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Three stories of throwing

Kathy Moorhead Thiessen tells stories from a recent visit to the city of Hebron. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Moorhead Thiessen) 

Web First | By Kathy Moorhead Thiessen | Jun 14, 2017

In March 2017, I spent 10 days in Hebron and observed three throwing situations that showed a microcosm of the occupation in that Palestinian city. Hebron, a major city in the southern West Bank, is where some 800 Jewish settlers, protected by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, have moved into the old city, among the Palestinian population.

Palestinian children face harsh realities

A poster in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem recalls the death of a teenager at the hands of the Israeli military. (Photo by Henry Krause)

Web First | By Edith and Henry Krause | Jun 14, 2017

On May 24, 2017, we returned from a two-week learning tour of the West Bank and Israel, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). We were two among eleven participants, mostly from Mennonite churches and MCC staff in British Columbia.

The tour included visits to holy sites, but it focused on visits to MCC’s partners working for peace in the West Bank and Israel. A recurrent theme for these groups is the needs of children.

A Jewish perspective on the Mennonite resolution on Palestine and Israel

Steve McDonald 

Web First | By Will Braun | Jun 14, 2017 | 1 comment

This is an expanded report on an hour-long phone interview I did for the article “Muddying the waters on Israeli divestment.” 

MCC Canada appoints new executive director

Web First | By Laura Kalmar | Jun 08, 2017

After much prayer and discernment, the board of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) is pleased to welcome Rick Cober Bauman to the role of MCC Canada executive director, effective October 10, 2017.

On engaging millennials

Ally Siebert

Editorial | May 31, 2017 | 3 comments

Millennials, born between 1981 and 2001, are known to be the first generation contending with technology and social media in our personal, professional and relational lives from the start.

We also hear that we’re lazy, entitled, screen-obsessed narcissists (with nice beards and cool cafés). If that weren’t enough, there are plenty of legitimate headlines that decry millennials for “killing” a lot of important things, including hotels, the napkin industry, democracy, handshakes, the European Union and breakfast cereal.

A big fan of Jesus . . . the church not so much

‘In the last couple of years, I’ve been embarrassed to tell people that I went to church or was a Christian. I knew that if I identified that way, people might assume that I am judgmental or racist or holier than thou—the exact opposite of what you’d expect people to think of Christians if we actually lived by the book we say we live our lives by.’—Aaron Dawson

Feature | By Angelika Dawson | May 31, 2017 | 7 comments

A lot has been said and written about millennials: What’s wrong with them? What’s influenced them? What does their future hold?

Google “millennials and the church” and dozens of articles pop up: “5 things millennials wish the church would be,” “12 reasons why millennials are over church,” or “Is Christianity dark enough for millennials?” So much hand-wringing and wondering why our young adults are leaving the church, like this is something that’s never happened before.

Readers write: June 5, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

What does—and doesn’t—define us
Sometimes I think most of our Mennonite lay people, like myself, don’t realize how serious the Future Directions endeavour is that is going on right now. Many think that they are just another bunch of meetings, followed by numerous serious people making long, wordy pronouncements, and then, probably, not much will change.

Spaces of trust

Liz Weber

Viewpoints | By Liz Weber | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

“We aren’t going to lose youth because we haven’t entertained them. We’ll lose them because we haven’t trusted or challenged them.”

I heard this quote from Shane Claiborne at a conference in 2012, and it came back to me a few weeks ago at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering during a lunch meeting with leaders of youth.

Microfilm

Photo: MB Herald Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | May 31, 2017

An idea mixed with passion and solid financial support were the ingredients that combined for a great accomplishment. In 1977 and ’78, young Bill Reimer from Winnipeg set out with elder statesman J.B. Toews  to cross North America in a truck and trailer microfilming congregational records. Working 12-hour days, the pair collected, sorted, and filmed more than 175,000 pages of documents that now make up 30 rolls of microfilm. Mennonite Brethren commentator John H.

‘I expected better from you’

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

I’ll never forget the moment that Bill came to sit with me in the penalty box. I was rather embarrassed.

It was a Bible college intramural hockey game. I had been a little chippy with my stick. I had been a little lippy with my mouth. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time that game. The referee didn’t appreciate my antics, and off to the box I went. As I settled in for my two minutes of reflection in solitude, my teammate Bill climbed in too. “Um, Bill,” the referee queried, “what are you doing? We didn’t give you a penalty.”

