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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. 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

MC Canada offers pandemic preparedness web resources for congregations

'Because the most common spread of the virus is through hand transmission, it is important to get into the habit of washing your hands often with soap and warm water.' (Image by JKerner/Pixabay)

As of March 11, the World Health Organization is now describing the global outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic. This move is not to incite fear but to motivate governments to ramp up their preparation efforts before the virus spreads more quickly in their own countries.

Mennonite World Conference cancels event, meetings in B.C.

César García, MWC general secretary (second from right), welcomes participants at the first Renewal 2027 event in Augsburg, Germany in 2017. (MWC photo by Harry Unger)

With the World Health Organization using the word “pandemic” to describe global infection from the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Mennonite World Conference leadership has cancelled the March Renewal 2027 public event and April executive committee meetings that were scheduled to take place in Abbotsford, B.C.

Water from stone

Aïchatou Hamidou sits with the women who make up her WASH team after finishing their morning errands in Kobiteye, a government camp supporting around 6,000 refugees. (MCC photo by Colin Vandenberg)

With a series of quick, practiced strokes, Aïchatou Hamidou clears the area around a newly built latrine with a long broom made from dry grass.

Watch: Eco-anxiety spurs creativity

An image from a zine created by Meghan Mast and Joni Sawatzky. (Image courtesy of YouTube)

How do you reckon with the feeling that everything is changing? That sense that crises are converging? With the notion that we have some big choices to make individually and collectively?

Those questions get at some of the ideas at play in “Caring at the End of the World,” a new video from Eco-Anxious Stories that you can watch below.

Watch: How did we become so polarized?

Larry Updike and Sandy Koop-Harder share a laugh during a discussion event at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/cmuwpg)

Why does polarization so frequently characterize our discourse? How can people find common ground?

Those were two of the questions at the heart of “Us and Them: How did we become so polarized?”, a panel discussion held at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) earlier this month. 

Nigerian pastor executed

Lawan Andimi, a pastoral leader in the Nigerian Church of the Brethren, was executed by Boko Haram, an extremist Jihadi group. Prior to the killing, Boko Haram released a video in which Andimi steadfastly affirmed his faith. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

On Jan. 20, Lawan Andimi, a pastoral leader in the Nigerian Church of the Brethren, was executed by Boko Haram, an extremist Jihadi group. He had been reported missing on Jan. 3, the day after a Boko Haram attack in his area.

Watch: A one-minute history of Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is celebrated worldwide with more than 100 million roses and 1 billion cards sent every year. (Image by Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay)

Whether you scoff at the billion-dollar industry that Feb. 14 has become or use the day to show your affection for the people you love—or something in between—there’s no denying that Valentine’s Day has a fascinating backstory.

This video, from the One Minute History channel on YouTube, gives a 60-second overview of the day’s origins.

Music leaders sing hymnal preview

Musicians, in foreground from left, Merrill Miller, Alissa Bender, Perry Blosser, Rosene Rohrer and Andrea Weber Steckly accompany a song during the Worship and Music Leaders Retreat on Jan. 10-12 at Laurelville retreat center in Mount Pleasant, Pa. (Photo by Kreg Ulery)

In the 1980s, Ken Nafziger drew inspiration from publisher and camp association president Levi Miller, and began leading a music retreat at Laurelville.

Watch: Dispatches from a SALTer in Colombia

Victoria Callow is currently living and serving in La Mesa, Colombia. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Victoria Callow entered the SALT program after graduating from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, with a degree in English education. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Our recent Focus on Education issue featured a reflection by Hannah Larson, a young woman serving in northeastern India with Mennonite Central Committee’s Serving and Learning Together program. 

MWC delegation visits churches in Hong Kong

Notes of peaceful encouragement are written to those caught up in the political protests in Hong Kong. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite World Conference)

A joint delegation from the Peace and Deacons commissions of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) visited three Mennonite churches in Hong Kong, other denominations and some educational institutions, to offer solidarity and to respond to the request for further perspectives on Anabaptist peacemaking.

Watch: Mennonite World Conference's year in review

Mennonite World Conference staff have released a new video in advance of Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday. The video highlights MWC's work around the world in 2019. (Photo courtesy of MWC)

A new video highlights what happened in the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) in 2019.

Released in advance of Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday, which takes place this weekend (Jan. 19, 2020), the five-minute video explores MWC’s pursuit of “justice across barriers," as well as the work of its four commissions.

Rockway to feature 'Voices Together' committee member at special event

Sarah Johnson, a 2003 alumna of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, will speak at a special chapel at the school next month. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/VoicesTogetherHymnal)

Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont. marks 75 years of mission in 2020.

Sarah Johnson, a 2003 alumna, will be the guest speaker at a special Founders’ Day chapel at the school on Feb. 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. She will explore the question, “What does it mean to be a Mennonite school in a diverse and evolving global environment?”

MWC committee begins planning 2021 assembly

Assembly program committee members Estifanos Gedlu of Ethiopia, Ben Bergey of the United States, Jessica Mondal Lakra of India, Jardeley Martinez of Colombia, Natalie Frisk of Canada, MWC chief events coordinator Liesa Unger, assembly national co-coordinator Agus Setianto and volunteer coordinator Tigist Gelagle are pictured at the Holy Stadium in Semarang, Indonesia, where next year’s global assembly will be held. (MWC photo by Karla Braun)

A six-person program committee met last November to develop the activities and schedule of the 2021 Mennonite World Conference (MWC) global assembly in Indonesia next July. The six come from five different continents and span the decades from their 20s to their 60s.

Watch: The journey of a comforter

'This is one of the ways we show God’s love to people.' MCC comforters are sent to places like Jordan, Haiti and Ukraine, where they are used in a variety of ways. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Volunteers across Canada are preparing to participate in Mennonite Central Committee’s Great Winter Warm-up.

MCC is hoping that these volunteers will produce 6,500 comforters during the event, which takes place on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020.

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