nations and throughout history. I am in awe of how God’s people, the church, have been God’s agent in so very many ways.

  • The aroma of Christ
    Chongqing is a city of aromas— intoxicating flowering trees on our campus, the peppery hot pot that bores through the nostrils and explodes in a sneeze, and “stinky dofu,” (barbecued bean curd) that wrinkles your nose because yes, it stinks.

  • Mennonite originated schools in Holy Land remain a strong witness
    Three schools with Mennonite roots continue to have a powerful influence in the conflicted Palestine/Israel region – and around the world. More than 100 students received graduating diplomas from these schools this year.

  • Submissions Wanted For New Book On Living Simply and Sustainably
    What are you doing to live more simply and sustainably? Are you composting? Are you finding ways to harness the sun’s energy to heat your home? Or maybe you have found new ways to slow down and improve the quality of your life. Whatever you are doing to make the world a better and more sustainable place to live, the authors of a new Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) book want to know.

September 3 - Breaking News

  • General Secretary announces retirement
    Robert J. Suderman, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada, on Aug. 28 informed the General Board Executive of his intention to retire not later than Aug. 31, 2010.

August 21

July 20

  • Radical living, inside out

    Mennonite Church Canada’s Youth Assembly 2009 began with a dramatized communiqué at the opening worship service by author, playwright and teacher, Michele Hershberger. Addressing those gathered as a bag-lady-come-angel-from-God, Hershberger delivered a message that “you always forget, but [it’s] something that you need to get by in this world.”

  • Meeting the challenge

    The 2009 Youth Assembly Planning Committee intended to issue a Guinness World Record-breaking challenge to youth packaging school kits for distribution abroad – but Guinness informed them that there was no such category.

  • Local Treasure assumes Macau Mennonite helm

    For the first time in 13 years the Macau Mennonite has a local Chinese leader as the lead pastor of the church. Treasure Chow was ordained at Macau Mennonite Church in a June 7 ceremony attended by mission workers and leaders from Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and North America.

  • Camera earns university tuition

    When François Drabo, 22, bought an older model film camera from his church, he already had a plan for how he would use it to pay for his university tuition. In March, 2008, Jeff and Tany Warkentin, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in Burkina Faso, invited selected Canadian supporters to donate film cameras that were no longer in use, to the Foyer Évangélique Mennonite de Ouagadougou, a fledgling congregation of mostly university students.

  • Mennonite Heritage Centre and MCC Manitoba help Mennonite immigrants

    The Mennonite Heritage Centre is collaborating with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba office in Winkler to assist Mennonites arriving from Latin and South America.

  • MPN Enjoys Successful Convention Sales

    Canadian Mennonites are thinking about a flu pandemic, American Mennonites want to sing. At least, that’s one conclusion that can be drawn from sales of books from Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) at the national conventions of MC Canada and MC USA this summer.

  • New Managing Editor for Gather `Round Appointed

    Cyndi Fecher of Elgin, Ill., has been named the new Managing Editor of the Gather ’Round curriculum, a joint project of the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA.

July 15

  • Praying at the Mosque

    Every day at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and at 9:30 p.m. the Imams go to their microphones and in a loud melodic voice call everyone to prayer. Five times a day men and boys gather from their homes and places of work for ten minutes of prayer – a total of nearly one hour per day. God has used those calls to prayer to speak to me about my own Christian prayer life. “These folks[Muslims] are praying a lot more than I am!” I told myself.

June 24

  • We are all Treaty People

    History is not always what it seems, and the treaties signed with Canada’s First Nations belong to all of us, heard 21 participants at Mennonite Church Canada’s first ever Aboriginal Learning Tour on June 7 – 9.

  • Inspired by the Word: Supporting Ministry: Part V of V

    From the time Christ first travelled with his entourage across land and sea to cities and villages and everywhere between, logistics have been at play: How do we travel? How do we feed ourselves along the way? How will people know we are coming? Where do we stay when we get there? How do we finance the journey?

  • New Editorial Director Appointed for Herald Press Books

    Amy Gingerich, a member of the Summit Mennonite Church in Barberton, Ohio, has been appointed to the newly created position of Herald Press editorial director at Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN).

