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Web First

Assembly 2016 bits and pieces

The logo for Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2016, designed by Ryan Roth Bartel, reminds the church that Faith is our connection between God and the People (Jeremiah 31:33). The dove of peace is the common symbol across MC Canada and of the peacebuilding work to which the church is called. The segmented globe reveals the cross at the centre. The hands reaching to each other symbolize how God yearns for people to love, support and join one another in the redeeming work of Christ. The colours reflect the harmony members of the church seek in the midst of diversity. 

Web First | By Canadian Mennonite staff | Jul 04, 2016

Five hundred Mennonites from across Canada will gather in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, July 6 to 10, 2016, for the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly. This gathering brings together people for worship, fellowship and decision making for the national church.

Go to the MC Canada website for information about Assembly 2016, schedule, discussion documents, a video and more. 

See here to learn about key topics the delegates will discuss.  

Assembly 2016 speakers to focus on God’s covenant

Safwat Marzouk

Web First | Jul 04, 2016

One of the highlights of Mennonite Church Canada’s assemblies are the times of worship and spiritual enrichment. The theme of Assembly 2016 (July 6-9), God~Faith-People, is paraphrased from the Old Testament text Jeremiah 31:33: “This is the covenant . . . I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

The plenary sessions will focus on how God is creating a community of covenant that bears God’s compassion in making peace and in doing justice within the faith community, with the world beyond the faith community, and with creation.

Songs of hope and struggle

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Jun 30, 2016

Bryan Moyer Suderman released a new CD, I’m Glad You’re Here: Songs of Hope and Struggle, on May 6, 2016, in Stouffville, Ont. The concert was also a fundraiser for the “Welcome the Stranger” initiative for refugee support (an initiative of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in the greater Toronto area), and on the night of the concert raised almost $10,000.

Suderman describes the CD as “a kind of sound track for the church engaged in hard conversations,” and so it is pertinent to what MC Canada is doing this summer in Saskatoon.

Committee selected for Mennonite song collection

Web First | Jun 30, 2016 | 1 comment

Six women and six men from across North America have been chosen to serve on the committee for the new song collection for Mennonite churches planned for release in 2020.

The committee selections were announced by Bradley Kauffman, recently named project director for the collection, and Amy Gingerich, editorial director for MennoMedia, the agency managing the project on behalf of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada.

Nigerian peacemaking efforts recognized with Sattler Peace Prize

Ephraim Kadala, of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, and Hussaini Shuaibu, of the Christian and Muslim Peace Initiative, receive the Michael Sattler Peace Award from the German Mennonite Peace Committee, on behalf of their respective organizations. (Photo courtesy of the Church of the Brethren/by Kristin Flory of the Brethren Service Europe Office)

Web First | Jun 30, 2016

The 2016 Michael Sattler Peace Prize has been awarded to the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) and EYN’s “Christian and Muslim Peace Initiative” (CAMPI), founded in 2010 with Muslim partners.

On May 20, 2016, the German Mennonite Peace Committee (Deutsches Mennonitisches Friedenskomitee, or DMFK) presented the prize to Ephraim Kadala, EYN pastor and peace coordinator, and Hussaini Shuaibu, lecturer, mediator and Muslim partner of CAMPI, who were representing their organizations.

More on seasonal workers in Canada

Seasonal agricultural workers from Mexico weed onions at Kroeker Farms, south of Winkler, Man. (Photo by Will Braun)

Web First | By Will Braun | Jun 28, 2016

This online supplement accompanies the feature, “The lucky struggle,” about workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP).

Loving the enemy in Burkina Faso

A woman prepares food for her family in Burkina Faso. (Mennonite Church Canada photo by Deborah Froese)

Web First | Jun 20, 2016

In a land that closely resembles the place Jesus lived more than 2,000 years ago, his words still prove true. The people of Sidi, Burkina Faso, plant their fields with the tools and methods described in the New Testament. They draw water from wells, and feed their families with crops they harvest. Some of them live by Jesus’ teaching, recorded in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”

What I learned while walking the Camino

Alvin Thiessen completed the 800-kilometre pilgrimage along the Camino de Compostela. He reached the Cape of Fisterra, on the Atlantic coast, 90 kilometres past the city of Santiago de Compostela. (Photo by Alvin Thiessen)

Web First | By Alvin Thiessen | Jun 20, 2016 | 1 comment

After 10 days of walking, I come to a small town in Spain called Belorado. The day before, I had walked a gruelling 31 kilometres up and down hills, in warm and sunny spring weather. Maybe it’s the long walk and my feet are tired, or, maybe it’s the constant climbing up and down the hills, but something feels different under my left foot. I get to my hostel and take my walking shoes off to find a blister has formed under my foot. It’s a bad one!

Into the woods

Elmer Martin of Floradale, Ont., is pictured with a fawn found in the woods near Koksilah Alternative Service Work Camp on Vancouver Island, B.C., in 1942. For many COs, serving in alternative service was their first time away from home. (Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo by Jesse B. Martin)

Web First | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Jun 15, 2016 | 1 comment

In June 1942, 3,000 Mennonites gathered at the Kitchener, Ont., train station to bid farewell to conscientious objectors (COs) bound for forest-fire fighting and tree-planting camps in British Columbia. The local newspaper noted that the crowd, larger than any that had gathered for military troop departures, “was swelled by hundreds of curious citizens, who were attracted by the singing of hymns.”

