God at work in the Church

What moves you?

Bikers taking part in the Winnipeg Ride for Refuge, including those riding in support of MC Canada Witness workers, are pictured at Covenant Christian Reformed Church before the ride began. (Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

Team FMC Edmonton rode to support Witness workers Michael and Cheryl Nimz in the United Kingdom. Team members pictured from left to right: Jacob Wiebe-Neufeld, Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, Karl Blank and team captain Ryan Andres, all of Edmonton First Mennonite Church. (Photo courtesy of Karl Blank)

Craig Neufeld, team captain of the Rosthern Rouleurs, in action. The Rouleurs raised $4,320, the most of any of the 12 MC Canada teams. (Photo courtesy of MC Saskatchewan)

The Tiefengrunters was one of four teams from Saskatchewan taking part in this year’s Ride for Refuge on behalf of MC Canada. The four teams Saskatchewan raised a total of $9,665, nearly half of all the funds raised for MC Canada Witness workers. (Photo courtesy of MC Saskatchewan)

Mary Anne Falk, left, and Tina Doell both of Carman (Man.) Mennonite Fellowship, were riding for Christine and Tom Poovong, Witness workers in Thailand. (Photo courtesy of MC Manitoba)

Team Mennonite Boys and Girls Can Ride from Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church raised $1,765 for MC Canada Witness workers during this year’s ‘Ride for Refuge.’ ‘We had a great ride,’ says team captain Brian Quan. ‘It was a picture perfect day for our 15 riders. (Photo by Brian Quan, Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church)

A big thank you to our 75 participants on 12 teams, and to our generous Mennonite Church Canada family who sponsored these riders in this year’s Ride for Refuge event held in communities across Canada on Sept. 29, 2018. Together, we raised more than $19,500 towards our International Witness ministry.

From grief to gratitude

Historian Aileen Friesen speaks to a full house at St. Catharines United Mennonite Church at an event commemorating the centennial of the Russian Revolution. (Photo by Randy Klaassen)

Moments in time can change the course of history. Decisions made in Russia in the years following the Russian Revolution in 1917 changed life for thousands of Mennonite families.

Modern ghosts of a horse-drawn scandal, Part 3

Mennonite children learn patriarchy from a young age. Gender roles are strictly defined: men work the fields and women take care of the home. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky noahfr.com)

Wilmar Harder of Mennonite Central Committee speaks with Johan N. Peter of the California Colony in Bolivia. (Photo by Kennert Giesbrecht)

Eight men went to prison, the media gaze moved on, and colony life resumed. But the saga of mass rape in the Bolivian corner of our family of faith is far from over.

‘Leaving behind what wasn’t healthy’

The new home of Langham Mennonite Fellowship stands on the same site as the old Zoar Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Ed Bueckert, Langham Mennonite Fellowship’s congregational chair, says the church wants its new building to be of service to the community. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The church’s sanctuary is a multi-purpose room with space for about 80 worshippers. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Among items carried over from the old church to the new are this cross and the church’s communion table. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The church’s foyer has doors leading to the pastor’s office, the church kitchen, the basement stairwell, washrooms and several storage spaces. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The former Zoar Mennonite Church building has been demolished. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Zoar Mennonite Church in Langham has a new home—and a new name.

When the congregation discovered black mould growing in the basement of its old church building some years ago, it didn’t immediately decide to build a new church building. Instead, it gutted the basement and had it cleaned and disinfected. But the problem persisted, making some congregants unwell.

In spirit and in truth

The heartfelt songs of praise raised by the Meheret Evangelical Ethiopian Church filled the Kitchener First Mennonite Church sanctuary with adoration of God. With eyes closed and hands raised, and even a few tears, Meheret led the gathering in worship. (Photo by Arli Klassen)

The beautiful colours of the Salvadoran dancers from First Mennonite Church began the intercultural worship service. Each tap of their feet or swoop of the dancers’ dresses was done in praise to God and was a magnificent offering of worship. (Photo by Mike Strathdee)

It was a rich night of worship as a diverse group of people gathered at the third annual intercultural worship service at Kitchener First Mennonite Church on Oct. 20, 2018.

