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Candles of care for health-care workers

Milo Penner, 4, looks out the window as a candle lit by his father, Kyle Penner, burns in support of Steinbach's healthcare workers, patients and their families. (Photo by Kyle Penner)

Kyle Penner, a pastor at Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, Man., has been lighting candles every evening since mid-November in prayer and solidarity with his community's healthcare workers, patients and their families. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Penner)

Kyle Penner, associate pastor of Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, Man., has been lighting candles for weeks, in prayer and solidarity with health-care workers, patients and their families fighting COVID-19. (Photo from Kyle Penner’s Facebook page)

A single flame flickered into existence in the window of a home in Steinbach, and now throughout the city—and across the country—candles send warmth to a hurting community.

Flexibility key to youth ministry

In preparation for Remembrance Day in early November, Noel Dueckman of Emmanuel Mennonite Church leads high school youths in a Bible study on peace. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

The weekly church youth group gathering, whether for service, faith discussions or recreational activity, has had to change this fall in the face of COVID-19. B.C. youth leaders are adapting the best they can, trying to keep young people engaged and connected to the church.

Celebrating new beginnings at MC Eastern Canada

Leah Reesor-Keller, newly installed MC Eastern Canada executive minister, speaks from the sanctuary of First Hmong Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont., which hosted the physically distanced installation service that was recorded and shared at the regional church’s fall gathering held online. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me . . . I will keep on singing.”

Zoom check-in

Thanks to a generous donor, Camp Valaqua was able to build two yurts this spring to offer as places to rest and refresh. Next to the Little Red River on the north quarter of the camp’s property in Water Valley, Alta., each yurt has a bunk bed, and pull-out queen bed together with other modest furnishings. Yurt bookings are expected to be available by April 2021. (Photo by Jon Olfert)

A regional church check-in meeting last month gave members a chance to learn how Mennonite Church Alberta is faring.

With the arrival of fall, when in-person meetings were prohibited, MC Alberta leaders decided to host a Zoom check-in for all the churches so communities could connect and hear how things are going.

Congregation celebrates despite COVID-19

Volunteers help erect the church building on Linwell Rd., St. Catharines, Ont., in 1967. (St. Catharines United Mennonite Church Archives photo)

Maria Martha Verein women quilting. (St. Catharines United Mennonite Church Archives photo)

As with most celebrations during this pandemic, it was a quiet 75th anniversary celebration for St. Catharines United Mennonite Church on Nov. 1. In order to limit social contact, the Sunday services alternate between families and seniors, and this Sunday was a seniors Sunday service. About 86 people attended. 

'Be It Resolved' released

(Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

A new anthology published by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and Mennonite Church Canada hit the press this fall. Be it Resolved: Anabaptists & Partner Coalitions Advocate for Indigenous Justice, 1966-2020 is a collection of more than 90 documents detailing commitments Anabaptists have made to Indigenous justice and decolonization since the 1960s.

Searching for home

Vurayayi Pugeni, MCC’s area director for Southern, Central Africa and Nigeria, speaks at MCC Saskatchewan’s virtual peace conference. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)

Anna Vogt, MCC Ottawa Office director, speaks during MCC Saskatchewan’s second annual peace conference. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)

Harry Lafond, a scholar of Indigenous studies at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon, speaks as part of MCC Saskatchewan’s peace conference on displaced people. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)

Doug Heidebrecht, director of global training with Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, delivers a keynote address during MCC Saskatchewan’s recent peace conference. (Screenshots by Donna Schulz)

Home is where one is from, where one lives, where one belongs. But for those displaced from their homes, the concept of home may be more of an illusive dream than reality.

“Displaced: Upheaval, hospitality and justice in the search for home” was the theme of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan’s second annual peace conference, held online on Nov. 7.

Choir perseveres through pandemic

One sectionals of the First Mennonite Church Corona Choir records in the sanctuary. (Photo by Howard Rempel)

Choristers Eleanor Reimer and Ingrid Moehlmann figure out the technology needed to record the First Mennonite Church Corona Choir. (Photo by Karis Wiebe)

Yuri Klaz, conductor, works with the choir while Phil Klassen records the singing. (Photo by Howard Rempel)

A group of basses rehearse under the direction of Yuri Klaz. (Photo by Ingrid Moehlmann)

Hedie Epp has been singing with First Mennonite Church choirs on and off for 40 years. When COVID-19 hit and the Winnipeg church had to halt all its choral activities, it was difficult.

