God at work in Us

A servant leader

Neufeld

Joseph S. Neufeld was born into a large Mennonite family and community in rural Alberta. Having many sisters and brothers, and growing up in the Dirty Thirties, he quickly developed an ability to accommodate others, and be resourceful and generous. He saw Christian faith-in-action modelled, a lesson he took as his own.

Housing project visualizes new model of care

Those who live at the St. Clair O’Connor Community enjoy good fellowship.

Over the last number of years the St. Clair O’Connor Community (SCOC) Board has reviewed and renewed its mission statement and constitution. Through these evaluations many questions were raised about this multi-generational housing project that currently has residents from young children to those over 100 years old.

Elsie Cressman, pioneer missionary and midwife, dies

Elsie Cressman, (foreground) the subject of a documentary, Return to Africa: The Story of Elsie Cressman, is pictured with filmmakers Paul Francescutti, and Paula and Paul Campsall, at a screening in Waterloo in 2010.

Funeral services were held Sept. 23, for Elsie Cressman, a former Eastern Mennonite Missions worker in East Africa, who died Sept. 11. Cressman was known for her work among leprosy patients and her work as a midwife both in East Africa and in Canada.

Recognizing God at work

Muriel Bechtel, retiring this summer after 12 years as Mennonite Church Eastern Canada conference minister, is pictured in her office, familiar to many pastors through the years.

After 12 years as Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s conference minister, Muriel Bechtel will be moving into retirement this summer. On June 24 she also celebrated 20 years since her ordination, when she was pastor of Warden Woods Mennonite Church, Toronto.

Sunday school teacher, 103, had lasting influence

Eliesabeth Klassen celebrated her 103rd birthday on March 3. A few weeks later, six of her students from 60 years ago went to visit her at Blenheim Lodge. Pictured from left to right, front row: Lucy Meyer, Eliesabeth Klassen, Marie Penner and Margie Ewert; and back row: Elfrieda Klassen, Margaret Ewert, Helga Stobbe and Elvira Guenther.

Eliesabeth Klassen says she’s three. “Forget the other hundred years,” she says with a laugh, using a magnifying glass to scan familiar faces in old directories from Vancouver’s First United Mennonite Church, a congregation she attended from its humble beginnings in 1937.

Facing the mental health frontier

Chris Summerville in his executive director office at the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.

All the fear, stigma and social prejudice that surrounds mental illness recently surfaced again in the media when a review board granted Vince Li temporary passes to take supervised walks in Selkirk, Man., where he is hospitalized. Li made headlines about four years ago with the horrific psychosis-induced beheading of a fellow bus passenger.

Learn, serve, play

Gerd Bartel retired from his position as Mennonite Church Canada’s western director of resource development late last year, a job he describes as primarily visiting and saying “thank you” to the generous donors who support national church ministries. Bartel officially served in the position since 2000, but he fundraised for the church and its institutions on and off for 30 years.

WISK women’s group bridges the age divide

Susan Nielsen, left, a member of Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary, brought her neighbours Melanie and Kayla Beingessner to the “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” event last fall. “It was a great event,” says Melanie. “I hope she invites us to the next one.”

Committee meetings have a reputation for being necessary but tedious. But at Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary, there is a standout exception to the rule in the Women Intergenerational from Seniors to Kids (WISK) group.



“For me, the committee is the source of great excitement,” says Kate Janzen.



Mennonite develops friendships with Muslims to build grassroots peace

Because Leon Kehl has been fostering friendships between Mennonites and Muslims, he was interviewed by Third Way Media when they were filming the recently released documentary, Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives. Kehl, a member of Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church, hopes the group of Muslim and Mennonite friends that he has worked with in Waterloo Region for several years

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