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MCC calls on PM to remove barriers to humanitarian assistance

Charitable Foundation Uman Help Center, an MCC partner, distributes MCC relief buckets, hygiene kits and blankets in Uman city, at a Baptist church, along with other humanitarian supplies. (MCC photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada has joined other leading Canadian aid organizations to launch Aid for Afghanistan, a national campaign calling on the Government of Canada to immediately act to remove barriers that have blocked and deterred the provision of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan for the past year.

Manitoba congregations awarded mission grants

Jamie Arpin-Ricci of Little Flowers Community, left, surveys the Winnipeg neighbourhood with Melanie Neufeld, MC Manitoba’s mission engagement director. (MC Manitoba photo)

Eight Mennonite Church Manitoba congregations will receive a total of $30,000 for missional engagement in their local communities.

“Finding intentional ways to love our neighbours is an important practice for the church,” says Melanie Neufeld, MC Manitoba’s director of mission engagement. “We’re excited to see what God will do with these new and ongoing initiatives.”

A focus on rest and renewal

Glen Guyton, MC U.S.A.’s executive minister, was the guest speaker for the afternoon session. His session focused on key concepts from his book Reawaken: Activate Your Congregation to Spark Lasting Change. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

Pastors and other leaders from across the five regional churches joined together at First Mennonite Church in Edmonton for Spiritual Leaders Day, part of the Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2022.

After breakfast together on July 29, attendees were invited to spend the morning in worship. The theme for the morning was “be at rest.”

‘Do you hear what I hear?’

Riley Koop and Rebecca Janzen take part in the panel discussion around young leaders in the church. (​​​​​​​Photo by Jessica Evans)

Who has ever been a young adult? Who has ever interacted with a young adult at church? Who has witnessed a young adult leaving church? Who has witnessed a young adult stepping into leadership?

These were the questions asked of the audience during the workshop entitled “Do you hear what I hear?” at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2022.

In This Together aims to widen the circle of inclusion

Attendees at the Gathering 2022 worship gathering on July 31 were encouraged to come forward to tie a coloured ribbon, representing their own self-expression, onto a tree branch. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Pictured from left to right are the In This Together steering committee: Matthew Froese, Leah Harder, Alissa Bender, Pieter Niemeyer and Mauricio Palacio. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Timothy Wenger, left, and Alissa Bender explain the origin and purpose of the Rainbow Christ Prayer. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Michele Rizoli, pastor of Toronto United Mennonite Church, reads scripture during the service. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Pieter Niemeyer shares his story at the service. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Timothy Wenger shares his story while Alissa Bender looks on. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Steph Chandler Burns offers their own coming-out experience as a challenge to the church to love well. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

“In This Together [ITT] is one way to feel those prophetic nudgings of the Spirit,” said Alissa Bender, pastor of Hamilton (Ont.) Mennonite Church, and a member of the ITT steering committee, as she led more than 75 people in a worship service that celebrated the gifts that LGBTQ+ people offer to the church, on July 31 in the evening.

Bethel Mennonite leaves MC B.C.

More than 80 years of ministry in B.C. as Bethel Mennonite Church came to a close this summer when the building was given to the MB conference to be replanted as a campus of North Langley Community Church. (Internet photo)

Bethel Mennonite Church of Langley, one of the oldest congregations in Mennonite Church British Columbia, held its last service on June 26. However, its doors are not closed; the church will continue to function under a new identity and a new affiliation.

Myanmar church growing, though half its members displaced

Amos Chin, left, and two Mennonite colleagues baptize young people in rural Myanmar. (Photo courtesy Amos Chin)

Amos Chin (second from left)—a Mennonite leader in Myanmar—with (left to right) Jeanette Hanson, Norm Dyck, David Martin, and Jehu Lian meet in Myanmar in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Norm Dyck)

Roughly half the members of the Bible Missionary Church (BMC), a Mennonite denomination in Myanmar, are now displaced. An estimated 415 families, or 2,000 people, have fled to the jungle or elsewhere in the vicinity of the border with India to escape escalating civil unrest.

 

Looking back, looking forward

Danforth Mennonite Church congregants from the 1990s to the present are pictured at the church’s 115th-anniversary celebration in late June.

Bonnie Wright, Tessa Rose and Ed Ford, foreground left to right, lead the congregation out of the sanctuary during the Danforth Mennonite Church’s 115th-anniversary celebrations.

Danforth Mennonite Church is a small, urban congregation on the Danforth in Toronto. In late June, we met in person and virtually to celebrate 115 years as a congregation.

Camp Squeah featured on CBC National news

Rob Tiessen of B.C.’s Camp Squeah is interviewed on a CBC news broadcast, telling how camp attendance has been affected by fewer staff this summer. (Screenshot of CBC news clip on YouTube)

Rob Tiessen, executive director of Camp Squeah in Hope, B.C., was interviewed on CBC television’s The National broadcast on June 20 in a story about summer-camp staffing shortages across the country.