June 16

  • Update: Burkina Faso village fire

    Mennonite Church Canada will help purchase emergency food supplies for families who lost homes and stocked granaries in devastating village fires on May 21. Anne Garber Kompaore, Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker in Burkina Faso, first reported on the devastating fire that swept through the village of Kangala on May 21 that left almost 500 people without homes or food.

June 12

  • Communicators Should Tell Stories, Start Conversations To Reach Youth

    130 People Attend Second Going Barefoot Conference in Winnipeg: When it comes to marketing, Jesus was the best in the trade. "When Jesus was on earth, he spoke to people in their own place and in their own language," Mike Tennant told 130 church communicators and editors at the May 15 Going Barefoot Conference at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg.

June 10

  • Breaking News: International appeal to lift relief blockade in Mindanao

    Joji Pantoja, Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker in Mindanao, Philippines, is appealing for prayer in response to a food blockade in a region of heavy fighting. According to reports from freelance Filipino journalist Romy Elusfa, clashes between government militias and Moro guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front resulted in the burning of civilian homes on May 31.

June 1

  • Breaking News: Honduran quake victims request prayer

    An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck Honduras at about midnight on May 28. The epicentre of the two-minute quake was the Caribbean coast just north of Bay Islands. Six people have been reported dead, and 25 injured throughout the country.

May 27

  • Breaking News: Call to prayer for fire victims in Burkina Faso

    A devastating fire ripped through three villages within five kilometers of each other in Burkina Faso on May 21. Five people are reported dead in a small village near Kangala where an entire neighbourhood was burned down. In the village of Kotoura, five homes were burned, according to Moussa Traore in Kotoura. There are Mennonite churches in Kotoura and Kangala.

  • Listening for God’s call

    Despite the fact that many her age would settle into a quiet life of retirement, Helen Dueck isn’t closing any doors. Instead, she’s listening for God’s call.

  • Mennonites in Mexico support Mennonite Church Canada

    Four churches in Mexico who once received financial support from Mennonite Church Canada are now contributing back to the denomination’s bottom line. They also send delegates to MC Canada assemblies and use Canadian assembly themes to shape their own gatherings.

  • Dancing in the Spirit of Humanity

    All but one of the students in my group were refugees. I greeted them with a visual presentation to inspire confidence and pride about who they are and where they come from. With positive stories and images from various cultures that we in the West tend to stereotype, I affirmed that we can all learn from one another and that they, too, have good things to teach the rest of us.

May 14

  • The Church in China: Calling on God instead of ourselves

    A thirteen hour flight from Toronto to Beijing launched an eye-opening tour of the church in China for three Mennonite Church Canada pastors. From March 11 to 26, with Witness worker Jeanette Hanson as their guide, Jim Loepp Thiessen from the Gathering Church (Kitchener, Ont.) and Barb and Wilmer Froese, co-pastors of Rosthern MC (Sask.) explored the work of MC Canada Witness in urban and rural areas.

  • 100,000 strong peace caravan fails to make news in 40 year-old Philippines conflict

    My hands and arms are tired of being pulled, grasped, clasped and yanked. Is this what it’s like to be a celebrity? We’ve been driving since 6 am. The plan for “Peace Power Day” was to travel a 500 km circular route through the four province Magindanaoan region of central Mindanao, starting and ending in Davao City. An ambitious goal for our “Peace Caravan” of 21 vehicles plastered with banners proclaiming “Save the Evacuees” and “Ceasefire Now!”

  • It’s a small world after all . . .

    In the fall of 2008, Bethel Mennonite Church (Elora, Ont.) embarked on a global journey through the pages of World of Witness Prayer Directory (WOW), a resource published by Mennonite Church Canada. Almost every Sunday, we take a few minutes during worship to introduce a new Witness worker or family from the pages of WOW. When digital photographs of workers are available, we project them on a screen along with a world map marking their locations.

  • Cultural approaches to honesty in medicine

    I recently invited one of my Advanced English classes of doctors to discuss the proverb, “honesty is the best policy.” Specifically, I wanted to know how candid doctors and families in China are in delivering bad news to a patient.

  • Inspired by the Word: Being the church in the world - Part IV of V

    Flipping through Mennonite Church Canada’s World of Witness prayer directory (WOW) reveals the intricacy of denominational connections – from Native Ministry and Multi-Cultural ministries in Canada to mission workers and partnerships abroad. Linda Brnjas, pastor at Bethel MC in Elora, Ont., uses WOW to show her congregation some of the many ways in which they are participating in global mission through MC Canada.

