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Aid request: Typhoon Sendong ravages Philippine Island
Mennonite Church Canada workers safe: The death toll from Typhoon Sendong on Dec. 18 could surpass 1,000, say reports coming from the affected Philippine island of Mindanao. As of Dec. 20, 927 are already reported dead, with over 800 still missing.
Irony and challenge in Durban
For Mennonite Church Canada Executive Director Willard Metzger, the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa was an eye-opening experience that began with a twist of irony.
Church leader speaks to federal government leaders on climate
Whether the scientists are right or wrong about climate change is no longer the issue, Willard Metzger told about a dozen Senators and Members of Parliament in Ottawa at a breakfast meeting on Oct. 25.
Assembly 2012 date announced
The 2012 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly will take place July 12-15 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. The assembly will be shaped as a study conference, with business sessions taking place only on the evening of Thursday, July 12. The Faith and Life Committee is planning a scripture study and discernment theme. A Sunday morning worship service will be open to all
Being a Faithful Church: call to use new Feedback Tool
The General Board of Mennonite Church Canada is seeking input as part of the next step in the Being a Faithful Church process. “Our next step is to understand how we currently use Scripture when we discern as a Mennonite community,” explained Andrew Reesor-McDowell, Moderator. “This will create an important platform in building a shared framework for future discernment.”
Leadership staff titles change: Mennonite Church Canada
In its Nov. 10-12 meetings, Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board approved a recommendation to change the job titles of top level leadership staff in the national church office in Winnipeg.
Christmas celebrations assume world flavour for Mennonite Church Canada workers
Andrew Suderman of St. Jacobs, Ontario remembers the first Christmas he spent in South Africa. "[It] felt rather strange, as we were celebrating Christmas in very warm temperatures," says Suderman, who along with his wife, Karen, is a Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker based in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the South African province KwaZulu-Natal.
Manitoba rally joins national opposition: Crime omnibus bill
The federal government’s Bill C-10 – part of a wider crime omnibus bill – had already met opposition in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, by the time Manitobans rallied in opposition.
Protecting children is critical
As disturbing as sexual misconduct headlines are in newspapers, on radio and television, and online, the tragic scandals provide a good opportunity to address this critical issue in Christian homes and churches. Mennonite churches have several resources to help in that regard.
Herald Press reissues three books
Herald Press, the book imprint of MennoMedia, has re-issued three popular books, adding some updates and designing new covers. “We constantly evaluate our books with readers’ preferences in mind,” said Amy Gingerich, director of print media at MennoMedia. “It just so happened that all three of these important Herald Press titles received new covers and some new content at about the same time.”
“Shaping Families” airing specials in December
Two Christmas specials and a two-year anniversary program for Shaping Families are highlights of December’s line-up for the 15-minute weekly radio program from MennoMedia. The programs will air on 18 U.S. radio stations and appear online at www.ShapingFamilies.com.
Mennonite Church Canada supports flood relief in Bangkok
On November 16, 2011, Mennonite Church Canada Executive Staff approved a proposal to send $3500 for flood relief in Thailand. Funds were wired immediately. Mennonite Church Canada workers Pat and Rad Houmphan, with the congregation of Living Water Church in Borabu, will use the money to assemble care packages for those who have been displaced by flooding.
Donated books arrive at ANiSA
Although a rich history of Mennonite/Anabaptist presence is evident in South Africa, Mennonite Church Canada workers Andrew and Karen Suderman discovered a lack of good quality Anabaptist resource materials for churches. The Sudermans, who work in collaboration with Mennonite Mission Network (USA) and Mennonite Central Committee colleagues to develop the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA), decided to remedy that.
Short term assignment: training leaders and disciples in Asia
Lifelong pastor and educator Palmer Becker has embarked on another short-term mission assignment to Asia with Mennonite Church Canada. From Nov. 6 to Dec. 9, Becker is sharing his vision for shaping leadership with Anabaptist church leaders.
Everything Old is New Again: Communication and Fundraising in the Digital World
The third biennial “Going Barefoot” conference for faith-based communicators took place on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg Man. on Oct. 14, 2011.
