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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.

‘We need to learn to dream as a church’

Sharing their hopes and dreams for the church, left to right: Lisa Carr-Pries, Gabby Martin, Colin Reimer, Claire Hanson, Melanie Kampen, Rebecca Janzen, Annika Krause.

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Next month, those gathered at Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly will make major decisions about the structure of the church based on proposals from the Future Directions Task Force.
With that in mind, Canadian Mennonite asked young adults from across Canada: What are your hopes and dreams for MC Canada in the next 10 years?

Youth wanted

There will be room at the table for youth at next month’s Assembly 2017. (Photo courtesy of MC Canada)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Members of the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) are hoping that financial assistance and special events aimed specifically at high school students will encourage youth to attend Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly next month.

EVI members will lead special discussions and debriefing sessions for youth at the assembly, which takes place from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Youth will also have the opportunity to integrate with adult delegates during table discussions.

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

‘We sing the same songs’

Mennonite choir members, first nations drummers and dancers, and recent immigrants from the Saskatoon Open Door Society gather for a group photo at the “Shared Land, Shared Song” event. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

“Next to food as a gift from God . . . song pulls us together.” With these words, Harry Lafond welcomed singers, dancers and audience members to a very special concert.

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation hosted the culture-sharing event, which took place Aug. 20 in a large outdoor shelter known as the Arbour. The people of Muskeg Lake and Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s Walking the Path Committee worked together to plan the event.

Back to school around the world

Guarderia Moises: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
MCC partners with Stansberry Children’s Home. The children’s home has been a refuge for abandoned children since 1954. It also runs a daycare program called Guarderia Moises, providing a safe, educational environment in which children can learn and grow while their parents are focussed on sustaining their families. Pictured, students in the pre-Kindergarten class attend classes at the daycare program. (Stansberry photo by Juliane Kozel)

God at work in the World | By Rachel Bergen | Sep 06, 2017

When a child learns, communities benefit and lives change. From Afghanistan to Canada, and Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is promoting education in order to foster leadership capabilities and help young people overcome obstacles locally and around the world. By working alongside local communities and partners, MCC hopes to increase access to education, improve the quality of learning, support vocational training and promote peace. Welcome to class.

—Corrected Sept. 27, 2017

A life well lived

God at work in Us | By Joanna Reesor-McDowell | Sep 06, 2017

A large group of family members and friends gathered in Markham, Ont., on March 18 to remember the life of Harold Reesor, who died at the age of 86, six days previous. Although his early and later years were lived in the Markham/Stouffville area, where his Reesor ancestors settled 200 years ago, he lived in Quebec for more than four decades, working as a mission worker and farmer.

Celebrating 125 years of God’s faithfulness

Mary Krause, left, Barb Froese and Mel Siemens reminisce over a display of old photographs at Eigenheim Mennonite Church’s 125th-anniversary celebration. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017

When members of Eigenheim Mennonite Church realized it had been 25 years since the church’s centennial, they decided it was time for another celebration. To mark the congregation’s 125th anniversary, planners chose “Celebrating God’s faithfulness” as their theme.

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.”

Vietnamese Fellowship drops ‘Mennonite’ name

Pictured at the recent meeting of what is now the North American Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship, are from left to right, front row: Nhien Pham, pastor of the Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Vancouver and chair of the newly named organization; and his wife Lien; and back row: Garry Janzen, MC B.C. executive minister; and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta area church minister. (Photo courtesy of Garry Janzen)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Aug 23, 2017 | 1 comment

A name change, effective immediately, heralds a time of direction-setting for the former North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship.

Best practices begin with prayer

Louise Campbell poses with the New International Version Student Bible and a copy of the most recent ‘Season of reading guide’ used by Leamington (Ont.) United Mennonite Church to increase biblical literacy in the congregation for the past two years. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Aug 23, 2017

While many congregations are shuttering or repurposing their education wings, Leamington United Mennonite Church built a whole new addition in 2011, replacing a 1959 building that had been linked to their new worshipping and office space when they were built in 1984. The new wing includes a dedicated prayer space as well as a suite of offices and a board room that is in high demand for adult study and discussion groups.

No longer ‘a repository of artifacts’

Oliver Friesen displays a ribbon found in a hatbox that likely belonged to Elder Peter Regier of the Rosenort Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Aug 23, 2017

Oliver Friesen’s face lights up when he talks about history. “There’s something about the past,” he says. “It’s alive and so interesting.”

