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Poetic justice

(Photo by Mortimer Mackenzie)

For Di Brandt, being a poet is a natural extension of her upbringing in the Manitoba Mennonite village of Reinland. She says the hymns of her youth were poetic, and poetry was part of sermons and family life.

Single Moms’ Camp brings golden healing

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

(Photo by Amanda Pot)

“It’s so hard to explain something that feels so sacred to you,” Amanda Pot said when asked to describe Single Moms’ Camp at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp in New Hamburg, Ontario. Pot has been running the camp for over a decade. “[It’s] absolutely exhausting,” she said, “but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

RJC stakes its claim on Anabaptist identity

Ryan Wood (left), president and CEO of RJC High School, and David Epp, principal. (Photos supplied by RJC High School)

Students participate in RJC High School’s choir program. (Photo courtesy of RJC High School)

Four years ago, things were looking dire for RJC High School in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Enrollment was the lowest ever, at 65 students. It had been slowly declining for 20 years, according to Ryan Wood. Wood, who served as principal previously, is now president and CEO of RJC.

Mennonites join call for landfill search

Concerned citizens—including people from at least eight Mennonite Church Manitoba congregations—attended an ecumenical event in support of searching the Prairie Green Landfill. (Photo by Michael Pahl)

Mennonite Church Canada, along with the regional churches, has issued a statement calling on “all levels of government” to support a search of the Prairie Green Landfill near Winnipeg for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, two murdered Indigenous women who are believed to be buried there.

Indigenous camps draw church-goers

Michael Young (in the orange T-shirt) stands with, from left to right: Barbara Young, Dylan Young, Cambria Harris and Kasyn Rapke. (Photo courtesy of Michael Young)

For David Driedger, who serves as leading minister at First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, the Manitoba government’s refusal to fund a search for the remains of two murdered Indigenous women believed to be buried in a landfill feels like a continuity of a pattern.

MDS Canada closes response in Cape Breton

Local MLA Fred Tilley (second from left) presents a Nova Scotia flag to Ross Penner, executive director of MDS Canada; Ike Epp, MDS project director; and Roman Heuft, Cape Breton response coordinator.

For Amanda McDougall-Merrill, mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada did more than repair homes damaged by Hurricane Fiona in Cape Breton. 

Angola settlement big step for colonies

The new settlement started by Low German-speaking Mennonites from Mexico is near Malanje, Angola. (Google Maps)

Several families from a Mennonite colony in Campeche, Mexico, arrived in Angola earlier this year to begin a new settlement in the African nation. 

It is believed to be the first settlement developed by Low German-speaking Mennonites in Africa and could be the first such organized migration away from North and South America.  

Historical society apologizes to Semá:th First Nation

Sumas Lake, known as Semá:th Lake to the local Stó:lō people, prior to it being drained by government in the 1920s. (City of Vancouver Archives)

“The draining of [Sumas Lake] and our settlement on your ancestral lands was devastating and demoralizing and disrespectful.”

That was part of an apology offered to Semá:th First Nation Chief Dalton Silver and his people by Richard Thiessen, president of the Mennonite Historical Society of B.C.

Singing to Ukraine

Carol Ann Weaver (left) and Nataliia Kurhan at Hawkesville Mennonite Church in May, 2022. (Photo by Ingrid Bauman)

Road barricades in Dnipro, Ukraine. August 2022. (Photo by Nataliia Kurhan)

February 23, 2022, was a relatively ordinary day on our planet. Until 10:30 p.m. Ontario time—early morning of February 24 where Nataliia Kurhan lives—when I heard a reporter announce breathlessly, “Missiles are being fired; the invasion has begun.”

I saw streaks descending behind the reporter on the screen and heard the sound of rockets.

The facility of faith

The pipe organ at Waterloo Kitchener United Mennonite Church. (Photo courtesy of John Enns)

Waterloo Kitchener United Mennonite Church. (WKUM Church Photo)

(Waterloo Kitchener United Mennonite Church Photo)

John Enns remembers a time when 200 children filled the Sunday school classrooms at Waterloo Kitchener United Mennonite Church (WKUM).

Currently, the congregation has 225 registered members, but less than half attend. The majority are in their 70s. Enns, who chairs the vision team at the church, says most newly retired members prefer to spend their Sunday mornings elsewhere.

Grassroots reconciliation at Spruce River Folk Fest

Cree elder, Harry Lafond, offers the opening prayer at the Spruce River Folk Fest as Ray Funk (centre) and members of the bluegrass band O’Kraut look on. (Photo by Emily Summach)

The Spruce River flows past a teepee where the opening pipe ceremony was held. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Music is a universal language. In Saskatchewan, music is also the language of reconciliation. On August 15, the Spruce River Folk Fest was held to encourage friendship and understanding between Mennonites and Indigenous neighbours.

Musical sharing at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation

A group of Indigenous people and Mennonites gather under the arbor at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. (Photo by Randy Klassen)

About 75 people gathered at Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, located an hour’s drive north of Saskatoon, on August 6 for the Singing in the Arbor event. The event, which included music, food and relationship-building, was sponsored by the Cree Nation and Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s Walking the Path initiative.

Art gallery nurtures connections with the past

“Gate to the Past” by Renate Dau Klaassen. (Photo courtesy of Renate Dau Klaassen)

Marjorie Wall Hofer admires Leah Klassen’s painting “In the Garden.” (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

“Memory of Home” by Martin Klaassen. (Photo courtesy of Renate Dau Klaassen)

An art gallery lines the hallway between the sanctuary and the auditorium of the Niagara United Mennonite Church near Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The art hanging there reminds viewers of God’s guidance through difficult times, including separation, loss and escape.

Jam

Hans Juergen Wiens and his jars of jam. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

In 2004, at the age of 70, Hans Juergen Wiens sold his business, including several farms, a feed business, and his last pig, all in one year. He was unemployed and restless. But then, one night, he remembered his mother’s resourcefulness.

All or none 

Jakob Rempel and his family a few years before he was arrested and sent to the Solovky prison camp in 1929. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Heritage Archives)

While Jakob Rempel was being transferred by train from one Gulag camp to another, he jumped from the train in a snowstorm. Ultimately, he ended up in Uzbekistan, near the town of Ak Metchet, made famous in Sofia Samatar’s celebrated 2022 book, The White Mosque.

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