Waging Peace documentary has Canadian connections
A new one-hour documentary produced by MennoMedia’s film department, Third Way media, explores threads of peacemaking in the Christian and Muslim faiths through the centuries and shows how Muslims and Christians today are working for peace.
Herald Press devotional named “best of best”
A Herald Press devotional book, Take Our Moments and Our Days, has been selected as Worship Leader magazine’s “best of the best” in the team devotionals category for 2011. The magazine published the winners list in its Oct. 7 issue.
MennoMedia’s “Shaping Families” features Berenstain Bears writer/illustrator
Shaping Families, the 15-minute weekly radio program of MennoMedia, will feature an exclusive interview with the writer/illustrator of the Berenstain Bear books for children on Nov. 5, 2011. Programs in November also address alcoholism, caring for aging parents, and food preservation.
Jeff Warkentin: A life devoted to God: October 27, 1978 to September 24, 2011
Jeff Warkentin’s passion for God shaped a life defined by service and relationships. As son, brother, husband, father, teacher, pastor, mission worker, musician and friend, he reflected God’s grace and love to all whom he encountered.
Coffee for Peace slowly catching on
Churches consume a lot of coffee. There are committee meetings, coffee and fellowship times before or after worship, potlucks, staff meetings – thousands of cups of coffee are consumed at churches each week.
Mennonite Church Canada hires new staff
Mennonite Church Canada has welcomed the addition of a short term volunteer and four new staff members – one of whom is in a newly created job position shared with Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.
MennoMedia contemplates how to build biblical literacy
MennoMedia staff members brainstorm a possible new product focused on building biblical literacy during their first-ever all-staff gathering Sept. 23-25.
MennoMedia documentary “Waging Peace” to air on ABC-TV
The recent 10-year commemorations of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks examined how the world has changed as a result, with many commentators noting profound distrust and animosity among some Christians and Muslims.
New edition of “Simply in Season” released
Non-Mennonites and Mennonites alike are buying more locally produced foods that are in season and eating more healthily, thanks in part to a cookbook first published in 2005.
Being a Faithful Church 3: Delegates respond
Delegates responded to the Being a Faithful Church 3 process with over 750 recorded comments at the 2011 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Waterloo this past summer. About 800 adults and youth attended the event.
Ray Dirks receives award
On September 30, 2011, Canadian Mennonite University honoured Ray Dirks as its 2011 CMU Blazer Distinguished Community Service Award winner. Dirks is curator of the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada.
Wall Commemorating Conscientious Objectors is Dedicated
A young girl stood next to the brick wall at Winkler’s Bethel Heritage Park. “Why are these bricks here?” she asked her mother. The monument for conscientious objectors to war (COs) stands on the opposite side of the park from the monument to war veterans, mirroring tensions still felt in some families and the wider community. Some observers commented that honouring both in the one park represents a continuing dialogue on this important topic.
Beyond the walls
Visiting the historic city of Xi’an (She-ann) in July, we were struck by how much a strong defence against enemies was on the mind of the ancient Chinese. First there is Xi’an’s old city wall. Built in 1370, this 14-kilometer-long fortress of masonry and brick is an imposing site. It looms 12 meters high and 18 meters wide at the base, with massive wooden doors sealing its multi-arched gates.
End of Sacrifice: Yoder’s writings on death penalty
John Howard Yoder, the late Mennonite theologian, authored 25 books, inspiring many others to write books and research papers about Yoder and his ideas. A scholar of Yoder’s ideas has researched all the written materials left by Yoder on the subject of capital punishment. The scholar’s name is John Nugent, and his new book, published by Herald Press in September, is titled The End of Sacrifice: The Capital Punishment Writings of John Howard Yoder.
New Bible study from MennoMedia
Adults wanting to make fresh connections between the Bible and daily living have a new study option. With the Word is a new series of Bible studies focused on individual books of the Bible, with accompanying devotions on the same text and theme.
Shaping Families Schedule
Shaping Families, the 15-minute weekly radio program of MennoMedia, will deal with tough issues in October: bipolar illness, child abuse, understanding other faiths, housing options for aging, and men’s spirituality. The programs appear online for Canadian listeners.
