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‘Under the tall, tall trees of Camp Valaqua’

Gathering from across Canada, Mennonite youth, sponsors, volunteers and parents took part in Amplify! at Camp Valaqua. (Photo by Dan Driedger)

Guest speaker Christy Anderson challenges youth to work toward reconciliation. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Canadian Mennonite University organized a campfire at Camp Valaqua for youth participants at Mennonite Church Canada’s Amplify! gathering this summer. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Worship times happen under a large tent. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Worship (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Left to right: Mackenzie Hildebrand, Louisa Adria and Danika Warkentin lead the group in times of worship. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

During free time campers do crafts, including rock painting. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Youth assembled MCC school kits as a service project. (Photo by Mel Harms)

During free time campers do crafts, including rock painting. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

From July 31 to Aug 4, 132 youth, sponsors, volunteers, parents and planning committee members from across Canada gathered under the tall, tall trees of Camp Valaqua to learn, worship and fellowship, at the Mennonite Church Canada youth gathering Amplify!

Three youths reflect on their experience at Amplify!

Ethan Willms and Kai Willms (Photo by Deanna Willms)

Dinner in the dining hall. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Guest speaker Christy Anderson challenges youth to work toward reconciliation. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Campers learn new songs and actions at Amplify! (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Ethan Willms
Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend Amplify! at Camp Valaqua. This was an amazing experience for me, and it left me wanting more.

The power of language

Anna Nekola (left) and Jubilee Dueck Thiessen (right)

How have you experienced gendered language? Has certain language hurt you or made you feel welcome and safe? These are some of the questions that students reflected on in a recent peer-led survey about Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

‘Finding God in uncertain times’

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld leads members of Edmonton First Mennonite Church on a mushroom tour at their fall retreat at Camp Valaqua near Water Valley, Alta., from Sept. 2 to 4. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Edmonton First Mennonite Church has a long-standing tradition of holding its fall retreat every Labour Day long weekend at Camp Valaqua. For the first time in two years, members were once again able to come together and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and spend time in each other’s company.

Vineland church goes ‘cruising on Menno Street’

One of the vintage cars on display during Vineland United Mennonite Church’s ‘Cruising on Menno Street’ event on Aug. 12, that also included a barbecue supper in the parking lot. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

“Cruising on Menno Street” was the theme of an outdoor event staged by Vineland United Mennonite Church on Aug. 12.

Many restored and polished vintage cars were on display in the church parking lot. Cars were labelled with the name, year, special features and owner’s name. Automobile owners answered visitors’ questions and even gave a few rides.

‘We have no safe area under the sky’

Displaced by conflict and trapped by drought, this woman seeks water in the Afar region in northern Ethiopia. (UNICEF on Flickr.com / Creative Commons 2.0)

This UN-chartered ship left Ukraine on Aug. 16, carrying 23,000 tonnes of wheat bound for World Food Programme efforts in the Horn of Africa. (WFP/Anastasiia Honcharuk, used with permission)

For much of my life I associated Ethiopia with famine. I’m just old enough to recall the searing scenes from Ethiopia in the mid-1980s: windswept, dull-beige landscapes; skeletal cattle; distended bellies; flies; people crowding trucks laden with sacks of food; and charitable rock concerts.

Believers Church Bible Commentary series nears completion

Dan Epp-Tiessen wrote the most recent volume of the Believers Church Bible Commentary series on Joel, Obadiah and Micah, which will launch in October with an event at the CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre in Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

After almost 40 years of writing and editing, the Believers Church Bible Commentary (BCBC) series is nearing completion.

The collection of commentaries covers every book of the Bible, written by various biblical scholars across North America. Herald Press has published 35 volumes since 1986, and almost all of its final nine are currently in progress.

Urban farm not just about growing veggies

Pictured from left to right, are this season's workers at Metanoia Farms: Trey Dornn, Megan Klassen-Wiebe, Kayla Drudge and Bryn Friesen Epp. (Photo by Daisy Belec)

Pigs are a new addition to Metanoia Farms. (Photo by Daisy Belec)

Metanoia Farms is an urban farm located on Canadian Mennonite University’s campus in Winnipeg. (Photo by Daisy Belec)

Trey Dornn, Megan Klassen-Wiebe, Kayla Drudge and Bryn Friesen are hard at work at Metanoia Farms. (Photo by Daisy Belec)

Lifetime experiences and vegetables are being harvested at Winnipeg’s urban farm, Metanoia Farmers Workers Cooperative Ltd., located on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Celebrating a half-century of MCC Thrift

Many volunteers gathered in St. Catharines, Ont., on July 12, to celebrate 50 years of thrift. (Christian Benefit Store archives photo)

Fiftieth anniversary centrepieces adorned tables at a celebration of the beginning of thrift stores in the Niagara area, in St. Catharines, on July 12. (Christian Benefit Store archives photo)

The first Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift store opened in March 1972 in Altona, Man. In 2022, the thrift stores are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this first store in Canada. Celebrations are taking place at various times in different locations.

Bridgefolk asks how to repair harm to Indigenous Peoples

Muriel Bechtel, left, Jay Freel Landry, John Stoesz, Fr. William Skudlarek OSB, and Samantha Lioi are pictured at the Bridgefolk hymnsing. (Photo by Gerald W. Schlabach)

Jaime Arsenault, tribal historic preservation officer for the White Earth Nation. (Photo by Gerald W. Schlabach)

Reverend Jim Bear Jacobs of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation. (Photo by Gerald W. Schlabach)

John Stoesz of Mountain Lake, Minn. (Photo by Gerald W. Schlabach)

Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey takes part in a panel discussion with Bridgefolk founders Weldon Nisly, on screen, Gerald W. Schlabach, and Marlene Kropf about the history of Bridgefolk. (Photo by Joetta Schlabach)

Participants in the Bridgefolk movement for dialogue and greater unity between Mennonites and Roman Catholics have long made the phrase, “Proceed through friendship,” their byword.

