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Telling Anabaptist stories old and new

David Weaver-Zercher visits with Marlene Epp, dean of Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., at the 2018 Bechtel Lectures, held on March 1 and 2. The theme this year about how Mennonite stories, old and new, are used in the media and church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Bruce Bechtel, left, and his father Lester, founder of the Bechtel Lecture series at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., chat with David Weaver-Zercher, this year’s lecturer. The theme this year was about how Mennonite stories, old and new, are used in the media and church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The Bechtel Lecture panel, left to right: David Weaver-Zercher, this year’s visiting lecturer; Johnny Wideman of Theatre of the Beat; Sherri Klassen, the ‘Drunken Mennonite’ blogger; YouTube vlogger Katie Steckly blogger; and Sam Steiner, blogger and an editor of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, at the March 1 and 2 Bechtel Lectures. The theme this year was around the topic of how Mennonite stories, old and new, are used in the media and church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The two nights of the 2018 Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College were connected by David Weaver-Zercher and focussed on Mennonite stories and how they are used in the media and elsewhere.

More about Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador, head of the Catholic Church in El Salvador from 1977 to 1980, when he was assassinated. (commons.wikimedia.org photo)

Murals are common in El Salvador. This one, in the village of Arcatao, depicts the brutal violence of the era in which Oscar Romero led the church in El Salvador. (Photo by Will Braun)

This online supplement accompanies the viewpoint, “Evangelical social justice,” about Archbishop Oscar Romero, in which Will Braun considers Romero’s message for Mennonites.

MCC may allow exceptions to ‘lifestyle expectations’

The boards of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and U.S. have approved the possibility of exceptions to the “lifestyle expectations” for some MCC personnel, although those parameters have not been completely defined.

The updates came as the boards reviewed MCC’s human resources framework at their annual joint meeting on March 16 and 17, 2018, in Abbotsford, B.C.

Scholars uncover hidden stories of the Holocaust

Doris Bergen of the University of Toronto delivers the keynote address, “Neighbours, killers, enablers, witnesses: The many roles of Mennonites in the Holocaust,” at the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference held on March 16 and 17, 2018, at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)

Bethel College students Jacob Russell, left, of Lawrence, Kan., Albert Bratthammar of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Henry Baxter of Dothan, Ala., talk with Mark Jantzen, centre, Bethel professor of history, and Doris Bergen of the University of Toronto. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)

Participants in the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference talk after Doris Bergen’s keynote address in Memorial Hall at Bethel College. At left is Ben Goossen of Harvard University, author of Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era. At right, Joel Nofziger, director of communications for Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite Historical Society, talks with Rachel Waltner Goossen of Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., who moderated one of the conference sessions. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)

In 2004, Joachim Wieler of Weimar, Germany, opened a small wooden box he inherited after his mother’s death. To his surprise and horror, it contained letters his late father wrote while serving as an officer in the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Canadian Mennonites and Anglicans meet for first dialogue

Members of the Anglican Church of Canada-Mennonite Church Canada dialogue at their first meeting at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., on Feb. 2 and 3, 2018. The dialogue was co-chaired by Melissa Miller front row centre, intentional interim pastor of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and CM’s Family Ties columnist, and Scott Sharman, back row right, an Anglican Church of Canada staff person. (Photo courtesy of Scott Sharman)

As the Anglican Church of Canada has increasingly found itself on the margins of power in Canadian society, it decided to reach out to a group of fellow Christians that has long been in the position. At the invitation of the Anglicans, a group of Mennonite Church Canada leaders and lay people met with their Anglican counterparts at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo on Feb.

AMBS conference models practices for sustaining faith and hope

Daily opportunities for worship are an integral part of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary’s annual Pastors and Leaders Conference. Pictured, members of the seminary learning community lead participants in worship on Feb. 27, 2018. (AMBS photo by Jason Bryant)

With contentiousness and fracturing in the body of believers, and hostility and injustice all around, these are difficult days for church leaders, who are supposed to provide guidance for people struggling with the trials of the times while at the same time often wrestling with their own challenges.

UWinnipeg Fellowship to crack open KGB archives

The new fellowship is named in honour of the late Paul Toews, who was the resident historian of the Mennonite Heritage Cruise that took thousands of Mennonite “pilgrims” on a journey back to Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of University of Winnipeg)

In the 1930s, thousands of Mennonites disappeared in the Soviet Union without a trace. The KGB archives in Ukraine has thousands of files on these missing Mennonites, and a newly announced University of Winnipeg Fellowship wants to crack into these archives to uncover the stories of lost relatives, ancestors and much more.