Ambushed by a Vision
It’s a story that seems so impossible, you can’t really believe it, even when you hear it for yourself. A 36 year old nurse by profession, Hon. Shirlyn Macasarte comes from a family that has been heavily involved in politics since she can remember.
Coffee for Peace now available
The first ever Canadian shipment of fair trade coffee from Coffee for Peace – the Philippines based peace ministry of Mennonite Church Canada worker JoJi Pantoja – is now being offered on a first-taste basis to Mennonite Church congregations and their members.
What songs will Mennonites sing?
Congregations throughout Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA are being asked this fall, winter, and spring to keep track of all the songs they sing. Their research will help determine what the next collection of music for the church will look like.
More-with-Less still selling after 35 years
Thousands of Mennonites have grown up with the tasty recipes and progressive ideas of More-with-Less Cookbook. Thousands of people beyond Mennonite circles bought the book as well, leading to the startling phenomenon of those who became Mennonite because of a cookbook.
Radio programs focus on recovery from drug abuse
Shaping Families, a 15-minute weekly radio program produced by MennoMedia, ties in with America’s “National Recovery Month” in September. Interviews centre on recovery from drug abuse. The first program, “Living in Recovery,” airs the weekend of Sept. 10 and features Christopher Kennedy Lawford, son of Pat Kennedy of the famous Kennedy clan, and actor Peter Lawford. He speaks about his addiction to drugs and ongoing recovery.
Close to Home pamphlets used for teaching, outreach
Under normal circumstances, 250 Close to Home pamphlets might last quite a while at Tedrow Mennonite Church. But last month the congregation, in Tedrow, Ohio, gave them all away in one day.
MPN Publishing building becomes a church
The Scottdale Pa. building that served as a long-time home to Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), the former publishing ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, will re-open as a church facility. The landmark building was sold to Wellspring Church on Aug. 12.
Believing without seeing
“When have you experienced a time where you needed to see to believe?” Dramane responded quickly to this question based on John 20:29. When Dramane, a non-Christian, had been seriously ill, his friend, Lassina, a Christian, prayed for him. When God healed Dramane, Dramane knew that Jesus was the way.
Praise dance builds relationships
In a park near Macau Mennonite Church, a group of mainly women can be seen daily moving in unison, offering rhythmic praise in a form unlike a typical Sunday morning service. To the left they sway, gracefully swirling their arms to the music, toward the sky, and then the same motion to the right. Forward they step, arms pumping, like synchronized swimmers on land. They smile as sweat beads cool their foreheads.
Something old is new
In the early days of January 2011, an idea for something new caught hold of
Susan Kehler and wouldn’t let go. Kehler, a member of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford BC, had just finished reading “Gifts of the Church for a New Year,” an article from Mennonite Church Canada General Secretary Willard Metzger, published in the Jan. 10 issue of Canadian Mennonite.
Canadians and Mining: the ugly truth
Juan Francisco Durán Ayala’s body was found shortly after midnight on June 4th. He had been shot twice in the head. When the Medical Examiner declared his body ‘unidentifiable,’ he was buried in a common grave in San Salvador.
Social unrest in Burkina Faso
Recently, I went next door to the internet café to send off some rather heavy emails (my home connection is just too weak). As I was working, I heard a rising rabble of voices out on the side of the boulevard. At one point the shouting reached a crescendo making me wonder whether violence was going to follow. What was happening I wondered? I decided it was time to get out of there!
Mennonite Church Canada negotiates special rate
Willard Metzger, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada is inviting you to a Global Leadership Summit – but you don’t have to be an official leader to attend. He says the Sept. 29-30 simulcast conference will be a great way for churches to kick-off the fall.
Who is blessed?
Living 10 years in Latin America, where one inevitably encounters poverty and is therefore affected by it, has shaped my life, my priorities, and my thinking. What’s more, I was lucky enough not to live at arm’s length from those who were poor.
