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Duet bikes an opportunity for young and old to connect

Volunteers take two residents out for a ride on the duet bikes. (Photo courtesy of Menno Place)

Bruce Marshall, a resident of Menno Place, is pedalled around by rehabilitation assistant Dale Carlisle, who took part in the 2018 MCC B.C. Pedaling for Hope cyclathon. (Photo courtesy of Menno Place)

Call for volunteers

Emily Pfannschmidt and Dale Carlisle pedal for Menno Place residents Lex Smid and Bruce Marshall. (Photo courtesy of Menno Place)

People walking around Abbotsford, B.C.’s Mill Lake might have caught an odd sight of seniors riding on duet bikes this summer.

Duet bikes are wheelchair tandem bikes that enable people who have little mobility to get pedalled around by someone who has that ability. 

Exhibit features professor’s paintings of historic Anabaptist sites

Gareth Brandt, an Anabaptist history professor at Columbia Bible College, stands beside ‘Strassbourg,’ one of his ‘simple folk art’ works at the Mennonite Heritage Museum, where his ‘Stories of the Anabaptists’ collection is on display until Nov. 1. (Mennonite Heritage Museum photo by Julia Toews )

Call for volunteers

Patrons at Mennonite Heritage Museum view the paintings of Gareth Brandt depicting ‘Stories of the Anabaptists’ that are on display through Nov. 1. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Paintings of Gareth Brandt depicting ‘Stories of the Anabaptists’ that are on display through Nov. 1. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

A love for the arts, combined with an interest in Anabaptist history, has inspired a professor at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford to create paintings depicting early Anabaptist history. The exhibit of Gareth Brandt’s water-colour paintings, “Stories of the Anabaptists,” was introduced Sept. 11 at the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Abbotsford.

MMI golf tournament aids Edmonton Mennonite Guest Home rebuild

Pictured from left to right: Rudy Koop; Garth Wideman and Dave Lefever, both of Holyrood Mennonite, Edmonton; and Herman Neufeld of Edmonton First Mennonite, formed a team to raise money for the Edmonton Mennonite Guest Home at the first-ever MMI golf tournament in September. (Photo by Marguerite Jack)

Call for volunteers

The Edmonton Mennonite Guest Home, a non-profit subsidiary of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, is rebuilding one of its two houses in south Edmonton. Completion is expected to be in the spring 2020. (Photo by Brian Ladd)

Mennonite Mutual Insurance (MMI) in Alberta had its first-ever golf tournament fundraiser at the Eagle Rock Golf Course in Leduc County, just south of Edmonton, on Sept. 7. Chosen as its beneficiary was the Edmonton Mennonite Guest Home that provides short-term residential accommodation for patients and families of patients being treated in Edmonton’s medical facilities.

Building relationships with residential school survivors

Geronimo Henry, a survivor of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., says of his experience at the school, ‘I find it hard to forgive. It took my childhood from me.’ He is sitting at one of the new tables built by MDS volunteers from Mennonite congregations in Ontario and British Columbia. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Mennonite church youth groups from Kitchener, St. Jacobs, Listowel and Elmira, Ont., and Abbotsford, B.C., helped MDS restore this longhouse at the Woodland Cultural Centre over the summer. (Photo by John Longhurst)

The former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., is currently being refurbished. Over the summer, MCC, MDS and Mennonite congregations from Ontario and British Columbia helped with the work. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Carley Gallant Jenkins, the coordinator of the Woodland Cultural Centre’s Save the Evidence fundraising campaign, sits at a newly minted desk made by MDS volunteers from Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church in July. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Stella and Rebecca Liu of Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church help file documents and shelve books in the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Timothy Khoo of Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church stains a table top. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Jason Deng of Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church sands a tabletop built by members of his congregation and MDS volunteers. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Call for volunteers

Matthew Deng of Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church sands the base of a school desk built by members of his congregation and MDS volunteers. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Survivors of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., have returned to scratch messages into the bricks. There are hundreds at the back of the building where former students have left their marks, like this one from Franke, who served time at the school—‘11 years too many.’ (Photo by John Longhurst)

Crew leader Andrew Thiessen, right, of Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C., and helpers from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church and Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., help move documents and books around the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., this summer. (MDS photo by Nick Hamm)

Ontario volunteers from Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, and Avon Mennonite Church in Stratford. (MDS photo by Nick Hamm)

Markus Schroeder Kipfer and Jonah Willms of St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, Ont., sift for historical artifacts on the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., this summer. (Photo by Nick Hamm)

Aidan Morton Ninomiya and Jonah Willms of St. Jacobs (Ont.) Mennonite Church, front row, and Christian Albrecht and Steve Manske of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont., back row, sit in school desks they helped build at the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., this summer. (Photo by Nick Hamm)

Ontario volunteers from Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines, St. Jacobs Mennonite Church and Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener help MDS build school benches at the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., this summer. (Photo by Nick Hamm)

“It’s personal, there are names and faces. It’s not just textbook information now.”

