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Broken glass angels provide hope and jobs

Women artists produce angels from shards of glass at the Art and Culture Centre in Bethlehem, West Bank. Thousands of angels have been produced and sold worldwide. (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Inger Jonasson explains, “The angels of peace are messengers of justice, peace and dignity. And they have become an important lifeline for many Palestinian families in an area where 70 percent of the adult population used to be unemployed.” (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Originally, they were made of pieces of broken glass from the rubble an Israeli tank left behind when it slammed into the gift shop at the International Centre of Bethlehem (ICB) in 2002. Today the glass angels of peace are made of used bottles and have emerged into a small business enterprise employing around 50 people in the Bethlehem area.

Bridging the rural-urban divide to help end world hunger

Larry and Marg Dyck participate in the Grow Hope Niagara project of Canadian Foodgrains Bank. They donate and farm the land with the financial help of urban sponsors. The income generated goes to the hunger relief efforts of Mennonite Central Committee Canada. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Grow Hope Niagara farmer Larry Dyck hosts city-dwelling sponsors who visit the farm to see the crop and learn more about the project and farming. Their financial support helps cover the cost of seeds and fertilizer so that all proceeds of the crop can be donated to relieve world hunger. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Grant Dyck is the main farmer of Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s Grow Hope Manitoba near Niverville, Man. At the annual harvest celebration, he tells urban sponsors about the canola crop he raised to help relieve world hunger. The funds raised in Manitoba go toward the hunger relief efforts of MCC Canada. (Photo by Bethany Daman)

Fifteen acres of wheat and a good cause—that’s what brought nearly 200 people together in Pembina Crossing, Man., in June 2018.

Some drove two hours from Winnipeg, others five minutes from their rural homes. Most came from Anglican church communities in Winnipeg.

Theological conference builds graduate student connections

Small group discussions helped emerging Mennonite theologians reflect on how their studies relate to the church and the world. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

What surprised me the most at the graduate student conference hosted by the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC) on June 14-16 was the prayer gathering that happened each morning. I expected that only two or three people would appear, but I was wrong; more than 20 people came. Of course, not everyone attended but a large number of people joined. 

South Korea recognizes rights of COs

SangMin Lee is believed to be the only Korean Mennonite to choose jail over military service. He was released in July 2015, after serving 15 months of an 18-month sentence. In June 2018, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled against the practice of imprisoning conscientious objectors. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

The Constitutional Court of Korea brought an end to 70 years of imprisoning conscientious objectors when it ruled June 28 that it is unconstitutional for South Korea not to offer alternative service options for COs.

It is estimated that about 20,000 males have been punished for refusing military service since the first draft laws were enacted in 1950.

Willems statue commissioned for Manitoba museum

A Jan Luyken engraving of Anabaptist Dirk Willems saving his captor from drowning, published in Martyrs Mirror, 1685.

A peace exhibit committee has commissioned Manitoba sculptor Peter Sawatzky to build a bronze statue of martyred Anabaptist Dirk Willems. 

Based on an engraving of Willems, by Jan Luyken in Martyrs Mirror, the monument is intended to recognize the Anabaptist ideals of peacemaking.

Supporting uprooted people around the world

Mushiya Christine, left, Kayaya Lulula Clementine and Veronique Lumba Misenga take part in a support group for refugee seniors in Durban, South Africa. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

A camp for refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy of World Renew)

Jean Pierre Mpiana and Yabu Miadi carry a sack of corn flour, oil and beans they received during a distribution by the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Congo, an MCC partner. They were among 180 households of displaced people who received a three-month supply of food. (MCC photo by Mulanda Jimmy Juma)

Reverend Riad Jarjour, president of the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, holds some of the contents of monthly food packages for Syrian families. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

Wanda Waldner, left, Najwa Hussein Al Mohamad, Elaine Hofer, Reyad Alhamoud, Paul Waldner and one-year-old Lee Waldner meet together at Green Acres Colony. (Photo by Ava Waldner)

There are more than 65 million displaced people worldwide—nearly double the population of Canada. The United Nations says this number is unprecedented and the need for humanitarian assistance is only growing. 

