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It’s all about trust

“What are the dreams that have been placed in us? What has God whispered in our ears? How has God invaded our thoughts?” asked Willard Metzger, Mennonite Canada’s executive minister (formerly executive director). Thus began his final address on Oct. 15 to those who gathered for Special Assembly 2017.

Summer memories go up in smoke

Chesley Lake Camp, located west of Owen Sound, Ont., lost its main building to fire on Canada Day. The building housed offices, a restaurant, tuck shop and many memories.

The fire has been classified as accidental and no further investigation is being carried out. Fireworks had been displayed near the building on the evening of July 1, 2017, and the fire began several hours later.

Let the games begin

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

One of the games involved creating a structure that could bear the weight of cans of food. (Photo by Jonathan Seiling)

Karli Bijakowski, right, and Karlie Haining attempt to knot comforters for MCC while blindfolded and wearing gardening gloves during the Niagara Region Youth Hunger Games. (Photo by Jonathan Seiling)

Nick Schuurman, left, associate pastor of St. Catharines United Mennonite Church, counts the number of cans in the tower contest while competitors look on. (Photo by Jonathan Seiling)

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, 2018, 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.

‘We are your future/Somos su futuro’

“We Are Your Future/Somos Su Futuro” opened at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in Winnipeg on Sept. 9. The exhibition focusses on the lives of women from the indigenous community of Tlamacazapa, Guerrero, Mexico. It features etchings by Cuernavaca artist Alejandro Aranda and watercolour paintings by gallery curator Ray Dirks, along with palm weaving by 30 women from Tlamacazapa.

World record for relief *

Volunteers on antique threshing machines raised funds that the Canadian Foodgrains Bank will use to help small-scale farm families in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya learn to grow more and better food, so they can better provide for their families. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Foodgrains Bank)

(Photo by Shaylyn McMahon)

(Photo by John Longhurst)

(Photo courtesy of Canadian Foodgrains Bank)

(Photo by John Longhurst)

(Photo by John Longhurst)

Manitoba became home to another world record on July 31, 2016, when 139 antique threshing machines harvested a field simultaneously for 15 minutes at the 62nd Manitoba Threshermen’s Reunion and Stampede held at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin. Nine others started, but, for various mechanical reasons, couldn’t finish the 15-minute test.

Mennonite ‘routes’ go deep

Photo by Dave Rogalsky

Photo by Dave Rogalsky

Building of a light-rail transit system along the spine of Waterloo and Kitchener had to change focus in March 2016, when excavations in uptown Waterloo exposed the remains of a corduroy road. Archeologists are dating the road to the late 1700s or early 1800s. It was probably built by Mennonites, the original settlers in the area.

The animals of MCC

Around the world, MCC supports projects that help families make a better living, helping them pay for food or school for their children. Sometimes those projects involve animals—getting loans to buy them or training and new techniques to raise them. Here’s a glimpse of some of the MCC animals and how they are at work across the globe.

Peace camp has rippling effect

Just as the ripples from a stone thrown into a body of water move outward from the centre, so too the effects of one person acting in and for peace affect many around them, sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways. Conrad Grebel University College’s fifth annual summer camp for youth between ages 11 and 14 ran August 10 to 15, 2015, at the college’s Waterloo campus.

Women’s retreat a time for worship and laughter

Calgary Chin Church women’s singing group shared special music on Sunday morning at the Alberta women’s retreat. (Photo by Helena Ball)

A blues group from Foothills Mennonite Church participated in the Saturday night variety show at the Alberta women’s retreat. (Photo by Helena Ball)

About 60 women between the ages of 20 and 80 gathered for a Mennonite Church Alberta women’s retreat at Sylvan Lake on May 22-24, 2015. They joined together to worship, pray, learn, share in meals, and most importantly to laugh together at the Saturday night variety show.

Preaching must be from—and to—the margins

Gennifer Brooks, Ph.D., encourages Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary students to immerse themselves in the lives of the people to whom they will preach, so that their messages are good news that fit the context of their listeners. (Photo by Mary E. Klassen)

Gennifer Brooks began her presentations for the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary  (AMBS) Theological Lectureship the same way she begins the preaching classes she teachers—with the story in Luke 4 of Jesus reading from Isaiah in the temple.

Making peace with the snow

Photo by Gerald Warkentin

Photo by Gerald Warkentin

Photo by Gerald Warkentin

In an effort to do something creative with the snow from this past winter, these three snow words were made in front of Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. However, these words were vandalized one night. The heart in “love” and a couple of the letters in “peace” were destroyed. This seemingly small act of destruction brought a new symbolic meaning to this project.

Christmas in October

Christmas stocking ‘goodie bags’ greeted registrants for the B.C. women’s retreat at Camp Squeah in October. The theme for the weekend was ‘Unwrap your gifts.’

Being surrounded by Christmas wall hangings and table deco-rations helped women from Western Hmong Mennonite Church in Maple Ridge, B.C., get into the Christmas spirit.

When Mennonite Women in B.C. members arrived at Camp Squeah for their annual fall retreat last month, they might have thought their calendars had skipped two months ahead. The holiday season was in the air with Christmas trees, ornaments and banners decorating the lodge, all in keeping with the theme, “Unwrap your gifts.”

Christians say ‘I’m sorry’

Jamie Arpin-Ricci, pastor of Little Flowers Church, left, and Janet Conrad take part in the I’m Sorry campaign at this year’s Gay Pride Parade in Winnipeg on June 2, to express regret for the way Christians have not shown love to their LGBTQ neighbours.

Sam Schalk, Jen Funk and Hannah Foulger share their messages at the Gay Pride Parade in Winnipeg on June 2.

For the second year in a row, a group of Christians gathered in Winnipeg to say “I’m sorry.” They joined the crowds on the sidelines of the annual Gay Pride Parade in downtown Winnipeg on June 2 to convey their message of contrition.

MCC sets new target for Syria crisis campaign

Walid Dabbous, left, a Syrian refugee now living in Sidon, Lebanon, tells his story to Don Peters, executive director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada, centre, and Ali Jammoul, a worker with the Development for People and Nature Association.

The executive director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada says the situation in Syria is likely to worsen and more must be done for the people affected by the conflict.

Singing the Good Friday blues

Angelika Dawson, a member of the Good Friday Blues Band, nails her ‘blues’ to a cross as part of the Good Friday Blues service.

Angelika Dawson and son Aaron perform the blues as part of the Good Friday Blues service in Abbotsford, B.C.

Blues filled the House of James Christian bookstore for two nights during Holy Week, raising the roof with music and raising funds for a local charity.

Turning waste into food

Where might you find coffee grounds, potato skins and egg shells mixed with meat, napkins and leftover spaghetti? Typically, beside other garbage in the dump. In fact, for years, this is where Goshen College sent its food waste.

However, in 2010 the college implemented a new practice, taking something perceived as “dirty trash” and transforming it into something of value: compost.

Digging deep

In the wake of Typhoon Bopha in the Mindanao region of the Philippines, Daniel and Joji Pantoja’s staff loaned one month of their salaries to purchase food aid for 650 families, prompting smiles of gratitude from young recipients.

With a food pack over his shoulder, a typhoon survivor knows that he can feed his family for five days.

A typhoon, five million hungry people and no available funds for relief operations. When Peacebuilders Community Inc. (PBCI) faced that scenario late last year, staff rose to the challenge by digging deep into their own pockets.


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