April 29

  • A place to feel at home

    Barb Daniels' move from the Peguis First Nation to Riverton over 30 years ago sparked her search for a church where she could "feel at home." That desire eventually opened the door to her participation in the birth of a new congregation, a new building - and a new vocation.

  • Trauma trickles down through generations

    According to Anita Keith's research, 90 to 95% of the North American Aboriginal population died within two generations of contact with Europeans. That staggering death toll marked the beginning of years of misunderstanding and trauma that continue to affect Aboriginal people to this day.

  • Bricks to jade: After century, Chinese church growing

    A century after Mennonite mission workers first arrived in China, many observers see the Eastern power as atheist and communist. Xiyi Yao disagrees. Religion in China, Yao told a group of North American mission personnel during the Council of International Ministries gathering in Chicago, is experiencing a revival and is one of the primary influences on Chinese society.

  • Abe Rempel: Gifted with vision: October 3, 1931 to March 21, 2009

    Abe Rempel may have been colour-blind, but that didn't affect his insight. Through his roles as pastor, teacher, real estate agent, mentor and friend, and with his wife Hanna, Abe dedicated his life to serving God wherever he was - in Manitoba, Mexico or Indiana.

  • Mennonite VBS 2009 curriculum selected as a "Top Pick"

    Mennonite Publishing Network's 2009 Vacation Bible School curriculum, Catch the Spirit! Join God's Work in the World, has been selected as a "Top Pick" by the Center for the Ministry of Teaching of Virginia Theological Seminary.

  • Niemeyers on Special Assignment

    Since April 13, 2009, Pieter and Susie Niemeyer have been in Philipstown, South Africa with their family on Special Assignment with Mennonite Church Canada Witness.

  • Thiessens on Special Assignment

    On May 4, Richard Thiessen and Karen Heidebrecht Thiessen will travel to Ethiopia on a Special Assignment for Mennonite Church Canada Witness during a period of sabbatical.

April 28

  • Breaking News: Flu Outbreak: Resources for Churches at the ready

    Many wondered why Mennonite Church Canada would invest in pandemic preparedness materials, says Janet Plenert, Executive Secretary of MC Canada Witness. But there's little doubt today: web site hits more than tripled overnight for

April 16

  • Anabaptism births new church in Cuba

    “What you have done for the last number of years has not been in vain. Many have identified with the Anabaptist vision. For us this is not just a way of thinking, it is how we live our life. Please tell this to the people of Canada.” – Alexander Reyna in a phone conversation after this story was released.
    On August 19, 2008, the Mennonite Church in Cuba – Iglesia Menonita en Cuba – was officially born. From a Mennonite Church Canada perspective, it was an unexpected birth.

  • Mennonite Church Canada responds to “A Common Word” web site

    Mennonite Church Canada leaders have sent a letter to Muslim leaders of the website at The web site is self described as “An initiative by Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals from many different countries, denominations and schools of thought” advocating for dialogue and understanding between Muslims and Christians.

March 31

  • Mennonites training own church leaders in Burkina Faso

    During a lull in his Basic Biblical Training studies, Hamidou Traoré looked out through the window of the radio recording studio at the cement bricks outlining the future home of the Mennonite church’s Bible school in Orodara, Burkina Faso.

  • Tuning in to Christ

    With only two days and slim resources, Bible translator Souleymane Traoré (Solo), called us together to compose and record Christian songs in Siamou. I was sceptical about what we could accomplish in such a short period of time, considering our limitations.

March 30

  • Breaking News: Colombian Mennonite churches call for days of prayer and action
    Colombian Mennonite churches are asking churches in Canada and the United States to come together on April 19 and join them in worship, reflection and prayer for victims, perpetrators and peacemakers. Then on April 20, churches are called to make a public witness by sharing stories, speaking with government officials, holding public vigils and doing other advocacy activities.

March 18

  • Inspired by the Word: Gathering, Part II of V

    Each year, summer brings a flurry of activity to Mennonite Church Canada congregations who send delegates to the national Assembly. In a few activity-packed days, delegates will worship, pray, learn, discuss and discern, and break bread together. Long-time Assembly-goers look forward to it as an important part of being the church.

