In May 1981, the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers opened its doors with 1.5 full-time-equivalent employees, one classroom and a little office. It was started by six Mennonite churches in Edmonton that saw settlement services for newcomers were inadequate and felt convicted that God called them to welcome the stranger.
An interior view of a refugee train with a family of Mennonites from Schoenwiese, southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). (MCC photo by A.W. Slagel)
Mennonite refugees leave the harbour at Bremerhaven, Germany, on the Volendam in 1947. The group, led by Peter and Elfrieda Dyck, was the first of three groups of Mennonite refugees transported by the Volendam to South America in 1947 and 1948. Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, MCC helped resettle thousands of Mennonite refugees from Europe. (MCC photo)
“At the railroad stations, the sight was appalling. The moment the train halted it was besieged by living skeletons. From out of the rags were lifted bare arms, the wasted fingers extended toward the car windows in entreaty for food.
“‘Bread, in God’s name, bread!’ ”
Kathy Braun, left, tells the children at Osler Mennonite Church that it takes a lot of people to do the work of Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Adeline Cox)
Holding up letters that spell Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), members of Osler Mennonite Church demonstrate that the work of MCC is a group effort. (Photo by Adeline Cox)
During the Sunday school hour, Jake Buhler recalls the 20 years he and his wife Louise, spent under MCC in Vietnam and Thailand. (Photo by Adeline Cox)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and one Saskatchewan congregation got off to an early start in celebrating it.
Osler Mennonite Church chose Jan. 26 as “MCC Sunday,” inviting MCC Saskatchewan executive director Eileen Klassen Hamm to be its guest speaker.
Paul Plett, right, whose documentary Seven Points on Earth was featured at this year’s Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel College, chats with Lester Bechtel, who funds the annual lecture series as a way to make the academic world accessible to a broader audience. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)
As part of the 2020 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies, Conrad Grebel University College hosted a farmers breakfast (pictured) and panel discussion, focusing on the way farming, food, family and faith come together in our various lives. The panelists sparked lively conversation as participants shared their stories and experiences. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)
Mennonite farmers have a lot in common. They see themselves as stewards of the land, they live with uncertainties, and they take pride in what they produce, but they farm in dramatically different ways.
At the annual Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Mennonite farmers shared their diverse stories of food production.
Crossroads Community Church sees its presence in Chilliwack, British Columbia, as a ministry to the surrounding community.
“The province of British Columbia alongside Coastal GasLink are continuing their plans to build a pipeline through the unceded territories of the Wet’suwet’en.
In spite of the sadness involved in bringing the Mennonite Women Canada (MW Canada) organization to a close, Shirley Redekop, the final president, expressed confidence that “God is still at work in our midst—bringing forth new shoots, new growth and renewed purpose among women of faith.”
Bruxy Cavey addresses the Council of International Anabaptist Ministries at its annual conference, held from Jan. 14 to 16 at The Meeting House in Oakville, Ont., where he is the senior pastor. Cavey called for Jesus-centred, relational discipleship as the way to engage new missional church leaders. (Photo by Janet Bauman)
Bruxy Cavey’s message to mission and service leaders in Anabaptist organizations was plain. “We have lost a younger generation of leaders because the church has been so divided,” he said. “To fight for unity will be one of the most powerful things this next generation of leaders, young and old, can do together.”