Modern ghosts of a horse-drawn scandal, Part 2

Abram Wall Enns, left, was the civic leader of the Manitoba Colony when rape stories first emerged. He wishes the leaders would have acted sooner. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky noahfr.com)

Kennert Giesbrecht is pictured with his new book, Strangers and Pilgrims. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

The Manitoba Colony in eastern Bolivia. (Photo by Kennert Giesbrecht)

Eight men went to prison, the media gaze moved on, and colony life resumed. But the saga of mass rape in the Bolivian corner of our family of faith is far from over.

Friendship that sticks

‘Bees for Burkina’ honey bees hard at work. (Photo by Doug Klassen, Foothills Mennonite Church)

Joyce Harder and the hives that produced ‘Bees for Burkina’ honey. (Photo by Doug Klassen)

‘Bees for Burkina’ honey sold at Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary. (Photo by Danielle Klassen)

Each Sunday over 55 people meet for worship in the tiny church in the village of Fon, Burkina Faso. The Foothills church honey money from the summer of 2018 will go toward a necessary expansion of the church building since members have increased as some Christians have been pushed off their nearby lands due to tensions in the country. Pictured, Josue Coulibaly’s brother Emmanuel and his son are among the displaced. (Photo by Josue Coulibaly)

The hard work of some Alberta bees creates a sweet deal for two very different churches. The “Bees for Burkina” project gives people of Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary a chance to buy local honey, while the profits provide Mennonites in Burkina Faso with financial assistance to build their church.

Bible trivia event generates spirited competition

Members of the first-place Bible Quizzing for Grown-ups team, the Canadian Mennonite Scribes, are pictured, from left to right: Jim Loepp Thiessen, pastor of Floradale Mennonite Church; Ginny Hostetler, CM’s executive editor; Barb Draper, CM’s editorial assistant; and Tobi Thiessen, CM’s publisher. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

As people gathered for the Bible Quizzing for Grown-ups event on Sept. 30 at the Huether Hotel in Waterloo, the room buzzed with conversation, but when the quizmasters began reading questions from the Gospel of Luke, the room went quiet. The mood was light-hearted, but definitely competitive as eight teams listened intently and searched their memories for the right answers.

Modern ghosts of a horse-drawn scandal, Part 1

The Manitoba Colony is one of more than 80 Mennonite colonies in Bolivia. On one of the photographer’s last days in Manitoba, he and his sister were told by multiple women that, after the ‘ghost rapes’ of 2009, the nighttime rapes still happen, although less frequently. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky)

The eight Bolivian Mennonites convicted in the ‘ghost rape’ case, pictured at the infamous Palmasola prison. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky)

Eight men went to prison, the media gaze moved on and colony life resumed. But the saga of mass rape in the Bolivian corner of our family of faith is far from over.

The crime could not have been more salacious, nor the scandal more sensational. And the truth of it all could not trace a more complicated path right back to our own enlightened hearts.

Exploring God’s call

Werner and Joanne DeJong enjoy the company of new friends in a coffee shop across from Meserete Kristos College in Ethiopia. ‘In a communal-based society like Ethiopia there are more opportunities to sit, visit and sip coffee under the trees,’ says Joanne, who is impressed with the strong emphasis the college places on peace, justice and community development. (Photo courtesy of Joanne DeJong)

Werner and Joanne DeJong faced a challenging decision. After many years of pastoral ministry with Edmonton’s Holyrood Mennonite Church, they felt called to consider ministry in East Africa. The call, however, was not equally clear for each of them or for their congregation.

One in the Spirit of evangelism and service

Members of Mennonite World Conference’s Global Anabaptist Service Network and Global Mission Fellowship pray together around a large world map during meetings in Kenya. (Photo by Barbara Hege-Galle)

People who are involved in service are typically practical, caring people; in other words, people of action. Of course the motivation for doing service is to follow Jesus and his teaching, to reach out to the weak, to the orphans and widows, and so on, according to Jeremiah 22:3 and James 1:27.

