News

Churches work together to serve curbside Christmas dinner

Trisha Robinson, left, executive director of the Wilmot Family Resource Centre, New Hamburg, Ont., stands next to Santa and Mrs. Claus outside Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, where 137 free curbside Christmas dinners were distributed. At least 10 community churches joined in the effort to bring some Christmas cheer to people in the community who were alone for Christmas. (The Wilmot Post photo by Nigel Gordijk)

On Christmas Day, 137 free turkey dinners were served up for people who needed some Christmas cheer in the Wilmot and Wellesley townships of Waterloo Region.

Partnership provides ‘exciting opportunity’ to address affordable housing

This house, at 24 Mill Street in Kitchener, Ont., was acquired by MennoHomes from Waterloo Region in a lottery and will be renovated by Mennonite Disaster Service in a unique partnership to create more affordable housing for families. (Photo courtesy of MennoHomes)

The need is great. Six thousand people wait for affordable housing in Waterloo Region. Local government is committed to creating 25,000 new housing units in the next five years, but Karen Redman, the regional chair, acknowledged in a Dec. 24, 2020, Kitchener Today article, “I don’t think we can possibly move fast enough . . . in order to do that, we need partners.”

‘Meet you at the manger’

Participants gather outside Yarrow United Mennonite Church in rural B.C. to re-enact the Christmas story on Christmas morning. (Screenshot by Ross W. Muir)

In the early morning of Dec. 25, 2020, still dark and with snow on the ground, a small group of people gathered in front of Yarrow United Mennonite Church to re-enact the first Christmas.

Riverton Fellowship Circle’s legacy lives on

Riverton Fellowship Circle began meeting in 1985, when a group of Indigenous people in Riverton expressed desire for a church. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Riverton Fellowship Circle always met in a circle, around a centrepiece of sweetgrass, a candle and a Bible. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Neill von Gunten (left) and Barb Daniels (right) were two of Riverton Fellowship Circle’s leaders, along with Edith von Gunten. Here they are pictured in 1997 at the church. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Riverton Fellowship Circle built their own church building in 1997, after meeting in the Riverton and District Friendship Centre for over a decade. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

When the soft cloud of an expired dandelion explodes, the flower is gone, but the seeds that have spread far and wide soon erupt into new life. So it is with the recently closed Riverton Fellowship Circle.

‘A matter of principle’

The roof of the Mennonite Church Canada headquarters in Winnipeg before a $220,000 upgrade to the building’s energy efficiency. (Photo by Doug Klassen)

The roof of the Mennonite Church Canada headquarters in Winnipeg after a $220,000 upgrade to the building’s energy efficiency. (Photo by Doug Klassen)

Mennonite Church Canada is backing up the establishment of a new Sustainability Leadership Group (SLG) with a $220,000 upgrade to its head office in Winnipeg.

Scholar researches coverage of sexual violence in Mennonite church press

Carol Penner presents "#Mennonites Too: Sexual Violence and Mennonite Peace Theology," at the Benjamin Eby Lecture. Her presentation also served as the C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture, which features research by Mennonite faculty in peace traditions. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman

Data from Carol Penner’s research into the coverage of sexual violence in Mennonite church periodicals shows a flurry of stories in the 1990s. She presented these and other observations at the 2020 Benjamin Eby Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

In her recent research Carol Penner surveyed how the church periodicals, Gospel Herald, The Mennonite, and Canadian Mennonite reported on sexual violence from 1970 to the present. What she found became the subject of the annual Benjamin Eby Lecture, which features research of a Conrad Grebel University College faculty member.

Building relationships through online campus ministry

Chaplain Mark von Kampen meets with students in the Menno Office on March 13, 2020, the day before the office was damaged by a fire in the University Centre. (Photo by Bruce Hildebrand)

Stress, anxiety and loneliness are among the many challenges that university students face during this era of remote learning and physical distancing. In past years, Inter-Mennonite Chaplaincy Association (IMCA) operated a welcoming space known as the Menno Office on the University of Manitoba campus.