This feeding centre in Trans-Volga, Russia, circa 1922, was one of 140 MCC-supported centres in southern Russia that distributed 38,600 rations daily at the peak of the relief effort in 1922. This kitchen excelled most other kitchens in cleanliness and orderliness. (MCC photo)
A Spanish child benefits from an MCC feeding program in Lyon, France, in 1941. MCC began work with Spanish refugees who had fled to France in the wake of the Spanish Civil War. This relief work continued into the early years of the Second World War. Throughout 2020 MCC is celebrating 100 years of global service. (Photo: Mennonite Central Committee)
Marlene Epp, left, Shirley Froese, Katie Harder and Betty Brown tie a comforter at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta. (Photo by Veronica Morales)
Comforter knotters at First Mennonite Church in Edmonton were joined by members of the Islamic Family and Social Services Agency. Pictured from left to right: Joan Perrott, left, Dolly Jeffares, Marah Rafih, and Sana Almotlak. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Sharlene Christie, Jeanette Thiessen and Barb Goosen work on a comforter at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary. Twenty-eight people worked together to complete eight comforters. Three men made lunch for the 25 women and one child who worked on the comforters. (Photo by Linda Dickinson.)
MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up in B.C. drew several generations of volunteers to work together on blanket-making at Ross Road Community Church in Abbotsford. The youngest were Brielle, 5, and Hannah Balzer, 8, who helped their parents and grandparents tie comforters . Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond held its own event the same day. Altogether, B.C. stitchers completed 615 blankets. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)
Many hands came together to pin, stitch and fold material into comforters and blankets for MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up Jan. 18 at Ross Road Community Church in Abbotsford, B.C. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)
Volunteers at the MCC Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catherines, Ont., show customers how to knot comforters. (Photo by John Himes)
Tim Albrecht, general manager of the Christian Benefit Thrift Store in St. Catharines, Ont., third from left, helps volunteers knotting comforters for MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up event. Over three days, 18 comforters were created with the help of 21 volunteers. (Photo by John Himes / Text by Maria H. Klassen)
Clockwise from left, Tracy Wright, Rebecca Janzen, Daniela Stahl, Isaac Wright and Lena Regier tie a comforter together at North Kildonan Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, where 350 participants and volunteers made 210 comforters. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)
Participants learned each step of the comforter making process, from cutting squares to sewing edges to proper knot-tying etiquette, with this sample comforter. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)
During a break from the annual meeting of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada on Jan. 18 at Camp Peniel, north of Montreal, Alain Després and Richard Lougheed take time to tie a few knots in a comforter for Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Barb Draper)
One hundred years ago, calls for help came from Mennonites in southern Russia, where war, disease and famine had left them in desperate straits.
Mennonite Church Canada is characterized by various geographic concentrations of churches, some thicker than others. But a few congregations exist far from any other MC Canada sisters and brothers. What is church like in the farther flung reaches of our denomination? What do congregations do to stay connected? What are the advantages of remoteness?
A 2019 Lenten service at Springridge Mennonite Church in Pincher Creek, Alta. Plants were grown at the front of the sanctuary and then compared to how congregants nurtured God-like growth in their own hearts and lives. Pastoral leader Tany Warkentin is pictured at right. (Photo by Del Willms)
A small rural church had a 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) pastor. Now its pastor has retired and it decides to hire a 0.3 FTE pastor. Is this realistic? How will the new pastor spend her time?
In January 2019, Springridge Mennonite Church in Pincher Creek approached Tany Warkentin, a long-time member, and asked her if she would be willing to serve as its part-time pastor.
By day, the material aid warehouse at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C.’s headquarters is used to store and process items such as school kits and blankets to be shipped overseas. But, in the colder fall and winter months, by night the space is converted into an extreme weather shelter hosting the city’s most vulnerable.
In September 2019, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada reported: “We announce with great sadness that River of Life, Calvary Church Ayr (Mennonite), and Milverton Mennonite Fellowship [all in Ontario] have left the MC Eastern Canada family.
A Mennonite elder once told me, “We need to listen to people who leave the church.”
John Reimer (a pseudonym) is one such person. A soft-spoken grandpa, he recently left a Mennonite Church Canada congregation that professes open-mindedness and inclusivity. I wanted to know why.
