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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.

Small town, big heart

Participants at the Black Creek United Mennonite Church fundraiser in B.C. survey the goods for sale on May 29. Around $11,000 will be sent to MCC for Ukraine relief. (Photo by Marian Peckford)

The small town of Black Creek, British Columbia, showed its generosity with a sale for Ukraine relief, organized by United Mennonite Church, on May 29. The town has a population of just over 9,000 and is located on Vancouver Island, far from all of Mennonite Church B.C.’s other congregations.

From Vietnam to Ukraine

Dalia Abdellatif, a settlement practitioner at EMCN is pictured in a room filled with donations for newcomers to Edmonton. (Photo by Meghan Klein)

The Don Baergen Resource Room at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) is overflowing with donations. Boxes of baby clothes, pots and pans, and bedding, to name a few, are stacked throughout the space. This is the state of the organization’s current refugee donation centre.

Is violence the best response to Putin?

Canada has provided four M777 155mm Howitzers—like the one pictured—to Ukraine. (The U.S. Army on Flickr.com / Creative Commons 2.0)

Given Vladimir Putin’s ruthless aggression, and the obvious limits of sanctions, and the brutal suffering of Ukrainians, is there room to question military response to Russia? What is the role of a peace church in this scenario?

Are we still, effectively, a peace church?

Sharing the land

Doyle Wiebe stands next to the Treaty Land Sharing Network sign on his property, located near Langham, Sask. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Many Canadians are familiar with the saying, “We are all treaty people.”

It is a slogan created to remind all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, that treaties offer them rights and call them to responsibilities. A new grassroots organization in Saskatchewan is trying to help landowners live up to their responsibilities.

CM honoured with 10 CCCA awards

(Photo compilation by Betty Avery)

The Canadian Christian Communications Association awards were handed out online on May 11 to Canadian magazines, newspapers and communications organizations that entered material published or posted online in 2021. Canadian Mennonite won six awards for writing, two for layout and design, and one each for online content and for general excellence for a magazine.

 

Don’t be afraid of your weaknesses

The 2022 graduates of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., celebrate together by tossing their caps in the air in the seminary’s library following the commencement service on April 30. (Photo by Jason Bryant / AMBS)

César García, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference, gives the address at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary’s 2022 commencement service on April 30. (Photo by Jason Bryant)

For wisdom and insight to face today’s leadership challenges, César García invited participants at the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) commencement service on April 30 to look to the story of Moses and his call to serve in Exodus 4:1-17.

MC Eastern Canada plants seeds for a new future

Pastor Yoel Trakoon Masyawong and a group from the Lao Mennonite Fellowship Canada led the gathering in music. (MCEC photo by Luke Fillion)

Friends connect at MC Eastern Canada’s annual gathering. From left to right: Brandon Hewitson, Brittany Anonthysene, Khan Thirakul and Katie Anonthysene. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

Goshen Mennonite Church, Ottawa, was welcomed as a provisional member of MC Eastern Canada. Congregational representatives, left to right: Dany Mugisha, Moses Mugisha, Naomie Machichi, Thereze Machichi and Gloria Mihanitse (MCEC photo by Luke Fillion)

Moderator Arli Klassen greets participants of the MC Eastern Canada’s hybrid annual gathering. She and dozens of others attended via Zoom. (MCEC photo by Luke Fillion)

“Yes, we all lost sound at the Great Commission.” That humorous comment by Cathrin van Sintern-Dick appeared in the Zoom chat of the first hybrid annual church gathering of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, held April 29 and 30.

Art and inspiration at B.C. Women’s Day

Freda Lombard of Zealous Art shows the B.C. Women’s Day participants the picture that they will be painting. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Christine Wiebe of Crossroads Community Church in Chilliwack, tries her hand at guided artwork during the B.C. Women’s Day on May 7. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Women of Mennonite Church B.C. once again gathered in person for the spring Women’s Day on May 7, following a two-year pandemic-related hiatus. The event, held at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford with 32 participants, was limited to the morning hours only this year.

‘The gift of giving’

Aziza* shops for meat using monthly food vouchers given to her by MCC’s partner, Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD). The vouchers supplement her husband’s income, which is primarily spent on treating their six-month-old son’s lung disease. She uses the food to provide good nutrition to her five children under eight years of age. (*Aziza’s full name is not used for her security.) (Photo courtesy of PARD-2022)

Aziza, left, receives a monthly food voucher from a staff member working for Popular Aid for Relief and Development, an MCC partner. (Photo courtesy of PARD-2022)

Basam* receives his monthly food voucher from a staff member working for Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), an MCC partner in January 2022. The additional funds keep food in the fridge to feed him, his wife and their three children. (*A pseudonym is used for security reasons.) (Photo courtesy of PARD-2022)

Aziza, a 29-year-old mother living in Beirut, Lebanon, spends almost all of her husband’s income on hospital visits, oxygen and medication to treat her six-month-old son’s lung disease. (Her full name is not used for her security.)

Indigenous-Settler Relations program transitioned to regional churches

Earlier this year, Steve Heinrichs cohosted a learning series on the climate crisis based on the book A Good War. (Steve Heinrichs’ Instagram photo)

Mennonite Church Canada is transitioning its Indigenous-Settler Relations (ISR) program to the five regional churches that make up its nationwide community of faith.

The decision comes out of Joint Council meetings held on April 9 and 10, during which the need for the program to have regionally based expression across MC Canada was affirmed.