  • Multi-faith melding in Abbotsford, BC

    I’ve spent most of two decades in Canada, involved in interfaith dialogue, but mostly in Ontario and mostly with members of the Abrahamic faiths. A recent invitation from the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies in Abbotsford, B.C. resulted in a gathering of six diverse faith groups – including a Christian Mennonite.

  • Chinese doctors reflect on death and afterlife

    In Chinese culture, death is a sensitive subject that is generally avoided. Even the doctors who attend my English classes at Chongqing Medical University don’t often tell patients when they have a terminal illness. But because many of my students deal with death and dying in their work, I decided to risk a discussion of the topic.

March 4

  • Youth Assembly to have School Kit Challenge

    Participants of the Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly on July 6-10, 2009, will have the opportunity to apply principles of the assembly theme “Living Inside Out,” through a special service project. They will be challenged to collect and assemble material for 10,000 school kits destined for children in Cuba.

  • Reuniting intertwined spirits in Paraguay

    Nearly 30 Mennonites living and ministering in indigenous contexts in the United States and Canada are preparing to connect with kindred spirits in Paraguay. This group includes 12 Canadians travelling with Mennonite Church Canada’s Native Ministry. Together they have accepted an invitation extended by three indigenous Paraguayan conferences in 2007 to visit their congregations and communities following Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly 15 in Asunción, Paraguay next July.

  • Art links Gandhi and Mennonites

    When Ray Dirks was invited to exhibit his work at the Jawahar Kala Kendra Art Centre (JKK) in Jaipur, Rajasthan from January 9-17, 2009, he was told “don’t be religious in your art.” The Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery curator was not deterred by the polite but firm request.

  • Namasté: Stories and voices from the Mennonite church in India

    In 1900, one family each from General Conference Mennonite Church (GC) and Mennonite Church (MC) denominational mission programs landed in India. The GC workers arrived at Raipur while the MC workers traveled to Dhamtari, both in what is now the Chhattisgarh province. Thus began the official mission work supported by Mennonite Churches in Canada and the US.

February 19

  • Assignment to Bethlehem connects with Gaza

    Palmer and Ardys Becker are under special assignment by Mennonite Church Canada to teach and serve at Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine/Israel. Bethlehem is fifty miles from war-torn Gaza. Five of the 70 students at Bethlehem Bible College are from that area of Palestine.

  • Summer programs build relationships

    They travel by bus or van over dusty gravel roads, or fly into the wilderness via small bush planes, sometimes covering great distances. They steal themselves to ward off flesh-eating insects and they sleep in tents or on church floors. Some of them exchange hot showers for baths in a frigid lake. But these minor discomforts pale in comparison to the camaraderie they feel when they reach their destination and hear cries of "boozhoo" or "aaniin" or other traditional aboriginal greetings from their excited hosts.   They belong to Mennonite Church congregations. They are travelling to Canadian Aboriginal communities to connect with friends old and new, and to share their faith through summer camps or Vacation Bible School (VBS), a faith-building program.

  • Sichuan Pastor's Retreat

    In China large congregations with several thousand members are served by only one pastor who receives little or no support from external sources. Graduates from seminaries across China accept this as part of their job description and work alone for years, without the opportunity to meet, learn from, or share with others. On November 1-5, 2008, church leaders provided the opportunity for pastors to come away and rest

  • Reaching the Facebook Generation

    Mike Tennant, co-creator and co-producer of the popular CBC Radio One show The Age of Persuasion, will be the keynote speaker at the May 15, 2009 Going Barefoot II conference for Christian communicators at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg.

February 4

  • First Person: Of weddings and journeys

    The village is still the beating heart of Africa. I often forget this truth in the bustle of urban ministry in Burkina Faso. So it is that I find myself once again venturing out of the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou, into the Sahel, that famed transition territory between the Sahara to the north and the more fertile region to the south. My goal: to honour my friend and his family by accepting a personal invitation to his brother’s wedding. More than that, though, I intend to rediscover the family contexts of the university students with whom my wife Tany and I work.