For the past two summers Friesen has been making history come alive for visitors to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Rosthern. A student of history at the University of Saskatchewan, Friesen has been helping to develop one room of the museum into a Mennonite interpretive centre.

Camp Moose Lake now sold

After 51 years of youth camping at Camp Moose Lake, a deal for the Mennonite Church Manitoba facility will close on Sept. 29, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Manitoba)

Camp Moose Lake, one of Mennonite Church Manitoba’s three Camps with Meaning (CwM) locations, has been sold to the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine. Possession date for the camp, located in the southeast corner of Manitoba near the community of Sprague, is set for Sept. 29, 2017.

‘Colombia fever’

David Fehr, left, and Klaas Wall in the middle of a rice field not too far from Puerto Gaitán, Colombia. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Aug 23, 2017 | 1 comment

Despite warnings from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Low German Mennonites from drought-prone regions of northern Mexico have bought over 20,000 hectares of land in Colombia.

Kennert Giesbrecht, long-time editor of Die Mennonitische Post—a newspaper for Low German Mennonites throughout the Americas—notes the Liviney Colony and another 12,000-hectare parcel as two examples of land acquisitions. Another group is currently considering a 10,000-hectare plot. The lands are all in the Eastern Plains of Colombia, about 200 kilometres east of Bogotá.

Pollution in the Heavenly Province

Vanessa Snyder-Penner recently spent a year in China’s Sichuan province. (Photo courtesy of V. Snyder-Penner)

Young Voices | By Vanessa Snyder-Penner | Aug 23, 2017

The first thought that struck me when I arrived in China’s Sichuan province was how green it was.

Somehow, perhaps from tales of air pollution and reading “Made in China” stamped on most goods, I had formulated an image of China as a grey, smoke-filled country. This image might represent some parts of the country. China is so massive that images as diverse as coniferous forests, tropical beaches and wind-swept deserts are all accurate snapshots of certain parts of the nation.

A very special relationship

Mekiah Yonda, left, and Amber Muskego have been friends since 2010, when this photo was taken. (Photo courtesy of Mekiah Yonda)

 

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Aug 23, 2017

A relationship between a Winnipeg church and a community in northern Manitoba has resulted in a special friendship between two young women.

Mekiah Yonda and Amber Muskego met when members from Yonda’s church, Sterling Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg, travelled to Cross Lake in 2010 to run a Vacation Bible School (VBS) program for children in the community. Today, the two describe each other as sisters.

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.

Supporting women’s education with a party and a quilt

Martha Wiens stands in front of a quilt she made to raffle off at her 80th birthday party. Proceeds will support a scholarship for a young woman to attend Meserete Kristos College in Ethiopia. (Photo by Michael Wiens)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Aug 18, 2017

When retired teacher Martha Wiens of Leamington (Ont.) United Mennonite Church turned 80, she threw herself a birthday party with purpose. She auctioned off a specially made quilt to raise money in support of a young woman’s education at Meserete Kristos (MK) College in Ethiopia. But she didn’t stop there, pledging to pay for a full four-year scholarship to make sure the lucky recipient has no interruptions in her study.

B.C.’s wildfires affect large region

The sun sets in Oliver, B.C., against a hazy sky during the first week in August 2017. Smoke from fires in B.C.’s interior spread throughout the province this summer. (Photo by John Dawson)

Web First | By Amy Dueckman | Aug 15, 2017

Haze lingered over a wide area of British Columbia in early August, a reminder that wildfires in B.C.’s interior were affecting residents several hundred kilometres away. An air quality advisory index was issued in Metro Vancouver on July 31, 2017, and 10 days later was still in effect, the longest ever recorded.

Review: Mennonite-Nazi connection unconvincing

Web First | By Barb Draper | Aug 15, 2017 | 3 comments

Ben Goossen argues that German-speaking Mennonites of the 20th century had a sense of Mennonite nationality and that this concept of Mennonites as a “chosen nation,” a people with a distinctive heritage, culture and ethnicity, was influenced by the racist ideas of the Nazis. He says he began this study in an effort to understand his grandfather, a retired Mennonite minister from Kansas, who was devoted to the church but who also identified himself as a “proud Prussian.”

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