Praising God together across barriers

YAMENers experience Indonesia. Clockwise from bottom left: Assembly 2022 staffer Lorenzo Fellycyando, Rut Arsari, YAMENer Ananda Mohan Murmu, YAMENer Sunil Kad Kadmaset, YAMENer Natacha Kyendrebeogo, YAMENer Loyce Twongirwe, and Assembly 2022 staffer Lydia Suyanti. (Photo by Lorenzo Fellycyando)

The multinational assembly staff team in Indonesia. Pictured from left to right, back row: Lorenzo Fellycyando, Indonesia; Sunil Kadmaset, India; Lydia Suyanti, Indonesia; and Ebenezer Mondez, Philippines; middle row: Simon Setiawan, Indonesia; Rut Arsari, Indonesia; Loyce Twongirwe, Uganda; Liesa Unger, Germany; and Ananda Mohan Murmu, India; and front row: Agus Setianto, Indonesia; Preshit Rao, India; Tigist Gelagle, Ethiopia; Sarah Yetty, Indonesia; and Natacha Kyendrebeogo, Burkina Faso. (Photo by Liesa Unger)

YAMEN assembly staffers, pictured from left to right, Natacha Kyendrebeogo, Loyce Twongirwe, Ananda Mohan Murmu and Sunil Kadmaset, arrive in Indonesia. (Photo by Ebenezer Mondez)

“I can see one family with a lot of members, worshipping the same Father,” says Natacha Kyendrebeogo of Burkina Faso.

She is one of four young people serving through the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN) on the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly 2022 team in Indonesia.

Valaqua gets a spring makeover

Louisa Adria, a Foothills Mennonite Church youth worker, carries a log at Camp Valaqua’s annual spring work day on April 30. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

Camp Valaqua welcomed approximately 30 enthusiastic volunteers at its spring work day on April 30. Volunteers and staff focused on cleaning up brush and splitting wood.

“Our woodshed went from a few sad sticks to full in just a day!” says Jon Olfert, Valaqua’s camp director.

Volunteers also repaired the siding on one of the buildings and cleaned the eavestroughs.

‘Come over and help us so that we can help the needy ones’

The site of a camp that housed an estimated 64,000 Ethiopians displaced by violence in Afar state last year. As the violence shifted, these people returned home. (Photo by Rebecca Mosely)

A refugee camp in Debark, Ethiopia, set up to house people displaced by civil conflict. (Photo by Paul Mosely)

Rebecca Mosely of Mennonite Central Committee travels to meet a family who had returned home after being displaced from their home in the Afar region of Ethiopia for four months due to violence. (Photo by Rebecca Mosely)

Pastor Desalegn Abebe’s message to North American Mennonites is simple. Abebe is the head of Meserete Kristos Church (MKC), the Anabaptist denomination in Ethiopia, where 17 months of civil violence has led to 12 MKC churches being burned, 44 displaced and 163 full-time ministers and their families displaced and without income.

Drop-in program connects kids with creation

Earthkeepers Kids Club, a collaboration of Jubilee Mennonite Church and A Rocha Manitoba, aims to connect children with creation. (Photos courtesy of A Rocha Manitoba)

‘You can’t love nature if you don’t experience nature . . . children need to learn how to love it and then learn how to take care of it,’ says Anna Marie Geddert, community ministry pastor of Jubilee Mennonite Church.

At Earthkeepers, children learn outdoor skills like growing food, building fires and dressing for the weather, in addition to growing their relationships with creation.

Many children today live in a nature deficit. As screens constantly command their attention, parents tighten their protective grip as dangers outside seem to increase, and a multi-year pandemic continues to spread. Children are spending increasing amounts of time inside at home.

Faith and art in Yarrow

At one station at the Good Friday walk, participants were invited to take a living branch and weave it through a rope trellis, thinking about contributions they could make to God’s kingdom. (Photo courtesy of Amy Klassen)

(Photo courtesy of Amy Klassen)

(Photo courtesy of Amy Klassen)

Walking, biking or driving through twelve Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, April 15, residents of Yarrow, B.C., experienced the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection together through interactive and creative artwork.

Remembering the passage of time

Of the remaining 11 Erb cousins, seven were still able to attend the final reunion 90 years after it started. (Photo by Melody Steinman)

Children of John L. Erb and Barbara Oesch at a 1947 Erb family reunion. (Photo courtesy of Reta Bender)

The 1947 Erb reunion. (Photo courtesy of Reta Bender)

John L. Erb and Barbara Oesch were Amish Mennonites who farmed in Wellesley Township in southwestern Ontario in the late 1800s. They attended Maple View Mennonite Church. Together they raised eight children and had 29 grandchildren.

Boy’s bake sale raises funds for Ukraine

Cliff Gusztak with his mom Ashley hand over baked goods at his bake sale at Foothills Mennonite Church on March 27. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Cliff Gusztak is a little boy with a big heart. An idea for a small cupcake stand evolved into a fundraising campaign that raised a total of $7,150 for Mennonite Central Committee’s Ukraine emergency response.

“I was maybe thinking that we could stop the war,” he said innocently but sincerely of his efforts.

Live theatre returns to Rockway with ‘Anne’

Anne Shirley, centre, played by Kira Andres, pleads with Marilla Cuthbert, left, played by Rebecca Janzen-Martin, to be allowed to stay at Green Gables, as Matthew Cuthbert, played by Marcus Dion looks on. (Photos by Tracey Matthews)

In a fit of temper, Anne, right, played by Kira Andres, breaks a slate over the head of Gilbert, played by Leo Schellenberger.

After a two-year hiatus, students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, in Kitchener, were thrilled to perform Anne of Green Gables. The two-hour play was mounted by a cast and crew spanning grades 7 to12, with people from every grade enthusiastically contributing. Six performances ran from March 30 to April 2.

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