July 15 - Assembly Special
Children and youth making a difference
“Let’s make a difference!” the kids sang out at Mennonite Church Canada’s Children’s Assembly on the morning of July 7, 2011. The children and junior youth gathered for Assembly 2011 were being encouraged to focus on others who follow the dreams God puts in their hearts.
Musician/environmental activist comes to Assembly 2011
When Pam Bartel, Administrative Assistant of Student Services at Conrad Grebel University College, was invited to pull together some young adult events for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2011, she received encouragement to “think outside the box” and include local area young people in her plans.
John Neufeld was the senior scholar among those expounding Revelation at Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2011, July 4-8 in Waterloo.
Church must wrestle with Scripture says Suderman
The account of Jacob wrestling in Genesis 32 is an analogy for Bible study, said Derek Suderman in his seminar, “Wrestling with Scripture: Moving from Biblical Illiteracy to Biblical Engagement.”
Commemorating COs in the War of 1812
As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 approaches, the Niagara region of Ontario is abuzz with preparations to remember with a variety of events including battle re-enactments, period food, discussions and tours.
Planes for peace
Paper planes may not fly themselves to Ottawa, but with help from Canada Post, these planes will deliver a message to Stephen Harper: “Spend less money on war.”
Drivers, bikers, passers-by, cyclists, and a Fed-Ex courier honked and flashed the two fingered peace sign to our small group of peace pray-ers. As a virtue, peace is a value that’s hard to disagree with. But how to live it has many different expressions.
Boot camp for peace builders
Stand up, raise your arms above your head, bring them down a little, now just hold that position, keep holding, keep holding — how are your muscles feeling now? Instructions you might expect to hear at a boot camp, but these exercises were designed to strengthen the peace builder’s mind, not muscles.
Walk for International Peace
Though many Mennonites have been involved in or supportive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), many say they feel God must be brought into the equation through prayer for their First Nations brothers and sisters.
Under the rubric of Reframing Anabaptism, Jeremy Bergen, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theology at Conrad Grebel University College, addressed the topics “Unlearning Anabaptism” and “Learning Anabaptism” at this year’s Mennonite Church Canada Ministers’ Conference, held Monday at Conrad Grebel University College.
Playwright steps outside comfort zone
John Wideman knows how unnerving it can be to step outside of one’s comfort zone – and he drew from that knowledge to write a thought provoking one-act play, This Prison or: He Came Through the Floor.
We are the church: the end is not ours
“We are the church!” declared Willard Metzger, General Secretary, inviting progressively younger age groups to join with him in an ever louder cheer.
Nelson Kraybill: Lighting up Circuit Boards
A challenge issued by his classroom of high school students in San Juan, Puerto Rico some thirty years ago sparked Nelson Kraybill’s ongoing fascination with the book of Revelation. In 2010, he published Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics, and Devotion in the Book of Revelation (Brazos Press, Grand Rapids MI).
Loren Johns: discern and follow
Loren Johns has produced a wide range of scholarship studies, from diversity and unity in the church to pastoral ministry and studies of Revelation. In an email interview, the Professor of New Testament at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, IN and one of three keynote speakers at Assembly 2011, wrote that the breadth of his research interests reflects his interest in the life of the church.
Leader on the hot seat at Assembly 2011
On Tuesday, July 5, 2011, the seminar “On the Hot Seat” gave youth a chance to ask questions of Mennonite Church Canada leadership, though they didn’t get the clear answers they hoped for.
Metzger’s "Going Missional" receives award
On June 15, 2011, in Mississauga, Ont. Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada’s General Secretary, won two Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Awards for a book he co-wrote with Karen Stiller.
Generosity Report sows seeds…
“The sower went out to sow.” With these words, Pastor Terry Zimmerly walked throughout the lawn chairs and picnic blankets nestled under the trees of a downtown park, and scattered Mennonite Church Canada’s Generosity Report among the worshipers at a joint service of Hope Mennonite Church and Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg on June 26.
Giving strong for first four months of 2011
During his financial report on the morning of July 6, Randy Wiebe, Chief Financial Officer for Mennonite Church Canada, graciously thanked congregations, corporate, and individual donors for their support, noting that as of May 31, giving was $2,000 ahead of projections for the first four months of the current fiscal year.
