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‘Everything was getting better’

Victoria Mamani Sirpa noticed that her family was healthier after they started growing and eating vegetables grown in their greenhouse in El Alto, Bolivia. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky) 

Victoria Mamani Sirpa, left, an agricultural technician and teacher for Fundación Communidad y Axión, visits Luciana Llamaca de Condori’s greenhouse in El Alto, Bolivia. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky) 

Before 2008, Victoria Mamani Sirpa had only ever cooked with four vegetables: carrots, chard, celery and onions.

B.C. Festival for World Relief raises $1 million-plus

More than 20,000 people attended the annual MCC British Columbia Festival for World Relief on Sept. 14 and 15, 2018, at the Abbotsford Tradex, which raised more than $1 million to support uprooted and vulnerable people locally and around the world. (MCC B.C. photo)

More than 20,000 people attended the annual Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) British Columbia Festival for World Relief in mid-September, raising more than $1 million to support uprooted people locally and around the world.

Japanese Mennonites consider ‘Shared Convictions’

Japanese Mennonites used the ‘Shared Convictions’ of Mennonite World Conference to reflect on the faith and practice of global Anabaptists. (Photo by Atsuhiro Katano) 

At the annual Peace Missions Centre seminar, members of Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kyogikai (Mennonite church) in Japan used the “world café” discussion method to reflect on MWC’s ‘Shared Convictions.’ (Photo by Atsuhiro Katano)

A quiz on global Christianity and Anabaptism (including MWC statistics) prepared participants from Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kyogikai (Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference) for a discussion of the “Shared Convictions” of Global Anabaptists.

Manitoba Mennonites to explore vulnerability and mission

This learning event will replace the fall meeting of Mennonite Church Manitoba delegates.

Embracing vulnerability can help congregations “engage with the world the way Jesus did,” says Ken Warkentin, Mennonite Church Manitoba Executive Minister.

Through plenary talks and workshops, Manitoba congregations will have the opportunity to learn about mission and vulnerability at InFuse, a one-day learning event that takes place at Canadian Mennonite University Nov. 3, 2018.

Anabaptist Peace Network creates space for relationships

In April 2018, the steering committee of the emerging Global Anabaptist Peace Network met for its first face-to-face meeting, in Limuru, Kenya. From left to right: Pascal Kulungu, Fulco van Hulst, Andrés Pacheco (Global Anabaptist Peace Network coordinator), Wendy Kroeker, Andrew Suderman (Peace Commission secretary). (MWC photo by Karla Braun)

he meeting between Ricardo Esquivia (left) and Wendy Kroeker (right) exemplifies the pertinence of a network that enables peacebuilders to meet face-to-face. (MWC photo by Karla Braun)

Coffee breaks at the triennial Mennonite World Conference (MWC) General Council, Commissions and networks meetings in Kenya, April 2018, allowed Colombia peacebuilder and human rights lawyer Ricardo Esquivia to share with an old friend his vision for the Global Anabaptist Peace Network (GAPN): to build networks supporting peacebuilders in the field and communicating with the broader Mennonite c

Education equips Ethiopian leader to serve

Distance education director Tigist Alamirew, standing, with students in class at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of Tigist Alamirew)

Distance education director Tigist Alamirew at her desk at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of Tigist Alamirew)

“With the grace of God, I escaped many deaths throughout my journey in Christ,” says Tigist Alamirew. Born to an Orthodox family in Finote Selam, she now serves as distance education director at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia.

Voices Together committee seeks input

The Central Practices Committee, a part of the Voices Together hymnal project, includes, from left to right: Irma Fast Dueck, Isaac Villegas, Heidi Miller, Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Adam Tice and Allan Rudy-Froese. (MennoMedia photo)

Six people who have been meeting virtually for the last two years via videoconference gathered together in person for the first and only time this summer to speak through and listen to the worship resources that will be part of Voices Together, a new hymnal to be published by MennoMedia in 2020 for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church U.S.A.

‘I need to go to school’

Kanku Ngalamulume and Kapinga Ntumba are orphans living in Tshikapa, where they fled to after their parents were killed in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (MCC photo by Mulanda Juma)

Ten-year-old Kanku Ngalamulume fled from his home in the village of Senge after armed groups beheaded his mother and father and his siblings too.

