News

‘The gift of giving’

Aziza* shops for meat using monthly food vouchers given to her by MCC’s partner, Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD). The vouchers supplement her husband’s income, which is primarily spent on treating their six-month-old son’s lung disease. She uses the food to provide good nutrition to her five children under eight years of age. (*Aziza’s full name is not used for her security.) (Photo courtesy of PARD-2022)

Aziza, left, receives a monthly food voucher from a staff member working for Popular Aid for Relief and Development, an MCC partner. (Photo courtesy of PARD-2022)

Basam* receives his monthly food voucher from a staff member working for Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), an MCC partner in January 2022. The additional funds keep food in the fridge to feed him, his wife and their three children. (*A pseudonym is used for security reasons.) (Photo courtesy of PARD-2022)

Aziza, a 29-year-old mother living in Beirut, Lebanon, spends almost all of her husband’s income on hospital visits, oxygen and medication to treat her six-month-old son’s lung disease. (Her full name is not used for her security.)

Indigenous-Settler Relations program transitioned to regional churches

Earlier this year, Steve Heinrichs cohosted a learning series on the climate crisis based on the book A Good War. (Steve Heinrichs’ Instagram photo)

Mennonite Church Canada is transitioning its Indigenous-Settler Relations (ISR) program to the five regional churches that make up its nationwide community of faith.

The decision comes out of Joint Council meetings held on April 9 and 10, during which the need for the program to have regionally based expression across MC Canada was affirmed.

Praising God together across barriers

YAMENers experience Indonesia. Clockwise from bottom left: Assembly 2022 staffer Lorenzo Fellycyando, Rut Arsari, YAMENer Ananda Mohan Murmu, YAMENer Sunil Kad Kadmaset, YAMENer Natacha Kyendrebeogo, YAMENer Loyce Twongirwe, and Assembly 2022 staffer Lydia Suyanti. (Photo by Lorenzo Fellycyando)

The multinational assembly staff team in Indonesia. Pictured from left to right, back row: Lorenzo Fellycyando, Indonesia; Sunil Kadmaset, India; Lydia Suyanti, Indonesia; and Ebenezer Mondez, Philippines; middle row: Simon Setiawan, Indonesia; Rut Arsari, Indonesia; Loyce Twongirwe, Uganda; Liesa Unger, Germany; and Ananda Mohan Murmu, India; and front row: Agus Setianto, Indonesia; Preshit Rao, India; Tigist Gelagle, Ethiopia; Sarah Yetty, Indonesia; and Natacha Kyendrebeogo, Burkina Faso. (Photo by Liesa Unger)

YAMEN assembly staffers, pictured from left to right, Natacha Kyendrebeogo, Loyce Twongirwe, Ananda Mohan Murmu and Sunil Kadmaset, arrive in Indonesia. (Photo by Ebenezer Mondez)

“I can see one family with a lot of members, worshipping the same Father,” says Natacha Kyendrebeogo of Burkina Faso.

She is one of four young people serving through the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN) on the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly 2022 team in Indonesia.

Valaqua gets a spring makeover

Louisa Adria, a Foothills Mennonite Church youth worker, carries a log at Camp Valaqua’s annual spring work day on April 30. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

Camp Valaqua welcomed approximately 30 enthusiastic volunteers at its spring work day on April 30. Volunteers and staff focused on cleaning up brush and splitting wood.

“Our woodshed went from a few sad sticks to full in just a day!” says Jon Olfert, Valaqua’s camp director.

Volunteers also repaired the siding on one of the buildings and cleaned the eavestroughs.

‘Come over and help us so that we can help the needy ones’

The site of a camp that housed an estimated 64,000 Ethiopians displaced by violence in Afar state last year. As the violence shifted, these people returned home. (Photo by Rebecca Mosely)

A refugee camp in Debark, Ethiopia, set up to house people displaced by civil conflict. (Photo by Paul Mosely)

Rebecca Mosely of Mennonite Central Committee travels to meet a family who had returned home after being displaced from their home in the Afar region of Ethiopia for four months due to violence. (Photo by Rebecca Mosely)

Pastor Desalegn Abebe’s message to North American Mennonites is simple. Abebe is the head of Meserete Kristos Church (MKC), the Anabaptist denomination in Ethiopia, where 17 months of civil violence has led to 12 MKC churches being burned, 44 displaced and 163 full-time ministers and their families displaced and without income.

Drop-in program connects kids with creation

Earthkeepers Kids Club, a collaboration of Jubilee Mennonite Church and A Rocha Manitoba, aims to connect children with creation. (Photos courtesy of A Rocha Manitoba)

‘You can’t love nature if you don’t experience nature . . . children need to learn how to love it and then learn how to take care of it,’ says Anna Marie Geddert, community ministry pastor of Jubilee Mennonite Church.