Living more with less stuff
Stuff. We have lots of it, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
Serve with your eyes open
Traveling to Haiti to help with rebuilding sounds like a great service trip right? Maybe, maybe not — that was the message at Mennonite Church Canada’s July 7th seminar, “Serve – But With Your Eyes Wide Open” seminar.
Japan disaster relief: update
Although the tsunami-affected area is still covered in debris, footsteps of recovery are gradually being heard. So said Takanori Sasaki, chair of the Japan Mennonite Fellowship (JMF) to a Mennonite World Conference (MWC) delegation to Japan
Calgary green report
In 2007, Mennonite Church Canada delegates passed a resolution to work for more sustainable gatherings. Mennonite Creation Care Network has worked with assembly planners in subsequent years to provide guidelines for greening and to assess events.
Sitting on the edge
Each Sunday, Alice arrives at church in a Handi-Transit van with Marie or another assistant to wheel her into the sanctuary. She has become a regular face in the congregation, but only a few people – the same ones each Sunday – stop to say “hello” or ask how her week has been.
Hanging on to the rock
The great commandment states in part to “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind,” but for Gayle Gerber Koontz, it’s easier said than done, especially if you don’t have your mind. In a Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2011 seminar entitled “Life Flows On: Church Families and Mental Illnesses,” Gerber Koontz recounted stories of her family members who have struggled with mental illness.
Care and compassion needed by all people
Many people struggle emotionally, physically or mentally at some point in their life and turn to the love and support of their congregations to deal with grief and pain. But for some people, that kind of care may seem elusive or even withheld.
Walking the Path to Truth and Reconciliation in Saskatchewan
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) national events began in July 2010 at The Forks in Winnipeg. The goal of this process, which will be ongoing for a number of years, is to hear and work for healing of the legacy of pain left by Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
Delegates approve biennial assemblies
The Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in 2012 will mark the start of a two year cycle of national church gatherings, followed by assembly 2014, 2016, and so on. While the motion to make this change passed with a strong majority at Assembly 2011, some delegates were not enthused about meeting biennially.
Bylaw change reduces quorum
At Mennonite Church Canada’s 2011 Assembly in Waterloo, delegates approved a bylaw change that would reduce the quorum required for Mennonite Church Canada national assemblies.
Delegates approve a discernment plan for matters of sexuality
On July 5, 2011, delegates to Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2011 affirmed that we need to let the Holy Spirit lead us in discerning matters of sexuality. Hopefully we can land on the beach and burn our boats behind us, said Dave Tiessen of Community Mennonite Fellowship, Drayton, Ont., in describing the approach to the dialogue on human sexuality. If we don’t burn our boats, planning to sail away again if the dialogue doesn’t go our way, then we are not letting the Spirit lead.
Harmony motion referred to General Board
The Harmony Motion on Human Sexuality was referred to the “care of the General Board” by its mover, Ben Borne, at the Mennonite Church Canada delegate session on Thursday, July 7, 2011. The General Board will now work at incorporating the Harmony Motion into the Being a Faithful Church 3 (BFC 3) discernment process on matters of human sexuality.
Photo Release: Transitions
Pastor Jim Loepp Thiessen receives a wall plaque symbolizing The Gathering Church’s new membership in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, and by extension, Mennonite Church Canada.
Meet Children’s and Junior Youth Assembly Coordinator Elizabeth Weber
On May 9, 2011, Coffee for Peace exported their first shipment of coffee beans to Canada. Coffee for Peace (CFP) is the initiative of Joji Pantoja who with her husband Daniel, is a Mennonite Church Canada worker in the Philippines through their ministry, Peacebuilders Community Inc.
Coffee for Peace ships beans to Canada
When Elizabeth Weber came to Winnipeg last fall to participate in a Young Adult Leadership Think Tank with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, she had no idea that it would lead to the role of Children’s and Junior Youth Assembly Coordinator for Assembly 2011.