Home Street Mennonite Church is located in the heart of Winnipeg’s inner city. (Home Street Mennonite Church website photo)
A star blanket, sewn by an Indigenous women's collective in Winnipeg, hangs in the Coffee and Conversation space at Home Street Mennonite Church. It symbolizes the congregation’s commitment to be treaty people and strive for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. (Photo by Esther Epp-Tiessen)
Every Sunday morning at Home Street Mennonite Church, two ushers hand out bulletins and seat guests for the worship service. But an hour earlier, a group of “Third Ushers” is already busy, welcoming in the church’s inner-city neighbours.
Congregations in Mennonite Church British Columbia are greeting the new year with efforts to deepen spirituality and to hear God’s voice more clearly through group study and Bible reading.
Imogine (Tina Cressman), Gladys (Lucy Derksen) and Ralph Herdman (Zach Cressman) react with surprise and confusion when they hear the Christmas story for the first time. (Photo by Heather Weber)
Charlie Bradley, played by Jaren Klassen, insists that he doesn’t want to be in the church Christmas pageant directed by his mother, in the St. Jacobs Mennonite Church production of ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,’ based on the story by Barbara Robinson. (Photo by Heather Weber)
Bob (Scott Morton Ninomiya), Charlie (Jaren Klassen) and Beth Bradley (Julia Schroeder Kipfer) discuss how the annual Christmas pageant is the same every year. (Photo by Heather Weber)
Grace Bradley (Melinda Metzger), left, who gets stuck directing the Christmas pageant full of the rough and tumble Herdman kids, reads the Christmas story to the Herdmans, who have never heard it before. Imogine (Tina Cressman), who plays Mary; Gladys (Lucy Derksen), who plays the angel of the Lord; and Ralph (Zach Cressman), who plays Joseph, react with ideas of their own about how the story ought to go. (Photo by Heather Weber)
Some 80 people from all ages were part of staging The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at St. Jacobs (Ont.) Mennonite Church on Dec. 21 and 22. The 1950s era story tells how the rough and tumble Herdman kids end up with all the main roles in the annual Christmas pageant, much to the chagrin of the regular congregants.
Gunungan is a figure from traditional Indonesian theatre that represents the world. The leaf-shaped art is used frequently around the country, including at the Mennonite church in seaside Jepara.
Gerry Binnema was invited to share news about United Mennonite Church, the congregation he pastors in Black Creek, B.C. Here is his creative and tongue-in-cheek response.
We are witnessing the first time in history when many young people in Mennonite Church Canada congregations are actively participating in the church but are choosing not to be baptized. Why is that? Irma Fast Dueck, associate professor of practical theology at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), is researching exactly that question.
In keeping with the season, Canadian Mennonite has wrapped up four Christmas events—from Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia—into one package for your festive reading.
Dylan Ricci Adams is pictured with a load of carrots on their way to the washing machine. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)
Todd Stahl shovels diced carrots into the auger that will deliver them to the Gleaners’ gigantic dehydrator. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)
The work of farmers is difficult. They have to work with the land to bring about a decent crop in order to make a living. And even though they may successfully bring hundreds of hectares to fruition, there’s no guarantee that all of that crop can go to market.
Three generations of St. Jacobs Mennonite Church share a readers theatre called ‘175 Years by Faith’ during a worship service celebrating its 175th anniversary. Pictured from left to right: Jonah Willms, Doris Kramer and Micah Jarvis sit on a bench from the 1851 meetinghouse at the church’s original location in the unmarked hamlet of Three Bridges. (Photo by Marcia Shantz)
In 1844, just under a half-hectare of land near the east bank of the Conestoga River was purchased from John Brubacher for the sum of five shillings.
In October, Care Montreal opened seven nights a week as a licensed shelter after completing extensive renovations. Now volunteers at the shelter, housed at Hochma, a Mennonite Church Eastern Canada congregation, provide supper in the basement at 6 p.m.
In 1989, a group of women from St. Catharines United Mennonite Church decided to sell their crafts and baking to raise money for missions. This “making and baking” was something the women did well, and their efforts became known as the Mennonite Food and Craft Bazaar.