Hearing each other

Jonas Cornelsen

Viewpoints | By Jonas Cornelsen | May 31, 2017

Hearing each other well is essential for being church. This is a delicate theme, because we aren’t doing it well. The effects of distance—both geographical and theological—are being felt within and among our churches.

Reading the responses we collected on our Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) 2016-17 workshop tour, and reflecting on my experience, I notice two major threads:

• We feel strain in our relationships. We desire unity, but it’s hard work.

• We feel a disconnect between different “levels” of Mennonite Church Canada.

Seeking spiritual renewal through prayer

Workshop presenter Betty Pries draws the life of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan as a river. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

Where does one begin to renew a church? According to Betty Pries, the best place to start is with prayer, saying, “Finding our way through times of spiritual upheaval depends on spiritual renewal.”

Pries, who is a managing partner with the L3 Group in Waterloo, Ont., was the presenter at a workshop hosted by Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. Entitled “Refresh, refocus, renew: Open to God’s leading,” the workshop was held on April 28 and 29, 2017, at Mount Royal Mennonite Church in Saskatoon.

Faith in the Age of the Anthropocene

Randy Haluza-Delay holds up two books he highly recommends on the topic of creation care and faith: Shalom and the Community of Creation by Randy S. Woodley, and Shalom the Bible’s Word for Peace by Perry B. Yoder. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | May 31, 2017

“I believe this is the defining issue of our time, how humans relate to creation.”

Caleb Gingrich, a student at McGill University in Montreal, was so taken by the theme of Mennonite Church Alberta’s annual Faith Studies event that he travelled across Canada to take it in. Gingrich, who is currently working on a research project called “Economics and the Anthropocy,” commented, “My faith is important to me, I was looking for an opportunity to see how these two parts of me come together.”

‘It doesn’t feel so lonely anymore

The final rally at the Human Rights Monument, with walkers standing under the inscription, ‘All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ (Photo by Ally Siebert)

God at work in the World | By Ally Siebert | May 31, 2017

The crowd that gathered at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa on May 13 didn’t allow the rain to dampen their celebration of the arrival of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights.

More than 30 walkers rallied together with indigenous leaders, government officials and a few hundred supporters to mark the completion of their 600-kilometre journey and to demand that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) be fully adopted and implemented by the federal government.

‘Happy to find a safe place’

Heather Menzies, back right, and Jennifer deGroot and sons deliver hygiene kits to the Gretna refugee reception centre. (Photo by Will Braun)

 

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | May 31, 2017

“The world has come to Gretna,” says Robin Neustaeter, a resident of the normally quiet town of 550 on the border between Manitoba and the U.S. On May 4, 2017, Manitoba’s Conservative government opened a “reception centre” in Gretna to provide temporary housing for asylum seekers who walk across the border in the area.

On the first Sunday the centre was open, six asylum seekers from Cameroon and Nigeria attended the local Mennonite church. Co-pastor Jana Wiebe says many in the congregation found it “energizing.”

‘Without CoSA I’d be lost’

A former core member of a Mennonite Central Committee-supported Circle of Support and Accountability program run by the Moncton Community Chaplaincy. He wishes to remain anonymous so that he can reintegrate into society without the stigma related to sexual offenders. (MCC photo by Shane Yuhas)

 

God at work in the World | By Racahel Bergen | May 31, 2017

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) welcomes the Canadian government’s announcement that it will provide nearly $7.5 million over five years to Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), which helps convicted sex offenders reintegrate into their communities.

CoSA is a national restorative justice organization for women and men who have committed serious sexual offences. It allows the community to play a direct role in the restoration, reintegration and risk management of people who are often seen with only fear and anger.

‘What does God have to do with any of this?’

Author Craig Terlson

Artbeat | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | May 31, 2017

Craig Terlson is a real-life Bartholomew Cubbins. That is to say, he wears a startling number of hats. He is an erstwhile illustrator, present-day graphic designer, moonlight master chef, a one-time psychiatric nurse’s aide and a longtime writer of fiction. His debut novel, Fall in One Day, was released on May 16, 2017.

