Cloudy skies and a cold wind weren’t enough to keep a large group of people from gathering in the parking lot at the Bethany Manor seniors’ housing complex to celebrate the facility’s 30th anniversary. With the help of warm jackets and, in some cases, blankets, residents, family and friends enjoyed music, visiting and a barbeque supper to mark the event.
By the time Feryal arrived at a camp for displaced people in Iraq’s northern Ninewa Governorate, she had little desire to leave the security of the tent she shared with her parents and sister. And for the first four months, she mostly stayed put.
“I didn’t like to talk to anyone, just be silent,” recalls the 22-year-old, whose last name is not used for security reasons.
The Ripple Effect Education (TREE), a peace education initiative based out of the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator in the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement on the campus of Conrad Grebel University College, is the beneficiary of a $150,000 grant from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation over three years (2016-19).
After a quarter-century of shepherding Grace New Life Mennonite Church, Pastor Sririsach Saythavy—now in his late 50s and working two full-time jobs—is hoping a younger leader will arise to take on the Hamilton, Ont., congregation. His day job is making custom doors for homes, and his evening and weekend job is pastoring the congregation.
Soviet Ukraine was a traumatic place for a Mennonite kid. Peter Krause, born in 1935 and the youngest of four brothers, had to look after himself as a preschooler. Supervision was a luxury few could afford. His parents were working in the fields, and his brothers were at school. Once a day a gracious neighbour lady would check on him.
David Driedger enjoys challenging stereotypes, pushing boundaries and making people think. “[He] often pushes against established practices and the beliefs of the church from the inside,” Ben Borne said, introducing Driedger as a speaker who loves the church and engages with tough subjects and discussions.
That 14 people out of 38 who registered showed up for the “Partnering with God’s healing and hope” seminar may have indicated some wearying of Assembly 2016 participants. But those who came paid close attention to the presentation and asked good questions about what a mission partnership with a Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker or ministry means.
Readers of Canadian Mennonite know Vic Thiessen as a writer of thoughtful film reviews—an interpreter, as it were, of pop culture for Mennonites in Canada. In that same vein, he presented “The Divergent Mockingjay: Female prophets, dystopian films and life on earth in 2016” for Assembly 2016 participants.
“Wade in the water. Wade in the water, children. . . .”
Susan Beaumont had Mennonite Church Canada ministers sing the well-known spiritual at their “Leading in a season of change” conference preceding this year’s assembly on July 6, 2016. She invited them to stop, though, with the line, “God’s gonna trouble the water.”
Despite the standing ovation, I cannot imagine I was alone in having mixed feelings about the play we had just experienced. My mind was a full cup of queasiness and a dollop of laughter stirred with hard questions as I boarded the stuffy school bus with a crowd of other Mennonite Church Canada Assembly folks for the trip back to Saskatoon.
The march was set to begin at 11 a.m. on July 9, 2016. But at the top of the hour, Michelle McHale, whose fight for civil rights in Steinbach recently brought the city into the national spotlight, asked the crowd to indicate by applause whether they would mind “waiting for the folks on the highway,” as traffic was backed up to St. Anne, nearly 20 kilometres out of town. Steinbach’s E.A.
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.”
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.