He was among 1.4 million people in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have been forced from their homes as violence among local militias and the Congolese military erupted in August 2016.

Young people key to resilient church

César García, Mennonite World Conference general secretary, second from right, is pictured with, from left to right: Abby Hershberger, program assistant; Thien Tran, IVEP Intern; Katie Garrison, program Associate; and MCC UN office director Doug Hostetter. (MCC United Nations Office photo)

Throughout its history, the people of the Vietnam Mennonite Church have never failed to demonstrate their resilience and their commitment to live out the peaceful way of Christ.

The Holy Spirit transforms prison

Inmates in Asuncion’s infamous Tacumbú Prison participate in La Libertad Church, a ministry of the Mennoniten Brüder Gemeinde Concordia in Paraguay. (Photo courtesy of Ignacio Chamorro Ramirez)

“My members are rapists, kidnappers, murders and fraudsters—all washed by the blood of Jesus our Lord,” says Pastor Ignacio Chamorro Ramírez.

Chamorro is director of an integrated transformation program and pastor of La Libertad (Freedom) Church in Paraguay’s overcrowded Tacumbú national penitentiary. But he was once a prisoner like the men he serves.

Teaching with Talking Books

MEDA distributes Talking Book devices to share information related to agriculture, gender, nutrition, finance, buyers and suppliers, and other matters that affect Ghanaian farmers. (Photo by Christian Kuder)

Talking Books can be used by MEDA clients regardless of their level of literacy. (Photo by Christian Kuder)

Ghanaian lead farmers Mariama Majeed and her husband Majeed Sohinwini listen to their Talking Book. (Photo by Christian Kuder)

Teaching technical information to people who are mostly not literate can pose serious challenges. But if use of books isn’t helpful, Talking Books can get the message across.

Transmission of love and peace at European Mennonite gathering

In a cooperative effort, Mennonites at the 2018 European Mennonite Conference packed relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Claude Nardin)

Indonesian pastor Danang Kristiawan (right), who participated in MERK as a guest of the Dutch Mennonites, meets Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns. (Photo courtesy of Danang Kristiawan.)

“We can’t keep our story. We must share.” That is the message Danang Kristiawan brought home after attending the European Mennonite Conference (known by its German acronym MERK), from May 10 to 13, 2018.

The gathering of European Mennonites that occurs every six years was bigger than ever, with a total of 2,300 people attending some part of the program.

Spiritual snapshots of the U.K. and Africa

Cheryl and Mike Nimz have been Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in the United Kingdom for five years. After itinerating in Canada for two-and-a-half months, they have returned to Birmingham, England, to continue their assignment. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Norm and Lillian Nicolson and their children Kenneth and Nadine have returned to Canada after many years in Burkina Faso. A celebration of their ministry was held at Edmonton’s Holyrood Mennonite Church on July 22, 2018. Mennonite Church Alberta presented each family member with a quilt as a ‘warm welcome’ to Canada. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Mike and Cheryl Nimz: United Kingdom

MC Canada staffer sentenced to seven days in jail

Steve Heinrichs and supporters gather for prayer outside the courthouse in Vancouver during his two-day trial on Aug. 7 and 8, 2018. (Photo by Brad Leitch)

Steve Heinrichs works on a statement to the court explaining the motivations for his act of civil disobedience, and how, in his mind, it was not in contempt of court or ‘the rule of law,’ but in defence of fundamental Indigenous human rights. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

Steve Heinrichs was found guilty of criminal and civil contempt of court in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Aug. 8, 2018, and was sentenced to seven days in provincial jail. He was immediately taken into custody and transferred to the North Fraser Institute in Coquitlam to serve his sentence. (Aug.

‘We became family to each other’

The plaque accompanying the painting reads: ‘“Congregation” by Tom Neufeld, pastor of TUMC, 1976-1979. Presented to CMU by members of Thompson [Man.] United Mennonite Church.’