COVID creativity: Cards, buns and wreaths

Erika Pappas of Edmonton Mennonite Church is amazed at what can be done with a few dollars at the Dollar Store. (Photo by Erika Pappas)

Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Trevor Wiens display their very first Advent wreath so they can participate in community worship. (Photo by Brenda Tiessen-Wiens)

Kate and Bob Janzen create an Advent wreath from barn boards and barbed wire. (Photo by Kate Janzen)

Hanna Martens displays her living wreath made from moss, pinecones and succulents from the forest. (Photo by Hanna Martens)

Carole Neufeldt creates an Advent wreath using items from around the house. (Photo by Carole Neufeldt)

An Advent wreath at Trinity Mennonite Church in DeWinton, Alta. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

An Advent wreath created by Rose Goertzen for the altar at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta. (Photo by Anna-Lisa Salo)

Karen Mierau and LaVerna Elliot have been best friends for more than 10 years and they live a 10-minute walk apart. Having created a pandemic bubble, they collaborated on their Advent wreath.

Like most of the country, Alberta is experiencing, its second wave of novel coronavirus. As of early December, as many as 1,800 Albertans were contracting COVID-19 every day. With the Christmas season approaching, every church had to look at past traditions and ask whether to try to alter them in some way or to cancel activities altogether. 

'A monument for our resilience'

The former Mohawk Institute Residential School is being preserved as an interpreted historical site and monument to indigenous resilience, documenting the history of the residential school system in Canada. (Woodland Cultural Centre website photo)

During a virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, Roberta Hill, a survivor, explains why it is important to preserve the building as an interpreted historical site. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Janet Bauman recently participated in a 45-minute virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., with other people from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church; it fit in with the congregation’s worship series on unlearning racism.

Meditations while sheltering in place

When an in-person speaking engagement at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Church fell through earlier this year because of COVID-19, Evan Kreider began providing daily online meditations for the congregation and beyond. (Photo courtesy of Evan Kreider)

Evan Kreider was scheduled to speak at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver in the spring of 2020. But the pandemic put an end to that, as life as we knew it changed. Group meetings were discouraged. The timing coincided with the church’s plan to depart the chapel of the Menno Simons Centre, a student residence, after more than 30 years.

Pandemic fund targets inequalities in global church

Francine Mukoko, a public-health graduate and the first university graduate from the Communauté Mennonite au Congo community in Bateke, presents public-health advice in Teke, the local language. (Photo courtesy of Seraphin Kutumbana)

“What a joy it is for the brothers and sisters [of the Bateke Plateau] to feel themselves a part of the larger Mennonite family,” says Reverend Seraphin Kutumbana of Communauté Mennonite au Congo, a Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church.

Together in Worship launches in collaboration with CommonWord

Together In Worship logo

The Together in Worship leadership team is pictured from left to right, top row: Jerry Holsopple, Darryl Neustaedter Barg and Rebecca Slough; middle row: Katie Graber, Sarah Kathleen Johnson and Carol Penner; and front row: Arlyn Friesen Epp and AnaSara Rojas. (Together in Worship screenshot)

While Mennonites across Canada and the United States eagerly await the arrival of the new hymnal, Voices Together, hundreds of online worship resources are already accessible to them through a brand new website that launched in November.

Theology students learn to value varied perspectives

‘Engagement with sacred texts and local churches shape a person’s worldview and contribute to faith development,’ says Erika Mills, who has co-pastored Blue Mountain Community Church since she graduated from the MTS program in 2017. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

Faculty and students in the master of theological studies (MTS) program at Conrad Grebel University College have found that conversations between those with different approaches to Christianity are a valuable learning experience.

Locked down but uplifted

YAMENers Enosh Rupamajhi, Olicky Muchindu and Jeu Song take a group photo in Salatiga, Indonesia. Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, they were temporarily unable to return to their home countries of India, Zambia and Laos, respectively, from their placements in Indonesia. For a few months, they waited out the pandemic, learning, laughing and worshipping together. (Photo courtesy of Olicky Muchindu)

"The love from Indonesia." For Enosh Rupamajhi, Jeu Song and Olicky Muchindu—members of the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN)—the warmth of relationship from their hosts and each other is a hallmark of their year. 

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

In the 1980s, volunteers from St. Catharines United Mennonite Church took down a wall that symbolically separated the congregation from the community. (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.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News