Volume 19 Issue 12

Pushing back with colour

On April 18, Karen and Andrew Suderman and at least 18 others protest recent eruptions of xenophobia by wrapping about 100 trees in the downtown core of Pietermaritzburg with yellow fabric and a statement from South Africa’s Freedom Charter: ‘South Africa belongs to all who live in it.’ (Photo courtesy of Karen and Andrew Suderman)

As a colourful protest against xenophobia unfolded in downtown Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, people living in the neighbourhood come out and help wrap trees in yellow fabric to symbolize friendship, warmth, welcoming, joy and hope, and to fasten posters of inclusion to the fabric. (Photo by Andrew Suderman)

What do you do in the face of hatred, a hatred so immense that it drives people to pillage, beat and even kill others? What do you do when that hatred is simultaneously “out there” and in your own backyard? How do you show love, kindness and hospitality in rejection and defiance of such wanton violence?

New mission frontiers

How to plant a church is not a big mystery. Any good Mennonite gardener knew how to take a clump of bulbs from her front garden, split them up and transplant them into the bed at the side of the house. In the spring, the new garden proudly displayed the same brilliantly coloured daffodils and tulips for all to enjoy.

My renewed confession: Jesus Christ is Lord

I’m in a beautiful and sorrowful place. My travels have brought me to a stunning seaside within a country that significantly restricts the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah and Lord. Here, unless you were born Christian, you can’t abandon the national religion to follow Jesus. Those who change their mind in that way are not treated well. They are considered traitors, sometimes even martyred.

‘A community event’

Canoes and kayaks arrive at their final destination after a successful paddle-a-thon down the Fraser River. The $51,000 raised will support summer staff volunteers pay for post-secondary education. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Weather was again the main story at the annual Camp Squeah paddle-a-thon held on April 18 and 19, but this time—unlike some years—for all the right reasons. Sunny skies, warm weather, little wind and no major mishaps meant that the 31 paddlers who finished their two-day sojourn down the Fraser River arrived energized and in great spirits.

MCC pre-sale fundraiser exceeds expectations

MCC Alberta supporters add pocket change to a growing spiral, netting more than $550 to go toward paying the costs of the annual Relief Sale held in Didsbury on June 5 and 6. (Photo by Gordon Baergen)

The popular pocket change spiral spreads onto a second table. (Photo by Gordon Baergen)

“I thought if we could do $3,000 to $4,000, that would be what we’ve done in the past. When I was off by $10,000, I was elated.”

These words came from Gordon Baergen, a member of Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton who helped to organize a May 21 pre-sale fundraiser in preparation for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta’s annual Relief Sale held in Didsbury on June 5 and 6.

A partner for healing, help and freedom

Toronto United Mennonite Church members on the Aurora House board include, from left to right: Pastor Marilyn Zehr (ex-officio), Christy Langschmidt, Lisa Horrocks and Mary Klein.

“And when you send a slave out from you a free person, you shall not send him out empty-handed. Provide liberally out of your flock, your threshing floor, and your wine press, thus giving to him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you” (Deuteronomy 15:13-15a).

Concert held for Nepali earthquake survivors

Violinist Calvin Dyck, wearing a traditional Nepali men’s hat called a topi, performs at the Abbotsford benefit concert to raise funds for survivors of Nepal’s two earthquakes this spring. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Members of the Mennonite community and other citizens of Abbotsford, B.C., raised more than $25,000 in a benefit concert at Emmanuel Mennonite Church on May 17 to aid survivors of the earthquakes that ravaged Nepal in April and May.

A generous legacy

Isaac and Mary Andres are pictured in 1994, the year they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. (Photo courtesy of the Andres family)

The late Isaac Andres and his wife Mary are sharing their passionate faith and generosity in a legacy that continues to inspire and nurture new generations of Mennonites.

New Christian music festival focuses on justice

The Greenbelt Festival in the U.K. draws 20,000 people a year.

Diem Lafortune (Mama D), nominated for a 2013 Canadian Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year Award, will play at the inaugural Skylight Festival, in Paris, Ont., this summer. (Photo by Bear Image Productions Marchand/Vaugeois)

Organizers of Canada’s newest festival of music, faith and social justice hope that the Skylight Festival will invigorate a generation of socially conscious Christians.

Lessons learned at L’Abri

The view at the L’Abri branch in Huémoz, a small village surrounded by the Swiss Alps. Janzen spent two weeks there last year. (Photo by Tasha Janzen)

An accomplished musician, 20-year-old Tasha Janzen first got involved in her church as a child when her grandmother paid her $5 to play piano during the offertory. (Photo courtesy of Tasha Janzen)

The red piano in Janzen’s room represents the importance of music in her life. It also inspired the name of her Red Piano Rhapsody blog. (Photo by Tasha Janzen)

In addition to playing piano in church, Janzen has studied classical music, accompanied choirs and performed in rock bands. Last year, she performed with Abbotsford, B.C.’s Quinn and Tonic rock band. From left: Tasha Janzen, Rick Chappell, Savannah Quinn (foreground), Nick Kirby and Colin Hoock. (Photo courtesy of Tasha Janzen)

When Tasha Janzen thinks back to her time in Switzerland last year, learning the importance of life balance is one of the biggest things that sticks out for her.

Spreading the word about GROW

Sarah French and Mary Fehr start their trip on May 18 at Mile 0 in Victoria, B.C. (Photo courtesy of Sarah French and Mary Fehr)

Mary Fehr and Sarah French will stop at each of Mennonite Economic Development Associate’s seven chapters across Canada to give presentations about their work with Bike to Grow. (Photo courtesy of Sarah French and Mary Fehr)

Mary Fehr just learned to ride a bike a few years ago, when she was 17. Now she and Sarah French are cycling thousands of kilometres across Canada—from Victoria, B.C., to St. John’s, Nfld.—to raise money for Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) through its Bike To Grow campaign.

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.

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