Throughout this year, readers may have noticed a regular item appearing in the print version of this magazine: historical photos and vignettes highlighting aspects of 100 years of ministry by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). If you are a saver of old magazines, you might want to pull them out and glance through the Et Cetera section of each issue.
God has got this thing for babies. In the midst of all the immense, complex political troubles of Judah, God kept offering babies as signs, inviting King Ahaz to what Alastair Roberts calls ‘the politics of the child’: politics centred on trust, vulnerability and long-range vision. (istock.com photo by Husam Cakaloglu)
It used to be that the tinsel and lights of Christmas didn’t dare emerge until the black cats and orange pumpkins of Halloween were stripped from the shelves. But this year I saw Christmas trees in early October! We had not even given proper thanksgiving for the harvest before boughs of holly decked the halls, enticing us into a winter wonderland.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us” (Mark 9:38, NIV). John’s exclusionary attitude remains a prevalent attitude in our churches: “You are not one of us!”
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) began work in Thailand in 1960, but from 1963 to 1975 it had no programs there. In 1979, MCC started working with Indochinese refugees coming into Thailand with job creation, social services, agriculture and education programs. This is a photo of MCCer Victor Neumann of Abbotsford, B.C., with refugee workers processing mail at Songkhla camp, Thailand.
My husband and I have been married for 13 years; long enough to have weathered some difficult seasons. We’ve walked alongside other couples in turmoil lately, causing us to reflect together on what makes our marriage work and how we will continue to grow stronger and closer. My grandparents were married nearly 70 years so, in light of that, we anticipate years ahead of us growing closer!
I’ve been a “church-goer” my whole life. I remember my dad polishing our shoes on Saturday evening so we would all look bright and shiny for church on Sunday morning. I remember Sunday evenings watching Walt Disney on TV, getting changed for church during the last commercial, and leaving for church just before the show ended. Going to church is what we did on Sundays.
What does Jesus mean when he says “Do not judge”? How do we respond to injustice, oppression, racism, sexism and prejudice without judgment? I’ve contemplated this for years, and here is where I’ve landed, for now at least.
Congregations across Mennonite Church Canada celebrated International Witness Sunday in October. The nationwide church declared Oct. 18 to be the official day, but welcomed congregations to celebrate on whatever Sunday worked for them. The theme of the day was “Sharing gifts. Building relationships.”
Vurayayi Pugeni, MCC’s area director for Southern, Central Africa and Nigeria, speaks at MCC Saskatchewan’s virtual peace conference. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)
Anna Vogt, MCC Ottawa Office director, speaks during MCC Saskatchewan’s second annual peace conference. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)
Harry Lafond, a scholar of Indigenous studies at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon, speaks as part of MCC Saskatchewan’s peace conference on displaced people. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)
Home is where one is from, where one lives, where one belongs. But for those displaced from their homes, the concept of home may be more of an illusive dream than reality.
“Displaced: Upheaval, hospitality and justice in the search for home” was the theme of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan’s second annual peace conference, held online on Nov. 7.
One sectionals of the First Mennonite Church Corona Choir records in the sanctuary. (Photo by Howard Rempel)
Choristers Eleanor Reimer and Ingrid Moehlmann figure out the technology needed to record the First Mennonite Church Corona Choir. (Photo by Karis Wiebe)
Yuri Klaz, conductor, works with the choir while Phil Klassen records the singing. (Photo by Howard Rempel)
Hedie Epp has been singing with First Mennonite Church choirs on and off for 40 years. When COVID-19 hit and the Winnipeg church had to halt all its choral activities, it was difficult.
Leah Reesor-Keller, recently appointed executive minister of MC Eastern Canada, says regular opportunities to develop leadership gifts when she was growing up helped to prepare her for this role in the regional church. (Photo by Jacquie Reimer)
Leah Reesor-Keller, purple shirt in centre, jumps rope with friends in 1993, in Bwadelorens, Haiti, where she lived with her family for three years between the ages of 6 and 9. She credits her international experiences with helping to prepare her to take on the role of executive minister of MC Eastern Canada. (Photo courtesy of Leah Reesor-Keller)
Leah Reesor-Keller anticipated that her work as the new executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada would involve “a lot of talking to people at potlucks.” She was especially looking forward to going to Montreal to eat Haitian food.
In 2005, a Congolese Mennonite couple with a 15-month-old baby made a desperate plan to flee through Europe and fly to Calgary to safety. Even though the second Congo war had officially ended in 2003, a thousand people were still dying daily of disease, starvation and violence. Everyone was suffering and afraid.