  • Education: A way of thinking 100 years ahead

    Yeshi is a seven year old girl who lives in Ethiopia. I first met her mother, Chaltu, out in a field collecting cow dung for fuel. Chaltu was left with two children to raise when her husband suddenly left the family. They live in a one room shack with virtually none of the basic amenities I have taken for granted while growing up in Canada: no flush toilets, no running water, no electricity.

  • Growing diversity in China’s churches

    With support from Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network via Mennonite Partners in China, we spent a number of years in China. We have noticed a growing physical diversity among the Chinese. A friend’s 14-year-old son has feet the size of Todd’s. Female students worry about their weight. Health clubs, diet fads, heart disease, and diabetes are all on the rise. It is easy, as a well-nourished Westerner, to mourn the passing of the “good old days” where obesity was unheard of and the heart disease rate was very low.

  • One stop shop busier that ever

    Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre continues to surprise and inspire staff by exceeding usage projections. Resource Centre Director Arlyn Friesen Epp and assistant Anita Neufeld hosted a modest awards ceremony on Jan. 14, 2009, to celebrate the success with colleagues.

January 21

  • Anabaptism spreads in the UK

    The London Mennonite Centre (LMC) has generated an explosion of Anabaptist influence in the UK – and it is one of the UK's best kept secrets, says Vic Thiessen, director of the centre. Supported by Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Mission Network, Thiessen and his wife Kathy recently spent three months in Canada on a North American Ministry assignment unwrapping the “secret” for congregations across the country. They hope to build partnerships with Mennonite Church Canada congregations.

  • Christian faith a struggle in Burkina Faso

    Beneath Souleymane Traoré’s humble modesty lies a martyr with a deep wisdom, a broad vision, and a gift for languages. Raised Muslim, Souleymane speaks French, the national language of this former French colony, Siamou, the local dialect of his home region, and Jula, the language of commerce. Souleymane first connected with Mennonites in 1985 through his work as house help for Paul and Lois Thiessen who represented the Evangelical Mennonite Conference.

  • Resource Advocates extend the Resource Centre

    Resource Advocates serve as an extension of the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre and Mennonite Publishing Network, a personal contact for individuals, pastors, and laity in local Area Churches who are seeking print, audio, and video materials to help them grow spiritually and enhance the worship and education experience in local congregations.

  • A new “Who are the Mennonites?” display

    A new “Who are the Mennonites?” display first discussed ten years ago was dedicated at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives and Art Gallery here on Dec. 16. Director Alf Redkopp said that about 75% of visitors to the Centre have never visited before, prompting many questions about Mennonites. Visitors include genealogy researchers, students, and art appreciators.

January 7

  • Photo Release - Philip Bender Award

    Mennonite Church Witness/Mennonite Mission Network worker Philip Bender was one of 24 English teachers (out of over 2000 in the Chengdu municipality) to receive a "2008 Excellent Foreign Teachers in Chongqing Award” on December 18, 2008. Bender, whose position is facilitated by Mennonite Partners in China, was nominated for the award by Chongqing Medical University.

  • Medical peacebuilding

    Meeting the needs of war victims through medical ministry – from teeth extractions to minor surgeries – is an important way for Peacebuilders Community Inc. to bridge relationships in the Philippines.

  • Discussing AIDS remains taboo in Botswana

    Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children – but that is exactly what Batswana parents are doing with about one third of their sons and daughters. In addition to the mourning and grief, the pain and illness of HIV-AIDS, there are children left to be raised by grandparents, incomes that end, and jobs at risk from the HIV-AIDS stigma for those still healthy enough to work.

  • Old Naledi school reaches out to vulnerable children

    In the neighbourhood of Old Naledi, unemployment rates are high, and children are vulnerable. Education for all children is provided in government funded schools, however, neglected children find it difficult to attend. Children who are overlooked often roam the streets, with little or no prompting or encouragement to attend classes. The Old Naledi Education Centre, founded by Rev. Kassai of the United Evangelical Church in 1973, began by gathering children from the streets and feeding them breakfast – followed by a morning of teaching.

  • Summit evaluates Gather ‘Round curriculum

    As the Gather ’Round curriculum moves into its third year of use (and fifth year of writing), staff and denominational representatives met in Elgin to evaluate the materials and make plans for the future. A key resource for a November “summit” was data collected through a major curriculum survey conducted in Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Church Canada and Church of the Brethren congregations across North America.