When the missions and service ministry team at Mount Royal Mennonite Church in Saskatoon was trying to identify a giving project the congregation could rally behind, it thought of the Friendship Inn.
Trisha Robinson, left, executive director of the Wilmot Family Resource Centre, New Hamburg, Ont., stands next to Santa and Mrs. Claus outside Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, where 137 free curbside Christmas dinners were distributed. At least 10 community churches joined in the effort to bring some Christmas cheer to people in the community who were alone for Christmas. (The Wilmot Post photo by Nigel Gordijk)
On Christmas Day, 137 free turkey dinners were served up for people who needed some Christmas cheer in the Wilmot and Wellesley townships of Waterloo Region.
In online Mennonite World Conference (MWC) meetings in mid-November 2020, the Executive Committee approved expansion of MWC’s structure to include new specialized networks.
The need is great. Six thousand people wait for affordable housing in Waterloo Region. Local government is committed to creating 25,000 new housing units in the next five years, but Karen Redman, the regional chair, acknowledged in a Dec. 24, 2020, Kitchener Today article, “I don’t think we can possibly move fast enough . . . in order to do that, we need partners.”
In the early morning of Dec. 25, 2020, still dark and with snow on the ground, a small group of people gathered in front of Yarrow United Mennonite Church to re-enact the first Christmas.
Riverton Fellowship Circle began meeting in 1985, when a group of Indigenous people in Riverton expressed desire for a church. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)
Riverton Fellowship Circle always met in a circle, around a centrepiece of sweetgrass, a candle and a Bible. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)
Neill von Gunten (left) and Barb Daniels (right) were two of Riverton Fellowship Circle’s leaders, along with Edith von Gunten. Here they are pictured in 1997 at the church. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)
When the soft cloud of an expired dandelion explodes, the flower is gone, but the seeds that have spread far and wide soon erupt into new life. So it is with the recently closed Riverton Fellowship Circle.
The roof of the Mennonite Church Canada headquarters in Winnipeg before a $220,000 upgrade to the building’s energy efficiency. (Photo by Doug Klassen)
Mennonite Church Canada is backing up the establishment of a new Sustainability Leadership Group (SLG) with a $220,000 upgrade to its head office in Winnipeg.
Carol Penner presents "#Mennonites Too: Sexual Violence and Mennonite Peace Theology," at the Benjamin Eby Lecture. Her presentation also served as the C. Henry Smith Peace Lecture, which features research by Mennonite faculty in peace traditions. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman
In her recent research Carol Penner surveyed how the church periodicals, Gospel Herald, The Mennonite, and Canadian Mennonite reported on sexual violence from 1970 to the present. What she found became the subject of the annual Benjamin Eby Lecture, which features research of a Conrad Grebel University College faculty member.
Stress, anxiety and loneliness are among the many challenges that university students face during this era of remote learning and physical distancing. In past years, Inter-Mennonite Chaplaincy Association (IMCA) operated a welcoming space known as the Menno Office on the University of Manitoba campus.
Erika Pappas of Edmonton Mennonite Church is amazed at what can be done with a few dollars at the Dollar Store. (Photo by Erika Pappas)
Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Trevor Wiens display their very first Advent wreath so they can participate in community worship. (Photo by Brenda Tiessen-Wiens)
Kate and Bob Janzen create an Advent wreath from barn boards and barbed wire. (Photo by Kate Janzen)
Hanna Martens displays her living wreath made from moss, pinecones and succulents from the forest. (Photo by Hanna Martens)
Carole Neufeldt creates an Advent wreath using items from around the house. (Photo by Carole Neufeldt)
An Advent wreath created by Rose Goertzen for the altar at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta. (Photo by Anna-Lisa Salo)
Like most of the country, Alberta is experiencing, its second wave of novel coronavirus. As of early December, as many as 1,800 Albertans were contracting COVID-19 every day. With the Christmas season approaching, every church had to look at past traditions and ask whether to try to alter them in some way or to cancel activities altogether.