Generous love amid war in DRC

It the city of Kikwit, Congolese survivors of violence talk with MWC Deacon Commission chair Siaka Traoré of Ivory Coast, foreground left, and Daniel Geiser of Switzerland, centre. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)

Loving the generous people of the Democratic Republic of Congo is not difficult, but evil happening in the rural Kasai region of that lush country is hard to comprehend.

Award-winning Herald Press book gets an update

Donald B. Kraybill is the author of the award-winning book, The Upside-Down Kingdom.

In Donald B. Kraybill’s The Upside-Down Kingdom, Jesus is slightly irreverent. He critiques the rich, scorches nationalism, redefines Old Testament law, and undercuts the authority of religious leaders. 

Kraybill points out that Jesus is into sharing, not hoarding. Service, not status. Community, not competition. Basins, not swords. Loyalty to God, not nation.

OMMC offers music, fun, connections

Young musicians practice during the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp. From left to right are Anna Tyas-Petrik, Hallelujah Tezera, Aidan Morton-Ninomiya, Isabelle Netherton, and Jayden Liu. (Photo courtesy of OMMC)

Aidan Morton-Ninomiya’s review of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp: “Awesome.” (Photo courtesy of OMMC)

When the idea of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp (OMMC) was pitched to me at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, I was immediately excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I got there, I knew it would be awesome. 

Mennonite diaspora encounters Muslims in the Russian Empire

Seth Ratzlaff, left, a student at Conrad Grebel University College, his father Victor, lay minister of Westview Christian Fellowship in St. Catharines, Ont., and Aileen Friesen, the J. Winfield Fretz Visiting Research Scholar in Mennonite Studies, discuss her ‘Muslim-Mennonite Encounters in the Russian Empire’ lecture on Jan. 25, 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Aileen Friesen was the go-to person to help visitors order in Russian cafés at a scholarly gathering in Russia’s Far East, according to Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University College’s dean. Epp introduced Friesen as the inaugural J. Winfield Fretz Visiting Research Scholar in Mennonite Studies before Friesen’s lecture on ‘Muslim-Mennonite Encounters in the Russian Empire’ on Jan.

From hand to hand: the journey to North Korea

Natalie Gulenchyn, who is in her 80s and volunteers at Mennonite Central Committee’s material resources warehouse in Winnipeg, sewed the medical kit bags that were transported to North Korea. (MCC photo by Rachel Bergen)

It’s been a long trek for eight small bags of medical supplies. They have been packed and re-packed, crossed an ocean, passed through three countries and numerous airport security checks. On this day, the bags have reached their destination—a small medical clinic on a farm near Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

Singer-songwriter leads ‘Reading the Bible with Jesus’ workshops

Bryan Moyer Suderman, teaching associate for the Church Leadership Center of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, leads a ‘Reading the Bible with Jesus’ workshop for Walnut Hill Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., at the Amigo Centre in Sturgis, Mich. (Photo by Jace Longenecker)

Bryan Moyer Suderman believes that paying attention to Jesus as interpreter of Scripture can transform how we, too, engage Scripture and each other.

Argentine Mennonites celebrate one hundred years

At festivities celebrating 100 years of Mennonite witness in Argentina, a youth drama troupe mimes the temptations and struggles that confront a young adult seeking to follow Jesus. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)

Performing before hundreds of Mennonites and passersby at a park in downtown Buenos Aires, a drama troupe from the Mennonite church in Villa Adelina, Argentina, mimed challenges and struggles facing youth: violence, drugs, promiscuity, greed, and death itself.

‘The level of mechanization was amazing to witness’

John Mbae visits the dairy farm of Walter and Peggy Wiebe, who are Bergthaler Mennonites living near Hague, Sask. After seeing the Wiebe’s fully-automated dairy barn, Mbae remarked, ‘The cows were milking themselves with the machines monitoring and controlling the milking.’ (Photo by Rick Block)

For John Mbae, a Canadian Foodgrains Bank conservation agriculture technical specialist based in Kenya, a visit to the Canadian Prairies was informative and inspiring.

Swiss Mennonites speak against nationalism

University of Zurich ethics professor Pierre Buehler addresses attendees of a public forum on human rights and faith, organized by the Mennonite conference in Switzerland. (Photo by Samuel Cacciabue)

“Nationalism is on the rise in many parts of the world,” says Juerg Braeker, general secretary of Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz/Conférence mennonite suisse (the Swiss Mennonite church). “Mennonites, because of their view of the relationship between church and state, should be better equipped to point out the dangers of nationalism.”

