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God at work in the Church

‘Be ready to get engaged’

God at work in the Church | By Canadian Mennonite | Oct 27, 2010

Willard Metzger began his post as Mennonite Church Canada’s new general secretary on Nov. 1, taking over from the retiring Robert J. Suderman. Metzger has felt called to national ministry for many years, and brings many experiences to the table, including 18 years as a pastor, 10 years as chair of MC Canada Witness, and as the director of church relations for World Vision Canada. He spoke with Rachel Bergen, Canadian Mennonite’s national correspondent, in October.

CM: What are your views on MC Canada’s past?

Introducing Willard Metzger

Willard Metzger assumed the role of Mennonite Church Canada general secretary on Nov. 1.

God at work in the Church | By By Rachel Bergen | Oct 27, 2010

Most 10-year-old boys express their dreams of being astronauts, firefighters or police officers when they grow up. For Willard Metzger, the new general secretary of Mennonite Church Canada, who took office on Nov. 1, national ministry was his calling, even as a young child. To that end, Metzger decided to dedicate his life to ministry in a national scope; his education, vocations, volunteer work and life all reflect this call.

Small company, big story

The Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co. (Alberta) Ltd. celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer with fellowship—and cake.

God at work in the Church | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 13, 2010

The 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co. (Alberta) Ltd. passed in understated Mennonite fashion, with cake and fellowship at the company’s annual meeting. The quietness belies the significance of this uniquely Albertan success story that has fingers in the past and present, while pointing into the future.

Begun as a mutual aid endeavour among farmers in southern Alberta, for many years the company was run by church volunteers.

Bolivian Mennonites support services for addictions, abuse

‘When the doors open, people will come,’ says Klaus Rempel, who is part of a committee developing a rehabilitation centre that will provide addiction treatment services for Bolivian men.

God at work in the Church | By By Gladys Terichow | Sep 29, 2010 | 1 comment

As the criminal investigation continues into allegations of gang rape in some Mennonite colonies in Bolivia, many local congregations see a need to reach out to people dealing with addictions, sexual abuse and violence against women.

A shelter for women opened in April and 7.5 hectares of land are being purchased for a rehabilitation centre that will offer treatment programs for men seeking freedom from alcohol and drug addictions. Both facilities are located near Pailon, 60 kilometres east of Santa Cruz.

Good things happening among Bolivia’s Old Colony Mennonites

During a trip to Bolivia earlier this year, Helen Funk, a Winnipeg-based Low German radio host, distributes her Low German cookbook, Met Helen en de Kjäakj/With Helen in the Kitchen, that she wrote at the request of Bolivian colony listeners.

God at work in the Church | By By Leona Dueck Penner | Sep 29, 2010 | 1 comment

Despite tragic reports of sexual assault, alcoholism and drug use among Old Colony Mennonite communities in Bolivia this past year, there are many good things happening there, which offer hope for a better future.

That’s the opinion of Helen Funk, a Winnipeg-based Low German radio host for Family Life Network who spent two weeks on a ministry-related trip to listeners there earlier this year.

The Mariposa Women and Children’s Shelter at Pailon is now open and offering counsel and support for victims of abuse.

25 years of silence

Gene and Mary Herr opened the Hermitage in 1985. This photograph was taken in 1996.

God at work in the Church | By By Will Braun | Sep 14, 2010

Technically, there is no such thing as a Mennonite monk. But if you travel to a remodelled century-old barn in the rolling countryside of southern Michigan, you will find some decidedly monk-like Mennonites. At the Hermitage—a Mennonite-run spiritual retreat centre—directors David and Naomi Wenger welcome pilgrims to a setting of quiet, stillness and prayer.

A faith to die for

Jeffrey Bach (left), director of the Young Center at Elizabethtown College, Pa., checks out a copy of the Martyrs Mirror with Diane Windham Shaw of Lafayette College, Easton, Pa., (right).

God at work in the Church | By By Celeste Kennel-Shank | Sep 01, 2010

Martyrs Mirror is newer than the Bible and longer than some copies of it.

Like the Bible, though, the book has a powerful message for today, said James Lowry, a Mennonite historian from Hagerstown, Md. “Persecution, dungeons, shackles, chains are not something in our experience,” Lowry told an audience at the June 8-10, 2010, “Martyrs Mirror: Reflections Across Time” conference at Elizabethtown College.

MWC reports a good year

God at work in the Church | By By J. Lorne Peachey | Sep 01, 2010

“Mennonite World Conference is in good shape. There are no crisis areas. What we agreed to do, we have been able to do.”