That’s how Timothy Khoo, 16, describes what it was like to meet residential school survivors while volunteering with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) at the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford in July.

Picnics galore!

Springridge Mennonite Church tug-of-war at its annual picnic. (Photo by Del Willms)

Springridge Mennonite Church boot toss at its annual picnic this June in Pincher Creek. (Photo by Del Willms)

Springridge Mennonite Church egg toss with Chris Marten and granddaughter Claire. (Photo by Del Willms)

Call for volunteers

Springridge Mennonite Church traditional sack race. Pictured from left to right: Tany Warkentin, Kyle Janzen, Riley Diesty, Danika Warkentin, Andrew Janzen, Karl Janzen and Asher Warkentin. (Photo by Del Willms)

Springridge Mennonite Church sack race with Riley Diesty, left, and Jonas Anjo. (Photo by Del Willms)

Children participate in the sack race at this year’s church picnic at Trinity Mennonite Church in Okotoks, Alta. Pictured from left to right: Cole Schellenberg, Nate Lopaschuk and Ruby Loewen. (Photo by Jenna Hunsberger)

Springridge Mennonite Church congregants at their annual picnic this June in Pincher Creek, Alta. (Photo by Del Willms)

Many church programs eventually come to an end, but there’s one event that still remains after many decades—and that’s the church picnic!

‘Beyond expectations’ with the help of God

Children make planets at the VBS craft station, on the theme of ‘To Mars and beyond.’ (Photo by Barb Burkhard)

Call for volunteers

The intercultural Vacation Bible School planning committee from First Hmong and First Mennonite churches in Kitchener included, from left to right: Griselda Bevenborn, René Baergen, My Yang, Tina Heu, Charity Friesen, Dao Her and Gao Hlee; absent: Julie Lee. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

“I’m so sad that it’s over!” said one young participant after a week of high-energy Vacation Bible School (VBS) activities at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener last month. 

That is just what the eight-member intercultural planning committee wanted to hear after its first joint venture of leading VBS for children aged 2 to 11 each morning from Aug. 12 to 16.

West Hills congregation tries ‘messy church’

Children prepare to go for a tractor and wagon ride at a local farm for one of the West Hills congregation's ‘out’ Sundays. (Photo courtesy of West Hills Fellowship)

Call for volunteers

The West Hills congregation gathers for worship in a home on their ‘in’ Sunday. (Photo courtesy of West Hills Fellowship)

Two years ago, West Hills Fellowship, in Baden, Ont., faced up to its small-church realities. It had lost some families for a variety of reasons, and found it challenging to run programs and Sunday morning worship services.

That’s when the congregation tried a “messy church” model. 

Auction raises funds for Amish private schools

Horses were among the items for sale at the Amish school auction. (Photo by Se Yim)

Quilts were an important part of the Milverton Amish school sale held on July 20. (Photo by Se Yim)

Call for volunteers

Sprawled across a recently harvested hayfield on the Kuepfer farm, north of Milverton, Ont., the Amish school sale included lots of farm implements. (Photo by Se Yim)

The local Amish in their straw hats made up a big part of the crowd, but there were also lots of other bidders and onlookers. (Photo by Se Yim)

Rows of quilts wait to be auctioned. (Photo by Se Yim)

Each summer, on the third Saturday of July, the Milverton Amish communities organize a large auction to raise funds for their parochial schools. Hosted on Amish farms throughout the community, this year’s sale, held on July 20, was sprawled across a recently harvested hayfield on the Kuepfer farm north of Milverton.

Singing, serving and studying

Members of North Star Mennonite in Drake pack relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee as part of Sunday worship devoted to service. (Photo by Heidi Martens)

Members of Regina’s Grace Mennonite Church spent the month of August studying a single Scripture text. Using Lectio Divina, they listened to the text, meditated on it and responded in table groups. (Photo by Rose Graber)

Members of North Star Mennonite in Drake build picnic tables for a nearby hospital and seniors residence as part of Sunday worship devoted to service. (Photo by Heidi Martens)

Call for volunteers

Three congregations sing together as Eigenheim Mennonite Church hosts its neighbours from the Tiefengrund and Zoar Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Congregants from Tiefengrund and Zoar Mennonite churches enjoy a potluck lunch hosted by Eigenheim Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

When summer comes, many churches experience a drop in attendance. But being fewer in number can be an opportunity to try new forms of worship.

