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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
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
Unexpected Encounters with
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
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
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
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
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
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 mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/206.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
September 30 - Breaking News
Filipino Mennonites lose
homes in typhoon
Mennonite Church Canada pledges money for
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
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
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.
Ashamed, but hopeful in
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
September 3 - Breaking News
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.
Will “Blue Day” be on the back-to-school agenda this year?
Not long from now there could be another day to honour on our annual calendar.
MC Canada reports positive ledger, concern for year-end
As of July 31, MC Canada’s income from donations was $82,000 ahead of budgeted income for the same time period, and $6,000 ahead compared to the same time period last year. On the debit side, expenses are generally within projections so far, reported Randy Wiebe, Director of Finance.
Youth Assembly Contagious
Despite the use of hand sanitizer to ward off the H1N1 virus, the Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly is highly contagious!
Approaching poverty, Claiborne style
This year, four of the eight youth from my church in Winnipeg who attended the MC Canada Youth Assembly in Caronport, Sask., graduated from high school, myself included.
Six General Secretaries reflect on the church
On June 23, six past and present General Secretaries of Mennonite Church Canada and the Conference of Mennonites in Canada met at Bethel Mennonite Church in Wpg. to share about their love for the church – and their wealth of wisdom about the church.
Canadian Council of Churches informs US healthcare debate
Christians in Canada are inviting fellow Christians in the United States to consider the Canadian healthcare system as health care advocacy that is “directly related to God’s call to discipleship.”
MPN Enjoys Successful Assembly Sales
Canadian Mennonites are thinking about a flu pandemic, American Mennonites want to sing.
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.
MC USA Pastors, Youth Leaders receive free copy of Jesus Matters
Thanks to contributions from generous donors, over 1,000 copies of Jesus Matters: Good News for the 21st Century, a new book from Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), have been given to pastors of MC USA congregations.
Close To Home Pamphlets Meeting Needs Across North America
With almost 34,000 copies sold to 360 churches in Canada and the U.S., the Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN) Close to Home pamphlets about dealing with personal issues and problems are proving their usefulness.
Gambling, Overwhelming Debt topics of newest Close To Home pamphlets
As a long-time Christian, Barb never imagined herself involved with gambling. But after trying an electronic gaming machine once, and winning some money, she found herself going back again and again to play.
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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.
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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 www.churchpandemicresources.ca
- Anabaptism births new church
“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 www.acommonword.com. 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.
- 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,
- 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.
- Breaking News: Colombian Mennonite churches call for days of prayer
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
- 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,
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
- Youth Assembly to have School
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
- Reuniting intertwined spirits
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.
- 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.
- First Person: Of weddings
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
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
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.
- Anabaptism spreads in
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
- 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
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.
- Photo Release - Philip Bender
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.
- Discussing AIDS remains taboo
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
- 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
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.