Volume 25 Issue 2

Learning together, apart

(Photo by Dylan Ferreira/Unsplash)

Whether you call it Sunday school, faith formation or Christian education, one aspect of a congregation’s life together is how we nurture faith in people of all ages. Last spring, with the coming of the COVID-19 restrictions, many churches saw drastic changes in their faith education programs. 

Colombian Mennonites report violence, call for solidarity

Candles mark the hope many Colombians had when a Peace Accord was signed in 2016. (Presidencia El Salvador Photo / Creative Commons)

Mennonites in Colombia accompany people suffering violence and displacement in rural areas. (Photo by Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero / Creative Commons)

Despite a landmark 2016 peace deal that held the promise of ending more than 50 years of violence in Colombia, Mennonites in South America’s second most populated country report that the conflict that affected more then eight million people—through killings, disappearances, threats and displacement—continues to claim more victims. 


(Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Why go to all the trouble of producing a new hymnal? The Gesangbuch commission of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada faced this question in 1961. The 1942 version, it was felt, lacked readability and a variety in tunes. Furthermore, the world of the early 1960s “demanded a broader witness,” with more vocational, youth and gospel songs. The conference needed a unifying hymnal.

Launched into oblivion

(Image by Rachel Benn/Pixabay)

My youngest daughter Ruth can be a little firecracker. We say that she’s sweet and spicy.

Sometimes she can get into a real funk, though, and I can feel lost as to how to help her. I am thankful for my wife, who often sweeps in to save the day when my strategies are failing miserably. Sometimes our strategies work and sometimes they don’t.

Good graces

(Photo by Stanley Zimny/Flickr)

As human beings, we’re generally pretty lousy at grace. We long for it in our deepest and truest moments, and we desperately need it, God knows. But we often struggle to receive it. We’d prefer to earn, to justify, to merit. Grace is for the weak, and that’s not us.

Churches work together to serve curbside Christmas dinner

Trisha Robinson, left, executive director of the Wilmot Family Resource Centre, New Hamburg, Ont., stands next to Santa and Mrs. Claus outside Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, where 137 free curbside Christmas dinners were distributed. At least 10 community churches joined in the effort to bring some Christmas cheer to people in the community who were alone for Christmas. (The Wilmot Post photo by Nigel Gordijk)

On Christmas Day, 137 free turkey dinners were served up for people who needed some Christmas cheer in the Wilmot and Wellesley townships of Waterloo Region.

Partnership provides ‘exciting opportunity’ to address affordable housing

This house, at 24 Mill Street in Kitchener, Ont., was acquired by MennoHomes from Waterloo Region in a lottery and will be renovated by Mennonite Disaster Service in a unique partnership to create more affordable housing for families. (Photo courtesy of MennoHomes)

The need is great. Six thousand people wait for affordable housing in Waterloo Region. Local government is committed to creating 25,000 new housing units in the next five years, but Karen Redman, the regional chair, acknowledged in a Dec. 24, 2020, Kitchener Today article, “I don’t think we can possibly move fast enough . . . in order to do that, we need partners.”

‘Meet you at the manger’

Participants gather outside Yarrow United Mennonite Church in rural B.C. to re-enact the Christmas story on Christmas morning. (Screenshot by Ross W. Muir)

In the early morning of Dec. 25, 2020, still dark and with snow on the ground, a small group of people gathered in front of Yarrow United Mennonite Church to re-enact the first Christmas.

‘What will happen to us now?’

Jake Buhler’s mother, Maria, top left, is pictured with her family before tragedy struck in 1918. (Photo courtesy of Jake Buhler)

COVID-19 has given Jake Buhler pause to reflect on his family history and how it has been shaped by pandemics.

In 1918, when both the Spanish flu and tuberculosis were wreaking havoc in South Russia, Buhler’s mother Maria was an 11-year-old girl growing up in the Mennonite village of Grigoriewka. She was the second of seven children born to Helena and Heinrich Pauls. 

‘The show must go on’

The Three Wise Men check their map in Menno Simons Christian School’s 2020 virtual Christmas production of The Little Drummer Dude. The performers are not identified as per school policy. (Photo: Ann Pan / Menno Simons Christian School)

The titular Little Drummer Dude performs in Menno Simons Christian School’s virtual Christmas production. The student is not identified as per school policy. (Photo: Ann Pan / Menno Simons Christian School)

Christina Carpenter

Are traditional school productions a thing of the past? Or can the authentic experience still be delivered virtually?

Practising hope

Chris Huebner, associate professor of theology and philosophy, pictured, and his colleagues found ways to enhance online classroom participation at Canadian Mennonite University during the COVID-19 pandemic. Huebner discovered that teaching from the classroom, where he could employ large displays and multiple cameras, allowed both him and his students to read each other’s faces and body language better than when he taught from behind a laptop. (Canadian Mennonite University photo)

People who arrived on the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) campus last fall were greeted by singing, soaring not through the windows of the music wing, but from outside. In order to create a safe environment during COVID-19 but still continue voice lessons, CMU scheduled them outside.

Rockway raises $25,000 for food drive

Rockway Mennonite Collegiate student council members celebrate in the school parking lot after staging a pie-in-the-face incentive that helped to raise $25,000 for the school’s annual Christmas Food Drive, one way this small school makes a huge impact, according to the student council’s motivational video shown in the food drive kick-off chapel. (Photo by Jo Scott)

Hanneke Isert Bender, co-president of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s student council, tosses in the first $20 as she motivates her fellow students to get behind the school’s annual Christmas Food Drive, as a way to ‘put our words and faith into action.’ (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

The annual Christmas Food Drive at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate is a big deal. It starts in November with a kick-off chapel and fun incentives. Normally, students collect non-perishable food for the House of Friendship, a local organization that provides Christmas food hampers for people living on low income.

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