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Web First

Congolese Mennonites suffer atrocities amid displacement of 1.4 million

Menno Simons’ favourite verse was chosen for the cloth commemorating the centennial of Communauté Mennonite au Congo (Mennonite Community in Congo). Mennonites in the Democratic Republic of Congo are currently facing violence and displacement in the conflict-plagued Kasai region. (Photo by James Krabill)

Web First | By Will Braun | Aug 21, 2017

WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence.

Dozens of Congolese Mennonites have been killed, hundreds of their homes have been burned, and thousands of them have fled, as violence consumes the Kasai region, birthplace of the Mennonite church in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) reports 36 confirmed deaths of Mennonites, 12 church schools destroyed or attacked, 16 churches destroyed or attacked, and 342 homes destroyed. Those numbers may rise in the coming days.

Putting goals into practice

At the MC Saskatchewan Equipping Day Abby Heinrichs and her father Steve tell their personal stories in a workshop entitled ‘In your light, we see light: The church and Indigenous solidarity.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Web First | By Donna Schulz | Nov 14, 2017

Setting goals is a good practice, but how does a faith community translate those goals into reality? 

Mennonites in Montreal aid refugees

Hochma’s worshipping space was repurposed as a donation centre for refugees. (Photo by Michel Monette)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 14, 2017

Not feeling safe in the United States, a young woman climbed on a plane and flew to Montreal with her children. But the U.S. is considered a safe country for refugees, so she was forced to return. Still afraid, she crossed the border into Quebec and ended up at Coalition d’aide aux réfugiés à Montréal (Coalition to aid refugees in Montreal), housed in the Hochma church building.

Dick Benner: A man who loved the church

Web First | By Barb Draper | Nov 06, 2017 | 1 comment

Richard (Dick) Benner, the recent editor/publisher of Canadian Mennonite, passed away on Nov. 4, 2017, at his home in Ruckersville, Va. Upon his retirement in March 2017, he moved from Ontario to his Virginia home near Charlottesville, where his wife Marlene was in long-term care. Dick began his final journey with cancer not long after that move and was undergoing cancer treatment when Marlene passed away on July 13, 2017.

Injera and Somali stew

Somali injera and maraq: a symbol of community. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Web First | Nov 01, 2017 | 2 comments

For Ardith Frey, injera, a flatbread eaten in northeastern Africa, is a symbol of community. It is served on a large shared platter, along with a sauce. See Ardith’s story at “Injera: A symbol of community.”  

Both recipes below are from Extending the Table, Revised Edition. ©2014 by Herald Press, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. Used with permission.

 

Injera (Ethiopian Flat Bread)
This recipe makes 20 (12-inch / 30-cm) injera.

Celebrating a legacy of respect

Jeremiah Ross (1909-2002), left, was a Cree from Cross Lake First Nation in Manitoba and a long-serving pastor of Elim Mennonite Church there. (Mennonite Church Canada file photo)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Oct 31, 2017

Among the many memories shared at a reunion of past and present Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous Relations workers, several included references to the late Jeremiah Ross (1909-2002).

A Cree man from Cross Lake First Nation in Manitoba, Ross served as pastor of Elim Mennonite Church there for 30 years. He was able to successfully bridge respect for Christ while honouring the Indigenous spirituality of his community. As he carried out his role in the church, he served as a traditional elder and continued to make his living as a hunter and trapper.

Open the Islands campaign seeks to prevent refugee deaths

A poster calls attention to the plight of refugees waiting on the island of Lesvos; it is part of a campaign to prevent refugee deaths due to the winter cold. (Christian Peacemaker Teams photo)

Web First | Oct 30, 2017

As winter sets in, over 100 solidarity groups and organizations—including the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) project on the island of Lesvos—are calling for urgent action from the Greek local and national authorities to prevent more refugees from dying in the cold.

Several places woke up on Oct. 12 to find their neighbourhoods plastered with the emblematic picture of Moria Camp on Lesvos, covered in snow last winter, while the collective has also launched a campaign on social media with the hashtag #opentheislands.

‘Menno(comedy)nite’ keeps audience in stitches

Matt Falk, left, and Orlando Braun answer questions from the audience at the ‘Menno(comedy)nite’ in Abbotsford, B.C., on Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Web First | By Amy Dueckman | Oct 30, 2017

An advertised “evening of hilarity” on Sept. 30, 2017, delivered plenty of jokes, humour and laughs to delight the gathered audience at the Mennonite Historical Society of B.C-sponsored event.

“We need to laugh. There are enough tears in the world,” said emcee Danny Unrau, a pastor, storyteller and author who opened the evening with humorous tales from his personal life and ministry in the Mennonite Brethren church.