Lao translation of Anabaptist Essentials completed

Sririsack Saythavy, left, author Palmer Becker, Som Phanpha and Sangoune Ounbounheuang are very pleased to see the completed Lao translation of Anabaptist Essentials. (MC Eastern Canada photo)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada hosted a book launch for the Lao translation of Palmer Becker’s book Anabaptist Essentials on June 18. In partnership with the Lao Mennonite Fellowship of Canada and MC Canada, 300 books were printed for use in MC Eastern Canada congregations and other groups in North America, as well as in Laos and Thailand.

Interpretive path tells story of reconciliation efforts in rural Saskatchewan

Leonard Doell shares a few words at the event. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Wilmer and Barb Froese serve as masters of ceremony during the program. (Photo by Emily Summach)

George Kingfisher, Young Chippewayan ancestral chief, and Ray Funk describe each other as ‘like a brother.’ (Photo by Emily Summach)

Students from Rosthern Community School in Rosthern, Sask. hold up a collaborative art “quilt” they made for the event. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Guests examine the chainsaw-carved archway that serves as the entrance to the interpretive path. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Visitors pause to read a storyboard along the interpretive path. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Theresa Driedeger examines a storyboard and the views of the land from the top of Stoney Knoll. (Photo by Emily Summach)

The final storyboard on the path overlooks the land surrounding Stoney Knoll. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Members of the Stoney Knoll Historical Committee and special guests cut the ribbon to open the new interpretive path. (Photo by Emily Summach)

An area of disputed land in Saskatchewan has become a seedbed of reconciliation with the launch of an interpretive path to make the story of that journey come alive for visitors.

 

‘Heeding Christ’s call to break down barriers’

The congregation of Altona Mennonite Church dedicated its new accessibility ramp during a Sunday morning worship service in June. (Photo courtesy of Loren Braul)

Ken Loewen, a metal artist and sculptor, created three images of worshippers at the cross to incorporate into the railing. (Photo courtesy of Altona Mennonite Church)

Members of Altona Mennonite Church built a ramp to make their worship space more accessible. (Photo courtesy of Robert Martens)

In June, Altona Mennonite Church completed the construction of a new ramp, to help make its worship space more accessible. But, whereas many churches might have built the ramp and just left it at that, the Altona Man., congregation held a dedication for it during a Sunday morning worship service.

Anxiety and hope co-exist

During a retreat addressing climate anxiety MC Saskatchewan youth shared their hopeful feelings about the planet’s future, on tags. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Young people played field games at a retreat held at Shekinah Retreat Centre in early June. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Zoe Schellenberg passes a giant Dutch Blitz card to her friends during a youth retreat. (Photo by Emily Summach)

It is true that the impacts of climate change on the planet’s future are unfairly shouldered by youth and children. Mennonite Church Saskatchewan made space for youth to explore that burden together. Seventeen young people attended a day-long retreat, “The Climate is Changing: Now What?” held at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask., in early June.

CMU celebrates the Class of 2022

CMU president Cheryl Pauls with 2022 President’s Medal recipients, Levi Klassen (left) and Naomi Derksen. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

After two years of outdoor ceremonies and air hugs, the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) community gathered at Bethel Mennonite Church on April 30 to observe this year’s graduation in a more familiar way. Finally, CMU was once again able to host an indoor convocation ceremony, also livestreamed online, and reception.

MCC responds to its entanglements with National Socialism

Benjamin Unruh was instrumental in helping Mennonites flee the Soviet Union in the 1920s. In the 1930s he lived in Germany and negotiated with the Nazi government on behalf of MCC regarding a debt the relief organization owed. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Over the past several years, numerous historians have highlighted how different Mennonite communities in Europe before and during the Second World War were entangled with and even actively participated in National Socialism, with some Mennonites helping to perpetrate the Holocaust. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) intersected with this broader Mennonite history in multiple ways.

Calgary church learns about its neighbourhood

Nathan Hawryluk points out facts about local development during Calgary Inter-Mennonite Church’s walk through their Renfrew neighbourhood. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

As part of a five-week series focused on land, place and community, members of Calgary Inter-Mennonite Church went on a walk through their neighbourhood. The original idea for the series came from Diana Mansell, an active member of the worship committee, while the idea to go on a community walk originated with Walter Hossli, church council chair.

Loss that cannot be counted

MCC partner Charitable Foundation Uman Help Center sets up a distribution event every week for food, hygiene supplies and other basic essentials for those living in or passing through Uman, Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of UMAN)

More than 100,000 people have fled to the area around the city of Uman in Ukraine as Russian military forces continue to advance. MCC partner Charitable Foundation UMAN Help Center distributes food; MCC hygiene kits, including toothpaste; and comforters to hundreds of people each month. (Photo courtesy of UMAN)

MCC partner Charitable Foundation UMAN Help Center provides food and other essential basics for people fleeing to, or through, the city of Uman, Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of UMAN)

As millions of civilians continue to flee the devastation of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, organizations like MCC partner UMAN (Charitable Foundation Uman Help Center) are working to support those who have left everything they know behind.

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