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Camp farm program invites delight in God’s creation

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe served as nature instructor at Camp Assiniboia, one of three camps that make up Camps with Meaning, a ministry of Mennonite Church Manitoba. (Camps with Meaning photo)

Web First | By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe | Feb 22, 2017

Picture gleeful campers chasing squawking chickens back into their pen, and others exclaiming with delight as they bite into freshly picked tomatoes, juice dribbling down their chins. This is what a typical day at camp looked like for me this summer—days that were never actually typical but always full of new adventures.

‘I eat your garbage’

This meal brought to you by dumpster diving. (Photo courtesy of Nathaniel De Avila)

Young Voices | By Nathaniel De Avila | Feb 22, 2017 | 1 comment

I am a thief. I steal our food system’s waste.

Let’s be clear. Grocery stores throw edible food into their dumpsters. I go to those dumpsters and jump in. I dig through boxes and bags, and salvage everything I can find. I take it to my house and painstakingly sort through it. I cut and clean vegetables and fruit. I repackage damaged and open packages of dry goods. I rinse and re-label canned goods. I dry herbs and peppers. I freeze bread, meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit and almost everything else.

Passion for reconciliation leads to recognition

Allison Goerzen has worked for Mennonite Central Committee Alberta for the past year-and-a-half. (Photo courtesy of Allison Goerzen)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Feb 22, 2017

An organization that works toward ending poverty and achieving a better world has recognized a young Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta employee for the reconciliation work she does with indigenous peoples.

The Alberta Council for Global Cooperation named Allison Goerzen to its annual Top 30 Under 30 list of young people who are creating a more just and sustainable world. The 2017 list was announced at the beginning of February in a special magazine the Council published.

The Bible still speaks, say Renewal 2027 speakers

At the Renewal 2027 event organized by Mennonite World Conference, participants read and interpreted scripture together in small groups. (Photo by Susanne Werner)

Web First | Feb 21, 2017

Regional Anabaptists and leaders from around the world gathered on February 12, 2017, for “Transformed by the Word: Reading Scripture in Anabaptist Perspectives,” the first in a 10-year series of events called “Renewal 2027” organized by Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The events will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, with appreciation and critical reflection on what is now a global movement within the larger body of Christ.

Working together in Ontario

Maria Bueckert with three of her eight children, Eva, Jacob and Helena in Aylmer, Ont., last fall. (Mennonite Community Services photo)

Web First | By Helen Bergen | Feb 21, 2017

When Maria and Heinrich Bueckert immigrated to Canada with their seven children in 2011, they looked forward to working together with their children and earning enough to feed their family.

“We’re just so very thankful. Coming to Canada and working together on the farm allowed me to get to know my husband again,” Maria says in Low German. In Mexico he had been too busy trying to make ends meet.

Having grown up on a farm in Mexico, Maria and Heinrich were especially interested in continuing to work in the agricultural sector in Ontario.

Lebanese thrift shop helps with winter needs

A new thrift shop run by MCC partner Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training in Baalbek, Lebanon, is stocked with warm clothes for the winter season. (MCC photo by Doreen Martens)

Web First | By Doreen Martens | Feb 21, 2017

A visit to Gift and Thrift Shop in Virginia, one of 108 Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift shops, was a revelation to Tarek Chebli, a peacebuilding student from Lebanon.

Thrift shops are an unknown concept in Lebanon, Chebli said, so he was intrigued by what he learned on a day trip there with other students attending the 2015 Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

MCC Canada executive director announces retirement

Don Peters

Web First | By Laura Kalmar | Feb 21, 2017

With a mixture of gratitude and sadness, the board of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) announces the retirement of Executive Director Donald Peters, effective September 30, 2017.

“Don has been an inspirational leader, demonstrating MCC's values in word and deed,” said board chair Peggy Snyder. “Don’s steady, servant leadership enabled the organization to weather joys and challenges, guiding the organization during polarizing times, both internally and externally. The board is grateful for the blessing Don has been to MCC.”

Soup’s on

Web First | By Carol Penner | Feb 08, 2017

In the feature “A new recipe for church” pastor and professor Carol Penner reflects on how the “recipe” or model for the church is evolving and adapting to new realities. She finds the metaphor of soup a helpful one.