Quito Mennonites pray and work for peace

The Quito Mennonite Church Project with Refugee People offers workshops on peace education and values that are directed towards refugee and Ecuadorian children. (Photo by Daniela Sánchez)

Web First | By Daniela Sánchez and Alexandra Meneses | Oct 17, 2017

Ana (not her real name), came to Ecuador from Medellin, Colombia, in 2016 after escaping from paramilitaries who had taken and kept her hostage for two years. She was subjected to various kinds of abuse and violence, the result of which was pregnancy. In addition, she was forced to commit a number of crimes. Although this woman fled the violence in her country, the pain and rage accompanied her during her stay in Ecuador.

Mennonite Historical Bulletin now online

Web First | Oct 17, 2017

The entire run of the Mennonite Historical Bulletin is now available online. Over the summer, the Mennonite Church USA Archives collaborated with Goshen College’s Mennonite Historical Library and the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary to digitize and publish every issue through the Internet Archive, as part of the Digital Mennonite Periodicals project.

Supporting alternate rites of passage for African girls

Ana Laizer, right, poses with Paulina Sumayani, director of TEMBO. Laizer participated in the Sara and Juma program at her school and decided she didn’t want to undergo female genital mutilation or be married at a young age. (MCC photo by Tiffanee Wright)

Web First | By Rachel Bergen | Oct 16, 2017

Ana Laizer is a grade nine student in Longido, Tanzania, and she dreams of going to university to become a successful businesswoman.

For many girls Laizer’s age, this dream might never become reality. Access to education isn’t just limited by school fees and uniforms, but also by cultural expectations that girls stop attending after grade six and instead take part in cultural rituals to prepare them for marriage.

Anti-racism is a ‘lifelong pursuit’

Drew Hart discusses his public presentation with Noramy Gonzalia Diaz, the youth worker at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, during Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s 2017 Spiritual Emphasis Week. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 16, 2017

“It’s taken us four hundred years to get to here,” said Drew Hart at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s 2017 Spiritual Emphasis Week, held over three days in late September 2017. The assistant professor of theology at Messiah College, a private Christian college founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church, in Mechanicsburg, Pa., was speaking of his lived reality as an African-American man in a racially divided country.

MCC responds to Irma’s devastation in Caribbean

Osa Jonmarits, a community health organizer in La Chapelle, Haiti, receives a comforter, a Mennonite Central Committee relief bucket and water purification tablets after his home and property were damaged by flooding from Hurricane Irma. (MCC photo by Annalee Giesbrecht)

Web First | Oct 03, 2017

Haiti 

Osa Jonmarits and his family were awakened in the middle of the night as water rushed into their mud-and-stone house on the mountains of La Chapelle, Haiti, and covered them in their beds.

The flash flooding came from Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane that passed to the north of Haiti on Sept. 7. It caused flash floods and heavy winds from the country’s northern shores to its deep interior, where La Chapelle is located.

Viewpoint: Why we change hymn texts

Each new hymnal committee assesses and edits hymns. Pictured are notes concerning textual changes for the 1969 Mennonite Hymnal. (Photo by Adam Tice)

Web First | By Katie Graber | Oct 03, 2017 | 1 comment

Should hymns be sung in their original form or should they be updated? This is a more complicated question than it may seem. Take “Be Thou My Vision,” for instance. Hymnal Companion discusses three versions of this song: the Old Irish poem from the eighth century, a 1905 English translation, and a later “versified” or metered version. If someone wanted to be true to the original, which version would they believe we ought to sing? Or, if someone wanted to update the language, could they do so without losing the stately poetry?

Annual relief festival raises $1 million

More than 1,200 volunteers of all ages help make the MCC B.C. Festival for World Relief possible. (Photo by Katrina Grabowski)

Web First | Oct 03, 2017

More than 20,000 people attended the annual Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) British Columbia Festival for World Relief over two days in mid-September at the Abbotsford TRADEX, helping to raise more than $1 million to support MCC’s relief, development and peace work locally and around the world.

The annual Bread of Life auction, which raises funds for food security projects, contributed more than $230,000 to the festival’s fundraising total. This year, these donations will support food security projects in Kenya, assisting more than 9,000 households.

Mennonite helps Lutherans commemorate the Reformation

Mennonite Willard Metzger shares a sermon with delegates to the 16th Biennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Metzger is executive director of Mennonite Church Canada. (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada photo)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Oct 03, 2017

Serving communion at the 16th Biennial Convention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) was a profoundly humbling experience for Willard Metzger.

“I felt as though I was surrounded by a huge cloud of Anabaptist witnesses from the past,” says Mennonite Church Canada’s executive director.

The significance of that statement is deeply rooted in history.

General Board confession

Web First | Sep 29, 2017 | 12 comments

As the General Board of Mennonite Church Canada anticipates potential change following the Special Assembly, we are reminded of things done, and not done. We are deeply aware of weakness and strength. We are aware of successes and failures. We are aware that the journey is not over, and significant challenges remain.

Great Day of Singing planned for October 22

Mennonite congregations are invited to plan a worship service on Oct. 22, 2017, using sample resources from the new Resonate project.  (Photo courtesy of MennoMedia)

Web First | Sep 19, 2017

A 16-page sampler of the new Mennonite worship and song collection is available for free congregational download. Called the “Great Day of Singing,” the sampler is designed as a resource to plan worship for October 22, 2017.