 

Jubilee Mennonite votes to become an affirming congregation

Jubilee Mennonite, which is located in northeast Winnipeg, was founded in 1995 as a dual-conference congregation through the merger of MC Manitoba’s Northgate Mennonite Fellowship and the MB Churches of Manitoba’s Valley Gardens Community Church. (Photo by John Longhurst)

After more than a year of discussion, study and prayer, Winnipeg’s Jubilee Mennonite Church—which is part of both Mennonite Church Manitoba and the Manitoba Mennonite Brethren Churches—has decided to welcome members of the LGBTQ+ community to become full members of the congregation.

 

MCC calls on PM to remove barriers to humanitarian assistance

Charitable Foundation Uman Help Center, an MCC partner, distributes MCC relief buckets, hygiene kits and blankets in Uman city, at a Baptist church, along with other humanitarian supplies. (MCC photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada has joined other leading Canadian aid organizations to launch Aid for Afghanistan, a national campaign calling on the Government of Canada to immediately act to remove barriers that have blocked and deterred the provision of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan for the past year.

Manitoba congregations awarded mission grants

Jamie Arpin-Ricci of Little Flowers Community, left, surveys the Winnipeg neighbourhood with Melanie Neufeld, MC Manitoba’s mission engagement director. (MC Manitoba photo)

Eight Mennonite Church Manitoba congregations will receive a total of $30,000 for missional engagement in their local communities.

“Finding intentional ways to love our neighbours is an important practice for the church,” says Melanie Neufeld, MC Manitoba’s director of mission engagement. “We’re excited to see what God will do with these new and ongoing initiatives.”

A focus on rest and renewal

Glen Guyton, MC U.S.A.’s executive minister, was the guest speaker for the afternoon session. His session focused on key concepts from his book Reawaken: Activate Your Congregation to Spark Lasting Change. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

Pastors and other leaders from across the five regional churches joined together at First Mennonite Church in Edmonton for Spiritual Leaders Day, part of the Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2022.

After breakfast together on July 29, attendees were invited to spend the morning in worship. The theme for the morning was “be at rest.”

‘Do you hear what I hear?’

Riley Koop and Rebecca Janzen take part in the panel discussion around young leaders in the church. (​​​​​​​Photo by Jessica Evans)

Who has ever been a young adult? Who has ever interacted with a young adult at church? Who has witnessed a young adult leaving church? Who has witnessed a young adult stepping into leadership?

These were the questions asked of the audience during the workshop entitled “Do you hear what I hear?” at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2022.

In This Together aims to widen the circle of inclusion

Attendees at the Gathering 2022 worship gathering on July 31 were encouraged to come forward to tie a coloured ribbon, representing their own self-expression, onto a tree branch. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Pictured from left to right are the In This Together steering committee: Matthew Froese, Leah Harder, Alissa Bender, Pieter Niemeyer and Mauricio Palacio. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Timothy Wenger, left, and Alissa Bender explain the origin and purpose of the Rainbow Christ Prayer. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Michele Rizoli, pastor of Toronto United Mennonite Church, reads scripture during the service. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Pieter Niemeyer shares his story at the service. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Timothy Wenger shares his story while Alissa Bender looks on. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Steph Chandler Burns offers their own coming-out experience as a challenge to the church to love well. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

“In This Together [ITT] is one way to feel those prophetic nudgings of the Spirit,” said Alissa Bender, pastor of Hamilton (Ont.) Mennonite Church, and a member of the ITT steering committee, as she led more than 75 people in a worship service that celebrated the gifts that LGBTQ+ people offer to the church, on July 31 in the evening.

Bethel Mennonite leaves MC B.C.

More than 80 years of ministry in B.C. as Bethel Mennonite Church came to a close this summer when the building was given to the MB conference to be replanted as a campus of North Langley Community Church. (Internet photo)

Bethel Mennonite Church of Langley, one of the oldest congregations in Mennonite Church British Columbia, held its last service on June 26. However, its doors are not closed; the church will continue to function under a new identity and a new affiliation.

Myanmar church growing, though half its members displaced

Amos Chin, left, and two Mennonite colleagues baptize young people in rural Myanmar. (Photo courtesy Amos Chin)

Amos Chin (second from left)—a Mennonite leader in Myanmar—with (left to right) Jeanette Hanson, Norm Dyck, David Martin, and Jehu Lian meet in Myanmar in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Norm Dyck)

Roughly half the members of the Bible Missionary Church (BMC), a Mennonite denomination in Myanmar, are now displaced. An estimated 415 families, or 2,000 people, have fled to the jungle or elsewhere in the vicinity of the border with India to escape escalating civil unrest.

 

Looking back, looking forward

Danforth Mennonite Church congregants from the 1990s to the present are pictured at the church’s 115th-anniversary celebration in late June.

Bonnie Wright, Tessa Rose and Ed Ford, foreground left to right, lead the congregation out of the sanctuary during the Danforth Mennonite Church’s 115th-anniversary celebrations.

Danforth Mennonite Church is a small, urban congregation on the Danforth in Toronto. In late June, we met in person and virtually to celebrate 115 years as a congregation.

Camp Squeah featured on CBC National news

Rob Tiessen of B.C.’s Camp Squeah is interviewed on a CBC news broadcast, telling how camp attendance has been affected by fewer staff this summer. (Screenshot of CBC news clip on YouTube)

Rob Tiessen, executive director of Camp Squeah in Hope, B.C., was interviewed on CBC television’s The National broadcast on June 20 in a story about summer-camp staffing shortages across the country.

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