Number 13

A Jewish Jesus in occupied territory

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Marty and John Bender, Elkhart, Ind., are pictured in front of the Oberammergau Passion Play Theatre in Germany at the end of May.

In 1633, the people of Oberammergau in Bavaria (now part of Germany) pleaded with God to save them from extinction. Not only had the Black Death—or plague—taken its toll in the village and surrounding area, but the Thirty Years War across Europe between Protestants and Roman Catholics had ended in deprivation and exhaustion for all.

The decline and fall of a legend

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As a boy, I couldn’t get enough of the Robin Hood legends. I read every book I could find on the subject and I loved the 1938 Errol Flynn film. While it’s true that Robin dispatched the Sheriff of Nottingham’s expendable soldiers without a second thought, these light-hearted tales about Robin and his merry men conveyed a sense of harmless innocent adventure mixed with justice for the poor.

MDS responds quickly to southern Manitoba flooding

Simon Reimer, left, Kyle Sawatsky and Peter Reimer from the Altona Sommerfeld Mennonite youth group assist Mennonite Disaster Service by cleaning out flooded basements in Emerson, Man., earlier this month.

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On May 29, 10 centimetres of rain fell in an hour on the small border town of Emerson. By the end of the day, more than 15 cm had come down. With the ground already saturated, the rain had nowhere to go, flooding most of the basements in town.

“It varied from home to home, but some had as much as [1 to 1.2 metres] in their basements,” said Jeanette Sabourin, town administrator.

Facing ‘a new enemy’

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Oil in the marsh of Plaquemines Parish.

Maurice Phillips, a commercial fisher of Plaquemines Parish, La., took a group of disaster management leaders out on a small boat to “see the oil” on June 7. This is the best way to witness the destruction of the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill, members of Grand Bayou told Paul Unruh of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS). Unruh led the group as part of a listening tour.

An ‘eloquent’ visitor

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Governor-General Michaëlle Jean spoke with the media during a visit to the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario warehouse in Kitchener, Ont., where she helped knot a comforter and pack a relief kit.

Work at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario office and warehouse in Kitchener came to a halt on June 14, when Michaëlle Jean, the Governor-General of Canada, dropped in for a visit.

‘To be in harmony with all people’

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As a way to mark the century milestone, Aberdeen Mennonite Church, Sask., erected a commemorative sign in front of the building. Former pastor Dave Neufeld, left, Ally Fehr and David Klassen unveil the sign during the June 5-6 celebrations.

In the town of Aberdeen, Sask., population 600, a small but committed group of Mennonites that call this place home gathered together in early June to celebrate 100 years of witness to the community.

No longer ‘sinful or strange’ to each other

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From left to right, CMU graduates Michael Bueckert, Andrea Dick, Jessica Dyck and Tim Rempel reflect on their Mennonite Brethren and General Conference traditions, and how they related to their school experience at CMU.

A century-and-a-half after the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church and General Conference (GC) Mennonite Church divided, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) held a “Celebrating 150 Years” event on June 5, in an effort to listen to the stories of each denomination and learn from them.

‘Call to me and I will answer you’

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Raised in an Evangelical Christian home in Ethiopia, Frew Zinna returned to the faith after a disastrous experience at a secular university. He is now studying at Meserete Kristos College, where MC Canada Witness volunteer Fanosie Legesse teaches.

Leaving home to attend university exposed Frew Zinna to new attitudes and lifestyles that pulled him away from his family’s legacy of faith, but the words of Jeremiah 33:3 called him back to Christ and into ministry.

For discussion

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1. Dick Benner writes that, “in Latino culture, time is not a commodity, but a gift to be enjoyed.” What experiences have you had with cultures that have a similar attitude towards time? Why do North Americans have trouble embracing this relaxed attitude about time? What is the relationship between the North American view of success and its view of time?

What is Canadian Peacemakers International?

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Hubert

With an office in Edmonton, Alta., Dave Hubert, who founded Canadian Peacemakers International (CPI) in 1997 following a 23-year career in post-secondary education (including eight years as college president) and 10 years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), is working with several partners in addressing poverty issues in Third World countries, particularly in Central America.

‘I never thought I’d be a landowner’

Members of the 11 families, gathered under a palm-laden, balloon-decorated pavilion, listen intently during the June 5 ceremonies giving them possession of their new homes.

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Clinging to the hillside of their newly created village are nine of the 11 new homes dedicated and moved into during the weekend of June 5-6, a project of Canadian Peacemakers International (CPI).

Here is one happy dad, able now to provide adequate housing and perhaps schooling for his young daughter.

Horacio Cardenes, 36, grins from ear to ear. His is one of 11 peasant families in a rural hillside village in northern Honduras that has just taken title to their first real house—a cement-block, two-bedroom abode that is, in his eyes, a mansion compared to what they now live in.

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