MCC U.S. boosts its immigration work with churches

MCC holds regular tours of the border between Arizona and Mexico to raise awareness of increasing migrant deaths, militarization, environmental degradation and effects on habitat and sister communities across the border. In this 2015 photo, a Borderlands Learning Tour saw three Romanian migrant women and a baby processed as asylum seekers. (MCC photo by Jorge Vielman)

Cindy Cumberbatch, an attorney from College Hill Mennonite Church in Tampa, Florida, works part time with the church, providing legal advice to immigrants in the area. (MCC photo by Andrew Bodden)

These cards and pen distributed by MCC immigration staff are practical resources that help immigrants know their rights. (MCC photo by Brenda Burkholder)

Immigration professionals Luz Rueda, Deborah Lewis, Quinita McKinney, Helen Stolinas and Gerardo Castillo Jimenez consult with MCC's Immigration Legal Training presenter Ayodele Gansallo, senior staff attorney with Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Philadelphia. (MCC photo by Brenda Burkholder)

As the U.S. government increases immigration enforcement, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. has been expanding its legal training, resources and educational opportunities for immigrants and advocates.

Ending with hope

Henry Paetkau addresses the final Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training fundraising dinner on June 5, 2018, five days after his retirement from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

May 3, 2018, was Henry Paetkau’s last day in the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada office, but he wasn’t quite done yet.

Play confronts Doctrine of Discovery

Ted Swartz receives back the keys from Michelle Milne for her car, taken from her in a deal she didn’t understand. The vignette in the play Discovery: A Comic Lament parallels the taking of Indigenous lands in North America, where the original inhabitants do not control the land. The play was seen by four full houses in Waterloo Region, Ont., from May 31 to June 3, 2018. (Ted & Co. photo by Josh Kraybill/Ted & Co)

The Doctrine of Discovery is based on the Roman Catholic papal bull “Inter caetera.” Issued by Pope Alexander VI on May 4, 1493, it gave all the lands along a meridian west of the Cape Verde Islands, off the west coast of Africa, to the Spanish crown.

Sponsors provide a welcome into their community

The private sponsorship group welcomes Christian and Esperance Manwengwe to Calgary last December. (Photo courtesy of Daria Soltysiak)

Danny and Anna Manwengwe make pizza at their home in Calgary. They arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo by way of Kenya last December. (Photo courtesy of Daria Soltysiak)

There are 23 million refugees around the world, with 1.2 million in need of resettlement outside of their home country or region.

In 2017, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) helped groups resettle 442 people through the Blended Visa Officer Referred (BVOR) program. That was about one-third of all people who arrived in Canada in that category.

Travel company and MCC collaborate for mutual benefit

In 2017, a group of North American travellers on a TourMagination tour of India joined the MCC team in Kolkata for morning devotions. Later in the day, the travellers visited several MCC projects. Whenever possible, TourMagination tour groups connect with MCC staff in countries they are touring. (TourMagination photo)

Recognizing shared values and an overlap between TourMagination travellers and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) donors, the for-profit business and non-profit organization recently signed a memorandum of understanding signaling their desire to collaborate more closely for mutual benefit. 

Mennonite pastors and scholars involved in ecumenical gathering

Speakers at the event, “Behold! I do a new thing: Emerging perspectives in ministry” spoke of their yearning for ecumenical interaction. (CMU photo)

“I wonder whether Jesus’ call for Christian unity isn’t an invitation to focus on what unites rather than divides us, in order to see that everyone brings something valuable to God’s kingdom.” So said Kathy Koop, pastor of Winnipeg First Mennonite Church, in reflecting on a recent ecumenical gathering.

Venezuelan Mennonites share faith through food and shampoo

Roselyn Rodriguez and Arli Rojas wash Silmarys Rodriguez's hair at Community of Peace Mennonite Church on Isla Margarita. In foreground, Jazmin Tormes waits her turn. (Photo by Linda Shelly)

In the midst of constant inflation and economic uncertainty, Venezuelan Mennonites minister creatively in and through their churches, sharing food and supporting their communities. Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Oriente (Evangelical Mennonite Church of the East, IEMO) coordinates efforts between two congregations on Isla Margarita, two on the mainland, and several additional study centres.