At Earthkeepers, children learn outdoor skills like growing food, building fires and dressing for the weather, in addition to growing their relationships with creation.

Many children today live in a nature deficit. As screens constantly command their attention, parents tighten their protective grip as dangers outside seem to increase, and a multi-year pandemic continues to spread. Children are spending increasing amounts of time inside at home.

Faith and art in Yarrow

At one station at the Good Friday walk, participants were invited to take a living branch and weave it through a rope trellis, thinking about contributions they could make to God’s kingdom. (Photo courtesy of Amy Klassen)

(Photo courtesy of Amy Klassen)

(Photo courtesy of Amy Klassen)

Walking, biking or driving through twelve Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, April 15, residents of Yarrow, B.C., experienced the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection together through interactive and creative artwork.

Remembering the passage of time

Of the remaining 11 Erb cousins, seven were still able to attend the final reunion 90 years after it started. (Photo by Melody Steinman)

Children of John L. Erb and Barbara Oesch at a 1947 Erb family reunion. (Photo courtesy of Reta Bender)

The 1947 Erb reunion. (Photo courtesy of Reta Bender)

John L. Erb and Barbara Oesch were Amish Mennonites who farmed in Wellesley Township in southwestern Ontario in the late 1800s. They attended Maple View Mennonite Church. Together they raised eight children and had 29 grandchildren.

Boy’s bake sale raises funds for Ukraine

Cliff Gusztak with his mom Ashley hand over baked goods at his bake sale at Foothills Mennonite Church on March 27. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Cliff Gusztak is a little boy with a big heart. An idea for a small cupcake stand evolved into a fundraising campaign that raised a total of $7,150 for Mennonite Central Committee’s Ukraine emergency response.

“I was maybe thinking that we could stop the war,” he said innocently but sincerely of his efforts.

Live theatre returns to Rockway with ‘Anne’

Anne Shirley, centre, played by Kira Andres, pleads with Marilla Cuthbert, left, played by Rebecca Janzen-Martin, to be allowed to stay at Green Gables, as Matthew Cuthbert, played by Marcus Dion looks on. (Photos by Tracey Matthews)

In a fit of temper, Anne, right, played by Kira Andres, breaks a slate over the head of Gilbert, played by Leo Schellenberger.

After a two-year hiatus, students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, in Kitchener, were thrilled to perform Anne of Green Gables. The two-hour play was mounted by a cast and crew spanning grades 7 to12, with people from every grade enthusiastically contributing. Six performances ran from March 30 to April 2.

Making comforters for Ukraine refugees a community effort

Mother and daughter Marion and Irene Griese work together at a comforter at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26. (Photos by Emily Fieguth)

Women from the Westview Centre4Women work on the comforters.

A pile of comforters created at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26.

A basement room full of volunteers tie comforters at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26.

Bags of comforters ready for delivery to Mennonite Central Committee.

Niagara United Mennonite Church called its congregants and neighbourhood community together to tie comforters in the church basement on March 26. Advertisements in the local newspapers and in church bulletins invited anyone interested to gather for the morning.

Youths volunteer with MDS over spring break

Gerald Dyck, left, led a group from Emmanuel Mennonite Church in restoring a house damaged by last November’s floods. Also pictured, from left to right: Rachel Navarro, Emmanuel’s family pastor; Olivia Jesse; Naomi Cheny; and Isaac Boynton. (Photos courtesy of Rachel Navarro)

Naomi Cheny, left, and Olivia Jesse paint a house damaged by the B.C. flood as part of a church youth group work day in March.

Several young people from Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., volunteered with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) during spring break to help victims of last year’s massive flood.

In search of the holy grey

Truck protests in Ottawa highlighted pandemic-related division in society. (Photo by lezumbalaberenjena on Flickr)

With the worst of the pandemic behind us—hopefully—how can the church help address the division left in its wake?

Those divisions were highlighted rather starkly by the truck convoys. And though the trucks have gone home, the fervour lives on. On both sides. Lines are drawn.

Out of the pews and into the community

A gathering of pastors from Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces in Mexico who received medical supplies from Toronto Mennonite New Life Church. (Photo by Beatriz Mendez)

“We are out of the pews but in the community,” writes congregational member Olga Duran in the latest Toronto Mennonite New Life Church report, which summarizes 2021 as a year of immense giving and receiving of community support.