‘Departure conversations’

Will Braun
God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Feb 08, 2017

Henry Neufeld’s feature last summer (Aug. 29, 2016, page 4) about the firing and layoff practices of some Mennonite organizations touched a nerve. Only one Canadian Mennonite story last year was viewed more times online, and numerous people responded with letters to the editor. (See “When your services are no longer required.”)

Making space for disagreement

Erwin Warkentin, a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, one of only a couple of member congregations that have named themselves openly ‘affirming,’ explains that even having adopted this label as a congregation, between individual members ‘disagreements on biblical interpretation are common, but we are still one church.’ (Photo by Beth Downey)

God at work in the Church | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Feb 08, 2017

After stormy weather prevented many rural members from attending a Mennonite Church Manitoba meeting in Winnipeg on Jan.12 on how to implement the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 resolution passed last summer in Saskatoon, Morden Mennonite Church hosted a second gathering late last month.

‘Moving forward together’

Amy Dueckman
God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Feb 08, 2017

Option A: Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 remains and Mennonite Church B.C. chooses to have congregations trust each other.

Option E: MC B.C. rejects BFC 7 and chooses to leave the national church. (The background to this option is the view that BFC 7 overturns the area church’s re-covenanting process done in 2006 and 2007, as well as the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.)

Taking the road less travelled as children of God

Youth and sponsors rise to the challenge of an ice-climbing wall at the annual senior-high retreat. (Photo by Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

God at work in the Church | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Feb 08, 2017

“I am ______ (fill in the blank).” This was how speaker Amy Peters began the 2017 Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization’s senior-high retreat at Camp Kadesh, held from Jan. 27 to 29, 2017.

Pastoral transitions in Ontario

Dave Rogalsky
God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Feb 08, 2017

• Hans Peters began as the minister of Milverton Mennonite Fellowship on Jan. 1. He spent the past seven years at Jane Finch Faith Community Church in Toronto as pastor. During that time he took Jane Finch from a “service ministry doing work in the community, to a church doing work in the community.” That church is now being led by three young adults from the congregation.

Breakthrough for Shoal Lake 40’s ‘Freedom Road’

Across Manitoba, Mennonite congregations are celebrating the recent victory for Shoal Lake 40. Jeff Friesen, associate pastor of Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, says that for member congregations of the Churches for Freedom Road Campaign, ‘this is good news,’ but there is still a long way to go. (Photo by Jeff Friesen)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Feb 08, 2017

The project that took Manitoba churches by the heartstrings nearly two years ago is finally making major gains. Early last month, the federal and provincial governments struck a financing deal with Chief Erwin Redsky of Shoal Lake 40 (SL40) First Nation that sealed the future of Freedom Road, an all-weather route that will link the community with the Trans-Canada Highway, enabling residents to access jobs, medical care and improved infrastructure.

Bringing courage and hope to Burundi

Jackson Nahayo started a clinic in the East African country of Burundi that helps thousands of people. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Feb 08, 2017

Jackson Nahayo knows a thing or two about turning tragedy into triumph.

Left for dead as a child in the jungles of his native Burundi by the rebel soldiers who kidnapped him, he eventually made his way to Canada. After receiving his education, he returned to the East African country from which he hails to start a community hospital.

“When I came back [to Burundi] . . . I asked myself, ‘How can I help with issues like malaria? How can I bring courage and hope?’ Because no one was doing anything,” he says.

Songs about growing up, climate change and empowerment

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Feb 08, 2017

In the last issue of Canadian Mennonite, we introduced you to Sparky and the Plugs, a bluegrass quartet from the Saskatoon area that got its start playing music in church. Read about three more music acts with Mennonite roots who have new albums out.

Rosebud

You guessed it. Winnipeg music duo Rosebud takes its name from the sled belonging to the titular character in Orson Welles’ classic 1941 film, Citizen Kane.

How it feels to give a house away

Ramia Sraa and Omar Falah Hindawi with their children Hala, 1, Dima, 9, Mohammed, 8, and Rahaf, 4. The house where they live in Saskatoon is owned by Canadian author Yann Martel. Working with MCC and Mount Royal Mennonite Church, Martel offered his house for use by the family when they arrived from Lebanon last year.

Web First | By Yann Martel | Feb 07, 2017

Yann Martel is known to many as the author of Life of Pi, an international bestseller that became an Oscar-winning movie. But at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, he is also known as the man who welcomed a Syrian family of six into the home he owns in Saskatoon. The family arrived in 2016, and he wrote about the experience for the London Sunday Times. What follows is an excerpt from that story.