With those words, general secretary Larry Miller, who will leave his post in 2012 after more than two decades of service, summarized the work of MWC to the Executive Committee when it gathered in Addis Ababa this summer for its annual meeting.

New commissions

Tiefengrund Mennonite Church celebrates 100 years

Horse Lake Mennonite Church (left) and Tiefengrund Mennonite Church today (right)

God at work in the Church | By by Henry Patkau | Aug 26, 2010

Many people with ties to the Tiefengrund Mennonite Church near Carlton, Sask., came to relive the past, rejoice in the present and anticipate the future of this church community on July 24 and 25.

‘To be in harmony with all people’

As a way to mark the century milestone, Aberdeen Mennonite Church, Sask., erected a commemorative sign in front of the building. Former pastor Dave Neufeld, left, Ally Fehr and David Klassen unveil the sign during the June 5-6 celebrations.

God at work in the Church | By By Karin Fehderau | Jun 23, 2010

In the town of Aberdeen, Sask., population 600, a small but committed group of Mennonites that call this place home gathered together in early June to celebrate 100 years of witness to the community.

Numbering about 45 on a Sunday morning, Aberdeen Mennonite Church—now led by Vern Ratzlaff—began anniversary celebrations on June 5 with local tours to cemeteries and former church building sites. The day ended with a volunteer choir rehearsal and tea. Celebrations continued with a morning service and noon meal the next day.

No longer ‘sinful or strange’ to each other

From left to right, CMU graduates Michael Bueckert, Andrea Dick, Jessica Dyck and Tim Rempel reflect on their Mennonite Brethren and General Conference traditions, and how they related to their school experience at CMU.

God at work in the Church | By by Rachel Bergen | Jun 23, 2010

A century-and-a-half after the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church and General Conference (GC) Mennonite Church divided, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) held a “Celebrating 150 Years” event on June 5, in an effort to listen to the stories of each denomination and learn from them.

Remembering God’s future: Youth Assembly 2011

The Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2011 Planning Committee includes, from left to right: (on floor) Jean Lehn Epp; (seated) Scott Eyre, Aaron Neufeld, Luke Derksen, Trang Tran, Anna Rehan, Emma Bartel and Kathy Giesbrecht; and, (in back) Rod Wiebe

God at work in the Church | By By Deborah Froese | Jun 04, 2010

As delegates begin to register for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2010, planners for Youth Assembly 2011 are remembering the future—a reference to the assembly’s theme text which calls on Christians to envision God’s future of a city where all people will live in harmony.

Youth Assembly 2011 will share the theme, “It’s epic: Remembering God’s future,” with the adult delegate assembly that will take place at the same time. It is based on Revelation 21:1-4 and Revelation 21:19 -22:6.

Willard Metzger to be next MC Canada general secretary


God at work in the Church | By By Don Friesen | May 31, 2010

Willard Metzger has been appointed to the post of general secretary of Mennonite Church Canada. He will succeed outgoing general secretary Robert J. Suderman, who has served in the post since 2005 and who will retire this summer. The leadership transition will begin this fall.

Moderator Andrew Reesor-McDowell made the announcement to staff on behalf of the general board on May 20.

Asking the wrong questions

Ed Janzen, chaplain at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., moves that the Congregational Ministries Council prioritize youth and young adult ministry in its funding allocations.

God at work in the Church | By by Dave Rogalsky | May 31, 2010

Moderator Aldred Neufeld summed up Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s 23rd annual delegate sessions last month by saying, “Even the wrong decisions can get us to the right place through God’s Spirit.” And wrong decisions—or questions—came up a number of times over the day-and-a-half of meetings.

Let’s call it ‘formation hour’


God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | May 31, 2010

Calling for more involvement of children in worship by re-naming the traditional Sunday school hour “formation hour,” Lisa Carr-Pries told Mennonite Church Eastern Canada delegates, in their opening session on April 23, that children in Canadian culture are more segregated and isolated from adults than ever before.

A wall of memories

Photo courtesy of James Friesen

God at work in the Church | By By James Friesen | May 31, 2010

I write these thoughts only a few days after returning to Winnipeg, Man., and life at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, but the Middle East already seems so far away.

Twenty-four students and four chaperones (of which I was one) spent our last night on the roof of the Ecce Homo Convent in the Old City of Jerusalem reflecting on our time together. Each of us shared our highlights:

• We remembered Damascus—singing songs in the acoustic chambers of the Turkish baths and speaking to niqab-hidden women in the Umayyad Mosque.

