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‘Evening for Ukraine’ raises $220,000

Violinist Lorin Friesen entertains attendees at a fundraising banquet at Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, B.C., on May 7. (Photo by Jet Takaoka)

A fundraising dinner to help people affected by the current war in Ukraine began with a man who had vivid memories of leaving Ukraine as a five-year-old in the mid-1940s. The man phoned Gerd Bartel, a well-known member of Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, with the simple question, “What can we do to help people in Ukraine?”

MDS provides meals, camps, blankets and more

A leader and camper at the Urban Promise camp in Toronto, made possible with support from the Spirit of MDS Fund. (Photo courtesy of Urban Promise)

Meals and blankets for homeless people, helping low-income kids go to camp, support for refugees—these are some of the ways the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada Spirit of MDS Fund helped Canadian congregations and organizations serve their communities.

UMEI launches renewal campaign

Pictured with UMEI’s Project Renew sign are, from left to right: principal Sonya Bedal, board chair Steve Enns and board secretary Carolyn Warkentin. (Photo by Megan Snippe)

The sanctuary of North Leamington United Mennonite Church was packed on March 9 as supporters of UMEI Christian High School gathered for a special meeting.

The UMEI board had been facing difficult numbers for several years, and it was time to face the question: “When is it time to say that it’s no longer sustainable to keep the school open?”

Indigenous relations work revamped and reduced

In this 2018 photo, Lorne Brandt (right), then chair of Mennonite Church B.C.’s Service, Peace and Justice Committee, presents Steve Heinrichs with a vest and moccasins made by Cree craftspeople. The governing body of Mennonite Church Canada has ended the full-time Indigenous-Settler Relations position that Heinrichs held for the last decade. (Photo by Henry Krause/Canadian Mennonite files)

The governing body of Mennonite Church Canada has decided to end the full-time Indigenous-Settler Relations (ISR) position held by Steve Heinrichs and replace it with a new half-time position.

Heinrichs’s 10-plus notable years with MC Canada are over.

Music comes alive through synesthesia, art

CMU student Anna Schwartz, left, stands with visual artist and piano instructor Shirley Elias in front of one of the artworks that make up ‘Spectrum – The Colour of Music; Precision and Impression.’ (CMU photo)

Imagine if you could see sound. When Anna Schwartz listens to music, she not only hears the different instruments, keys and dynamics—she sees them. That’s because she has synesthesia, a neurological condition in which information entering a person’s brain stimulates multiple senses at once.

The land speaks

Elaine Enns and David Neufeld examine a bison rubbing stone at the Coalmine Ravine region in September 2021. (Photo courtesy of Randy Klassen)

“We hope that people, landowners especially, will talk about what’s on their land, who occupied the land and who occupies it now,” says Harry Lafond, a Muskeg Lake Cree First Nation elder. “The land holds everyone’s history and everyone’s story. We, all of us, need to be responsible custodians of the story. We need to talk about these issues.

MCC partners in India support migrant workers

Santosh Birhor works on his kitchen garden tomato plants. Through the support of CASA, an MCC partner, he has been able to drastically increase his yields and plant more diverse crops. (Photo courtesy of CASA)

When thinking about migration, it is easy to focus just on resettling refugees fleeing conflict or disaster. But the work Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) does with migrants isn’t just about resettling those on the move. Hundreds of millions of people are migrant workers, seeking higher-paying jobs far away from their families and homes.

MCC partners in Ukraine work to meet physical and spiritual needs

MCC staff member Anna, centre, with her family and members of the local Evangelical Baptist church in western Ukraine that has converted their building into a refugee shelter with support from MCC for those fleeing the conflict. (Photo courtesy of MCC)

​​Children recover and rest on the mattresses and blankets assembled by an Evangelical Baptist church in the Lviv area for refugees fleeing the conflict. The work of this church has been supported by MCC. (Photo courtesy of MCC)

In the silence that lived between the deadly warnings of air raid sirens, the sound of a small choir, singing a song of praise, echoed out of a church sanctuary in western Ukraine. Just the night before, Anna, administrative coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ukraine, had absent-mindedly hummed a few bars of the song during an evening tea break at the church.

