God at work in the Church

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It takes three villages to send 18 kids to camp

What does it look like when two churches and Camp Valaqua partner toward a common goal? It looks like 18 enthusiastic campers!

This past summer, the Service and Outreach branch of Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church learned that a number of young people from the city’s South Sudanese Mennonite Church were interested in going to Camp Valaqua in Water Valley, Alta., for the first time.

Conrad Grebel partners with Tabor Manor in chaplaincy internship

Michelle Koop served as a summer chaplaincy intern at Tabor Manor, St. Catharines, Ont., for the summer of 2015. She worked under the supervision of Waldo Pauls. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Michelle Koop grew up going to Vineland (Ont.) United Mennonite Church, next to the Vineland Mennonite Home. She worked at the Home and helped care for the father of Ed Janzen, chaplain at Conrad Grebel University College (CGUC). In part, it was her stories of that care that convinced Janzen of Koop’s “heart for the aged and seniors—living out the love of God.”

South Korean CO freed after 15 months

Sang-Min Lee enjoys some of his favourite fast food after being released from prison, where he served 15 months for refusing to participate in mandatory military service. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

Conscientious objector (CO) Sang-Min Lee, a member of Grace and Peace Mennonite Church in Seoul, South Korea, is free. He was released from prison on July 30, after serving 15 months of an 18-month sentence for refusing military service. The time he spent as a barber in the prison system was credited as additional time served.

Sunday School in 1980

Photo provided by the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.

A group of children from Orchard Park Bible Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., carry signs celebrating the 200th birthday of Sunday school as Kathy and Alfred Guenther present keepsakes to the children. In 1780, Robert Raikes started Sunday school in Gloucester, England, as a way to teach lower-class children morals and religion.

Getting youth to World Conference four years in the making

Among the activities the Canadian youth were engaged in during the MWC assembly was finding and chatting with someone they didn’t know. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bergen)

Thanks to a great deal of planning, the 310 Canadian young people and their sponsors had the “global experience of a lifetime,” according to Kirsten Hamm-Epp, area church minister in youth and administrative planning for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, who was the prime mover behind the efforts to get the youth to Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly held in Harrisburg, Pa., last month.

MWC assembly was an amazing experience

Prabidhi Pandey worked on the Mennonite Disaster Service project while at MWC assembly. She is a 14-year-old from Danforth Mennonite Church, Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Prabidhi Pandey)

Prabidhi Pandey

All the youth name tags at Mennonite World Conference assembly in Harrisburg, Pa., had “#J178” on them. Nobody gave much thought to it until 600 youth from around the world were gathered in a 24-acre space under the arena in the morning while the adults listened to the sermon in one of two daily worship services.

Historians address Nazi influence on Mennonites

Ben Goossen shows the photo, “Heinrich Himmler in Molotschna, 1942,” during his workshop, “From Aryanism to Multiculturalism: Mennonite Ethnicity and German Nationalism, 1871 to Today.” (Photo by Dale D. Gehman for Meetinghouse)

A chapter of 20th-century German Mennonite history that has been predominantly glossed over, received attention in back-to-back workshops by historians on July 22 at the Mennonite World Conference assembly.

Churches support Freedom Road

A campaign of church signs supported by Juno-award-winning musician Steve Bell is calling on the federal government to address the longstanding injustice of Winnipeg’s water system.

In August 2015 Bell joined the chorus of voices asking the federal government to do its part in building a road that would connect the isolated community of Shoal Lake 40 with the Trans-Canada Highway.

Lenore Mendes at Mennonite World Conference, 1990

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Centre/Mennonite Archival Image Database

Lenore Mendes of Guatemala addresses Mennonite World Conference 12 in Winnipeg in 1990. She thought she would be speaking to a few hundred people, but was surprised to see thousands. The Winnipeg gathering was the biggest to date with 13,000 registrants.  Her sermon in Winnipeg was an important stepping stone to her election to the Executive Committee of MWC.

Slowing church down

Through July and August, The Commons, a Mennonite Church Eastern Canada congregation in Hamilton, Ont., has been meeting in Beasley Park on Sundays at 6 p.m.

The Commons is starting to slow down. No, we are not retiring as a church, we just think it is time for a little different pace. The plan is to switch things up in the fall for our Sunday worship gatherings. We plan to use our gathering time to dig a little deeper into liturgy, spiritual practices, hospitality, old traditions and new creative expressions.

On the way to Sängerfest, 1934

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Centre/Mennonite Archival Image Database

A group of 18 young men and women travel in the back of a truck on their way a Sängerfest or song festival in the Didsbury, Alberta, area in 1934. No seatbelts used here! Song festivals were popular in Mennonite circles as a way of gathering to see old friends, enjoy singing four-part harmony music, and a way for young men and women to meet in controlled environments.

Community Mennonite celebrates 25 years

Mike Martin (second from right) and his siblings (from left), Steve, Ron, Willard, Gloria and Terry Martin sang at the 25th anniversary celebration for Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont., on May 23, 2015. Mike, who is the chair of church council, wrote a special song for the event. (Photo courtesy of Community Mennonite Fellowship, Drayton)

Part of the anniversary event was a large quilt display at Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont., on the weekend of May 22-24, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Community Mennonite Fellowship, Drayton)

The roots ran deep in both the Berea and Moorefield Mennonite Churches, north of Kitchener-Waterloo. Berea, first known as the Parker Mission, was founded in 1941 and joined the Ontario Mennonite Conference in 1947. That same year a congregation was founded less than 10 miles away at Moorefield, using a disused Anglican church building.

Emotions run high at MC USA convention

Prayer team member John C. Murray of Hesston, Kan., prays during a Pink Menno hymn sing outside the delegate hall July 4. (Photo by Paul Schrag, Mennonite World Review)

Pick a category of people at the Mennonite Church USA convention, and you could identify their pain.

It might have been the pain of exclusion due to sexual orientation. Or of feeling the church has agreed to tolerate sin. It might have been the pain of sexual abuse. Or of concern for the future of a church sharply divided on how to relate to sexual minorities.

Hutterites thank John J. Friesen for teaching courses

This painting by Victor Kleinsasser depicts John J. Friesen talking to Hutterite students after class. It was commissioned by the Hutterian Brethren Education Committee and presented to Friesen as a gift.

A new artwork honouring a professor from Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and commissioned by the Hutterian Brethren Education Committee was unveiled in CMU’s new library on June 3. It honoured John J. Friesen, professor emeritus of history and theology, for his contribution to the Hutterite community.

The Gathering Church celebrates ten years

Jim Loepp Thiessen and Catherine Gitzel stand in front of the Gathering Church’s store front offices on Activa Ave. in Kitchener, Ont., across the street from the W. T. Townshend Public School, where they gather on Sunday mornings. The congregation celebrated its tenth anniversary in February this year. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Two in three church plants don’t make it past the five-year mark. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been successful, but long life is not part of most church plants. The Gathering Church, a full member of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, celebrated its tenth anniversary quietly in February this year.

Lebold dinner funds new pastoral training program

Rudy Baergen, interim pastor at Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church (left) chats with Roberson Mbayamvula, pastor at Hagerman Mennonite Church. Baergen was the keynote speaker at the June 11 Lebold fundraising dinner at Conrad Grebel University College and Mbayamvula was last year’s speaker.

A new focus was announced this year at the Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment fundraising dinner, because last year it reached its goal of $1 million to fund pastoral training at Conrad Grebel University College (CGUC). This fund, jointly supported by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) and Conrad Grebel, was founded in 1997 and is named after Ralph Lebold and his wife.

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