Number 17

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Seeking higher ground

Floods have destroyed homes and livelihoods across much of Pakistan, including the Dera Ismail Khan District, pictured. Photo: Zafar Wazir, Church World Service

Pakistan’s worst floods in eight decades have killed more than 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of more than 14 million—about 8 percent of the population. With hundreds of thousands of homes already destroyed in what the National Management Authority is calling “the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history,” people there are in immediate need of basic necessities.

MWC reports a good year

“Mennonite World Conference is in good shape. There are no crisis areas. What we agreed to do, we have been able to do.”

With those words, general secretary Larry Miller, who will leave his post in 2012 after more than two decades of service, summarized the work of MWC to the Executive Committee when it gathered in Addis Ababa this summer for its annual meeting.

Time to prioritize

It’s September again. I’m sure I’m not alone when I acknowledge the variety of feelings that accompany fall’s arrival. We move from a season that is relatively free from structure into one where schedules and activities shape the rhythm of each day for the next eight to 10 months.

For discussion

1. How homogeneous is your congregation? How long does it take for “outsiders” to feel welcome? What extra challenges does someone from a visible minority have to feel accepted? What should Mennonite congregations do so that people from other cultures can feel welcomed and included?

Who are our multicultural Mennonites?

The “What makes a Mennonite” brochure has been translated into Spanish, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Chin, while other language translations, such as Hmong and Laotian, are planned. These resources are available from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre, Winnipeg

Once upon a time, Mennonite congregations in Canada could largely define themselves by German or Swiss Mennonite heritage, but no more.

Becoming a multicultural church

Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C., is an intentional multicultural congregation. Pictured from left to right: John Cheny, Shigali Dembede, Alayne Cheny holding Naomi Cheny, pastor April Yamasaki, Janice Redekop holding Callahan Redekop, and Masako Moriyama.

In 1981, the newly formed Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew on Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 to express its purpose as a congregation: “To make disciples of all nations.” At the time, the intention was simply to begin an English-speaking church, but, in the years since, it seems to me that those words have proven to be more prophetic than anyone might have realized at the time.

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