Number 8

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MEDA software goes bananas

An employee of the APPBOSA co-operative prepares bananas for shipping to customers in Europe and North America.

If you buy a bunch of fair trade or organic bananas, you may get a product with a hidden stamp from Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).

MEDA has helped co-operatives in Peru to streamline their certification procedures to maintain the rigorous requirements of fair trade and organic distributors, and thus gain a premium price.

A clear statement about stuttering

Colin Firth stars as Prince Albert/King George VI in the Academy Award-winning film, The King’s Speech.

It is a hard thing to live with as much fear as Albert (Colin Firth) harbours. But it is especially difficult when you are a royal. For Prince Albert, later to become Great Britain’s King George VI, the familiar fears of authority figures, childhood bullies and judgmental crowds are made all the worse by his debilitating stammer.

‘A light in the darkness’

MDS volunteers Dave Friesen and Eric Penner examine the drywall finishing work they are completing.

Destruction path left over from the devastating flood in Kingcome, B.C.

On the weekend of Sept. 25-26, 2010, the Kingcome River raged through the remote First Nation community of Kingcome. Floodwaters forced lifelong residents of the Pacific coastal village to flee from their homes with only a few minutes notice. As the waters quickly rose, villagers gathered at the school and waited to be airlifted out by helicopter.

Plowing the way for peace

Area church youth minister Anna Rehan and area church minister Jerry Buhler light candles during the memorial service at this year’s annual general meeting in North Battleford.

A public stand for peace, peace between believers and peace with their neighbours all came to the fore during the Mennonite Church Saskatchewan annual delegate sessions last month in North Battleford.

Rediscovering Mary

‘Mary With Tears,’ a sculpture of Mary, the mother of Jesus, by Vilius Orvidas, who did most of his work under the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. He died in the early 1990s. Photographed by Jerry Holsopple, a visual and communication arts professor at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Singing was a significant element of the two-day ‘Mary in Anabaptist Dress’ Conference. Paul Dueck, pastor of Windsor Mennonite Fellowship, Ont., acted as song-leader.

Panelist Irma Fast Dueck of Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Man., right, said, “We have only a few biblical accounts of Mary. That’s a blessing. We have to use our imaginations to shape our image of Mary that has an Anabaptist-Mennonite sensibility.” The panel included Adam Tice, associate pastor of Hyattsville Mennonite Church, Md., left

After two days of singing, discussing, pondering images and praying last month, questions continued to swirl around Mary, the mother of Jesus, and what she might mean for Mennonites and Anabaptists today.

Relax

I was handed a paper that I shoved in my pocket unread. But, later, the title caught my attention as I was about to drop it in recycling: “Relax.” That word thrust me back to a “Teen-dom” ruled by mullets and neon, where “relax” was used to call people back from hysterics because of some youthful limit-pushing.

Readers write

Former MCC director laments ‘big failure’ of Wineskins process

Re: “MCC ‘divorce’ a cause for confession, remorse,” March 21, page 12.

I, too, am saddened and indeed angered with the result of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Wineskins process.

For discussion

1. What aid agencies do the people of your congregation support? Do Mennonites in Canada see Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as primary or just one of many agencies? How strong is the connection between MCC and the people in the pew? Does your congregation distinguish between the work of your provincial organization and the national or international parts of MCC?

What has made MCC work well?

I grew up with the admonition, “self-praise stinks,” a phrase best expressed in the Pennsylvania-German dialect. During my years as executive secretary of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) from 1985-96, I was reluctant to be too overtly enthusiastic about this well-regarded service ministry. I also believe in the imperative of personal and organizational self-criticism.

Vote your core beliefs

While we won’t endorse candidates of the five political parties in the upcoming May 2 election, or tell you how to vote, we do ask Mennonite voters to both examine the political views and voting records of candidates regarding our deeply held core beliefs in peacemaking, compassion for the poor and care for creation before placing your ballot in the ballot box.

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