MDS volunteers build second cabin at Shekinah

Volunteers raise the timbers of the second timber-frame cabin to be built this year at Shekinah Retreat Centre. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

From left to right, volunteers Ryan Siemens, Curtis Wiens and Gord Siemens cut a board to be used in the timber-frame cabin constructed during the MDS Family Project held at Shekinah in August. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

The families pictured here volunteered from Aug. 5 to 10, 2018, during Week 2 of the MDS Family Project at Shekinah Retreat Centre. They helped assemble wall units for the timber-frame cabin. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

These volunteers helped with construction of the second timber-frame cabin at Shekinah Retreat Centre from Aug. 12 to 17 during Week 3 of the MDS Family Project. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

MDS volunteers worked alongside Shekinah campers and counsellors to carry all the lumber to the building site during the MDS Family Project held at Shekinah Retreat Centre in August 2018. (Photo courtesy of Priscilla Epp)

Ike and Priscilla Epp aren’t quite sure how many people volunteered to help build the second timber-frame cabin at Shekinah Retreat Centre, but they know there were many.

The project took place during the month of August at the Mennonite Church Saskatchewan-owned camp north of Waldheim, and was designated a Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Family Project.

Loving your community

Jordan Thoms, left, a church planter from Toronto, is introduced by Colin McCartney, who supports and trains church planters in under-resourced neighbourhoods in Toronto, at this past spring’s Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual delegate sessions. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

In 2014, five years after Warden Woods Mennonite Church in Toronto closed, a new congregation began to form in the Warden Woods community. Led by Jordan Thoms, the Warden Underground is focussed on 15-to 30-year-olds.

Helping the stranger and connecting with the neighbour

Some church members and the refugee family in their new home in March 2018. Pictured from left to right: Lois Braun, Heritier Munezero, Claudine Uwimpuhwe, Siggi Holzhaeuer, Katherine Morgan, Speciose Nyiramugwaneza, Emmanuel Iranshubije, Gordon Bueckert, Eileen Scharfenberg and Dave Martens. (Photo by Cornie Thiessen)

When Sterling Mennonite Fellowship received an invitation from St. Vital Evangelical Mennonite Church (EMC) to partner in sponsoring a refugee family, it felt like an answer to prayer.

Keeping culture and faith

Leaders of the Matu-Chin Christian Church in Kitchener, Ont., are accepted into emerging church status in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada on April 28th at the annual regional church gathering. Pictured from left to right: Pastor Thing Sai; Pastor Westerne Joseph of the Assemblée de la Grâce in Montréal; Rothang, auditor; Yaling, treasurer; and Maung Aung, chair. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada already had several Chin congregations in its midst, with all of them having roots in the Hakha-Chin community. Like many languages, though, the Chin language from Myanmar has several dialects, and, as of this spring, the regional church is now home to the Matu-Chin Christian Church in Kitchener, whose members speak Matu-Chin.

Creole-speaking congregation joins MCEC

Pastor Westerne Joseph (facing the camera) sits with members of the Assemblée de la Grâce congregation at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering April 27 and 28, 2018. Assemblée de la Grâce was accepted as an emerging congregation during the gathering. (Photos by Dave Rogalsky)

Westerne Joseph has been in Canada for ten years. The political situation in Haiti meant that he, his wife and their children had to flee, landing in Canada as refugees. In 2010 they received refugee status, making their home in Montreal, where their children have finished high school and attend university.

End of an era

Henry Paetkau, this year’s speaker at the Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training fundraising banquet, and Eileen Lebold share a quiet moment at the final banquet at Conrad Grebel University College on June 5, 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Eileen Lebold thanks those who have supported the Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training through the banquets over the past 14 years, at the final banquet at Conrad Grebel University College on June 5. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training met its goal of $1 million a few years ago, when Mennonite Church Eastern Canada used monies from the Schmidt bequest to top it up from $750,000. The banquet that had been a major fundraiser for the fund continued, however, with funding now going to support  the Anabaptist Learning Workshop.

‘God listened to our prayers’

Mennonite Church South Korea youth participate in a peace walk in April 2018. (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)

A group gathers for the Mennonite Church South Korea assembly in September 2017. (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)

As part of the peace walk in April 2018, Mennonite youth held a sign reading “Let war go; peace come!” (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)

In her entire life, Hyun Hee Kim never imagined that Donald Trump, president of the United States, and Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, would one day meet and shake hands.

