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Girl’s Club meets monthly because ‘God is fun!’

Members of the Holyrood Mennonite Girls Club stop to get their photo taken on their way to a sand sculpture competition this summer. Pictured from left to right: Helena Chokpelleh, Venissa Tumbay and Tarnisha Snogba. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

The Holyrood Mennonite Church Girls Club learns to make traditional food (spätzle) from Mennonite Voluntary Service members. Pictured from left to right: Venissa Tumbay, Marie Bickensdoerfer, Malin Huber, Nina Schulze and Tarnisha Snogba. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Sue Taniguchi, left, helps members of the Holyrood Mennonite Church Girls Club make origami birds and an airplane. Pictured from Tanigughi’s left: Helena Chokpelleh, Venissa Tumbay, and Marie Bickensdoerfer, an MVS-Edmonton member. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Tarnisha Snogba proudly holds up her talking crow she made at Girls Club. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

The Holyrood Mennonite Girls Club goes to a farm and corn maze in October. Pictured from left to right: Venissa Tumbay, Tarnisha Snogba and Helena Chokpelleh. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

The Holyrood Mennonite Girl’s Club goes to the home of Carol Lint, a member of Holyrood Mennonite Church, to make pizzas together and Valentine’s gift bags in February. Pictured from left to right: Tarnisha Snogba, Denise Tumbay and Venissa Tumbay. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

In 2001, Holyrood Mennonite Church sponsored four men who were living in a refugee camp in Ghana with their families due to a 14-year civil war in Liberia. Over time, the number of Liberian families in the church has grown.

At present, almost all the children in the church are West African, including four teenage girls, all from Liberia.

Called to care for the Earth

Edwin Sittler, an Old Order Mennonite, watches as a machine he designed turns a windrow of compost. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Noa Baergen, right, and Julie Moyer Suderman, a youth-mentor pair at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., have decided to take action by starting a congregational Climate Action Working Group. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Edwin Sittler, right, shows Glenn Brubacher, a member of First Mennonite Church’s Climate Action Working Group, a handful of quality compost. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

“A lot of people are talking about it. Not a lot of people are taking action,” according to Noa Baergen. So when it comes to the climate crisis, this 16-year-old is determined to act. 

Understanding the impact of Agent Orange

This image, from the War Relics Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, shows the devastating effects of Agent Orange on the Vietnamese countryside. (Photos courtesy of Garth and Claire Ewert Fisher)

Garth and Claire Ewert Fisher travelled with MCC British Columbia executive director Wayne Bremner to Vietnam, where they were met with MCC Vietnam staff and volunteers. Pictured, from left to right: Nikolai Mazharenko, MCC Vietnam co-director; Beth Kvernen, MCC volunteer; Eva Mazharenko, MCC Vietnam co-director; Ba Vinh, Vietnamese reference group; Co Mai, MCC Vietnam staff; Wayne Bremner; Ba Bai, Vietnamese reference group; Claire Ewert Fisher; Josh Kvernen, MCC volunteer; and Garth Ewert Fisher.

Garth Ewert Fisher sits with a Vietnamese man during a home visit.

Children who are impacted by Agent Orange receive physical and occupational therapy at a rehabilitation centre supported by MCC.

Decades after American military forces used Agent Orange to further their efforts in the Vietnam War, this deadly chemical continues to impact the lives of Vietnamese people.

Niagara Christian Gleaners repurpose food

Dehydrated fruit packages sit on the shelves of the South Porcupine (Ont.) Food Bank. (Photo by Peter Davis)

Fruit comes out of the Niagara Christian Gleaners’ food chopper. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

Chopped fruit sits on trays ready for the dehydrator. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

Boxes in the warehouse are ready for shipping. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

The Niagara Network Hub of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) recently toured the Niagara Christian Gleaners facility in Smithville. The new non-profit organization aims to divert nearly 3,200 kilograms of produce each day from the local landfill by chopping, dehydrating, packaging and shipping fruits and vegetables to areas where the food is needed.

Fun and fundraising at goods and services auction

Ministries in Vietnam benefited from the November goods and services auction at Langley (B.C.) Mennonite Fellowship. One of those ministries includes a new church plant in the neighbourhood of a music store owner in Saigon, second from left, who is returning to the Mennonite church after the lifting of persecution. The lifting of the persecution is mostly due to Nhien Pham, second from right, who built connections with the local authorities and helped them to change their attitude towards the Mennonite church. At left is MC. B.C. executive minister Garry Janzen, and at right is Pastor Hong, president of Evangelical Mennonite Church Vietnam. (Photo courtesy of Garry Janzen)

Raising funds for missionary or international purposes has been a tradition among local congregations for decades. That tradition has carried on at Langley Mennonite Fellowship, a congregation of some 100 participants, most recently on Nov. 16.

