Church Leaders Gather on Parliament Hill

Winnipeg — Doug Klassen, executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada, joined a Church Leaders pilgrimage through Ottawa on May 22. In addition to MC Canada, there were leaders from the Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, and United Churches, as well as KAIROS, which coordinated the event.

The leaders' pilgrimage will mark the culmination of Gaza ceasefire pilgrimages that have been taking place in 173 cities around the world during Lent. MC Canada congregations organized walks in all Regional Churches, often collaborating with ecumenical groups or local ministerial groups.

“This has been an important expression of solidarity by our constituency,” said Jeanette Hanson, director of International Witness for MC Canada.  

The May 22 pilgrimage originally conflicted with Klassen’s participation in a planned delegation of three people to the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference hosted by Bethlehem Bible College, a partner of Mennonite Church Canada. At the point when tensions escalated between Israel and Iran, MC Canada leaders were questioning the viability of the trip, and then Air Canada cancelled the flights the group had booked.

Incoming Mennonite Church Saskatchewan executive minister Len Rempel, and Kathy Bergen, Palestine-Israel Network Coordinator in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, were meant to attend as well. Klassen says the trip has been postponed until fall.

“I was saddened by the cancelled flights to Christ at the Checkpoint which means the postponement of the trip. This is an important time to be with Christians caught in the Israel-Hamas conflict,” said Klassen. “At the same time, I’m grateful for the opportunity to join other church leaders in supporting the call for a ceasefire in Gaza.”

Canadian Mennonite University also planned to send a student to the May conference, and Canadian Mennonite magazine had hoped to send a reporter with the delegation, but was unable to find someone to send.



Photo by Kat on Unsplash