The following letter was drafted by representatives of the Mennonite Church Canada network of regional working groups on Palestine and Israel, and sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, on May 2, 2018. It is being published in Canadian Mennonite at the request of the working groups.
God at work in the World
Naim Ateek speaks to an audience at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and his new book on Palestinian liberation theology. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)
“We have to begin by crying out for justice. You build peace on justice.”
Naim Ateek uttered this plea on April 25 2018, before more than 150 people gathered at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg to hear him speak about his new book, A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict.
Ben Pauls of Zoar Mennonite in Waldheim, Sask., leads an ensemble of 15 singers from a number of MC Saskatchewan congregations during a joint worship service at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation on April 22, 2018. (Photo by Jason Gooding)
Music continues to be the catalyst for growth in the relationship between Mennonite Church Saskatchewan and its Indigenous neighbours.
On Earth Day, April 22, 2018, Mennonites and members of the Muskeg Lake community gathered for An Afternoon of Song at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church in Marcelin on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.
The Heppner Mueller family with their waste from 2017. Pictured from left to right: Kaija, Aria, Connie, Rick and their dog Juno. (Photo courtesy of Connie Heppner Mueller)
The Heppner Mueller family’s 2017 waste, contained in one garbage bag. (Photo courtesy of Connie Heppner Mueller)
Juno with the family’s ice cream pail designated for garbage. (Photo courtesy of Connie Heppner Mueller)
Connie Heppner Mueller stands behind an extra pile of garbage that amounted to more than all the rest of their 2017 waste, due to garbage left behind by workers during a small renovation and a downsizing of old keepsakes. She says that without it, the first picture isn’t quite truthful. (Photo courtesy of Connie Heppner Mueller)
People hear every day about garbage mountains growing, icebergs melting and species going extinct. With every plastic bag and old cell phone people throw away, they are contributing to the problem. The average Canadian produces 777 kilograms of garbage a year, as of 2009.
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank walks a fine line on climate and walks it well. A recent and rare slip demonstrated the tensions it, like the rest of us, must navigate.
Four years ago, while part of a missional leadership group, Kara Carter, pastor of Wellesley Mennonite Church, received news from the local school parents advisory group that there were children who were coming to school hungry.
Staff member Barratt Bender, left, and volunteer Virginia Kreitz sort clothing that has been shipped from another thrift store to MCC’s new rePurpose store in Elmira, Ont., where it is sold by the pound. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Volunteers who work at any of the many Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift stores know the sorrow of unsold goods: clothing that hangs around for more than a month or dishes that don’t move out the door to grace someone’s table.
As depicted in Wavelength Entertainment’s series, Bridging Borders, a group of friends from Saskatoon’s Nutana neighbourhood sponsors a family from Sudan. Sponsors and newcomers quickly become friends. (Bridging Borders Facebook page)
In the third episode of Bridging Borders, Dana Krushel, left, MCC Saskatchewan’s migration and resettlement coordinator, connects a Syrian woman with a sponsorship group who help her family come to Canada. Kushel and the woman laugh together at the airport as they await the arrival of the woman’s family. (Bridging Borders Facebook page)
A new television documentary series featuring the work of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan is currently airing on City-Saskatchewan TV.
Teammates Stiven Castro and Jose David Lopez Herrara face off during soccer practice in Cali, Colombia. Offering soccer camp for youth who want to be professionals provides an opportunity to share Christ and to give purpose to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)
Teammates Johan Esteban Carvajal Motoa, Duvan Rodriguez and Stiven Castro hone their skills after a soccer practice in Cali, Colombia. They are part of an MCC-supported soccer school that reaches out to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)
Soccer player Stiven Castro, 16, meets with instructor Sigifredo Godoy after a practice in Cali, Colombia. MCC supports the work of Godoy, a former professional soccer player, who runs a soccer school that reaches out to youth living in areas where gangs and violence are prevalent. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)
Goalkeeper Duvan Rodriguez, 18, reaches to grab a field marker used to teach specific skills during soccer practice. Rodriguez says that being part of the soccer school, at which players are also taught how to manage their anger, has helped him resolve conflicts with words instead of violence. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)
When Sigifredo Godoy talks about living out his faith, he’s talking sweat and strategy—the commitment, knowledge and skills that shaped him as a professional soccer player. That’s what he’s now passing on to young men from some of the most violent areas of his home city, Cali, Colombia.
Seminar participants and Mennonite Central Committee staff gather in front of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. (Photo by Nadia García)
Right before winter reading break, 30 university students from across Canada gathered in Ottawa to learn about the current conflict in Palestine and Israel at a seminar hosted by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada Ottawa Office. From Feb. 15–17, students attending “Palestine and Israel: Let no walls divide” explored issues of advocacy, peace and justice.
People in your country are angry at the government. They gather to protest peacefully, and the government responds by opening fire on the protesters. The occasional bomb goes off and people are fighting in the streets. Soon, it’s not safe for you to leave the house and go to work. When food is available, it’s very expensive. You have the option to pay smugglers to get you out of the country.
Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-settler relations for Mennonite Church Canada, presents a workshop at Rosthern (Sask.) Mennonite Church entitled ‘Unsettling discipleship: The cost of colonialism, the joy of jubilee.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)
What does the ancient Levitical concept of jubilee have to do with reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and their settler neighbours? Plenty, according to Steve Heinrichs.