A supportive space

At recent meetings in Limuru, Kenya, the Mennonite World Conference General Council delegates raise orange cards to show consensus. (Photo by Len Rempel)

Alexander Neufeld of Germany, left, and Joji Pantoja of the Philippines, chair of the MWC Peace Commission, right, lead prayer for Alphonse Komuesa of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Wilhelm Unger)

The mission of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) is to create space for the global Anabaptist family to meet together. Much of the time, it is fulfilled virtually, on social media or through email connections across continents.

#ChurchToo conference tackles painful subject

A broken cup symbolizing a life shattered by professional sexual misconduct surrounds a whole cup, symbolizing survival from traumatic experience. #ChurchToo resource person David Martin, who has dealt with several cases of clergy sexual abuse as executive minister of MC Eastern Canada, said he has been ‘deeply pained but still profoundly hopeful’ in the process. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Many troubling issues and questions arise when a Christian leader engages in professional sexual misconduct.

A Bible comes home

Visitors examine the historic Bender Bible, which was returned to Canada 90 years after it left Ontario. Conrad Grebel University College held a ‘homecoming’ event on May 12, 2018, which included the story of how the Bible originally arrived in Upper Canada in 1832. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Descendants of Jacob and Magdalena Bender examine the historic Bender Bible, held by Laureen Harder-Gissing, archivist of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

A unique feature of the 274-year-old Bender family Bible are the hand-written inscriptions with family names and birthdates. In 1831, the Bible travelled from southern Germany with Amish Mennonite immigrants Jacob and Magdalena Bender, arriving in Upper Canada in 1832. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing and historian Fred Lichti examine the the historical Bender Bible, which was recently returned to Canada. It was first brought to Upper Canada in 1832 by Amish Mennonite immigrants Jacob and Magdalena Bender but spent 90 years in an archive in the U.S. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing points out details of the Bender Bible to Virginia Hostetler. The historic Bible was brought to Upper Canada in 1832 by Amish Mennonite immigrants Jacob and Magdalena Bender, Hostetler’s ancestors from six generations back. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Descendants of Ivan and Beatrice Bender pose with the Bender Bible, a family heirloom, and the passport of their ancestor Jacob Bender, who brought the Bible to Canada in 1832, along with his wife Magdalena and their children. Pictured from left to right, back row: Grace Bender and Daniel Bender; middle row: Geoline Bender, Richard Bender, Mary Ann Bender, Laurel Bender-Lloyd and Sarah Clemmer; and front row: children Oliva Clemmer, Mason Clemmer and Benjamin Bender. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

A historic Froschauer Bible, printed in 1744, found its way to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, thanks to the efforts of archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing and local historians Fred Lichti and Catherine Schlegel (not pictured). It is informally known as the Bender Bible because it was brought to Upper Canada by Amish Mennonite immigrants Jacob and Magdalena Bender, in 1832. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

On May 12, some 125 people gathered at Conrad Grebel University College for an unusual homecoming celebration—for a Bible. This large, centuries-old book is a part of Ontario Amish Mennonite history.

A picture of gradual decline

Above: Donations from congregations and individuals to national and area/regional church bodies. (All dollar figures adjusted to 2018 dollars.)

Above: Dollar amounts to be forwarded to MC Canada in 2018. (Not included are contributions from regional churches to post-secondary schools or added budget lines for staff to take over some tasks previously performed by MC Canada staff.)

Often our society relies too much on numbers. In gravitating to quantification we tend to short-circuit the truth, which is nuanced and multilayered.

But when it comes to our denomination, I would like to see more numbers. Specifically, how has overall giving to area/regional churches and Mennonite Church Canada changed over time?

Nonviolent action in history and today

Karen Ridd facilitates the Village Game during her workshop at this year’s Red River Heritage Fair at the University of Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of the Red River Heritage Fair)

“In the Second World War there were over 10,000 loyal Canadians who served Canada without weapons. What were they called?” This is the question Conrad Stoesz has been asking students at the Red River Heritage Fair for more than a decade.

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