When Mennonites in Winnipeg baptize a believer, they do so with water from Shoal Lake. The baptismal water comes from a project for which the members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation were involuntarily moved. It comes from a place where local residents have lived under a boil-water advisory for 17 years.
God at work in the World
Mennonite Church Canada has responded with letters of support to the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community and the Middle East Council of Churches.
We share in the grief and shock our nation is feeling. We honour Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who were killed. Our prayers for comfort and healing are offered for the families of Cirillo and Vincent, those wounded, and those who were the first responders on the scenes. We offer our prayers for the families of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau.
Like many Canadians, I find myself in a place of sadness following the senseless violence in our capital city on Oct. 22, two days after a similar incident in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., south of Montreal.
Canada is not among the nations to ratify the new United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that seeks to better regulate the $85-billion global arms industry and thus prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands.
Before 120 political leaders gathered at the request of the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon for a summit on climate change, and before more than 300,000 people marched through the streets of New York for the People’s Climate March, religious leaders from around the world gathered to consider the threat posed by climate change.
Even urban Mennonites lay claim to an agrarian heritage. According to many speakers at Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, held last month at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), this is important despite the urbanity of most Mennonites and North Americans in general.
Melanie Kampen camped out at the Native Women’s Protest site near the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg earlier this month, to protest the government’s lack of response to the 1,182 missing and murdered indigenous women from across Canada. (Photo by Chris Swan)
On a very windy, cold and dark Oct. 3 night, Steve Heinrichs, director of indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, and a few others strung 20 dresses on fishing line on both sides of the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge that spans the Red River near The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.
Volunteer exhaustion and the difficulty recruiting more and younger volunteers are a big part of the reason the Morris MCC Relief Sale is shutting down after 33 years, but George Klassen, chair of the now defunct board, identifies other reasons as well: ‘People do not need “stuff” as much as they used to.’ (Credit: Kristian Jordan)
“It almost felt like a huge sigh of relief coming from the volunteers,” said George Klassen as he closed the books of the Morris (Man.) Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale. On Sept. 13, about 250 volunteers served their last perogies, knitted their last slippers, baked their last pies and directed traffic for the very last sale in Morris.
Team members of the MEDA Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb celebrate as they reach the summit on July 14 after beginning that morning at 5 a.m., which required wearing headlamps to see. (Photo: Duane Eby)
Allan Sauder, MEDA president, on the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb in July. (Photo: courtesy of Allan Sauder)
Allan Sauder, MEDA president, on the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb in July. (Photo: Tom Bishop)
After 27 years with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), the last 12 as president and chief executive officer, Allan Sauder of Waterloo felt that he needed a professional development leave to both freshen his energies and to give him a new perspective on his work.
David Shenk, fourth from right; Pastor Jeremiah Choi, sixth from right; and Pastor Crystal Nana Lee, fifth from left, discuss relationships between Muslims and Christians at Agape Mennonite Church in Hong Kong in September 2013. (Photo courtesy of David Shenk)
The Christian/Muslim Relations Team, from left to right: David Shenk, Grace Shenk, Jonathan Bornman, Sheryl Martin and Andres Prins. (Photo: Tammy Evans)
“Are Muslims trying to take over America?” “Who are the ‘true Muslims’—the peaceful ones or the violent ones?” “How should Christians respond to jihadi Muslims?” “Isn’t force the only effective way to respond to Islamist terrorism?”
Clerical collars and hijabs, men and women, black and white, the diversity in the crowd of more than 200 was clearly visible. Just as obvious, however, was the palpable presence of God as the crowd listened intently to both Christian and Muslim speakers share about the importance of faith to both private and corporate life today.
Friends would apologize for throwing things out when they visited. People posted nasty notes on the CBC and CTV websites in response to “the challenge.”
Church of the Way in Granisle, British Columbia, may be small, but as the only church in town its witness in the community is large.