Singing together

This summer, several Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregations chose to worship in creative and perhaps less conventional ways.

12 organizations worth recognizing during Mennonite Heritage Week

Jasem Mohammed carries a food package distributed by MCC partner Zakho Small Villages Project at the Garmawa displaced persons camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. MCC is an example of an organization that expresses values important to Mennonites. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

Call for volunteers

At the end of May, Parliament passed a motion declaring the second week of September as Mennonite Heritage Week. 

The motion, put forward by Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, cited the role Mennonites have played “in promoting peace and justice both at home and abroad” as one of the reasons for the recognition.

‘We became Mennonites’

Lydia Grigoryevna, second from left, gets a birthday hug after worship at Nikolaipolye Mennonite Church on June 16. (Photo by Paul Schrag)

Call for volunteers

Ivan Kapelushniy, pastor of Nikolaipolye Mennonite Church, greets Mary Raber, who serves in Ukraine with Mennonite Mission Network. (Photo by Paul Schrag)

Welcoming visitors from North America, Ivan Kapelushniy, pastor of Nikolaipolye Mennonite Church, led his congregation of about 15 people in singing “For God So Loved Us” in Russian.

“There are no born Mennonites among us,” Kapelushniy said on June 16 as mission worker Mary Raber translated. “We became Mennonites.”

MCC partner serves people ‘society doesn’t want’

Natalia Mezentseva, second from left, director of New Life, a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partner in Ukraine, accepts an MCC centennial paperweight from North American visitors. Looking on are MCC board member Robert Enns of Calgary, left, and Viktoria Rab­chen­yuk, second from right, and Tatiana Yorzh, right, New Life women’s house residents. (Photo by Paul Schrag)

Call for volunteers

Natalia Mezentseva oversees a household of “women in difficult circumstances.”

With an affirming and instructive place to live, thanks to a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partner, their circumstances are better already.  

A group of visitors on an MCC learning tour heard their stories, cuddled a baby, applauded a child’s poetry recital and prayed with them on June 21.

Shackled together in perfect unity— ‘Blame it on God’

Call for volunteers

‘It takes every ounce of . . . love to cope with the success of God’s gathering,’ Tom Yoder Neufeld told delegates at this year’s MC U.S.A. conference in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo by Vada Snider)

God’s success is our problem. But it’s a good problem. From these thoughts of Tom Yoder Neufeld came a catch phrase of MennoCon19: “The church is a mess. Thanks be to God!”

Who was Mary Magdalene?

Call for volunteers

Organizer Martha Smith Good, left, chats with Amanda Witmer, instructor and lecturer who led a group of women in exploring biblical and Gnostic references to Mary Magdalene, at an event held at Wilmot Mennonite Church on July 22. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Who was Mary of Magdala? What impressions do people have of her, and where do those impressions come from?

Fairy tales at the Fringe

Call for volunteers

The play’s five-member cast performed The Mennonite Fairytale 13 times in under three weeks. (Photo courtesy of Real Live Entertainment)

Hansel and Gretel—I mean Peter and Tina—enter the woods and end up at a house made entirely of waffles and white sauce, where they are led by their evil stepmother to pick rhubarb. And when they need to find their way home, they follow Peter’s trail of knaczot (sunflower seeds).

Grounded and shaken

Shake participants gather for a photo on the Shekinah Retreat Centre deck. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

The afternoon at Stoney Knoll, Sask., included a hoop dance presentation and instruction by Lawrence Roy Junior of Saskatoon. (Photo by June Miller)

Before departing Stoney Knoll, youth representatives from across Canada helped plant a tree as a sign of reconciliation between Mennonites and the Young Chippewayan First Nation. (Photo by June Miller)

Kirsten Hamm-Epp, left and Kathy Giesbrecht led in prayer for each regional church just before the end of Shake. (Photo by June Miller)

Call for volunteers

Kirsten Hamm-Epp, far right, looks on as Andrea de Avila, holding the microphone, responds to a question during a panel discussion in response to the theme ‘Hol(e)y, healthy, hopeful.’ Also pictured, from left to right, are: Miriam Huebner, Phil Campbell Enns, Nathan Bartel, Zachary Stefaniuk and Madison Harms. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Youth sponsor Chad Miller, right, anoints Caleb Gartner with oil and the words, ‘The God who gave you life calls you beloved.’ Both are from Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Comedian Matt Falk provided some ‘hol(e)y’ laughter for Shake participants. (Photo by June Miller)

“We want to be shaken not by what the world throws at us, but by what Jesus throws at us.”