Bluffton archivist tells story of Ephrata ‘Martyrs Mirror’

Bluffton University archivist Carrie Phillips holds a copy of the 1748 edition of the Martyrs Mirror, printed in Ephrata, Pa. (Bluffton University photo)

At Bluffton (Ohio) University’s Musselman Library, archivist Carrie Phillips stores seven copies of the 1748 edition of the Ephrata Martyrs Mirror in boxes specially designed to keep them preserved. But this year, Phillips had multiple opportunities to take the books off the shelf and showcase both their religious and historical significance during presentations on and off campus.

AMBS grads encouraged to fulfill ‘other half’ of Jesus’ mandate

Palmer Becker gives the address at the 2018 commencement ceremony of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind. Also pictured is AMBS president Sara Wenger Shenk. (AMBS photo by Jason Bryant)

Palmer Becker of Kitchener, Ont., told Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary graduates that, as followers of Jesus, they have not only been given a mandate to teach, but also to cast out broken and evil spirits.

Gala celebrates 40 years of PACS with stories of peace

“We don’t have the luxury of not seeking peace. Peace has to be built,” asserted Bob Rae, former premier of Ontario, when he addressed guests at the gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Conrad Grebel University College. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), on April 20 Conrad Grebel University College hosted a sold-out gala dinner featuring Bob Rae, a former Ontario premier, as keynote speaker.

CM honoured by national church press association

Three issues of Canadian Mennonite received a Canadian Church Press award in the category General Excellence-Magazine. The magazine also received four other awards for content published in 2017.

Canadian Mennonite editors Virginia A. Hostetler and Ross W. Muir were present at the Canadian Church Press (CCP) convention and awards banquet in Hamilton on May 4, and came away with five awards for work published in 2017.

Global Anabaptist family celebrates the Holy Spirit

Kenyan children perform a poem, with song and dance at Renewal 2027 at Kisumu, Kenya. The Mennonite World Conference event focused on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. (Photo by Len Rempel)

At Renewal 2027 at Kisumu, Kenya, Oscar Suárez addresses the assembly in Spanish, with the help of translator Riki Neufeld. (Photo by Len Rempel)

Members of the global Anabaptist family gathered for songs, testimonies and biblical reflection as they celebrated the Holy Spirit at Mennonite World Conference’s Renewal 2027. (Photo by Len Rempel)

Eighteen Masai women from a Mennonite fellowship slept the night on the grounds to attend the event and perform a traditional dance. (Photo by Len Rempel)

As a local band played “You are the most high God,” international guests from the global Anabaptist family swayed and sang at this year’s Renewal 2027, “The Holy Spirit transforming us.” They met at Nyamasaria Primary School’s auditorium in Kisumu, Kenya, and headquarters of Kenya Mennonite Church (KMC).

A-ha moments in the Holy Land

MCC Canada board member David Chow grew up believing that the current state of Israel is a continuation of the biblical people of Israel, and that building up the state of Israel is a sign that Jesus is returning. Chow visited the West Bank with other members of MCC’s board in September and October of 2016. The learning tour shifted his perspective on the region and what the kingdom of God looks like. (MCC photo)

Daoud Nassar is a farmer living in the West Bank who is committed to nonviolence. Nassar lives at the Tent of Nations, a farm and educational centre near Bethlehem, where his family has lived for more than 100 years. The farm is surrounded by five Israeli settlements collectively called Gush Etzion. In 1991, the Israeli government declared the Nassar’s farm to be state land, and there were plans to expand the settlements onto the Nassars’ property. The family hired a lawyer and took the case to court. It is still unresolved. The family opened the Tent of Nations on their land in 2000, hosting international guests to work on their farm and to learn more about their life in Palestine. (MCC photo)

David Chow recalls sitting in Sunday school as a child and learning about what the nation of Israel meant for Christians in a traditional Christian Missionary Alliance congregation in Calgary, Alberta. 

Chow grew up believing that the current state of Israel is a continuation of the biblical people of Israel, and that building up the state of Israel is a sign that Jesus is returning.

Willard Metzger to complete term with MC Canada

Willard Metzger has served as executive director of Mennonite Church Canada since 2010. He will be completing his service at the end of 2018. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

After careful consideration and prayer during meetings in Toronto on May 5 and 6, the Joint Council of Mennonite Church Canada discerned with executive director Willard Metzger that it was the time to seek new leadership for the nationwide church. The Joint Council has appointed a search committee, chaired by Geraldine Balzer, to determine leadership needs and to find Metzger’s successor.

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