Field day at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)
Harvesting grain as part of a long-term organic crop rotation study at the University of Manitoba's Glenlea research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)
Agriculture is changing. Perhaps it always has been. Markets realign. Tastes shift. Ideas evolve. Climatic conditions rearrange.
Mennonites are part of the change—as farmers, thinkers and eaters.
Ashlyn Shantz of Heidelberg, Ont., right, shares a meal together with a local in the village of Win Poat, Myanmar. (Photo by Byron Shantz)
The Myanmar on the Move team stops for a water break and photo. The scenery throughout Kayin State is stunning. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)
The 20 cyclists on last fall’s Myanmar on the Move fundraising tour stop at a craft village along the way, meeting the artisans who build these products from teak wood. (Photo by Byron Shantz)
Two men at work in one of many rice paddies in Myanmar’s Kayin State that the MEDA group cycled past during its fundraising trip. Farmers and villagers often wave and shout ‘thank you’ even though they have no idea why we are there. The people in Myanmar are extremely friendly and welcoming. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)
On a cultural stop along the way, Peter Dueck, in the green vest, stands outside the Saddan Cave in front of a white ‘royal elephant’ waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Inside the cave are dozens of Buddha statues and pagodas. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)
Ken Frey, from the Drayton, Ont., area, in the Canada shirt, and Dean Shoemaker, ahead of him in black, pedal past Buddhist monks during a MEDA-sponsored ‘Myanmar on the move’ fundraising tour last November. Read Byron Shantz’s reflection of the tour and see more photos beginning on page 16. (Photo by Byron Shantz)
When I originally told friends and family of my intention to travel with my family to Myanmar, I was challenged with the idea of a known global-crisis country as a travel destination. However, we were completely removed from any threat of the Rohingya genocide crisis in the northwest of the country.
Jacqui Block, left, Peter Guenther and George Epp enjoy a light-hearted moment as they reflect on what they learned about Mennonite Central Committee’s disaster response. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
“There’s no such thing as a natural disaster,” according to Bruce Guenther. But Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada’s disaster response director wasn’t in denial.
Highlighted in grey is the conflict zone within the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country of Rwanda, to the east, is also affected by the conflict. (Canadian Mennonite map by Betty Avery)
Christine Ndaya, who is displaced from Mbuji-Mayi in the Kasai region, is holding a tarp that is part of supplies distributed in Kikwit District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is pregnant and has three children, who also are benefitting from food, which is also part of the supplies. (MCC photo by Rachel Bergen)
“As many as 250,000 children could starve in Kasai in the next few months unless enough nutritious food reaches them quickly,” says David Beasley, World Food Programme’s executive director, in an Oct. 30 release.
A police officer, rehabilitation counsellor, medical cannabis producer and Mennonite pastor present their thoughts on the implications of the Canadian government’s plan to legalize marijuana at ‘Our need for weed? Sparking conversations in the church and community,’ the Nov. 15 Face2Face event at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)
It’s not often that you see the words Mennonite, church and university in the same sentence as marijuana. Yet, “Our need for weed? Sparking conversations in the church and community” was the title of the Nov. 15 Face2Face event at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).
Scholars Muhammad Ali Shomali, left, and Irma Fast Dueck enjoy a break at the fifth annual Christian-Muslim dialogue in Edmonton during the last week of October. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
David Goa, formerly of the Chester Ronning Centre for the study of Religion and Public Life centre, moderates a dialogue between scholars Chris Huebner, left, and Muhammad Ali Shomali, right at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church on Oct. 29, during the fifth annual Christian-Muslim dialogue. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
At a time when world news seems to set nations against each other, the chatter and laughter of an obviously diverse crowd can be inspiring.
While Palmer Becker, right, looks on, Maahin Khan and Aroob Asheaf from the Kitchener Masjid and Stephanie Janzen-Martin, from Waterloo North Mennonite Church exchange contact information at the end of Waterloo North Mennonite Church’s open house with the masjid on Oct. 22. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Palmer Becker began to attend the Kitchener (Ont.) Masjid when he returned from teaching at Bethlehem Bible College in 2009. While in Bethlehem, he had heard the daily calls to prayer and had gone to pray at the mosque.
Gord Enns leads a bicycle tour of five farms in the Osler, Sask., area that sell meat, vegetables, fruit and baked goods directly to consumers. (Photo courtesy of Gord Enns)
Participants check out the produce available for sale on the Local Food Trail. (Photo courtesy of Gord Enns)
Curious pigs come to check out the Local Food Trail bike tour participants. (Photo courtesy of Gord Enns)
Local Food Trail bicycle tour participants chat with the farmer at this market garden. (Photo courtesy of Gord Enns)
On a sunny Saturday in early September, 13 cyclists set out to explore the Local Food Trail near Osler, Sask. Gord Enns, who is executive director of the Saskatoon Food Council and who lives on a farm in the Osler area, organized the tour in conjunction with the town of Osler and the rural municipality of Corman Park.
The 2017 Walk for Reconciliation recognizing First Nations peoples drew an estimated 50,000 people in Vancouver on Sept. 24. Some two-dozen Mennonites from several Lower Mainland congregations walked together under a “Mennonite Folks” sign organized by Garry Janzen, Mennonite Church B.C.’s executive minster.
As a teenager, Ghada Ageel had heated debates with her grandmother at their home in the Khan Younis refugee camp in South Gaza.
“I asked my grandmother many questions: Why didn’t you stay in Beit Daras and die there? Why do I have to be a refugee and live this misery?” Her grandmother was forced to flee in 1948, when Israel occupied and destroyed her village.