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Offline life during COVID-19

Many offline Mennonites are staying connected by phone. (Image by Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay)

When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, life went online. From school classes to fitness workouts to worship services, everything started streaming on the web. But what happens if you don’t have internet access? How are those Mennonites staying connected with their churches?

Three churches withdraw from MC Eastern Canada

Kingsfield-Zurich Mennonite Church, pictured last month. (Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/kingsfieldzmc)

Earlier this spring, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada released the following statement: “We announce with great sadness Kingsfield-Clinton and Kingsfield-Zurich Mennonite Church, Living Water Christian Fellowship and Maple View Mennonite Church have left the MC Eastern Canada family.

MC Canada study conference goes virtual

‘Our separation as churches at this time is difficult, but it also presents an opportunity to take a step back and think critically about what it means to be the church,’ says Kim Penner, who sits on the planning committee for Mennonite Church Canada's upcoming study conference. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Mennonite Church Canada is moving ahead with its first study conference in October 2020.

Titled “Table Talk: Does the Church Still Have Legs?”, the conference will examine what it means to be the church and the role of worship. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, through Zoom, a virtual-meeting platform. 

Chaplain-turned-pianist brightens personal-care home

(Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

WINNIPEG—According to Dr. Bill Thomas, an expert in aging, the three greatest “plagues” facing residents of nursing homes are loneliness, boredom and helplessness—all things unfortunately exacerbated by the current plague of COVID-19.

At Donwood Manor, a personal-care home in Winnipeg, that’s where chaplain Lisa Enns, a member of Charleswood Mennonite Church, comes in.

COVID-19 impact on world hunger cause for high concern

In Lebanon, where Foodgrains Bank member World Renew is working with Syrian refugees, personal protective equipment and hygiene kits were distributed to local church partners so they can stay safe as they distribute food to families in need. (Photo by MERATH Lebanon)

The number of people facing crisis levels of hunger in the world could double due to COVID-19, the World Food Programme (WFP) warns.

Watch: Illustrating social action

Maya Morton Ninomiya, a student at Conrad Grebel University College, created an illustrated reflection on how the school was socially and politically active during the winter 2020 term. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

When a Conrad Grebel University College student was asked to reflect on how the Waterloo, Ont. school was socially and politically active during the winter 2020 term, she went straight to the drawing board—literally.

Created for Grebel’s virtual term-end banquet last month, Maya Morton Ninomiya put together a three-minute video using original artwork to illustrate her reflection.

Coffee for Peace employees affected by COVID-19 shutdown

Coffee for Peace is a social enterprise managed by Joji Pantoja, a Mennonite Church Canada International Witness worker in the Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/coffeeforpeace)

The shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting employees of Coffee for Peace, a social enterprise managed by Joji Pantoja, a Mennonite Church Canada International Witness worker in the Philippines.

Watch: A virtual Mennonite Easter choir

More than 25 Mennonites from across North America participated. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

In the past few weeks, it’s likely you’ve seen a video of people singing together virtually.

When the members of Winnipeg’s Prairie Voices choir had to cancel their 20th anniversary concert as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they channeled their disappointment into this video

Menno leaders publish Holy Week letter

'This is a difficult time for many.' (Image by elizabethalliburton/Pixabay)

The executive directors of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) have published a letter of encouragement to constituents this week during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter—which you can read below—acknowledges the unusual circumstances and challenges surrounding this year’s Holy Week, while offering a message of hope and unity.

Historical society discusses new projects

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada met at Camp Peniel in the Laurentians north of Montreal on Jan. 17 and 18. (Photo by Roy Draper)

The Mennonite Historical Society of Canada (MHSC) met in Quebec on Jan. 17 and 18 and discussed several new projects, including a history book of Mennonites in Canada since 1970 and a cross-Canada celebration of the centenary of the arrival of Russian Mennonites in 2023.

Four ways MCC is responding to COVID-19

Angela Bifuko Bahati (centre, orange dress) and her family live in the Mubimbi camp outside of Minova in eastern DR Congo. They have access to a clinic supported by MCC. (MCC photo by Matthew Lester)

Things like frequent handwashing and social distancing have become the new normal. This is life during the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures help reduce the spread and keep everyone safe. We’re all in this together.

MC Canada congregations offering online worship services

‘This is an unexpected opportunity to work at rebuilding our sense of peoplehood nationwide,’ says Doug Klassen, executive minister for MC Canada. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Mennonite Church Canada, in collaboration with its regional churches and their local congregations, will share worship services each week for congregations across our nationwide community of faith. 

Outtatown students stranded in Guatemala

Outtatown students pose for a group shot at the top of Pacaya, a volcano that lies 30 km. outside of Guatemala City. (Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/outtatowncmu)

While school and government officials work together to bring the group home, 36 students, six leaders and two program staff from Canadian Mennonite University’s Outtatown Discipleship School are waiting patiently in Guatemala, putting the semester's lessons to the test. 

‘I hear you, I see you’

Participants at a recent MC Eastern Canada youth workers retreat take part in a super heroes’ cape blessing, reminding each other that they are covered with the love of God. (Photo by Brent Musser)

“Youth need to experience God for themselves. . . . We need to offer Jesus to our youth,” said Michele Hershberger, a Bible and ministry professor and department chair from Hesston (Kan.) College with experience in youth ministry and postmodern culture, at a recent Mennonite Church Eastern Canada youth workers event.

Discussing the future of an inclusive church

Participants gathered at Hamilton (Ont.) Mennonite Church on Feb. 29 for an initial meeting of In This Together: Anabaptist Network of Canada, to further the conversation about the safety and inclusion of people who are LGBTQ+ in Anabaptist congregations. (Photo courtesy of In This Together Committee)

Twenty-three people gathered in the basement of Hamilton (Ont.) Mennonite Church, together with remote groups in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary, to discuss the future of In This Together (ITT): LGBTQ+ Anabaptist Network of Canada. The idea for ITT came about after an event put on by Pastors in Exile last April called “Beyond binaries: Creating an affirming church.”

Is technology on ‘Team Human’?

Osheta Moore, a blogger and speaker, presented a workshop at 'Shaping faith in a digital culture,' held at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. (Photo by Annette Brill Bergstresser)

Elkhart, Ind.—In an age when people turn instinctively to Siri for directions, Mennonite church leaders and educators found that Divine Lady Wisdom’s words from Proverbs have an amazing wealth of guidance for navigating digital culture.

Mennonite organizations cancelling events, making adjustments in response to COVID-19

(Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Mennonite churches and organizations across Canada are cancelling or postponing services and other events in response to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.

Here is a list (last updated at 12:45 p.m. EST on March 19), broken down by region. 

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