Growing projects celebrate a successful 2017

The 2017 Bear Lake growing project in Wembley, Alta., harvested 64 hectares of barley. Once sold, the proceeds will be used by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to respond to emergency situations such as those in Syria, South Sudan and Kenya. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank likes to talk about its “farm”—the thousands of hectares across Canada, from P.E.I. to B.C., that are planted by community growing projects to raise funds for the work of ending global hunger.

MWC responds in solidarity to disasters

The Mennonite World Conference delegation is pictured with local members of the Mennonite Brethren church in Nuevo Horizonte, Peru. Following the floods, ‘our hearts were left totally destroyed . . . but thanks to MWC, who have come to visit us and have given us this uplifting and encouraging word, a word of hope and love,’ says Antonio García Dominguez, right, the leader of Conferencia Peruana Hermanos Menonitas. (MWC photo by Joanna Chappa)

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and Mennonite organizations collaborated to live out their faith with unified action in response to disasters that struck members of the global Anabaptist family in 2017.

Anabaptist Christians celebrate Christmas around the world

To celebrate Christmas, members of Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia churches act out Bible stories in the style of wayang orang. (Photo courtesy of berita GKMI)

Jantine Huisman, as a child, poses with Christmas decorations. (Photo courtesy of Jantine Huisman)

Christian communities around the world celebrate Christmas, yet each culture has its own traditions. Here, Anabaptist brothers and sisters from different regions share how they celebrate Christmas.

‘Along the Road to Freedom’ exhibit tours Alberta

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld stands beside the Ray Dirks painting that tells the story of Maria Friesen Neufeld, his great grandmother, one of the courageous Mennonite women who brought their families out of the hardships and terror of the Soviet Union in the early 1900s. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Nettie Dueck, one of four Along the Road to Freedom committee members, travelled from Winnipeg to Edmonton to be at the opening program at King’s University in Edmonton. Dueck is standing beside the Ray Dirks painting that tells her mother’s story. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Dave Toews, left, Edmonton exhibition and Alberta tour organizer for the Along the Road to Freedom exhibit, meets Lois Mitchell, Alberta’s lieutenant governor, right, at a private viewing and discussion at King’s University on Dec. 3, 2017. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

On Dec. 2, 2017, more than a hundred people gathered at Edmonton’s King’s University for the opening of the Along the Road to Freedom art exhibit. This was the first of three stops in Alberta that will end in the spring. 

MEDA sets a record as donors give $6.5 million

Edwin Klassen (left) shares a laugh with longtime MEDA editor Wally Kroeker as he signs copies of his book, God’s Week has Seven Days: Monday Musings for Marketplace Christians, at the MEDA convention in Vancouver, B.C. (MEDA photo by Steve Sugrim)

At the 2017 MEDA annual convention, Rob Schlegel describes the progress of MEDA’s $50 million Bridges to Enduring Livelihood campaign as MEDA president All Sauder looks on. (MEDA photo by Steve Sugrim)

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) raised a record $6.5 million from donors in the past year, president Allan Sauder told the group’s annual meeting in Vancouver Nov. 2 to 5.

Mobile app extends reach of Anabaptist prayer book

The Anabaptist prayer book, Take Our Moments and Our Days, is now available as a mobile app.

Members of the AMBS community gather in the Chapel of the Word for weekly prayers with Take Our Moments and Our Days, an Anabaptist prayer book published by Herald Press in collaboration with the Institute of Mennonite Studies. (Photo by Annette Brill Bergstresser)

The Anabaptist prayer book, Take Our Moments and Our Days, published by Herald Press.

Users in 15 countries across six continents have downloaded a new free mobile app version of Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book in the four weeks since its launch on Oct. 23, 2017.

Mennonites join to provide food and shelter in DR Congo

These displaced families, who are staying in the Kikwit District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, wait to receive a month’s supply of food and non-food emergency assistance, including flour, beans, oil, sugar, salt, tarps and soap. (MCC photo by Fidele Kyanza)

Monique Meta, who is a leader of displaced people who received food and shelter supplies from the Mennonite Church of Congo, stands with the supply of food she received at the Nov. 29 distribution in the town of Tshikapa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A widow, she and her nine children lost all their belongings because of violence in Kamonya, where she lived. (MCC photo by Fidele Kyanza)

Displaced people who recently received food and shelter supplies distributed by Mennonite churches in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) have seen unimaginable horrors.

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