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Making comforters for Ukraine refugees a community effort

Mother and daughter Marion and Irene Griese work together at a comforter at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26. (Photos by Emily Fieguth)

Women from the Westview Centre4Women work on the comforters.

A pile of comforters created at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26.

A basement room full of volunteers tie comforters at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26.

Bags of comforters ready for delivery to Mennonite Central Committee.

Niagara United Mennonite Church called its congregants and neighbourhood community together to tie comforters in the church basement on March 26. Advertisements in the local newspapers and in church bulletins invited anyone interested to gather for the morning.

Youths volunteer with MDS over spring break

Gerald Dyck, left, led a group from Emmanuel Mennonite Church in restoring a house damaged by last November’s floods. Also pictured, from left to right: Rachel Navarro, Emmanuel’s family pastor; Olivia Jesse; Naomi Cheny; and Isaac Boynton. (Photos courtesy of Rachel Navarro)

Naomi Cheny, left, and Olivia Jesse paint a house damaged by the B.C. flood as part of a church youth group work day in March.

Several young people from Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., volunteered with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) during spring break to help victims of last year’s massive flood.

In search of the holy grey

Truck protests in Ottawa highlighted pandemic-related division in society. (Photo by lezumbalaberenjena on Flickr)

With the worst of the pandemic behind us—hopefully—how can the church help address the division left in its wake?

Those divisions were highlighted rather starkly by the truck convoys. And though the trucks have gone home, the fervour lives on. On both sides. Lines are drawn.

Out of the pews and into the community

A gathering of pastors from Artemisa and Mayabeque provinces in Mexico who received medical supplies from Toronto Mennonite New Life Church. (Photo by Beatriz Mendez)

“We are out of the pews but in the community,” writes congregational member Olga Duran in the latest Toronto Mennonite New Life Church report, which summarizes 2021 as a year of immense giving and receiving of community support.

Mennonite Heritage Village hosts prayer vigil

Sixty people gathered at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in Steinbach, Man. to pray for peace in Ukraine. (Photo by Judy Peters/Steinbach Online)

On the cold evening of March 13, about 60 people gathered outside at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in Steinbach, Man. to pray for peace in Ukraine. The museum, which commemorates the Mennonite people and their 500-year journey of migration, hosted the vigil to provide Manitobans an opportunity to grieve, pray and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

MC Alberta delegate sessions explore challenges and look ahead

On the day following the annual delegate sessions, members of MC Alberta took part in a joint worship service at First Mennonite Church, Calgary. Jenn Ratzlaff offers communion to Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

“In spite of a global pandemic, we dared to dream,” said communications coordinator Ruth Bergen Braun in her review of the year at the Mennonite Church Alberta annual delegate sessions held March 19. “We dreamt of a future filled with healthy congregations with strong capable leadership, growing relationships, a renewed camp ministry and new ideas for interfaith work.”

Valleyview Mennonite honoured with award

Mary Boniferro, chair of mission and social concerns at Valleyview Mennonite Church accepts a community award from Elisabete Rodrigues, executive director of a local community organization in London, Ont. (Photo courtesy of Valleyview Mennonite Church)

Valleyview Mennonite Church has been recognized with an award for more than a decade of engagement and advocacy around food security issues in their community of northeast London, Ont.

LUSO Community Services, a neighbourhood resource centre, presented the church with its Community Service Award late last year.

MC Saskatchewan holds annual delegate sessions

Attendees of the annual delegate sessions enjoyed a pre-packaged lunch at socially distanced tables in the Youth Farm Bible Camp Quonset hut. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Gordon Peters (left) and Ernie Epp bring their “voices together” at morning worship. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan held its 2022 annual delegate session (ADS) as a hybrid event, allowing for both in-person and virtual attendance. Delegates met at the Youth Farm Bible Camp just south of Rosthern, Sask., on March 12.

‘I didn’t have any hope it could be played again’

MDS volunteer Mike Davis, left, presents the repaired banjo to Wesley Emmelot. (MDS Canada photo)

Wesley Emmelot and his wife, Maureen Parsley, lost almost everything when the Tulameen River overflowed its banks in the town of Princeton, B.C., in mid-November 2021.

“There was a foot of water in the house, and the basement was filled with water and mud,” Emmelot said.

Celebrating 50 years of MCC Thrift

In 2007, founders of MCC’s network of thrift stores (from left) Linie Friesen, Selma Loewen, Susan Giesbrecht and Sara Stoesz, gathered at a celebration in Winnipeg, Man., to recognize their contributions to MCC. (MCC photo/Gladys Terichow)

In November 1975, Mary Thiessen displays items at a thrift store in Clearbook, B.C. (MCC photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is celebrating 50 years of thrifting with the anniversary of the opening of the first MCC Thrift shop in 1972. The MCC Thrift network provides financial support for the work of MCC around the world. Over the last 50 years, MCC Thrift shops have contributed over $305 million to help people in need.