George Epp, Ted Redekop and Jack Crolly—members of Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church from the 1970s—ski together. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Members of Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church at the Ospawagen church retreat in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church in 1982. (Photo by Marilyn Redekop)

“The Thompson group,” as they sometimes call themselves, at the hanging of the painting ‘Congregation’ on May 24, 2018 at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. They followed the dedication with a barbecue together. (Photo by Marilyn Redekop)

What do you get when you start a Mennonite church in the middle of nowhere? A community that is still going strong more than 50 years later, even after the church itself has closed its doors.

Where he leads me I will follow

Anna Dyck, front row centre, was ordained on Sept. 6, 1953, at North Star Mennonite Church in Drake, Sask. Seated beside Dyck are her mother, Suzanna Dyck, and J. J. Thiessen. Standing, from left to right: H. S. Bartel; Paul Schroeder, North Star Mennonite pastor at the time; and Hans Dyck. (Photo courtesy of Grace MacDougall)

Anna Dyck helped establish this church in Miyakonojo, Japan. (Photo courtesy of Grace MacDougall)

At a time when a woman’s sphere of influence was limited to hearth and home, Anna Dyck was making a difference.

Dyck spent nearly 40 years of her life as a missionary in Japan. During those years she lived in three communities and worked as a nurse, Bible teacher, pastor and church planter. She helped establish four congregations that are still in existence today.

Words to the wise

Eight people respond to the question: “If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?”

At the age of 18, most young people are making the transition from high school to whatever comes next. It’s a formative time with many possibilities. So Canadian Mennonite asked eight people: “If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?” This is how they responded.

The end in mind

Etch Your Own Stone is the follow-up to Sparky and the Plugs’ 2016 eponymous debut album. (Photo by Judith Schulz)

Jill Wiens, left, Curtis Wiens, Zac Schellenberg and Clay Buhler are Sparky and the Plugs. (Photo by Aleta Schellenberg)

The members of Sparky and the Plugs grew up in Mennonite Church Canada congregations. They have been friends since they were teenagers. (Photo by Judith Schulz)

Etch Your Own Stone takes its name from the song ‘Stone Cutter,’ in which the singer asks: ‘How will people remember you when you die?’ (Photo courtesy of Sparky and the Plugs)

How will people remember you when you die?

That’s the question at the heart of “Stone Cutter,” one of the key tracks on Etch Your Own Stone, the new album from Saskatoon bluegrass quartet Sparky and the Plugs.

In the song, written by banjo player Curtis Wiens, the singer contemplates how he will spend his time on Earth.

Broken glass angels provide hope and jobs

Women artists produce angels from shards of glass at the Art and Culture Centre in Bethlehem, West Bank. Thousands of angels have been produced and sold worldwide. (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Inger Jonasson explains, “The angels of peace are messengers of justice, peace and dignity. And they have become an important lifeline for many Palestinian families in an area where 70 percent of the adult population used to be unemployed.” (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Originally, they were made of pieces of broken glass from the rubble an Israeli tank left behind when it slammed into the gift shop at the International Centre of Bethlehem (ICB) in 2002. Today the glass angels of peace are made of used bottles and have emerged into a small business enterprise employing around 50 people in the Bethlehem area.

Bridging the rural-urban divide to help end world hunger

Larry and Marg Dyck participate in the Grow Hope Niagara project of Canadian Foodgrains Bank. They donate use of the land and farm it with the financial help of urban sponsors. The income generated goes to the hunger relief efforts of Mennonite Central Committee Canada. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Grow Hope Niagara farmer Larry Dyck hosts city-dwelling sponsors who visit the farm to see the crop and learn more about the project and farming. Their financial support helps cover the cost of seeds and fertilizer so that all proceeds of the crop can be donated to relieve world hunger. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Grant Dyck is the main farmer of Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s Grow Hope Manitoba near Niverville, Man. At the annual harvest celebration, he tells urban sponsors about the canola crop he raised to help relieve world hunger. The funds raised in Manitoba go toward the hunger relief efforts of MCC Canada. (Photo by Bethany Daman)

Fifteen acres of wheat and a good cause—that’s what brought nearly 200 people together in Pembina Crossing, Man., in June 2018.

Some drove two hours from Winnipeg, others five minutes from their rural homes. Most came from Anglican church communities in Winnipeg.

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