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Spiritual snapshots of the U.K. and Africa

Cheryl and Mike Nimz have been Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in the United Kingdom for five years. After itinerating in Canada for two-and-a-half months, they have returned to Birmingham, England, to continue their assignment. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Norm and Lillian Nicolson and their children Kenneth and Nadine have returned to Canada after many years in Burkina Faso. A celebration of their ministry was held at Edmonton’s Holyrood Mennonite Church on July 22, 2018. Mennonite Church Alberta presented each family member with a quilt as a ‘warm welcome’ to Canada. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Mike and Cheryl Nimz: United Kingdom

MC Canada staffer sentenced to seven days in jail

Steve Heinrichs and supporters gather for prayer outside the courthouse in Vancouver during his two-day trial on Aug. 7 and 8, 2018. (Photo by Brad Leitch)

Steve Heinrichs works on a statement to the court explaining the motivations for his act of civil disobedience, and how, in his mind, it was not in contempt of court or ‘the rule of law,’ but in defence of fundamental Indigenous human rights. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

Steve Heinrichs was found guilty of criminal and civil contempt of court in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Aug. 8, 2018, and was sentenced to seven days in provincial jail. He was immediately taken into custody and transferred to the North Fraser Institute in Coquitlam to serve his sentence.

‘We became family to each other’

The plaque accompanying the painting reads: ‘“Congregation” by Tom Neufeld, pastor of TUMC, 1976-1979. Presented to CMU by members of Thompson [Man.] United Mennonite Church.’

George Epp, Ted Redekop and Jack Crolly—members of Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church from the 1970s—ski together. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Members of Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church at the Ospawagen church retreat in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church in 1982. (Photo by Marilyn Redekop)

“The Thompson group,” as they sometimes call themselves, at the hanging of the painting ‘Congregation’ on May 24, 2018 at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. They followed the dedication with a barbecue together. (Photo by Marilyn Redekop)

What do you get when you start a Mennonite church in the middle of nowhere? A community that is still going strong more than 50 years later, even after the church itself has closed its doors.

Where he leads me I will follow

Anna Dyck, front row centre, was ordained on Sept. 6, 1953, at North Star Mennonite Church in Drake, Sask. Seated beside Dyck are her mother, Suzanna Dyck, and J. J. Thiessen. Standing, from left to right: H. S. Bartel; Paul Schroeder, North Star Mennonite pastor at the time; and Hans Dyck. (Photo courtesy of Grace MacDougall)

Anna Dyck helped establish this church in Miyakonojo, Japan. (Photo courtesy of Grace MacDougall)

At a time when a woman’s sphere of influence was limited to hearth and home, Anna Dyck was making a difference.

Dyck spent nearly 40 years of her life as a missionary in Japan. During those years she lived in three communities and worked as a nurse, Bible teacher, pastor and church planter. She helped establish four congregations that are still in existence today.

Words to the wise

Eight people respond to the question: “If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?”

At the age of 18, most young people are making the transition from high school to whatever comes next. It’s a formative time with many possibilities. So Canadian Mennonite asked eight people: “If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?” This is how they responded.

The end in mind

Etch Your Own Stone is the follow-up to Sparky and the Plugs’ 2016 eponymous debut album. (Photo by Judith Schulz)

Jill Wiens, left, Curtis Wiens, Zac Schellenberg and Clay Buhler are Sparky and the Plugs. (Photo by Aleta Schellenberg)

The members of Sparky and the Plugs grew up in Mennonite Church Canada congregations. They have been friends since they were teenagers. (Photo by Judith Schulz)

Etch Your Own Stone takes its name from the song ‘Stone Cutter,’ in which the singer asks: ‘How will people remember you when you die?’ (Photo courtesy of Sparky and the Plugs)

How will people remember you when you die?

That’s the question at the heart of “Stone Cutter,” one of the key tracks on Etch Your Own Stone, the new album from Saskatoon bluegrass quartet Sparky and the Plugs.

In the song, written by banjo player Curtis Wiens, the singer contemplates how he will spend his time on Earth.

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 use of the land and farm it 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.

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