Mennonite Church Canada: Reductions update
Some final steps of the ministry and 2011 staff reduction process at Mennonite Church Canada have been taken as administrators approach their deadline of living into a smaller system beginning August 1.
Photo Release: First shipment of Herald Press books from Virginia
On June 1, Anna Weaver, Kurt Ferdinand, and Lois Priest (left to right) prepared the first box of Herald Press books to be shipped from the Harrisonburg, Va. location that will serve as the new headquarters for MennoMedia.
Preparing for Assembly 2011
Preparations to attend Mennonite Church Canada’s Youth and Adult Assembly 201l in Kitchener/Waterloo July 4-8 are ramping up – including preparations by partner service organizations.
Challenging the politics of empire
As a young Christian man actively involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Mpho Putu knew that some of the movement’s protest songs included themes of revenge killing that posed challenges to what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus.
As a young seminary graduate in 1995, Timothy Zhang became pastor of the Anjing church. With few material resources, a common reality in rural church settings where most families are subsistence farmers, the Anjing church had little support to offer him.
Young seminarian wins T-shirt design contest
Anthony Martin of Ephrata, Pa., is the winner of a T-shirt design contest that commemorates the release of the 30th anniversary edition of Living More with Less and the creation of a website for the book.
Peace demonstration greets worshippers
Worshippers at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg were unexpectedly confronted with a peace demonstration at their main entrance on Sunday, Mar. 27.
“The Earth is God’s and all that is in it”
Approximately 100 faith leaders representing 14 denominations and faith-based organizations – including Willard Metzger, General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada – met in Toronto from May 1-3 for the Ecumenical Mining Conference.
Who are Mennonites in South Africa?
It’s often difficult to describe the fact that we work for Mennonite Church Canada as many in South Africa do not know who the Mennonites are. So when people ask, we either have to give a brief description of our work with the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA) or a longer version that describes the 500 year history from which we come.
Commentary: Young and old, heart to heart
In many traditional cultures, elders are older people who are revered as keepers of wisdom. In North America’s current youth-glorifying, post-everything-on-line culture, older people are sometimes viewed as those who have been left behind. Yet those who are in the first third of life still long for understanding, encouragement, wisdom, and blessing from those who are in the last third of their lives.
Letters of John
Tucked at the back of the Bible, just before the book of Revelation, the three letters of John may not get much notice. Author J.E. McDermond thinks they warrant the modern church’s attention.
Second print run for Mennonite Girls Can Cook
Three days before the official release date of May 2 for Mennonite Girls Can Cook, Herald Press officials were already ordering a reprint.
Art with a mission
While some creative arts like prose and hymnody have been accepted as natural forms of expression and worship in Mennonite churches, visual arts are often viewed with less certainty. For painters, sculptors and other artists who craft for the eye, this can be disheartening.
Like many pastors, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld, who co-pastors First Mennonite Church in Edmonton with her husband Tim, enjoys creating space for creative gifts to flourish. “It’s totally selfish. I love working with people like that,” she says in a telephone interview. Her enthusiasm is evident in her voice.
Over $15,000 in pledges were raised by the members of Mennonite Church Canada councils and boards during the Spring Leadership Assembly which took place March 2-4 in Winnipeg. The call for this group of volunteers who are already so generous with their time to pledge financial support came from Waldo Neufeld, a member of Witness Council. When asked what prompted the idea, he said that over his years of working for the church he has come to feel that “…if we believe in what the church is doing, we need to support it.”
Witness workers make front page news
A ministry providing a solid economic and ecological foundation for peace in the Philippines has garnered front page headlines for Mennonite Church Canada workers Daniel and Joji Pantoja. The three page feature, Coffee for Peace: A Love Story by Patmei Bello Ruivivar, appears in the March 26 print issue of the Mindanao Times, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 10,000.
Educated and anxious
Spring is the anxiety season for Chinese university seniors. Many leave school during the second semester to search for that coveted but elusive job. And if they do find one, it can be a long way from their dreams. As Mennonite Church Canada workers teaching English at Sichuan University of Arts and Science, Julie and I witness their frustration first-hand.