This one-day event is planned by the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee as a way for individuals and congregations to sample some new music and worship resources, and to provide feedback to the committee.

New award brings diversity to Grebel campus

The Mennonite Diversity Award is designed to make an educational experience at Grebel accessible to Mennonite students from culturally diverse backgrounds. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Grebel University College)

Web First | Sep 19, 2017

Living in Toronto for 46 years, Mary Groh was increasingly surrounded by a multicultural society. As an active member of Danforth Mennonite Church there, following the closure of Warden Woods Mennonite Church, she witnessed the growth of various Mennonite congregations in the east end of Toronto.

A cry for home

Reverend Ashraf Tannous, pastor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beit Sahour, in Palestine’s West Bank, is working for peace in the Middle East. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

Web First | By Laura Kalmar | Sep 19, 2017

Everyone needs a home where families are safe and secure, where their basic needs are met, where they can come and go freely, and where they can imagine a future. 

But that is not the reality for most Palestinians, or even for some Israelis.

In September 2017, Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) is releasing its first collection in a series of videos featuring stories of people who make their home in Palestine and Israel. Some may be surprising. Some may prompt questions. And some may compel you to action.

Overdue dictionary

The online Dictionary of African Christian Biography aims to collect, preserve, and make accessible biographical accounts and church histories to foster an understanding of African Christianity.

Web First | By John Longhurst | Sep 18, 2017

He was known as southern Africa’s Billy Graham.

His name was Nicholas Bhengu, and he was an evangelist with the Assemblies of God in South Africa from the 1940s until his death in 1985.

During his ministry, tens of thousands of people attended his crusades, and thousands were converted. He started more than 50 churches. More than 20,000 people attended his funeral. And yet, Bhengu is almost completely unknown to Christians outside Africa.

Jonathan Bonk, a member of Fort Garry Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Man., is on a mission to change that.

Relief efforts underway to address flooding, displacement in South Asia

Women collect dry rations from the government relief camp in Naihati, West Bengal, India. Millions of people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have been impacted by the recent monsoon flooding. In West Bengal, Mennonite Central Committee’s partner Nabarun Seva Niketan is providing food assistance to 1,500 flood-affected families. MCC is also partnering with Economic Rural Development Society to provide a food basket for 1,520 families in Malda district, West Bengal. (MCC photo)

Web First | By Hannah Heinzekehr | Sep 08, 2017

At the same time that Tropical Storm Harvey was making landfall in Texas, people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal were experiencing devastating floods that have left millions of people displaced and killed over 1,200 people.

South Asia is prone to flooding during monsoon season, from June to September each year, but authorities have said “this year’s floods have been much worse,” according to reporting by The Guardian. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is joining partners in all three countries to help with relief efforts.

Helen’s Bean Sprouts

Web First | By Ken Reddig | Sep 06, 2017

This recipe is a family favourite for Ken and Willa Reddig and was regularly served in Willa’s home when she was growing up in the 1950s and 60s. While on their honeymoon, 50 years ago, Ken and Willa made a surprising discovery about the recipe’s origins. To see that story, go to “Midwestern recipe has surprising origin.” 

Meat Sauce
1 lb. round steak or stewing beef, cubed
1 tablespoon oil
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons flour

Surrey church embraces Karen refugees

Living Hope Christian Fellowship, of Surrey B.C.,  likes to have fun during worship services, including an installation service for youth pastors Derek Dovale and Bless Len. (Living Hope Christian Fellowship photo)

Web First | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

For Living Hope Christian Fellowship of Surrey, hosting Karen refugees from Burma is not a movie plot, it’s reality.

Beginning in 2006, Karen refugees started moving into low-income housing near Living Hope, including the Thein family, who were first part of Cedar Hills Mennonite Church, Living Hope’s predecessor. The Theins had first settled in Yarrow and were part of the Yarrow United Mennonite Church before moving to Surrey.

MDS volunteers heading to Bloomington, Texas

Mennonite Disaster Service workers and county officials speak with an unidentified homeowner in Bloomington, Texas, about the damage to his home by Hurricane Harvey. MDS volunteer project coordinator Carl Dube, left, speaks with the homeowner, along with Victoria County commissioner Danny Garcia and Wayne Stuckey, MDS Region 3 board chair. (MDS photo by Nate Schlabach)

Web First | Sep 02, 2017

The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) assessment team moved deeper into the devastating footprint of Hurricane Harvey on August 31, 2017, as they visited the town of Bloomington, Texas, southwest of Houston in Victoria County, U.S.A.

The impact of Harvey suddenly became more intense for the team as the damage was evident “block after block” in the town, according to MDS executive director Kevin King, who is leading the assessment team. “There is hardly anyone here right now, but of those who are, some are sleeping outside on sofas under tarps.”

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