Feast of metaphors served at ‘Table talk’ conference 

Wenger Shenk, plenary speaker for MC Canada’s virtual ‘Table talk’ study conference, on Oct. 25, addresses the question ‘Why church?’ in one of two talks she gave. (Screenshots by Janet Bauman)

Kim Penner hosted and helped plan the inaugural MC Canada virtual ‘Table talk’ study conference on Oct. 25. (Screenshots by Janet Bauman)

A feast of metaphors was on the menu for Mennonite Church Canada’s inaugural study conference on the character and mission of the church and the role of worship. “Table talk: Does the church still have legs?” was originally planned as an in-person gathering, but the Oct. 25 event was moved online because of pandemic gathering restrictions.

‘How can I keep from singing?’

Grade 10 music students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., take to drumming outside on the back field of their school in order to explore music in a different way while pandemic protocols prohibit them from singing or playing wind instruments inside the classroom. (Photos by Leanne Lobe)

Grade 10 music students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., take to drumming outside on the back field of their school in order to explore music in a different way while pandemic protocols prohibit them from singing or playing wind instruments inside the classroom. (Photos by Leanne Lobe)

Eric Dettweiler, standing left, a music teacher at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., leads his Grade 10 music class in an outdoor drumming exercise.

Eric Dettweiler’s Grade 10 music class at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener began the school year drumming every day for the first few weeks, often outdoors. Now the 11 students drum a couple of times a week. It is a safe way to conduct a music class while maintaining physical distance in the reality of pandemic protocols.

Anabaptist health network responds to COVID-19

CPN promoter Rosneka Mulalyah, right, hands over a hand-washing station to Paul Karuiki and Mike Musyoki in Mathare 3B community, Kenya. (Centre for Peace and Nationhood photo)

A care group volunteer uses the hand-washing stations provided by CPN in Mathare, Kenya. (Centre for Peace and Nationhood photo)

“We are bound together as a community not only through this global pandemic, but through our faith,” says Rick Stiffney, steering committee member of the Global Anabaptist Health Network.

The global network held its first webinar on Sept. 16, which was attended by two dozen Anabaptist-related health professionals from Asia, Africa, North America and the Caribbean.

Webinar addresses Doctrine of Discovery

Participants in a Sept. 29 webinar on the Doctrine of DIscovery are, clockwise from top left: Ted Swartz, owner and director of Ted and Co. TheaterWorks; Michelle Milne, actor with Ted and Co.; Henry Krause of the MC B.C. Indigenous Working Group; and Alison Casella Brookins, playwright of We Own This Now. (Screenshot by Ross W. Muir)

A Sept. 29 webinar helped 260 participants learn more about the Doctrine of Discovery and how a proclamation made more than 500 years ago still has repercussions for Indigenous peoples today. 

Communion and community during COVID-19

Pastor Craig Neufeld and deacon Debbie Baergen are ready to serve communion in a “covid friendly” way at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church, Sept. 27, 2020. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister of Mennonite Church Alberta, receives communion from deacon Debbie Baergen at Edmonton First Mennonite. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister of Mennonite Church Alberta, adds a leaf, signifying a commitment to a spiritual practice, to the E3 tree visual at Edmonton First Mennonite Church. Beginning in 2020, MCA congregations are committing themselves to a 3 year action plan for renewal, Encountering, Embracing, and Embodying Christ. For more information go to: https://mcab.ca/e3-mca. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

For many congregants, the invitation to receive communion at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church on Sunday, Sept. 27 would mark the first time they had physically set foot in the building for six months.

MCC Ontario AGM goes virtual

In 1945, Alice Snyder (pictured here) took over from her mother as the manager of MCC’s cutting room, which had been moved to Kitchener, not far from where the MCC Ontario offices stand today. She is part of the 100-year legacy of serving in the name of Christ. (MCC photo)

MCC has thousands of volunteers creating kits and comforters to be shipped around the world. Here Kristen Berg from Breslau (Ont.) Mennonite Church works on one of the 9,504 comforters created as part of an international effort called the Great Winter Warm-up to mark MCC’s centennial. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)

Mennonite Central Committee Ontario (MCCO) held its annual general meeting (AGM) online on Sept. 21, 2020. John Head, executive director, reported that most targets in the organization’s five-year strategic plan were met.

Niagara churches reopening

Niagara (Ont.) United Mennonite Church began in-person worship on Sept. 13, 2020. (Photo credit: Rachael Peters)

Vineland (Ont.) United Mennonite Church plans to continue meeting virtually for worship through September, using YouTube video. According to pastor Louise Wideman, the church is planning a cautious tiered approach to reopening. The first step will be to install equipment for livestreaming the service. The next stage will include inviting small groups to join for in-person worship.