Unity, positivity pervade MC B.C. meeting

Although Mennonite Church B.C. delegates had to meet virtually this year for their annual general meeting, pastors and families were glad to meet in person for a retreat at Harrison Lake last November. (Photos by Ken Dueck)

‘What gives us hope?’ was the theme for the annual gathering of Mennonite Church B.C., held by Zoom on Feb. 26.

With the theme taken from Romans 15:13, “What gives us hope?” Mennonite Church B.C. conducted its annual meeting on Feb. 26 via Zoom. This was the second year for the church gathering to be online instead of the pre-pandemic face-to-face gatherings. Delegates numbered 122.

MC Manitoba reflects on shared life together

Michael Pahl, executive minister of MC Manitoba, preached on I John 1:3, a text that calls Christians to a shared life together, with God. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg donated enough to the World Health Organization’s COVAX fund so that 200 people could receive COVID-19 vaccines. A paper chain of people representing these recipients ran one-and-a-half times around the sanctuary. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

For the second year in a row, the members of Mennonite Church Manitoba came together on Zoom screens, instead of in a church sanctuary, for their annual gathering, due to the risks of COVID-19.

MCC partners in Ukraine supply essential care

MCC partner, Kharkiv Independent ECB Churches, evacuated residents, housing them at a local Christian school and at the House of Hope, a seniors residence in a village community 50 kilometers from Kharkiv. (The names of the people pictured are not provided for security reasons.) (Photo courtesy of MCC)

Try to imagine hearing air raid sirens scream out their warning. In your panic, you seek shelter. Your freezing fingers remind you of the warm coat you’ve forgotten back home. Or maybe you pack the car full of blankets and food, planning to flee to a safer location. You hope you won’t get stuck in a kilometres-long line at a checkpoint.

MC Canada issues call to eco-mission

A small, clogged and polluted creek in an urban section of the Haldimand Tract in southwestern Ontario. (Mennopix photo by Ross W. Muir)

Leaders of Mennonite Church Canada are calling on the members, congregations and regional churches of the nationwide church to respond to the climate emergency.

“We must act, we must act together, and we must act urgently,” write the executive ministers of Mennonite Church Canada, in a four-page document published on Feb. 7.

Food waste a resource for change

Women carefully close one of the inner layers of a PICS bag, which is designed to protect contents against insect damage. (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture photo / Creative Commons 2.0)

Humanity wastes 931 million tonnes of food each year. This figure—from the 2021 United Nations Environment Programme Food Waste Index Report—is an estimate with an admittedly wide margin of error, but it is probably the best of the wildly varying estimates of food waste in the media.

A statistical look at global wealth and poverty

Canada Revenue Agency requires charities to provide a breakdown of the salary categories into which their 10 highest-paid employees fall.

We all inhabit a genuinely complicated world—a world of generosity and incomprehensible inequality.

I have compiled various numbers and statistics that relate to the wealthy and the poor, and the efforts to bridge the divide—topics of interest to biblical writers.

Numbers, too, are complicated, and they are both informative and deceptive.

The wealthy

Sowing for peace in multicultural Toronto

Hyejung Jessie Yum, left, and Junggyu Anthony Yang work with Korean and other Canadians through Sowing for Peace in Toronto. They are members of Danforth Mennonite Church in Toronto and licenced pastors through Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo courtesy of Hyejung Jessie Yum and Junggyu Anthony Yang)

“The Mennonite tradition has a very precious heritage as a peace church,” says Junggyu Anthony Yang. “If we focus more and more on peace in our daily lives, then we truly become the children of God.”

Prince Albert church holds its final service

Church members look at the property where the new church building was later constructed. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)

The original Grace Mennonite Church building located on 15 Street West in Prince Albert, Sask. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)

Children participate at Daily Vacation Bible School held at Camp Kinasao. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)

Volunteers, many of whom were members of Grace Mennonite Church, take part in a Person to Person visitation evening. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)

Sunday morning worship at Grace Mennonite Church during Covid-19. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)

After 80 years, Grace Mennonite Church held its closing service on Jan. 31. The service marked a months-long discernment process and a bittersweet celebration of all that God has done through the church.

Grace Mennonite began with a mission, and the church’s legacy of mission in the community will continue.

Restorative justice program faces uncertain future

Parkland Restorative Justice staff and volunteers take part in a simulated CoSA meeting between a core member (offender) and volunteer supporters. (Parkland Restorative Justice photo)

“There’s certainly a sense of urgency and immediacy to our request,” says Kerry Reimer, director of Parkland Restorative Justice, based out of Prince Albert, Sask.

One of Parkland’s main programs, Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), has been sustained largely through a federal funding initiative, but that funding is set to expire on March 31.

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