Final results of MC Alberta's Vision 20/20 process revealed

An exciting part of Vision 20/20 was the unveiling of the vision statement on a huge banner that will be available to be hung in every MC Alberta congregation. Holding up the banner are June Miller, MC Alberta’s communications coordinator, left, and Heather Klassen of Foothills Mennonite Church. Facilitator Betty Pries is in the background. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Like all Mennonite Church Canada regional churches, MC Alberta continues to pray and discern God’s call, moving forward after the nationwide restructuring a couple years ago.

Representatives from across the province met at First Mennonite Church in Calgary on Nov. 1 and 2 to hear the final results of the four-phase discernment process called Vision 20/20.

Peacebuilders Community Inc. helps earthquake victims in the Philippines

The PeaceBuilders Community Inc.’s field operations team accompanied a Philippine Relief And Development Services team to deliver a thousand relief packs to the earthquake-affected families in Ilomavis, who mostly belong to the Obo Manobo Indigenous People. (Peacebuilders Community Inc. photo)

A home destroyed by the late October earthquakes on the island of Mindanao. (Peacebuilders Community Inc. photo)

In the last half of October, the island of Mindanao in the Philippines experienced three earthquakes, one of which reached a magnitude of 6.6. According to a Nov. 11 report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 24 people were dead, 535 were injured and two people were missing. 

Many people, one church

Scripture is read in five languages at Peace Church on 52nd on Nov. 10. (Photo by Sue Kim)

On Peace Sunday, Nov. 10, five metro Vancouver Mennonite Church British Columbia congregations gathered for a service of unity with a focus on peace. They met at Peace Church on 52nd, formerly known as First United Mennonite.

Roméo Saganash visits CMU

Former MP Romeo Saganash, left, and Steve Heinrichs, MC Canada’s director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, and members of the CMU community met on Oct. 16 in an effort to ensure that all 46 articles of UNDRIP are implemented in Canadian law. (CMU photo)

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students, staff and faculty gathered on Oct. 16 to hear Roméo Saganash speak on how Indigenous political leaders are keeping up the fight to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) implemented into Canadian law. 

Vietnam highlighted at MCC B.C. meeting

Mabel Paetkau, second from left, a former MCC refugee sponsorship coordinator, poses with the Quach family, who were one of the first Vietnamese families to arrive in Abbotsford, B.C. (MCC B.C. photo)

Those who attended Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C.’s 2019 annual meeting on Oct. 19 were treated to a Vietnamese cultural experience as they entered the gym at King Road Mennonite Brethren Church. Glowing paper lanterns, Vietnamese music and a gallery of photos from the Vietnam War era set the tone for the theme, “A journey of hope: Vietnam then and now.” 

'If you’re not hungry, your neighbour shouldn’t be hungry'

Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., right, visited and worked with Lucy Anyango on her farm in Busia, Kenya. ‘[Lucy] is a role model not just to her community, but to me,’ says Dyck. (Photo by Meagan Silencieux)

Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., right, visited and worked with Lucy Anyango on her farm in Busia, Kenya. (Photo by Meagan Silencieux)

A full house of more than 200 people gathered at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg on Oct. 15, a day before the United Nations-designated World Food Day, for the release of a new documentary by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. 

Should pastors have friends in the church?

Proving you’re never too young to learn about healthy boundaries, Pastor Will Loewen and his son Sebastian sit together at this year’s Equipping Day at Trinity Mennonite Church. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Participants sit at round tables and discuss how to have healthy boundaries at this year’s Equipping Day, held at Trinity Mennonite Church. Peft to right: Coreen Froese, Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Jeanette Thiessen. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Marilyn Rudy-Froese, left, church leadership minister with MC Eastern Canada, chats with Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister for Mennonite Church Alberta at this year’s Equipping Day at Trinity Mennonite Church. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Jake Froese, left and friend Don Baergen enjoy discussing this year’s Equipping Day topic, ‘Healthy boundaries.’ (Photo by Helena Ball)

When Don Baergen, an elder at Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton, heard that Mennonite Church Alberta was hosting an Equipping Day on healthy boundaries, he decided to go since he had never received formal training at work or in the church. Baergen also works at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. 