Winter lectures address global social concerns

Sofia Samatar (left) and Regina Shands-Stoltzfus (right) will give lectures at Conrad Grebel University College in March.

Coming in March, Conrad Grebel University College is hosting two distinct winter lectures, offered by Sofia Samatar and Regina Shands-Stoltzfus. The presentations are focused on addressing global social concerns and raising awareness about oppression.

MCC pulls staff from Ukraine

Andrea Shalay and three American staff members of MCC scrambled to leave Ukraine. (Supplied photo)

Russia has begun military operations against Ukraine, but North American Mennonite Central Committee staff who were working in the latter country are safe.

That includes Winnipegger Andrea Shalay, the charity’s peace engagement co-ordinator for Europe. Shalay and three other staff, all Americans, were evacuated from Ukraine more than a week ago.

Mennonites, Catholics reunite Ontario family

Marc, Carole, Marie-Ange and Jean-Dominique Jobin are pictured in Carole and Marie-Ange’s temporary quarters while MDS partners with the Knights of Columbus to build a medically sterile and temperature-controlled addition to their home in Barry’s Bay, Ont. (Photo by Osiah Horst)

A family separated by illness is being reunited through the joint efforts of the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Ontario Unit and the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus.

Watch: MWC looks back on 2021

Mennonite World Conference has released a video highlighting its work around the world in 2021. In this image, young people study the Bible in small groups at a youth event in Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of MWC)

If you’re curious about what Mennonites around the world were up to in 2021, look no further than Mennonite World Conference’s (MWC) year-in-review video.

Released at the end of December, the five-minute video explores the ways the global Anabaptist-Mennonite family strengthened relationships through local gatherings and international webinars.

MC Canada invites submissions for virtual choir

A virtual choir sings as part a launch event for the Voices Together hymnal in 2020. Mennonite Church Canada is inviting Canadian Mennonites to join a virtual choir for Gathering 2022. (YouTube photo)

Mennonite Church Canada is putting together a virtual choir for Gathering 2022, and you are invited to join.

The choir will record “Greater Things Than These,” a song that Winnipeg pastor and songwriter Phil Campbell-Enns composed for the event.

Watch: How to read church financial statements

‘It’s important for all church members, not just number-lovers, to be able to make sense of financial statements,’ says Michael Pahl, executive minister of Mennonite Church Manitoba. (YouTube photo)

Regional churches are preparing to hold their annual gatherings in the coming weeks, and Mennonite Church Manitoba is offering a resource for delegates who are feeling anxious about discussing  financial matters.

MC Canada leaders denounce white nationalism

Doug Klassen, pictured in March 2020, is one of six Mennonite Church Canada leaders who made a statement on Sunday denouncing the white nationalism being expressed at protests across the country. (YouTube photo)

The day after thousands of truckers and other protesters converged on Parliament Hill to call for an end to COVID-19 mandates and other public health restrictions, Mennonite Church Canada’s executive ministers released a statement decrying the white nationalism being expressed at related protests that are springing up across the country.

Common Read continues with ‘Been in the Struggle’

Tobin Miller Shearer (left) and Regina Shands Stoltzfus are the authors of ‘Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Antiracist Spirituality.’ (Image courtesy of MennoMedia)

Common Read, an initiative of Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church U.S.A. and Herald Press that encourages Mennonites to engage in a shared reading experience, continues January 2022 through March 2022 with Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Antiracist Spirituality.

Series will explore responses to climate crisis

Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for MC Canada, will co-host a learning series on the climate crisis based on the book, ‘A Good War.’ (Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/heinrichs_steve)

Mennonite Church Canada is hosting a new online community learning series. “Creator’s Call in a Climate Emergency” starts on Jan. 20 and lasts eight weeks.

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