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Irony and challenge in Durban

Willard Metzger (2nd row, right) marches through the streets of Durban in support of climate justice with other people of faith. – photo by Kaitlin Bardswich

For Mennonite Church Canada Executive Director Willard Metzger, the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa was an eye-opening experience that began with a twist of  irony.

On the eve of the event, Durban was in the midst of a dramatic and destructive increase in rainfall – after a spring of exceeding dryness.

Another tree planting in Luther Garden signals unity

The 'Mennonite tree' is among the 150 maples, ashes, lindens and hawthorns in the garden as a symbol of worldwide unity. (Photo credit: Frieder Boller)

On a cold, blustery day in the German town of Wittenberg, Bishop Yuri Novgorodov of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kazakhstan patted down the dark soil at the base of a freshly-planted linden tree. Not more than a hundred yards away, the tower of the Castle Church soared into the bright winter sky.

'Waging Peace' has Canadian connections

The story of Muslim and Christian women working together on a quilt at Floradale Mennonite Church (Ont.) is one of several inspiring but obscure stories revealed in Waging Peace Muslim and Christian Alternatives. The quilt eventually found its way to Palestinian refugees.

A new one-hour documentary produced by MennoMedia’s film department, Third Way media, explores threads of peacemaking in the Christian and Muslim faiths through the centuries and shows how Muslims and Christians today are working for peace.

Government won't resolve First Nations housing crisis

Due to the shortage of houses in the Attawapiskat First Nation community, shacks like this are being used as homes. --MCC photo by Lyndsay Mollins Koene

While recent media attention has focused on the shortage of houses and lack of water and sewage systems in the Attawapiskat First Nation community in northern Ontario,  many other First Nations communities are experiencing similar problems, says a spokesperson for MCC Canada. 

Will 'Arab Spring' turn into 'Arab Winter'?

David Victor R. Youssef from the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services in Egypt

Churches in Egypt are praying and helping migrants, who flee home due to political turmoil, violence and uncertain future. There is a great need to develop stable democratic societies if the “Arab spring” is to bear fruits. Or else it might turn into an “Arab winter” with religious minorities at the risk of persecution.

Cultural and religious beliefs obstacles to gay rights, says Hillary Clinton

Clinton commits $3 million to seed Global Equality Fund.

The world needs to act more proactively to promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, said United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a keynote address delivered at the European headquarters of the United Nations. 

Church leaders join fight against Italian energy giant in rural Guatemala

Mayan Ixhil community members protest outside the Catholic church in the town of Cotzal after ENEL representatives failed to show up for a scheduled August 2, 2011 negotiation session. Photo by Yasmin Méndez.

Tension filled the cramped, block-wall room in the Guatemalan highlands as indigenous leaders sat across from negotiators for ENEL, an Italian-based energy company building a $228-million hydro-electric dam in the area.

Nearly 100 churches report on their singing

The present hymnal will be 20 years old in 2012

Nearly 100 congregations in Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada are reporting on the songs they sing. They are helping to determine what the next collection of music for the church will look like.

But the planners of the next hymnal or song collection are looking for more churches to participate in the current song survey. 

MCC intern shocked by NYC's 'secularism'

The Rev. Mautji Eloridge Pataki, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, met with Keyla Cortez Vanegas, a Mennonite World Conference intern at MCC U.N. Office, to encourage her while he was in New York City for a meeting. --Doug Hostetter photo

As a Christian who takes her faith seriously, Keyla Cortez Vanegas was shocked by New York City’s secularism when she arrived there in August. Cortez Vanegas belongs to Esquipulas Brethren in Christ church —one she describes as “traditional”—in a small Nicaraguan town.

MC Canada supports flood relief in Bangkok

Pat and Rad Houmphan, with the congregation of Living Water Church in Borabu, will use the money to assemble care packages.

Mennonite Church Canada has wired $3,500 for flood relief in Thailand.  Executive staff approved the emergency gift on Nov. 16.

Mennonite Church Canada workers Pat and Rad Houmphan, with the congregation of Living Water Church in Borabu, will use the money to assemble care packages for those who have been displaced by flooding. 

Sudermans spend five weeks at AMBS

During a lunch gathering on their last day at AMBS, Irene and Jack Suderman reflected on forty years of ministry. A prevailing theme, Jack noted, is the important role of the church in our lives and in the world. “The peoplehood of God is the primary strategy God wants to use to heal the world,” he said.

Robert J. (Jack) and Irene Suderman say it was a gift to spend five weeks at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary where they studied almost 40 years ago.

Forced to flee, he now assists refugees

From left: Payam Bagheri, Esteban Rivera (coordinator), Maria del Pilou Ofunoz, Michael Seviour (mentor) and Weiwen Ye at a conversation class organized by RIAC in St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador. --MCC Photo by Nina Linton

 Jose Rivera understands the diverse needs of newcomers as they try to develop a sense of belonging in a new country.Death threats forced him, his wife Maria and their two children to flee Colombia in 2002 and rebuild a new life in St. John’s.


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