God at work in the World
Two new projects supported by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee—Canadian Foodgrains Bank member agencies—have been added to the Foodgrains Bank response to the food crisis in East Africa.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is appealing for donations in response to a critical drought and food crisis in East Africa, which has affected about 11 million people.
As a young Christian man actively involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Mpho Putu knew that some of the movement’s protest songs included themes of revenge killing that posed challenges to what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus.
The last Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) annual meeting likely to be held in Canada addressed issues related to the implementation of the New Wineskins strategy, a three-year process nearing its end.
In the past month, wildfires in northern Alberta devastated the community of Slave Lake, with the resulting losses coming to the attention of both Mennonite Mutual Insurance (MMI) and Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), while in the south the swelling Little Red Deer River cut off access to Camp Valaqua from the north.
While Winnipeggers remained dry and free from the worry of flooding this spring, this is not the case for farmers living near the Portage Diversion, including Tony and Astrid Peters and their family. Up to 75 percent of the Peters’ 405-hectare potato farm is engulfed by water.
German Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns, who first proposed the Decade to Overcome Violence, speaks at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, an event held to celebrate the decade’s conclusion.
Participants at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC)—held last month in Kingston, Jamaica, to celebrate the end of the Decade to Overcome Violence—released a message expressing their unified experience of a week-long exploration of a just peace and ways to navigate a path forward as they return to their homes and churches around the world.
Three years ago, in the middle of reading Roméo Dallaire’s traumatic first-hand account of the Rwanda genocide, David Barker decided his future would be in disaster response.
“It was the first time I read something about the actual suffering going on in the world,” says Barker, recalling his profound emotional response to Dallaire’s book, Shake Hands with the Devil.
On the weekend of Sept. 25-26, 2010, the Kingcome River raged through the remote First Nation community of Kingcome. Floodwaters forced lifelong residents of the Pacific coastal village to flee from their homes with only a few minutes notice. As the waters quickly rose, villagers gathered at the school and waited to be airlifted out by helicopter.
The response to my request for an interview last September said it all: “Maggie and I are in Tuscany. . . . We’ve rented a small villa very near Cortona [Italy] and will be here until the end of October. I’m afraid the interview will have to wait until early November. Ciao.”
Nearly a year after receiving an award from the Waterloo Region’s Greening Sacred Spaces organization, Hillcrest Mennonite Church in New Hamburg was the site for a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario solar open house on Feb. 26.
Protesters at the Let Them Stay rally picket the office of Vic Toews, federal minister of public safety, in hopes of setting up a meeting to discuss the deportation and incarceration of American war resisters. Michael Bueckert, holding the Peace Alliance Winnipeg sign, right, protests as a representative of Project Peacemakers.
The Steinbach office of Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was the scene of a mid-January rally in support of American war resisters seeking asylum in Canada that took place in the wake of the defeat of Bill C-440.
Sixty-two executive directors, board chairs and senior staff from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and MCC member churches met for a summit in Akron, Pa., on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The topic of this rare gathering was MCC’s New Wineskins revisioning process.
Our leaders talked about four things:
Ernie Regehr, cofounder of Project Ploughshares and longtime peace advocate, was honoured with the 2010 Pearson Peace Medal at a special ceremony in Ottawa last month.
Patrons at Sam’s Place in Winnipeg, Man., enjoy coffee, reading and good conversation under the watchful eye of ‘Sam,’ the Komodo dragon. The formerly independent, community-based, non-profit organization is now a part of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba and the board that ran it now acts in an advisory capacity.
Sam’s Place, a used book store, café and performing arts venue, has developed into a welcoming meeting place for people living in Elmwood, a working class neighbourhood in the northeast part of Winnipeg.
For Frank O’Dea, a second chance led to the founding of Second Cup, Canada’s first specialty coffee chain.
Fort Benning, Georgia—the home of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas—is also the home of annual peace protests each November.
Three Waterloo Region Mennonites—Nathan Gorvett, Josie Winterfeld and Richard Albrecht—took part in the 2010 protest, which stretched over a three-day weekend.
Christmas was a little merrier for women of Peardonville House treatment centre, thanks to some generous members of Level Ground Mennonite Church, Abbotsford.
Wearing both the traditional red poppy and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) alternative peace button, Ying Ying Wang from China and Santiago Gomez from Colombia—participants in MCC’s International Volunteer Exchange Program—stood before a crowd of 600 people gathered in Warman for a Remembrance Day service, and talked about peace.
On Nov. 9, a wagonload of 37 trees and an eager group of Carman Mennonite Church members armed with spades, including a massive tree spade powered by a tractor, showed up in the church parking lot. A plan to enhance the parking lot, provide shelter from the winds and care for the environment had been developed years ago and now was about to take root.
For a little clothing store, Above the Underground is making a big impact on the lives of people in Abbotsford. And if Darlene Davy, the store’s manager, has her way, many more people will know about it.
“I always say Above the Underground is Abbotsford’s best kept secret, but I’d like to change that,” she says with a smile.