Bechtel Lecturer focuses on Mennonites in the Dutch Enlightenment

Ernst Hamm, left, this year’s Bechtel Lecturer at Conrad Grebel University College, discusses his presentation on “Science and Mennonites in the Dutch Enlightenment” with Michael Driedger, centre, professor of history and liberal arts at Brock University, and Conrad Grebel academic dean Jim Pankratz

God at work in the Church | By by Dave Rogalsky | May 19, 2010

During his 2010 Bechtel Lecture presentations at Conrad Grebel University College, Ernst Hamm held that as 17th and 18th century Dutch Mennonites were involved in commerce, industry, trade and society in general, they were also involved in the explosion of creativity of the “Dutch Golden Age” and the beginning of the Enlightenment.

Credit union opens its doors to non-Mennonites

Nick Driedger, who retired as chief executive officer of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, poses with his farewell gift, a numbered Peter Etril Snyder print, at the credit union’s annual general meeting last month in Kitchener, Ont.

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | May 17, 2010

It was standing room only at the 46th annual general meeting of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) last month in Kitchener.

Many were there to discuss a board proposal to change the membership bond defining who can and cannot be members of the credit union. The MSCU bond had been restricted to members of Mennonite and Brethren congregations, their children and spouses, and the employees of Anabaptist institutions, such as Mennonite Central Committee, that the congregations support.

Canada a ‘hard soil’ for the gospel


God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | May 03, 2010

Being the church in the 21st century is no easy task, Robert J. Suderman told the delegates and pastors gathered at Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack early last month for the annual gathering of Mennonite Church British Columbia. It was a sort of Pauline farewell for the retiring general secretary of MC Canada.

“Some writers suggest that Canada is a country with ‘very hard soil’ for the gospel of Jesus Christ—one of the hardest in the world,” said Suderman, who took time to personally visit all 230 congregations of the denomination during his tenure.

Church growth, expansion lauded by B.C. delegates

Garry Janzen, executive minister of Mennonite Church B.C., right, welcomes into membership Western Hmong Mennonite Church, represented by church chair Ge Yang. Janzen is wearing a tie handcrafted by a member of the Hmong congregation. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By By Amy Dueckman | May 03, 2010

Beginnings, endings and growth marked the Mennonite Church B.C. annual meetings at Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack, on April 10, under the banner of “The hope of the reconciling gospel of Jesus.” Delegates welcomed one congregation while saying goodbye to another, witnessed the passing of the leadership torch from one moderator to another, and heard about new ministries in the province.

When faith collides with academic freedom


God at work in the Church | By By Ross W. Muir | May 03, 2010

After stories went national earlier this year announcing that Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley, B.C., had fallen afoul of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) over issues of academic freedom, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg now finds itself implicated in the same controversy.


From ‘life support’ to ‘blessed’

God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | Apr 19, 2010

In his welcoming comments to the 2010 Mennonite Church Alberta delegate sessions, Erwin Wiens, pastor of the host Trinity Mennonite Church, described the area church, made up of 16 congregations spread across the province, as a “patient on life support.”

But as the assembly progressed, it became apparent the patient was very much alive and sometimes kicking. The theme “Reclaiming Jesus, gladly wear the name,” was on nametags with “Jesus” in bold print. At first glance, it appeared all delegates were named Jesus, a vivid reminder of whom Christians are called to emulate.

Church may be ‘on to something’

God at work in the Church | By By Canadian Mennonite Staff | Apr 05, 2010

It’s been six months since Whitewater Mennonite Church in Boissevain, Man., laid aside its committee work, to rest, read Scripture, and engage in prayer and fellowship with one another as part of the congregation’s year-long “Sabbath rest.”

“All decisions or work that is deemed ‘nonessential’ has been deferred for the year and all other necessary issues and decisions are discussed at monthly congregational meetings,” explains pastor Judith Doell.

New residence hall to be built at CBC

An artist’s rendering of the new Columbia Bible College residence, anticipated to cost $3.5 million.

God at work in the Church | By By Amy Dueckman | Apr 05, 2010

Fundraising for a new residence hall, estimated to cost $3.5 million, is underway at Columbia Bible College (CBC).

The four-storey residence for 134 students will be located on a section of campus that now contains several houses. This location was chosen to maximize campus life participation, being only a half-minute’s walk from the dining room, classrooms and library. The suites are planned in a modular style allowing several students to live in each suite.

MC Manitoba records slight deficit

God at work in the Church | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Mar 22, 2010

Tom Seals, Mennonite Church Manitoba treasurer, reported that donations from congregations in 2009 were down by 3.4 percent, or $23,442. Although the congregational giving budget had been decreased from the year before, it still meant giving was 2.8 percent less than budgeted.

Other donations, however, exceeded budget. Much of that difference came from unbudgeted donations for the Faith and Life Men’s tour to South America and income from some of the camps.