Navigating reopening

(Photo: flickr.com/Riccardo Cuppini)

Mount Royal Mennonite’s Garth Ewert Fisher speaks about his church’s reopening experience during MC Saskatchewan’s ‘Navigating reopening’ virtual meeting. (Screenshot by Donna Schulz)

During MC Saskatchewan’s “Navigating reopening” virtual meeting, Phyllis Goertz talks about Wildwood Mennonite’s decision to continue with online worship through the summer months. (Screenshot by Donna Schulz)

Across the nationwide church, there are likely as many approaches to reopening as there are congregations. Mennonite Church Saskatchewan recently hosted an online conversation about how congregations are meeting the challenges of reopening.

‘Engaging missionally with neighbours’

Members of Chinatown Peace Church, one of the MC British Columbia congregations receiving a grant from the regional church’s Mountainview Fund, gather for a summer worship service in a Vancouver park. (Photo courtesy of Tim Kuepfer)

Young adults from Chinatown Peace Church and Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship enjoy a midnight bike ride around Stanley Park in Vancouver. Crouching at right is Chan Yang, one of the interns being supported by the Mountainview Fund. (Photo courtesy of Tim Kuepfer)

Although Mountainview Mennonite Church in Vancouver closed its doors in 1996, its legacy lives on through several Mennonite Church British Columbia congregations. When Mountainview voted to disband due to declining membership, the remaining members decided that proceeds from the sale of the church property should be put into an endowment fund for future urban ministry in the region.

Cheering for the Leafs!

Marie Moyer and Dave Neufeldt in front of their net-zero energy home in Lethbridge, Alta. (Photo by Beth Moyer)

Nissan Leaf fan Tim Wiebe-Neufeld and his solar arrays in Edmonton. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim and Donita Wiebe-Neufeld of Edmonton First Mennonite Church own an electric Nissan Leaf car. Tim’s cousin, Arlyn Friesen Epp, owns a Leaf. Another cousin, Kendall Jongejan Harder, owns a Leaf. Tim laughs, “I guess our family cheers for the Leafs!”

Pressing for the peace of Jesus

Louie Vivra, left, Melise Michaline and Karin Florvil plant a breadfruit tree in a demonstration garden in Wopisa, Haiti, in 2016. The children participated in a kids club supported by MCC and Canadian Foodgrains Bank that focused on environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture. (MCC photo by Paul Shetler Fast)

Issa Ebombolo, MCC’s peacebuilding coordinator for Zambia and Malawi, unloads cooking oil in the village of Tomali as part of MCC’s Cyclone Idai flood relief project in Malawi in 2019.(MCC photo by Amanda Talstra)

In 1994, bean seeds helped Burundians displaced by ethnic conflict toward a more hopeful future. MCC, with local Mennonites and others, assisted people (such as the unnamed woman and her child) affected by the genocide against the Tutsis by providing food, seeds, blankets and clothing, and by organizing peace and reconciliation seminars. (MCC photo by Dave Klassen)

Anna Janzen Funk, pictured here in 1920 just before her wedding, was the director of the first MCC relief kitchen in southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). (Photo courtesy of the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies)

One hundred years ago, in 1920, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) began in response to drought, hunger and violence. Canadians were quick to answer the pleas of their global neighbours, although they themselves were recovering from a deadly flu pandemic at the time.

Fair-trade store emulates Ten Thousand Villages

Selling fair trade items, Kasandy/Locally Global in Vancouver continues in the spirit of Ten Thousand Villages stores. (Photo courtesy of Jackee Kasandy)

The Ten Thousand Villages (TTV) store in Vancouver has closed, but the idea of fair-trade products continues to inspire a new generation to shop both ethically and globally. Kasandy/Locally Global occupies the space that TTV formerly had on Granville Island.

Defeating Goliath

Ernie Hildebrand, standing at the microphone, speaks at the FEARO hearings regarding a proposed uranium refinery in the Warman, Sask., area, in 1980. (Photo courtesy of Jake Buhler)

More than 200 community members, many of whom were Mennonite, testified at the FEARO hearings regarding a proposed uranium refinery in the Warman, Sask., area, in 1980. (Photo courtesy of Jake Buhler)

Members of the Warman and District Concerned Citizens Group gather for a group photo. Pictured from left to right, front row: Wilfred Buhler and Jake Buhler; second row: Emille Van Pinxteren, Garry Boldt, and Edgar Epp, who was the organization’s second chair; and back row: Louise Buhler, Sam Rempel, Gertie Rempel, Leonard Doell, Peter Froese, Jeanie Van Pinxteren, Lyle Stucky and Ruth Buhler. Missing from the photo are Nettie Wiebe and Ernie Hildebrand. (Photo courtesy of Jake Buhler)

It’s been 40 years since David battled Goliath on the plains of Saskatchewan. David, in this case, was a group of ordinary citizens, many of whom were Mennonite, and Goliath was the nuclear industry.

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