Becoming a work of art

Tom Yoder Neufeld, standing, describes the church as God’s recycling project. Speaking at MC Saskatchewan’s continuing education event, Yoder Neufeld led participants in exploring Paul’s writings and Jesus’ teachings, to learn what it means to walk deeply together. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Tom Yoder Neufeld likens God’s work with the church to an artist who creates a beautiful work of art out of things others have thrown away.

The professor emeritus of religious studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., spoke at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s recent continuing education event.

Chinese Mennonites persist in Edmonton for 30 years

Edmonton Christian Life Community Church, which has membership in three Mennonite denominations, rents space from St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Edmonton. (Photos by Ken Tse)

Each week, a little band of disciples known as Edmonton Christian Life Community Church meets at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Edmonton, where many homeless people congregate. The congregation of about 20 is made up of Chinese boat people who came to Canada in the 1980s, many of whom got jobs as cleaners upon their arrival.

A farewell to the ‘blue hymnal’

Eighty people from different Mennonite churches, denominations and even provinces participated in Sargent Avenue Mennonite’s hymnal sing-a-thon weekend at the end of September. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Singers sang all 658 hymns from Hymnal: A Worship Book and raised $800 to help Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church purchase copies of the new Voices Together hymnal. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Over the span of a single weekend, Sean Goerzen sang or played every single hymn in the blue-backed Hymnal: A Worship Book. All 658 of them. “I feel like I know the hymnal in a very intimate way now,” he says with a laugh.

Praying without words

John Gascho and Melody Neufeld have launched a centring prayer group that meets bi-weekly at Osler (Sask.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

A solitary candle flickers on a low table in the middle of a darkened room. Participants chat quietly with one another as they wait for the session to begin, having come to partake in an hour of centring prayer and sharing.

A short history of Lao Christian Fellowship

Lao Christian Fellowship in St. Catharines officially became a Mennonite congregation in 1983. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

After many years of war in and around Laos, the Laos PDR party took over in 1975, and hundreds of thousands of Laotians escaped to Thailand. Under Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, and with the help of individuals and groups under the leadership of Mennonite Central Committee, many families settled in Canada.

Hope in a dark world

Suzanne Gross, right, of First Mennonite Church in Edmonton, hangs out with Joanne Moyer, who biked to the Interfaith Climate Change Prayer Vigil on Sept. 22 in Edmonton. (Photo by Brian Ladd)

“Beefier barley: Climate change will boost Alberta’s barley yields with less water, and feed more cattle,” said a big billboard appearing to promote the benefits of climate change. It was produced by the University of Alberta last month. Jacqui Tam, vice-president of university relations, resigned, with the school announcing that it had not approved the ad.

Striking for the future

From left to right: Laurel Smith and Juniper Giesbrecht, both of Charleswood Mennonite, Lena Klassen of First Mennonite, and Alayna Smith of Charleswood Mennonite, attend the Winnipeg climate strike. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

The Westgate Mennonite Collegiate Concert Choir performs at the morning prayer service at Broadway Disciples United Church. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

More than 12,000 people take part in the climate strike in Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Kyle Penner, associate pastor of Grace Mennonite in Steinbach, and Paul Loewen, a member of Douglas Mennonite in Winnipeg, with Penner’s sign of Dirk Willems with an environmental twist. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Mennonites Matthew Rempel, left, Kelsey Wiebe, Marta Bunnett, Marika Veith, Michael Veith, Sarah Janzen and Maya Janzen all strike for the climate! (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Mennonites from many different churches in Manitoba gather at the Manitoba legislature for the global climate strike. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Andrea De Avila, associate pastor of Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church, and Moses Falco, pastor of Sterling Mennonite Fellowship, both Winnipeg congregations, volunteer as marshals for the rally. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

A sign made by a Canadian Mennonite University student is carried during the march along the streets of Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Mennonites took to the streets of Winnipeg on Sept. 27 with more than 12,000 others to strike for the climate. The rally was one of thousands happening around the world as part of the global youth-led movement that has seen millions protesting the climate crisis and advocating for environmental justice.

