A journey of peace

January 4, 2012 | Focus On | Number 1
By Byron Thiessen |
While reflecting on the MCC peace button message, students at Menno Simons Christian School, Calgary, work in groups to create artistic trees that represent the individual and collective work of creating peace at the school.

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On Nov. 10, 2011, the community of Menno Simons Christian School participated in our annual peace festival, focusing on the meaning of the MCC button, “To remember is to work for peace.” We reflected on those who have been—and continue to be—affected by war, and how we, as a Christian peace community, can make our school and our world a more peaceful place.



As an Anabaptist Mennonite school, being a peacemaker is integral to who we are. In our atrium, we have the PEACEMAKER acronym of that clearly reminds us of how we are to live. As we explored the idea of being peacemakers at Menno, the question was asked if peace is still present even when there is conflict.



The students researched several areas of conflict in the world today and found evidence of people and organizations that are working tirelessly, teaching peaceful strategies to resolve conflict. As a community, we are working at applying some of those peaceful conflict-resolution strategies to our own personal conflicts. The message was that it is okay to have conflict, but it is not okay to deal with conflict in a violent manner.



We also asked the question, “What does it take to be a Christian peace school?” An idea that came out of asking this question is to begin a peace club. A group of young leaders from grades 5 to 9 has been formed, adopting the name ARK: Acts of Random Kindness. This group is challenging our school community to truly make a difference in our community and the world.



Some of their ideas are writing letters to different levels of government, churches and other schools challenging child labour practices in other countries, fundraising for such projects as building a sand dam or sponsoring a school through Mennonite Central Committee’s Global Family Program.



A really big dream of the group is to one day create the ARK Foundation to help build schools, challenge child labour institutions and provide families with alternative living options so that their children do not have to work, but can go to school.



Byron Thiessen is principal of Menno Simons Christian School.

While reflecting on the MCC peace button message, students at Menno Simons Christian School, Calgary, work in groups to create artistic trees that represent the individual and collective work of creating peace at the school.

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