Witness workers visit from Philippines

Ka Boyet Ongkiko, Joji Pantoja, Roger Tiessen (President, Seacliff Energy), Tala Bautista and Lois Konrad at Seacliff Energy, an organics recycling and bioenergy facility in Leamington, Ontario. (Photo by Rob Konrad)

Growing up as a member of the Sumacher Indigenous peoples group in the Philippines, Tala Bautista listened to American music. She longed to see snow and perhaps roast chestnuts on an open fire. She wanted to see the West Virginia country roads of which John Denver sang.

Peace from the podium

Susanne Guenther Loewen. (Supplied photo)

Working for a more peaceful world can take place anywhere. For Susanne Guenther Loewen it takes place at the front of the classroom at Saskatchewan’s largest public university. Guenther Loewen is in her third year of teaching Introduction to Peace Studies at Saint Thomas More College on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.

Affable colony ‘rock star’ steps down

Kennert Giesbrecht, pictured circa 2020, was the managing editor at ‘Die Mennonitische Post’ for more than 20 years. (Supplied photo)

How do you adjust after stepping away from the work to which you’ve dedicated two decades of your life?

That’s the question facing Kennert Giesbrecht now that he’s no longer the managing editor of Die Mennonitische Post, the German-language paper that serves conservative Mennonites throughout the Americas.

Calm and quiet carols

John Van Deusen’s Christmas album includes 14 holiday hymns. (Photo by Sandra Turner)

John Van Deusen plays in a pop band called Telephone Friends and a punk band called Buffet, but he suspects it’s his Christmas album that you’ll like best.

In the Bleak Midwinter features Van Deusen playing 14 holiday hymns, his acoustic guitar and tenor voice augmented by rich string arrangements. He released it digitally last year and on vinyl in October.

Practicing peace in a polarized world

The two-day conference attracted participants from across denominational and professional lines. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Tareq Hadhad, CEO of Peace by Chocolate, shares his story about fleeing Syria and coming to Canada. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Conference participants share a laugh. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Polarization was on the agenda as Mennonite Central Committee Alberta hosted its first-ever peace conference earlier this month.

Held November 3-4 in Calgary, “In Tune: Finding Harmony in a Polarized World” attracted participants from across denominational and professional lines.

The song of Mary

The Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli

Visitation, from Altarpiece of the Virgin (St Vaast Altarpiece). (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Mary, whose heart is full of things to ponder, goes to see her older relative Elizabeth in the hill country. Both are pregnant. Both are in on the secret of the Messiah. They are brimming with possibility and responsibility. They have both surrendered in a visceral, physical way to the flow of divine will.

Pastors gather for retreat

Pastors and their families gathered at Camp Squeah in November. (Photo by Keith St. Jean)

Twenty-seven Mennonite Church B.C. church leaders and their families gathered at Camp Squeah from November 3 to 5 for a weekend of renewal and relationship-building.

Four worship and discussion sessions were framed around the centred-set church model, from the work of Mark Baker. Baker was the guest presenter at the 2023 MCBC annual gathering and LEAD conference.

Turning church inside-out

Judith McCartney (front right) with youth leaders she works with. (Supplied photo)

Judith McCartney (l-r), Shellwyne Rodney, Andre Lewis and Seun Olowo-Ake at a
leadership training event in Toronto. (Facebook photo by Connect City)

During her community outreach work, Judith McCartney will typically ask people: “Did you know Christ walked 22,000 miles in his lifetime of ministry?”

McCartney believes in venturing outside the church doors and putting on some miles.

A Christian nation?

César García. (CM file photo)

“We, nosotros, we saved Colombia from being handed over to communists!” Those were the words of a celebrity pastor from a Colombian mega-church, spoken to a cheering crowd in California. That pastor referred to the recent success of a “No” campaign in the popular referendum that voted against implementing a peace agreement in my country.

Holy optimism

Shel Boese is the new executive minister of Mennonite Church B.C. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

At the time of assuming his new role as executive minister of Mennonite Church B.C. in August, Shel Boese recalls being asked about his vision for MC B.C. “It doesn’t matter what my vision is,” he replied, “we need to determine that together. It needs to be a shared vision.”

Altona church connects community members with free monthly meal

Mark Tiessen-Dyck (right) recruited Susianty Braun to lead the food preparation for Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church’s community meal. (Supplied photo)

Members of a southern Manitoba church are offering the residents of their town a free monthly meal, served with a side of fellowship and fun.

Altona Bergthaler Mennonite Church launched the initiative in September 2022. Anyone who wants a hot meal and time to visit with their neighbours is invited to attend.

Crafting, chaos and community

Saskatchewan youth doing crafts. (Photo courtesy of Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

On September 29, 18 participants gathered in Saskatoon to kick off the Mennonite Church Saskatchewan youth programming year. The youth got to know one another in a variety of ways as the event went on, first learning what everyone had for breakfast, then playing ‘Never Have I Ever . .

Volunteers customize bears and blankets for care home residents

Bears and Blankets care kits. (Photo by Anna Winger)

From left to right Jan Steven, Mary Koop and Ester Funk with a bears and blankets. (Photo by Anna Winger)

Jan Steven, a commissioned chaplain with Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, has found a new way to show care for seniors in long term care facilities. The new venture starts with buying new or next-to-new teddy bears and blankets from the Mennonite Central Committee Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catharines, Ontario. Then Mary Koop, who, like Steven, attends Grace Mennonite Church in St.


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