Executive Director of MennoMedia announced
Russ Eanes, director of finance and operations for Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), the publishing agency of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA, will become executive director of MennoMedia on July 1. He will move to Harrisonburg, Va., where the head office of the new agency formed by merging MPN and Third Way Media will be located.
Praise for MPN’s Vacation Bible School
Based on past experience, Christian educator Lucinda Stevens was eager to order Mennonite Publishing Network’s 2011 Vacation Bible School curriculum, Taste & See: God is Good. Stevens, assistant director of The Resource Center in Richmond, Virginia, ordered Taste & See prior to an annual VBS workshop in February. “People at our center specifically ask for MPN’s materials,” says Stevens. “They expect MPN to offer good quality, biblically sound materials that work well across denominational lines.”
Integrated agency becomes “MennoMedia”
When Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media merge on July 1, the new agency will be called “MennoMedia.” That was the decision of the board that now governs MPN and which will govern the new integrated agency. The eight-member bi-national board voted unanimously to approve the name on April 8 during its quarterly meeting in Harrisonburg, Va., where the main offices of MennoMedia will be located.
Federal Parties respond to letters from Churches
As of this writing, three federal parties – the Green Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Liberal Party have responded to an elections issues letter from the Canadian Council of Churches.
Mennonite Church Canada ministry reductions announced
Difficult decisions about a smaller ministry and staff at Mennonite Church Canada were announced to staff here on April 11. The re-organization will see a net budget reduction of $415,000 in hard and soft costs beginning on Feb. 1, 2012. This includes a net loss of 3.4 full time equivalent positions (FTE) of national church staff.
Election Tools for Your Church: Challenge Your Candidates
It’s election time in Canada once again. You might be wondering if this election really matters, or if your vote can really make a difference. That’s why it is timely to draw attention to some work of the Canadian Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada – in which Mennonite Church Canada is a member - and to point you to some related work of our valued partner, Mennonite Central Committee.
Nurturing a vision for peacemaking in Korea
Her son had been waiting in line to buy his lunch at school when a bully pushed him out of his place. A fight broke out and the boy ended up in the hospital. Confused, alone, vulnerable, and afraid, the victim’s mother did not know what to do until she learned about a mediation group sponsored by the Korea Anabaptist Center.
Restorative justice gains momentum in Korea
In South Korea, retribution is often seen as a first response to criminal behaviour. Restorative justice approaches that give consideration to the human elements behind criminal behaviour have been largely limited to the involvement of a few mediators who work with the family court to settle disputes outside of the conventional justice system.
From non-resistance to justice
One hundred years ago, non-conformity and nonresistance were hallmarks of the peace witness in churches now part of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. Today, members of both churches more actively engaged in society, and the pursuit of justice is an essential part of peacemaking. How did this change come about?
Messages from Japan
Church members from across Mennonite Church Canada continue to pray for the people of Japan. Mennonite Church Canada stands in solidarity with two Japanese congregations in Mennonite Church British Colombia: Mennonite Japanese Christian Fellowship (Surrey), and North Shore Japanese Church (North Vancouver).
Mennonite Church Canada leadership discern a smaller system
Mennonite Church Canada leaders spent much of their Spring Leadership Assembly in Winnipeg, Mar. 2-5, preparing for a smaller national church structure in the near future. Willard Metzger, General Secretary, said “We have done all the tweaking we can do to provide sustainable programming within our current income level. The signs are clear.”
What do I hear?
Norm sat down in the kitchen and turned on his computer. “Do you want to hear what I recorded today?” he asked. “Sure.” I said as I cleared the supper dishes off the table. He had started recording the story of Adam and Eve in Siamou that day.
Laotians are “like Mennonites”
Church leaders took time away from the meeting table at this year’s Mennonite Church Canada Spring Leadership Assembly to share supper prepared by the Lao Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. Norm Voth, Director of Evangelism and Service Ministries at Mennonite Church Manitoba, made introductions.
Church leaders hit the streets
Church leaders got out of the meeting rooms and onto the streets in Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood during the Mar. 2-4 Spring Leadership Assembly Meetings of Mennonite Church Canada.