“People talk about church decline,” says Ryan Siemens. “I prefer to talk about church transition.” Lately, he’s been thinking a lot about church transition, and wondering, “What are we being called to open ourselves up to?”
The former Mohawk Institute Residential School is being preserved as an interpreted historical site and monument to indigenous resilience, documenting the history of the residential school system in Canada. (Woodland Cultural Centre website photo)
Janet Bauman recently participated in a 45-minute virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., with other people from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church; it fit in with the congregation’s worship series on unlearning racism.
Evan Kreider was scheduled to speak at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver in the spring of 2020. But the pandemic put an end to that, as life as we knew it changed. Group meetings were discouraged. The timing coincided with the church’s plan to depart the chapel of the Menno Simons Centre, a student residence, after more than 30 years.
“What a joy it is for the brothers and sisters [of the Bateke Plateau] to feel themselves a part of the larger Mennonite family,” says Reverend Seraphin Kutumbana of Communauté Mennonite au Congo, a Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church.
In late October, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL—Colombian Mennonite Church) issued a public statement declaring that there have been 60 massacres (killings of five people or more at a time) so far in Colombia in 2020. Victims include young people and small farmers, as well as 200 civic leaders.
While Mennonites across Canada and the United States eagerly await the arrival of the new hymnal, Voices Together, hundreds of online worship resources are already accessible to them through a brand new website that launched in November.
Faculty and students in the master of theological studies (MTS) program at Conrad Grebel University College have found that conversations between those with different approaches to Christianity are a valuable learning experience.
YAMENers Enosh Rupamajhi, Olicky Muchindu and Jeu Song take a group photo in Salatiga, Indonesia. Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, they were temporarily unable to return to their home countries of India, Zambia and Laos, respectively, from their placements in Indonesia. For a few months, they waited out the pandemic, learning, laughing and worshipping together. (Photo courtesy of Olicky Muchindu)
"The love from Indonesia." For Enosh Rupamajhi, Jeu Song and Olicky Muchindu—members of the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN)—the warmth of relationship from their hosts and each other is a hallmark of their year.
Milo Penner, 4, looks out the window as a candle lit by his father, Kyle Penner, burns in support of Steinbach's healthcare workers, patients and their families. (Photo by Kyle Penner)
Kyle Penner, a pastor at Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, Man., has been lighting candles every evening since mid-November in prayer and solidarity with his community's healthcare workers, patients and their families. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Penner)
A single flame flickered into existence in the window of a home in Steinbach, and now throughout the city—and across the country—candles send warmth to a hurting community.
The weekly church youth group gathering, whether for service, faith discussions or recreational activity, has had to change this fall in the face of COVID-19. B.C. youth leaders are adapting the best they can, trying to keep young people engaged and connected to the church.
Leah Reesor-Keller, newly installed MC Eastern Canada executive minister, speaks from the sanctuary of First Hmong Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont., which hosted the physically distanced installation service that was recorded and shared at the regional church’s fall gathering held online. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)
“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me . . . I will keep on singing.”
Thanks to a generous donor, Camp Valaqua was able to build two yurts this spring to offer as places to rest and refresh. Next to the Little Red River on the north quarter of the camp’s property in Water Valley, Alta., each yurt has a bunk bed, and pull-out queen bed together with other modest furnishings. Yurt bookings are expected to be available by April 2021. (Photo by Jon Olfert)
A regional church check-in meeting last month gave members a chance to learn how Mennonite Church Alberta is faring.
With the arrival of fall, when in-person meetings were prohibited, MC Alberta leaders decided to host a Zoom check-in for all the churches so communities could connect and hear how things are going.
As with most celebrations during this pandemic, it was a quiet 75th anniversary celebration for St. Catharines United Mennonite Church on Nov. 1. In order to limit social contact, the Sunday services alternate between families and seniors, and this Sunday was a seniors Sunday service. About 86 people attended.