Becoming the people of God is a messy business

Fred Redekop, left, pastor of Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church, visits with Arli Klassen, chief development officer of Mennonite World Conference, the keynote speaker at this year’s Ralph and Eileen Lebold Fundraising Dinner, a joint project of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada and Conrad Grebel University College. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Jun 15, 2016

The 2016 Ralph and Eileen Lebold Fundraising Dinner, held on June 2, 2016, at Conrad Grebel University College, featured Arli Klassen, chief development officer for Mennonite World Conference, who spoke to the “Messiness of becoming the people of God.”

Youth Assembly 2016 canceled due to low numbers

Web First | By Dan Dyck | Jun 01, 2016

You planned a party for 200 people, with games geared for groups of 20. Food quantities have been tallied, and overnight lodging arranged for guests who are coming from far away. And then you find out that only a handful of the invited guests are able to come.

From refugee to sponsor: A journey of 40 years

The Tran family a few months after arriving in Canada, with toys donated by their sponsors. Nhung, the youngest, is now sponsoring refugees fleeing the violence in Syria. (Photo courtesy of Nhung Tran-Davies)

Web First | By Emily Loewen | May 31, 2016

As a five-year-old resting in her mother’s arms at the bottom of a boat crowded with refugees, Nhung Tran could not have imagined the life she’s living now: a life as a doctor in Canada. A life in which she is responsible for bringing two families to safety as a sponsor.

It was the fall of 1978, and Tran’s mother, a widow, joined the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Vietnam. She packed herself and six children into a boat in the midst of the stormy season with the hope they would make it to Malaysia.

Hmong churches make Anabaptist bond official

Elder Surapong Mitrakul, executive secretary of Church of Christ Thailand; and Dr. Thawesak Mahachavaroj, chair, present a set of China teacups and saucers to Stanley W. Green, executive director of Mennonite Mission Network; and John F. Lapp, director for Asia and Middle East. In return, Green and Lapp offered two copies of the book Fully Engaged: Missional Church in an Anabaptist Voice. This exchange of gifts commemorated the signing of a ministry and support agreement for the Hmong ethnic group in Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Mission Network)

Web First | By Wil LaVeist | May 31, 2016

The worldwide Mennonite family can now add Hmong to the growing number of ethnic groups embracing Anabaptism in Asia.

A group of Hmong churches in Thailand and Mennonite Church USA have agreed to make official their relationship that has been nurtured the past 10 years. The official signing of the agreement occurred March 14, 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand, during the semi-annual governing council meeting of Church of Christ in Thailand.

Pastor and artist brings passion for generations to #thecovenantcrew

Reece Friesen is bringing his passion for Anabaptism and community to Youth Assembly 2016, God~Faith~People. 

Web First | By Deborah Froese | May 30, 2016

UPDATE: Youth Assembly 2016 has been cancelled, due to a shortfall in the number of registrations. See here for more information. Youth who are not attending Assembly 2016 but wish to speak into the Being a Faithful Church and Future Directions Task Force discussions are strongly encouraged to have conversation with their congregation’s adult delegates so that their voices can still be heard at Assembly.

Making room for dialogue with #thecovenantcrew

Chris Lenshyn will be one of the keynote speakers at Youth Assembly 2016, to be held July 6 to 10, in Saskatoon.

Web First | By Deborah Froese | May 30, 2016

UPDATE: Youth Assembly 2016 has been cancelled, due to a shortfall in the number of registrations. See here for more information. Youth who are not attending Assembly 2016 but wish to speak into the Being a Faithful Church and Future Directions Task Force discussions are strongly encouraged to have conversation with their congregation’s adult delegates so that their voices can still be heard at Assembly.

Youth preparing to join the conversation

Before Assembly 2016 youth groups will have the opportunity to discuss the Future Directions Task Force and Being a Faithful Church proposals. At the July event, they will join the larger delegate sessions and will have the chance to speak up and vote on the recommendations. (MC Canada file photo by Dan Dyck)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | May 30, 2016

For the first time ever, Mennonite Church Canada youth are preparing to actively participate in organized discussions and votes taking place during the national assembly—God~Faith~People,—to be held from July 6 to 10, 2016, in Saskatoon, Sask.

On the agenda: the future of the church as envisioned by the Future Directions Task Force and recommendations conveyed by the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) conversations.

Seminar to engage congregations in creation care

Photo courtesy of CC0, public domain. 

Web First | By Deborah Froese | May 17, 2016

We’re already implementing creation care practices. Let’s share what we’re doing.

That’s the message behind “Caring for God’s Good Creation,” a seminar to take place on July 10, 2016, following Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2016.

“Caring for God’s Good Creation”  was designed to bring interested groups and individuals together to share best practices. It was organized by the Service, Peace and Justice Committee (SPJ) of Mennonite Church B.C. (MCBC) and Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN).