Event explores Jews, Mennonites and the Holocaust​​​​​​​

Wally and Millie Kroeker of River East (MB) Church talk to presenter Aileen Friesen, right, at ‘ Jews, Mennonites and the Holocaust,’ a public presentation at the Asper Jewish Community Centre in Winnipeg on Nov. 5. (Photo by John Longhurst)

About 80 years ago, Jews and Mennonites lived peacefully together in the Ukrainian city of Khortitsa. Then the Nazis came, and everything changed.

In 1941, before the invasion, Khortitsa had about 2,000 Mennonites and 402 Jews out of a population of about 14,000. A year or so later, the Jews were all gone, killed by the Nazis.

Deepening the meaning of baptism

Cristina Vanin, second from left, responds to feedback at the ‘One Baptism? A Symposium on Baptism and the Christian Life’ event during a panel discussion. Also pictured, from left to right: John Rempel, Mary (Joy) Philip, Anthony Siegrist and facilitator Jeremy Bergen. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

After five years of meetings by an international commission of Mennonites, Lutherans and Roman Catholics on the topic of baptism, John Rempel, the commission’s Mennonite representative, presented a trilateral report from that dialogue at an event called “One Baptism? A Symposium on Baptism and the Christian Life,” at Waterloo North Mennonite Church on Nov. 8.

Saskatchewan Mennonites changed through China learning tour

Betty Rudachyk, right, holds hands with a Tibetan woman. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)

Rosthern Mennonite Church members who travelled to China with MPC had the opportunity to reconnect with Yixian Wang (Shelley), front centre, who volunteered in Rosthern through Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program two years ago. Pictured from left to right with Shelley: Brian Roth, Delilah Roth, Jeanette Hanson, Ralph Epp, Bev Epp, Nancy Epp and Betty Rudachyk. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)

Myrrl Byler and Jeanette Hanson ably led the 25 Canadian and American participants on MPC’s China learning tour. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)

East meets west over the ubiquitous cell phone. Brian Roth, left, uses his phone to communicate with new friends. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)

Saskatchewan participants on MPC’s China learning tour include, from left to right standing: Scott Collier, Pat Mar-Collier, Henry Funk, Brian Roth, Bev Epp, Ralph Epp, Betty Rudachyk, Delilah Roth, Erna Funk and Nancy Epp. Kneeling in front of the group is Jeanette Hanson, MPC’s associate director and tour leader. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)

“Everything about China was not what we thought.”

Delilah Roth’s words seem to capture the feelings of many in her group.

Toronto composer puts new twist on old fable

Stephanie Martin, composer and conductor emeritus of Pax Christi Chorale, had her oratorio The Sun, the Wind and the Man with the Cloak premiered in Toronto on Nov. 2. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Martin)

In May 2017, when Stephanie Martin stepped down as conductor of Toronto’s Pax Christi Chorale, the award-winning Toronto-based amateur choir with Mennonite roots, the choir gave her a going-away present.

“Instead of getting me a crystal bowl, they gave me a commission to write a piece,” she says.

Final results of MC Alberta's Vision 20/20 process revealed

An exciting part of Vision 20/20 was the unveiling of the vision statement on a huge banner that will be available to be hung in every MC Alberta congregation. Holding up the banner are June Miller, MC Alberta’s communications coordinator, left, and Heather Klassen of Foothills Mennonite Church. Facilitator Betty Pries is in the background. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Like all Mennonite Church Canada regional churches, MC Alberta continues to pray and discern God’s call, moving forward after the nationwide restructuring a couple years ago.

Representatives from across the province met at First Mennonite Church in Calgary on Nov. 1 and 2 to hear the final results of the four-phase discernment process called Vision 20/20.

Peacebuilders Community Inc. helps earthquake victims in the Philippines

The PeaceBuilders Community Inc.’s field operations team accompanied a Philippine Relief And Development Services team to deliver a thousand relief packs to the earthquake-affected families in Ilomavis, who mostly belong to the Obo Manobo Indigenous People. (Peacebuilders Community Inc. photo)

A home destroyed by the late October earthquakes on the island of Mindanao. (Peacebuilders Community Inc. photo)

In the last half of October, the island of Mindanao in the Philippines experienced three earthquakes, one of which reached a magnitude of 6.6. According to a Nov. 11 report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 24 people were dead, 535 were injured and two people were missing. 

Many people, one church

Scripture is read in five languages at Peace Church on 52nd on Nov. 10. (Photo by Sue Kim)

On Peace Sunday, Nov. 10, five metro Vancouver Mennonite Church British Columbia congregations gathered for a service of unity with a focus on peace. They met at Peace Church on 52nd, formerly known as First United Mennonite.

Trudeau 2.0

A 2017 Saudi bombardment in Yemen. Canada continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia despite its deeply flawed human rights record. (Photo by Fahd Sadi (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0))


Justin Trudeau has another
four years to make a mark.
(Photo by the Office of the
President of the United States)

Roméo Saganash visits CMU

Former MP Romeo Saganash, left, and Steve Heinrichs, MC Canada’s director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, and members of the CMU community met on Oct. 16 in an effort to ensure that all 46 articles of UNDRIP are implemented in Canadian law. (CMU photo)

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students, staff and faculty gathered on Oct. 16 to hear Roméo Saganash speak on how Indigenous political leaders are keeping up the fight to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) implemented into Canadian law. 