Frank Elias, left, president of the Carman Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift Shop, welcomes Ron Janzen, director of MCC Manitoba, as he arrives on his 600-kilometre bicycle tour of the 16 thrift shops in Manitoba. Each store was given a rebuilt bicycle to raffle off during the celebrations when Janzen arrived.
It only took a few seconds for Ron Janzen to catch his breath as he dismounted his bicycle and entered the Carman Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift Shop to greet volunteers and shoppers.
Ilda Bauman in the early 1940s in front of The House of Friendship for all the Nations on King Street in Kitchener, Ont.
A paper cut-out of Joseph Cramer has stood prominently at the many House of Friendship (HoF) events during the Kitchener-based social agency’s 75th-anniversary year.
When John Neufeld took the reins as director of Kitchener’s House of Friendship (HoF), he was confused by the 19 separate programs it was running: shelters, a food bank, addiction programs, a youth program, work in community centres, and on and on. How to make sense of it all?
Sol Sanderson, former chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, addresses festival-goers at the Spruce River Folk Festival.
The Joy Singers—left to right: Wilf Buhler, Art Zacharias, Gordon Martens and Ben Buhler—perform at the Spruce River Folk Festival. Three of the four singers are members of Osler Mennonite Church.
Roland Ray, left, of the Mathias Colomb First Nation, Sandy Bay, Sask., shows festivalgoer Les Hurlburt how ancient rock paintings depict the land that once belonged to the band.
George Kingfisher, Young Chippewayan hereditary chief, addresses festival-goers at the Spruce River Folk Festival.
It may be a blip on the radar compared to other events of its kind, but what it lacks in size the Spruce River Folk Festival more than makes up for in heart.
The land at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in downtown Winnipeg was too important as an inter-tribal meeting and trading place to be held by any one people, says Clarence Nepinak, a learning tour leader at Native Assembly 2014. (Photo by Moses Falco)
Steve Heinrichs, director of indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, leads in singing during one of Native Assembly 2014’s worship services. (Photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau)
In the Blanket Exercise, quilts covering the floor are Turtle Island—aka North America. The blankets are folded and removed to represent the insidious ways that land and control were taken from Indigenous Peoples through colonialism. Participants are crowded into smaller and smaller areas, or sent back to their seats to represent those who died from disease or imposed malnutrition. (Photo by Moses Falco)
An early morning fire and smudging ceremony started each day of Native Assembly 2014 that met from July 28 to 31 at the edge of the Assiniboine Forest on the Canadian Mennonite University campus.
Brander McDonald is soft-spoken. He moves about the room with quiet dignity, avoiding eye contact while he presents a workshop exploring indigenous worldviews at Native Assembly 2014. He admits to being a shy youngster, but there is more to his demeanour than being reserved. “My grandmother taught me that I shouldn’t look someone in the eye when I first meet them,” he says.
There’s an imbalance here. Of the 250-ish gathered for Native Assembly 2014, indigenous participants are overwhelmingly outnumbered by non-native folks.
A few months ago, planners were concerned that not enough white church folks would attend. But this turnabout troubles me. Dominant people can often become dominant voices. So I’m trying to listen more and say less.
Indigenous issues are charged, complex and unappealing to many Canadians. Understandably so.
Competing histories and intricate legalities combine with strong sentiments to create a sort of national quagmire. No one feels comfortable about the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, but meaningful change often seems impossible.
Brent Gingerich, the third generation of the Schlegel-Gingerich clan to helm the PeopleCare Inc. family of long-term care facilities, remembers travelling after high school with a friend in south and southeast Asia.
Hannah Martens (left), Cindy Klassen, and Rebecca Janzen enjoy each other’s company at the “GO” booth where Martens and Janzen earned money for MCC by running and biking on the stationary equipment.
Alberta Mennonites have few opportunities for large fellowship gatherings. While the annual Mennonite Central Committee relief sale is a huge amount of work, when the weekend arrives, the atmosphere is decidedly celebratory.