Director announced for new Mennonite song collection project

Web First | May 17, 2016

Bradley Kauffman of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been named project director for the new song collection for Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) and Mennonite Church USA (MC USA). The print version is slated for release in 2020. He will perform work on a contract basis before assuming a full-time staff position on July 5, 2016.

Kauffman earned a bachelor of arts in music education at Goshen College in 1996 and completed a master of arts in choral conducting at the University of Iowa in 2002.

Canadian Mennonite University celebrates class of 2016

Cheryl Pauls, CMU president (centre) stands with Kathleen Bergen and Jonas Cornelsen, winners of the 2016 President’s Medals. (Canadian Mennonite University photo)

Web First | May 17, 2016

In his valedictory address at Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) graduation service at Immanuel Pentecostal Church on April 24, 2016, Jonas Cornelsen tackled head on the question, “What are you going to do with your degree?”

“Education is a great gift, and we can all respond in gratitude by humbly sharing the knowledge and insight we have gained and [received] from others by showing love to all of those we meet, living by the Creator’s grace, Christ’s example, and the Spirit’s hope in a broken world,” Cornelsen concluded. “That is what you can really do with a degree.”

Eight-hour ‘song-a-thon’ raises money for camps

Nolan Kehler (left) and Mike Wiebe perform as “Second Son” at an eight-hour Song-a-thon fundraiser for Camps with Meaning. 

Web First | By Darryl Neustaedter Barg | May 17, 2016

The first-ever Camps with Meaning (CWM) Song-a-thon went for eight hours, featuring 14 musical acts. Held at Canadian Mennonite University on April 16, 2016, the event raised $20,000 that will go toward building four new, all-season cabins at Camp Assiniboia, one of three camps that are part of CWM, the camping ministry of Mennonite Church Manitoba.

“From beginning to end, the Song-a-thon was a community effort,” said Dorothy Fontaine, director of mission at MC Manitoba. “To come out with more than $20,000 is incredible.”

Fleeing the Fort McMurray fire

When the wildfires hit the city of Fort McMurray, Alta., Patrick and Rachel Drapeau were evacuated, along with 80,000 other residents. They arrived in Edmonton with only the clothes they were wearing, Rachel’s work ID, Patrick’s driver’s licence, and one credit card. 'I don't even have a hairbrush!'  Rachel says. They are pictured here wearing their new clothes from Costco. (Photo courtesy of Patrick and Rachel Drapeau)

Web First | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | May 10, 2016

“I have a new appreciation for the phrase, ‘spreads like wildfire,’” says Patrick Drapeau. He and his wife, Rachel, live in Fort McMurray, the Alberta community that has faced raging wildfires for more than a week in early May 2016.

Despite residents having packed ahead of time, the evacuation order caught everyone off guard. The fire began on Monday, May 2. While many residents had prepared for possible evacuation, everything seemed to be under control. Tuesday morning began as a beautiful day; the fire was moving away from the city and people were advised to go to work.  

Recycling provides therapy

Clothes Basket manager Dianne Epp displays a framed button collage she created using upholstery fabric as the background. Fibre art challenge projects like Epp’s will be sold in the MCC thrift store in Rosthern. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Web First | By Donna Schulz | May 03, 2016

Calling themselves the Basket Cases, a small group of women meets monthly for a fibre arts challenge at The Clothes Basket, a Mennonite Central Committee thrift store in Rosthern, Sask.

The ‘simple’ life in raising an Amish family

Web First | May 03, 2016

Marianne Jantzi is the author of Simple Pleasures: Stories from My Life as an Amish Mother, which has just been released by Herald Press as part of its Plainspoken series by Amish, Hutterite and plain Mennonite writers. In the book the author shares from the heart as she welcomes readers into her family’s daily life and Amish community. Drawing from her own deep faith, this young mother brings an encouraging word to parents of young children, along with insights into simple living for readers young and old.

Ukrainian pastor dreams of a new church building

As a bi-vocational pastor, Sergey Deynekin makes Styrofoam and wire building panels in his backyard. Once the panels are erected, they are covered with concrete stucco. The resulting structure is sturdy and cost-effective. Sergey plans to use his panels to build a new home for the Chernobaevka Church (Ukraine). (Photo by Gordon Janzen)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | May 03, 2016

Sergey Deynekin has dreams for the Chernobaevka Church in southern Ukraine. A bi-vocational pastor who works in the building trade, he developed architectural plans for a future church building after the congregation’s long-time rental location was no longer available and they moved into a vacant house. On Sundays, they crowd into two rooms with a pulpit placed near the doorway.

Grebel president accepts call from EMU

Susan Schultz Huxman

Web First | May 03, 2016

The board of governors of Conrad Grebel University College announced that president Susan Schultz Huxman has accepted the call to become the president of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Va.

“It is not easy for me to consider leaving Grebel—a school that I love and that is thriving. But this invitation to serve EMU, an exceptionally innovative and healthy Mennonite institution back in the States, is an attractive match, professionally and personally, both for my husband Jesse and me.”