Breathing new life into the music

Raised the son of missionaries in Senegal, Darren Creech has aspired to be a classical pianist since he was 5. (Photo by Richard Rhyme)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

When a Toronto-based LGBTQ orchestra approached queer classical pianist Darren Creech about performing Victor Davies’ “Mennonite Piano Concerto” with it in concert, it didn’t realize what a perfect fit he would be.

Unbeknownst to the Counterpoint Community Orchestra at the time, Creech is Mennonite and he grew up listening to the piece.

Lessons learned from the elderly

Working part time cleaning seniors’ homes sparked Danielle Raimbault’s interest in working with the elderly. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Raimbault)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 31, 2017

Danielle Raimbault’s first day of work as the chaplain at a residence for the elderly was a memorable one that quickly shattered her expectations.

When the 24-year-old arrived at Chartwell Elmira Long Term Care Residence in Elmira, Ont., a year ago, she sat down beside a resident and introduced herself.

“Did your mom give you permission to come here today?” the resident asked.

Let the games begin

Jonathan Seiling, left, Karlie Haining, centre, and Karli Bijakowski display two completed comforters that were knotted for MCC during the Niagara Region Youth Hunger Relief Games on May 12. (Photo by Jonathan Seiling)

Back Page | By Jonathan Seiling | May 31, 2017

More than 30 youth from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada congregations in the Niagara Region gathered at Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines on May 12 for the “Hunger Relief Games.” Using non-perishable food items, plus items for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) hygiene kits and two comforters, they played a series of five games.

Dedicated volunteer coordinates parking at relief sale

As parking coordinators at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale Paul Snyder (left) and Mike Shantz, are the first point of contact for visitors to the annual sale. (MCC Photo by Ken Ogasawara)

Web First | May 26, 2017

“Wow, what well-organized parking!” is a review that few of us attending a big event will ever think to utter. But every year for the last 51 years, Paul Snyder has had the massive job of making sure thousands of cars are parked safely so that tens of thousands of people can enjoy the New Hamburg (Ont.) Relief Sale.

GAMEO finds new home at Goshen College

Web First | May 26, 2017

The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO), the most trusted online source for information on Anabaptist groups around the world (www.gameo.org), has found a new home with the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (ISGA) at Goshen College.

On May 19, 2017, members of the GAMEO management board voted unanimously to transfer oversight of the project to the Institute, whose director, John D. Roth, will serve in a new position as the project’s general editor.

More than 5,000 Congolese Mennonites in hiding

Mennonite Mission Network has often described Niclette Mbendji as today’s typical Mennonite—a young African woman. Mbendji lived in Ndjoko Punda when this photo was taken. Rebels have infiltrated this village. While we don’t know whether Mbendji is hiding in the forest, many of our Mennonite brothers and sisters are. (Photo by James R. Krabill)

Web First | By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen | May 26, 2017

Mennonite church members report increasing violence in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Central Kasaï Province, where Michael J. Sharp died on a United Nations’ peace-building mission in March 2017. Mennonite Mission Network partners with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission in walking alongside the three Congolese Mennonite denominations.

Prosthetic limb leads to new hope for Syrian refugee

Amjad, left, a Syrian refugee to Germany, obtained a prosthetic limb with a little help from Mennonite Church Canada Witness worker Gregory Rabus, right, through Peace Church (Friedenshaus), a collaborative ministry with other Mennonites in Ludwigshafen that he shares with his wife, Jennifer Otto. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Rabus)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | May 26, 2017

For 21-year-old Amjad, trauma led to hope and solidified his unwavering faith in God’s protection. Amjad, a Syrian refugee in Ludwigshafen, Germany, lost his leg when a bomb fell on a street in Syria.

Auction of Maud Lewis painting raises $45,000 for MCC

The auction of a painting by Canadian artist Maud Lewis will help suppport the work of MCC. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Central Committee)

Web First | May 25, 2017

The thrilling and tumultuous saga of the Maud Lewis painting found in a thrift shop donation bin has come to a successful end. The online auction of “Portrait of Eddie Barnes and Ed Murphy, Lobster Fisherman, Bay View, Nova Scotia” concluded on May 20, 2017, with the winning bid reaching $45,000. The proceeds from the auction will support the relief, development, and peace work of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

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