‘Befriending death’ at the ‘death café

Ray Martin, pastor of East Zorra Mennonite Church, chats with Michelle O’Rourke about her presentation ‘Befriending death’ at the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual Pastors, Chaplains and Congregational Leaders Seminar held at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, Ont., on Jan. 21, 2017.

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Feb 07, 2017

Michelle O’Rourke never expected that within months of having a lead role in designing and building the 10-bed Chatham-Kent Hospice, which opened in April 2016, that she would be moving her own father into the hospice on Fathers’ Day.

Caring for those who couldn’t escape

Mary Raber serves through Mennonite Church Canada Witness and the Mennonite Mission Network in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Mary Raber)

Web First | By Kelsey Hochstetler | Feb 07, 2017

Many of the people who have stayed behind in Ukraine’s militarized areas are those who cannot run away: the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

“Certain pastors and their families have made the conscious [and potentially dangerous] decision to remain in the region to serve,” Mary Raber writes in a January 2017 update. She serves through Mennonite Church Canada Witness and the Mennonite Mission Network in Ukraine.

New publisher, executive editor named to lead Canadian Mennonite

Tobi Thiessen and Ginny Hostetler

Web First | By Henry Krause | Feb 01, 2017 | 1 comment

Tobi Thiessen and Ginny Hostetler have been chosen by the board of Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS) Inc. to lead Canadian Mennonite’s magazine and digital news services into the future, beginning March 20. The positions of publisher and executive editor, initially two-year appointments, will replace the former role of publisher/editor currently filled by Dick Benner, who will retire on March 31.

Publisher

‘Hope was not on the ballot’

Two friends travel from Canada to witness the U. S. presidential election and share their observations through video. (Photos by D. Michael Hostetler)

Web First | By Michael Hostetler | Jan 31, 2017 | 1 comment

Following the news coverage leading up to the 2016 American election, I wondered if there was a place for hope in an atmosphere of division and fear. In the days leading up to the election, my friend Will and I travelled from the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. area to Washington D.C., on a pilgrimage of sorts. We wanted to experience a historical moment and to better understand our neighbours to the south. (See the video below.)

The next 500 years of Anabaptism

Worship at a congregation of the Kenya Mennonite Church. (MWC photo by Liesa Unger)

Web First | Jan 25, 2017

Tremendous change rocked the western church 500 years ago, as successive groups discovered new things about God through Scripture and separated themselves from the Roman Catholic church.

Renewal 2027 is a framework for a 10-year series of events within the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) global family, commemorating Anabaptism’s role in that period of culture and religious change called the Reformation.

EVI listening tour roundup

Clockwise from left: Sara Erb, Steph Chandler Burns, Kathy Janzen, Ed Janzen and Chris Brnjas consider the questions posed at the second Emerging Voices Initiative listening tour event on Nov. 11, 2016, at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | Jan 25, 2017 | 2 comments

Over the past three months, the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) conducted a cross-country listening tour, endeavouring to gauge the mood of Mennonite Church Canada congregants on what should happen next with the national church following the presentation of the Future Directions Task Force recommendations at last summer’s assembly in Saskatoon and the creation of a transition process to redefine the area and national churches.

Alberta names new area church pastor

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld has been hired as the new Mennonite Church Alberta area church pastor. Starting in February, he will combine this half-time position with a quarter-time role as Future Directions coordinator for the area church. As area church pastor, he will serve administrative roles relating to ordination and licensing, provide coaching and leadership support to pastors, and serve as a key link between the area church executive and congregations. He completed undergraduate degrees at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg (theology) and the University of Waterloo, Ont.

​‘Let him speak’

Beth Downey Sawatzky
God at work in the Church | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Jan 25, 2017

An Mennonite Church Manitoba meeting at Fort Garry Mennonite Church took a confrontational turn on Jan. 12, 2017, opening the floodgates of debate on just what it means for local congregations to “create space” for one another based on the Being the Faithful Church (BFC) 7 resolution passed at last summer’s general assembly in Saskatoon.

To distinguish the conversation at hand from any previous theological debates on same-sex unions, moderator Peter Rempel outlined three core areas for discussion:

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