Vietnam highlighted at MCC B.C. meeting

Mabel Paetkau, second from left, a former MCC refugee sponsorship coordinator, poses with the Quach family, who were one of the first Vietnamese families to arrive in Abbotsford, B.C. (MCC B.C. photo)

Those who attended Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C.’s 2019 annual meeting on Oct. 19 were treated to a Vietnamese cultural experience as they entered the gym at King Road Mennonite Brethren Church. Glowing paper lanterns, Vietnamese music and a gallery of photos from the Vietnam War era set the tone for the theme, “A journey of hope: Vietnam then and now.” 

'If you’re not hungry, your neighbour shouldn’t be hungry'

Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., right, visited and worked with Lucy Anyango on her farm in Busia, Kenya. ‘[Lucy] is a role model not just to her community, but to me,’ says Dyck. (Photo by Meagan Silencieux)

Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., right, visited and worked with Lucy Anyango on her farm in Busia, Kenya. (Photo by Meagan Silencieux)

A full house of more than 200 people gathered at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg on Oct. 15, a day before the United Nations-designated World Food Day, for the release of a new documentary by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. 

Should pastors have friends in the church?

Proving you’re never too young to learn about healthy boundaries, Pastor Will Loewen and his son Sebastian sit together at this year’s Equipping Day at Trinity Mennonite Church. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Participants sit at round tables and discuss how to have healthy boundaries at this year’s Equipping Day, held at Trinity Mennonite Church. Peft to right: Coreen Froese, Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Jeanette Thiessen. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Marilyn Rudy-Froese, left, church leadership minister with MC Eastern Canada, chats with Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister for Mennonite Church Alberta at this year’s Equipping Day at Trinity Mennonite Church. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Jake Froese, left and friend Don Baergen enjoy discussing this year’s Equipping Day topic, ‘Healthy boundaries.’ (Photo by Helena Ball)

When Don Baergen, an elder at Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton, heard that Mennonite Church Alberta was hosting an Equipping Day on healthy boundaries, he decided to go since he had never received formal training at work or in the church. Baergen also works at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. 

Becoming a work of art

Tom Yoder Neufeld, standing, describes the church as God’s recycling project. Speaking at MC Saskatchewan’s continuing education event, Yoder Neufeld led participants in exploring Paul’s writings and Jesus’ teachings, to learn what it means to walk deeply together. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Tom Yoder Neufeld likens God’s work with the church to an artist who creates a beautiful work of art out of things others have thrown away.

The professor emeritus of religious studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., spoke at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s recent continuing education event.

Chinese Mennonites persist in Edmonton for 30 years

Edmonton Christian Life Community Church, which has membership in three Mennonite denominations, rents space from St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Edmonton. (Photos by Ken Tse)

Each week, a little band of disciples known as Edmonton Christian Life Community Church meets at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Edmonton, where many homeless people congregate. The congregation of about 20 is made up of Chinese boat people who came to Canada in the 1980s, many of whom got jobs as cleaners upon their arrival.

A farewell to the ‘blue hymnal’

Eighty people from different Mennonite churches, denominations and even provinces participated in Sargent Avenue Mennonite’s hymnal sing-a-thon weekend at the end of September. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Singers sang all 658 hymns from Hymnal: A Worship Book and raised $800 to help Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church purchase copies of the new Voices Together hymnal. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Over the span of a single weekend, Sean Goerzen sang or played every single hymn in the blue-backed Hymnal: A Worship Book. All 658 of them. “I feel like I know the hymnal in a very intimate way now,” he says with a laugh.

Praying without words

John Gascho and Melody Neufeld have launched a centring prayer group that meets bi-weekly at Osler (Sask.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

A solitary candle flickers on a low table in the middle of a darkened room. Participants chat quietly with one another as they wait for the session to begin, having come to partake in an hour of centring prayer and sharing.

A short history of Lao Christian Fellowship

Lao Christian Fellowship in St. Catharines officially became a Mennonite congregation in 1983. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

After many years of war in and around Laos, the Laos PDR party took over in 1975, and hundreds of thousands of Laotians escaped to Thailand. Under Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, and with the help of individuals and groups under the leadership of Mennonite Central Committee, many families settled in Canada.

Hope in a dark world

Suzanne Gross, right, of First Mennonite Church in Edmonton, hangs out with Joanne Moyer, who biked to the Interfaith Climate Change Prayer Vigil on Sept. 22 in Edmonton. (Photo by Brian Ladd)

“Beefier barley: Climate change will boost Alberta’s barley yields with less water, and feed more cattle,” said a big billboard appearing to promote the benefits of climate change. It was produced by the University of Alberta last month. Jacqui Tam, vice-president of university relations, resigned, with the school announcing that it had not approved the ad.

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