Look back to move forward
True to his Mi’kmaq/Acadian heritage, Terry LeBlanc uses stories to put his message across. It’s culturally appropriate, and it’s biblical.
- Mennonite Church Canada seeks prayer support for Japanese people, churches
Please pray for Japanese people as they work to cope with devastating results of the earthquake, tsunami, and ensuing infrastructure damage and human displacement. Communication with Japanese Mennonite groups in Japan has been challenging, but Mennonite World Conference has been in contact with Mennonite church leaders in Japan, and provides some preliminary information in a release
Meet me at the Grand
This summer, the congregations of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada will welcome visitors from across the country as they host the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Waterloo, Ont. Like most Mennonites of European ancestry,those who settled along the Grand River region, arrived with a history of purposeful migration, and a deep desire to be faithful. This is their story.
Harder to address ecumenical event
Dr. Helmut Harder, Professor Emeritus, Canadian Mennonite University, and former General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada, will be a keynote speaker at the 20th Summer Ecumenical Institute at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, July 6 – 9.
Authors call for spirituality as ‘leaven in the bread’ rather than ‘frosting on the cake’
Spirituality in the work of organizational boards needs to be seen as “leaven in the bread” rather than simply “frosting on the cake” says Rick Stiffney, co-author of Setting the Agenda: Meditations for the Organization’s Soul.
An opportunity for peace making
To talk about peace in Mennonite churches has become popular; to organize conferences on the subject is respectable. But it seems to me that to work for peace in all seriousness is unrealistic, unpopular, subversive and, therefore, ultimately dangerous. But peace, like grace, never comes cheaply.
Web hosting services getting greener
Mennonite Church Canada just got a tiny bit greener, thanks to its internet service provider, Peaceworks Computer Consulting of Waterloo, Ont.
Steinbach Mennonite Church seeks closer connections
Dave Funk of Steinbach Mennonite Church has made it a personal project to take fellow church members on a monthly tour of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church Manitoba. He's pledged to do this for one year, or until the sign-up sheet is empty.
Commentary: Worship changes - or does it?
Like it or not, the face of worship continues to grow and change. So it has always been. What has also always been is the fact that the church, or at least some in the church, resist and react negatively to the changes we experience in worship. Especially in the area of music.
Co-Directors of Native Ministry retiring
After more than 40 years of ministry with Aboriginal communities in Manitoba and across Canada, Edith and Neill von Gunten are retiring on May 31, 2011.
Sharing the good news of hope, peace, and justice in South Africa
Hungry children are being fed, students of peace are learning non-violent responses to conflict, and ordinary people are making extraordinary sacrifices to bring hope and justice to those on the margins.
Anabaptist-Mennonite education matters
Affordability, a declining pool of prospective students due to smaller family sizes, and, for colleges, declining alumni loyalty when it comes to where their children go to school—these are some of the challenges facing Mennonite schools today.
Chinese Anabaptist Network seeks regional fellowship
Another Anabaptist network is taking shape – this time in East Asia. The unofficially named “Chinese Anabaptist Network” joins similar Anabaptist and Mennonite networks and centres in United Kingdom, France, South Africa, and Korea, among others.
South Korean Mennonite partners pave the way of peace
Though Jae Young Lee doesn’t think the recent North Korean shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island will lead to full-scale war, as Peace Program Coordinator for the Korea Anabaptist Center (KAC) he is alarmed by what is happening in both North and South Korea.
Mennonite-China connection aids healing
Sometimes Mennonite Church Canada international workers benefit from the broad network of relationships that have been knit between us and our local communties. I learned this first-hand during a recent health crisis.
Witness sends resource workers to India
Ben and Patti Wiebe of Beamsville, Ontario will serve as Mennonite Church Canada Witness Resource Workers at Union Biblical Seminar (UBS) in Pune, India from mid-January until mid-April, 2011.
Witness sends resource workers to Palestine
Mennonite Church Canada Witness is sending Palmer Becker, of Kitchener, Ontario to Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) in Palestine to serve as a Resource Worker from January 12 to March 19th, 2011.