Mennonite Heritage Village hosts prayer vigil

Sixty people gathered at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in Steinbach, Man. to pray for peace in Ukraine. (Photo by Judy Peters/Steinbach Online)

On the cold evening of March 13, about 60 people gathered outside at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in Steinbach, Man. to pray for peace in Ukraine. The museum, which commemorates the Mennonite people and their 500-year journey of migration, hosted the vigil to provide Manitobans an opportunity to grieve, pray and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

MC Alberta delegate sessions explore challenges and look ahead

On the day following the annual delegate sessions, members of MC Alberta took part in a joint worship service at First Mennonite Church, Calgary. Jenn Ratzlaff offers communion to Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

“In spite of a global pandemic, we dared to dream,” said communications coordinator Ruth Bergen Braun in her review of the year at the Mennonite Church Alberta annual delegate sessions held March 19. “We dreamt of a future filled with healthy congregations with strong capable leadership, growing relationships, a renewed camp ministry and new ideas for interfaith work.”

Valleyview Mennonite honoured with award

Mary Boniferro, chair of mission and social concerns at Valleyview Mennonite Church accepts a community award from Elisabete Rodrigues, executive director of a local community organization in London, Ont. (Photo courtesy of Valleyview Mennonite Church)

Valleyview Mennonite Church has been recognized with an award for more than a decade of engagement and advocacy around food security issues in their community of northeast London, Ont.

LUSO Community Services, a neighbourhood resource centre, presented the church with its Community Service Award late last year.

MC Saskatchewan holds annual delegate sessions

Attendees of the annual delegate sessions enjoyed a pre-packaged lunch at socially distanced tables in the Youth Farm Bible Camp Quonset hut. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Gordon Peters (left) and Ernie Epp bring their “voices together” at morning worship. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan held its 2022 annual delegate session (ADS) as a hybrid event, allowing for both in-person and virtual attendance. Delegates met at the Youth Farm Bible Camp just south of Rosthern, Sask., on March 12.

‘I didn’t have any hope it could be played again’

MDS volunteer Mike Davis, left, presents the repaired banjo to Wesley Emmelot. (MDS Canada photo)

Wesley Emmelot and his wife, Maureen Parsley, lost almost everything when the Tulameen River overflowed its banks in the town of Princeton, B.C., in mid-November 2021.

“There was a foot of water in the house, and the basement was filled with water and mud,” Emmelot said.

Celebrating 50 years of MCC Thrift

In 2007, founders of MCC’s network of thrift stores (from left) Linie Friesen, Selma Loewen, Susan Giesbrecht and Sara Stoesz, gathered at a celebration in Winnipeg, Man., to recognize their contributions to MCC. (MCC photo/Gladys Terichow)

In November 1975, Mary Thiessen displays items at a thrift store in Clearbook, B.C. (MCC photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is celebrating 50 years of thrifting with the anniversary of the opening of the first MCC Thrift shop in 1972. The MCC Thrift network provides financial support for the work of MCC around the world. Over the last 50 years, MCC Thrift shops have contributed over $305 million to help people in need.

Unity, positivity pervade MC B.C. meeting

Although Mennonite Church B.C. delegates had to meet virtually this year for their annual general meeting, pastors and families were glad to meet in person for a retreat at Harrison Lake last November. (Photos by Ken Dueck)

‘What gives us hope?’ was the theme for the annual gathering of Mennonite Church B.C., held by Zoom on Feb. 26.

With the theme taken from Romans 15:13, “What gives us hope?” Mennonite Church B.C. conducted its annual meeting on Feb. 26 via Zoom. This was the second year for the church gathering to be online instead of the pre-pandemic face-to-face gatherings. Delegates numbered 122.

MC Manitoba reflects on shared life together

Michael Pahl, executive minister of MC Manitoba, preached on I John 1:3, a text that calls Christians to a shared life together, with God. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg donated enough to the World Health Organization’s COVAX fund so that 200 people could receive COVID-19 vaccines. A paper chain of people representing these recipients ran one-and-a-half times around the sanctuary. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

For the second year in a row, the members of Mennonite Church Manitoba came together on Zoom screens, instead of in a church sanctuary, for their annual gathering, due to the risks of COVID-19.

MCC partners in Ukraine supply essential care

MCC partner, Kharkiv Independent ECB Churches, evacuated residents, housing them at a local Christian school and at the House of Hope, a seniors residence in a village community 50 kilometers from Kharkiv. (The names of the people pictured are not provided for security reasons.) (Photo courtesy of MCC)

Try to imagine hearing air raid sirens scream out their warning. In your panic, you seek shelter. Your freezing fingers remind you of the warm coat you’ve forgotten back home. Or maybe you pack the car full of blankets and food, planning to flee to a safer location. You hope you won’t get stuck in a kilometres-long line at a checkpoint.

MC Canada issues call to eco-mission

A small, clogged and polluted creek in an urban section of the Haldimand Tract in southwestern Ontario. (Mennopix photo by Ross W. Muir)

Leaders of Mennonite Church Canada are calling on the members, congregations and regional churches of the nationwide church to respond to the climate emergency.

“We must act, we must act together, and we must act urgently,” write the executive ministers of Mennonite Church Canada, in a four-page document published on Feb. 7.

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