With these words, Kirsten Hamm-Epp welcomed participants to Shake: Rattled by the Radical.

From Golgotha to the Pembina Valley

Bill Tiessen, right, has played Jesus for 12 years in Manitoba’s Passion Play. (Photo courtesy of the Manitoba Passion Play)

Call for volunteers

Around 65 people make up the cast of Manitoba’s Passion Play. Pictured, the crowds welcome Jesus, played by Bill Tiessen, front right, as he enters Jerusalem. (Photo courtesy of the Manitoba Passion Play)

Jesus, played by Bill Tiessen, right, is led before Pilate. (Photo courtesy of the Manitoba Passion Play)

Manitoba’s Passion Play is set in the beautiful Pembina Valley at the Oak Valley Outdoor Theatre. (Photo courtesy of the Manitoba Passion Play)

Every summer, more than a hundred volunteers from across Manitoba gather in the rolling hills of the Pembina Valley to bring to life the most important event of the Christian faith: Jesus’ death and resurrection.

 

‘Won’t you be my neighbour?’

Enjoying VBS craft time at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary are, from left to right: Arianna Toews, Kaylynn Toews and Zoe Willms. (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Call for volunteers

John Wiebe serenades the children with his harmonica during snack time at the Compassion Café. (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Pastor Chad Miller of Foothills Mennonite Church, left, and Pastor Leng Nawn Thang of Calgary Chin Christian Church lead worship together at the annual VBS program held at Foothills Mennonite Church last month. (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Pastor Chad Miller, centre, introduces new neighbours Rabah Swaidek, left, and Mohammed Awada from the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary at this year’s VBS program, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers asked the question, “Won’t you be my neighbour?” every day for almost 40 years on Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood.

Crokinole boards sold for China mission

Call for volunteers

Sales of custom-made crokinole boards from Yarrow (B.C.) United Mennonite Church are helping support Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Wooden game boards made in Yarrow, B.C., and a crokinole tournament at this summer’s Mennonite Church Canada Gathering 2019 have made a connection with modern-day Chinese Christians and a 16th-century Dutch Anabaptist martyr.

Peacebuilding beyond borders

Theatre of the Beat actor Lindsey Middleton performs at the Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference in the Netherlands. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

Call for volunteers

Theatre of the Beat actors Meghan Fowler and Brendan Kinnon perform at the Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference in the Netherlands. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

Silvie Kroeker speaks at the Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference in the Netherlands with her father, Gordon Zerbe. (Photo courtesy of Silvie Kroeker)

The second annual Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival took place in Elspeet, the Netherlands, between June 27 and 30. It brought people together with the aim of reflecting on Mennonite peacebuilding accomplishments, failures, opportunities and challenges in various settings.

Mennonites find warm welcome at Indigenous theological symposium

Daniel Dixon, left, and Adrian Jacobs take part in a Talking Circle following a plenary speaker at a recent NAIITS symposium held in Toronto in early June. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Terry LeBlanc, one of the co-founders of NAIITS, welcomes the 200 participants at the NAIITS symposium held in Toronto in early June. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Keith Starkengerg discusses his paper, “Falling and Standing: Learning a White Theology of Land in North America.” (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Call for volunteers

Cam Eggie, Adrian Jacobs and Ray Minieconn take part in a Talking Circle. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Danny Zacharias shares his paper, “Graceland: The Land as Relational Gift in the Bible.” (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Marilou Maissoneuve delivers her paper, “Being Christian and Innu: Is Reconnection with the Land Possible? A Historical and Anthropological Analysis.” (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Debby Krahn and Cam Eggie listen as Sara DeWeerd shares her reflections on the symposium. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Under the bright blue sky, on the grassy hill of Tyndale University in Toronto, situated on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Huron-Wendat peoples, Casey Church performed an Anishinaabe pipe ceremony, acknowledging the Creator and the sacred directions. He gave thanks on behalf of the 200 or so people gathered in two large circles around him.

Not because they were male

Call for volunteers

Don Neufeld shares his reflections on the themes of masculinity and Anabaptism at Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines, Ont., on May 3. (Photo by Jonathan Seiling)

Don Neufeld shared his reflections on the themes of masculinity and Anabaptism at a “Probing the potential for peace” discussion series held at Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines on May 3.

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