KGB archives in Ukraine now open

Peter Giesbrecht was one of thousands of Mennonites detained and never heard from again in Ukraine under Stalin. (Photo courtesy of the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies)

Family members of the tens of thousands of Mennonites detained in Ukraine during the 1930s and ’40s can now request further information through a new program at the Centre for Transnational Mennonite Studies. 

Imperilled world, imperfect choices

‘So I must state that, for all the good reasons to fly, there is one good reason not to: We’re cookin’ the place,’ states Will Braun, as rising sea levels and melting glaciers and icebergs attest. (Photo © Mennig)

I interviewed five people who care about climate, yet, like many of us, they take actions not backed by their beliefs. I wanted to gently pull back the veil on the inner tensions with which many of us contend. 

Planting trees, nurturing a dream

Wayne and Carry Dueck appreciate the wild beauty of the place they have come to call The Land. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne and Carry Dueck walk across the property they refer to as The Land. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne Dueck admires how the Scots pine trees he planted over 30 years ago have grown and proliferated over the years. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne Dueck is dwarfed next to the Scots pine trees he planted on The Land over 30 years ago. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne and Carry Dueck hammer a cedar shake into the ground in front of a pine tree. This marker recalls a special friendship. Other markers over the years have commemorated loved ones who have died, or recalled distant friends. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The names on this cedar shake will disappear with time, and the marker itself may disappear, as deer seem to find them tasty, says Wayne Dueck. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne and Carry Dueck wander through the trees on the property they call The Land. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

‘Is there cell reception here?’ Wayne Dueck wonders as he sits in a former campfire circle on The Land. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne Dueck notes the proliferation and size of second-growth conifers that have sprung up in recent years on The Land. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne and Carry Dueck examine a small burr oak tree planted in the late 1990s. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne Dueck laughs when he sees an ironically placed detour sign. Spending time on The Land has been a detour of sorts for the Duecks as they have re-evaluated what is important to them. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Carry Dueck marvels at the many second-growth trees that have sprouted over the years since her husband Wayne planted thousands of trees in the late 1980s. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wayne Dueck examines a burr oak tree he planted in the late 1990s. He expects that, if the tree survives, it may outlive many of the surrounding conifers. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

As they walk the length of their 32-hectare (80-acre) property, it is evident that Wayne and Carry Dueck share a deep love for the place they simply call The Land.

Church garden provides produce for soup kitchen

The garden at Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, Man., donates its produce to local soup kitchen, Soup’s On. (Photo by Larry Friesen)

Larry Friesen, garden coordinator, shows a harvest of potatoes from the garden. (Photo courtesy of Larry Friesen)

Sharon Reimer picks cucumbers from the garden. (Photo by Larry Friesen)

Betty Koop showcases the garden’s tall tomato plants. (Photo by Larry Friesen)

In the summer of 2004, Joy Neufeld opened the first soup kitchen in Steinbach. Fifteen years later, Soup’s On is still serving its community and is thriving.

Neufeld, a member of Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, started the project because she loved working in the kitchen. “I just love cooking and baking, but the last thing Steinbach needed was another restaurant,” she says. 

Rearranging pews a symbol of deeper discernment

The Waterloo-Kitchener United Church congregation rearranged its sanctuary in a more communal way around a central space. The church’s summer theme was ‘Building community around a shared table,’ with food to share at the end of the service. (Photo by Karl Dick)

In what church member Karl Dick calls a “bold summer experiment,” the congregation at Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church decided to unscrew some of its hardwood benches and re-arrange them in “a more communal” way.

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)

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 )

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)

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)

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.


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