Forty-one acres in Campden, Ont., are being cultivated, planted and harvested for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, with sponsorships of $400 an acre helping to plant a crop for the Grow Hope Niagara project. When the harvest is sold, farmers will donate the money to the Foodgrains Bank through Mennonite Central Committee.
Werner De Jong was the plenary speaker at this year’s MC Alberta annual delegate sessions, held on Zoom this year. His messages focused on the theme ‘Love one another,’ as part of the regional church’s launch of its Year 2 vision: ‘Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in Community.’ (Screenshot by Joanne De Jong)
Brenda Tiessen-Wiens, Mennonite Church Alberta’s moderator, said “Wow!” Peter Za Zor Sang, the secretary of the Calgary Chin Christian Church, kept repeatedly asking, “How blessed were we?” And Werner De Jong, pastor of Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton, declared, “Grace danced!” when describing what God has done this past year in the regional church.
Mennonites in Colombia and Canada are reinvigorating a 76-year-old relationship.
With some Fraser Valley congregations insisting on their right to meet for public worship during the current pandemic, Mennonite Church B.C. leadership is encouraging its churches to follow current COVID-19 guidelines for gathering.
During a memorial service held as part of MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions, Kirsten Hamm-Epp lights a candle for three congregations that, in 2020, made the difficult decision to close. Superb Mennonite closed in May 2020. Hanley Mennonite and Zoar Mennonite in Waldheim will close in 2021. (Screenshot by Donna Schulz)
“We hear God’s voice from a place of knowing who we are,” said Kirsten Hamm-Epp. In her meditation that opened Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions, the regional church minister talked about how Mary heard God’s voice and responded.
Following the decision to offer the 2022 Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly in Indonesia as a hybrid event, the Program Committee members and assembly staff are now re-imagining the event and its additional online opportunities.
Rick Neufeld, MC Manitoba’s director of leadership ministry, gave his report from the ice. A lively hockey team debate ensued in the Zoom chat room! (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)
MC Manitoba’s annual gathering began with the installation of Michael Pahl, right, as the regional church’s new executive minister. Also pictured, left to right: Doug Klassen, executive minister of MC Canada; Gerald Gerbrandt, moderator of MC Manitoba; and Lisa Bueckert, church council chair of Morden Mennonite Church. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)
Mennonite Church Manitoba’s 74th annual gathering was confined to screens this year due to the ongoing pandemic, but reports of the regional church’s work came from all over the province, like a small-town ice rink and the Camp Assiniboia lodge.
Jeanette Hanson, director of International Witness, left, and Norm Dyck, MC Eastern Canada mission minister.
Over Zoom, Norm Dyck shares a photo of a church-planting map from the Nazareth-Adama region of Ethiopia. At the top is the mother church established in 1948 with the help of Mennonite mission workers.
“God is so good to us,” said Pastor Leng Nawn Thang excitedly as he spoke about all the ways God has taken care of Calgary Chin Christian Church, a member of Mennonite Church Alberta, over the last 10 years. “When we came to Canada, we asked, ‘How can we sing a new song in a strange land?’ Now we are celebrating our 10-year anniversary and the grand opening of our new church building!”
Mennonite Church Canada is committing to improve the sustainability of its programs and ministries.
Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whitely perform ‘This Little Light of Mine’ as part of the Bechtel Lecture on blackness and whiteness in Anabaptist print and mission. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)
This year’s virtual Bechtel Lecture, “Blackness, whiteness and the Anabaptist ‘imagined community’ in print and mission,” featured two speakers:
Diana Braithwaite, an accomplished blues, gospel and jazz performer, and founder and director of the Rella Braithwaite Black History Foundation, where she researches, preserves and shares the story of Blacks in Canada.
A variety of vegetables grown around Coffee for Peace’s coffee farm. From her visit to Leamington (Ont.) United Mennonite Church and the local Southwestern Ontario Gleaners facility a few years ago, Joji Pantoja got the idea that a vegetable dehydrator could reduce waste, help feed the hungry following natural disasters, and provide additional income for her and her husband’s PeaceBuilders Community ministry. (Coffee for Peace photo)
When the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago, global food security networks were put to the test. In the Philippines, where Dann and Joji Pantoja serve as Mennonite Church Canada International Witness workers, the people in the city were suddenly cut off from their food supply as the country locked down.
As the academic year draws to a close, students and staff at Columbia Bible College are reflecting on how the college has successfully navigated offering in-person learning despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. These have included reduced class sizes, mask fatigue, teaching behind plexiglass, and keeping resident and commuter students apart.
John Braun is pictured in 2010 by the ancient steps that lead from the upper city of Old Jerusalem down to the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. (Photo courtesy of John Braun)
Deuteronomy urges people to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,” and Ken Quiring has dedicated himself to this call. Telling Scripture by heart is an integral part of daily life for the pastor of Grace Mennonite Church in Brandon, Man.
Members of the Edmonton Menno-Catholic dialogue pose for a picture in the remains of the city of Ephesus during a two-week study tour in Turkey, sponsored by Edmonton’s Intercultural Dialogue Institute. Pictured from left to right: Roger Thiessen, Eleanore Woollard, Marvin Bloos, Ibrahim Cin, Bob Thiessen, Doreen Bloos, Julien Hammond and John Woollard. (Photo courtesy of Marvin Bloos)
The Roman Catholic Church has a global baptized membership of 1.3 billion parishioners. Mennonite World Conference (MWC), on the other hand, has just over 0.16 of one percent of that number, with a global baptized membership of 2.13 million. What reason or benefit could there possibly be for an elephant and mouse to be friends?
A sample of cookies baked as evidence in ‘the cookie war’ were preserved at the Amish Historical Library and donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. In Laureen Harder-Gissing’s virtual archive tour, they helped to document one of the food stories from Mennonite history. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario)
Edna Staebler, author of Food That Really Schmecks, is shown holding the cookies in question, in an article she wrote for Saturday Night Magazine in 1987 about ‘the cookie war.’ The photo was shown as part of the virtual archives tour by Laureen Harder-Gissing, far right, describing a patent dispute over a cookie recipe that drew Mennonite women into the conflict. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)
Big city lawyers paid Old Order Mennonite women $20 an hour to bake cookies, all in an effort to gather evidence in “the cookie war.” This “sweet and true tale” was shared recently as part of “The Anabaptist Story lives on: Virtual museum and archive tour,” sponsored by TourMagination, in which archivists and historians show unique artifacts, photos and documents as they share parts of the Anab
Despite the reality of COVID-19 this year, the 2021 annual general meeting of Mennonite Church B.C. took place virtually on Feb. 27 with participation exceeding that of previous years. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)
Although faces on screens had to replace in-person contact, participants at the 2021 Mennonite Church B.C. annual general meeting, held on Zoom on Feb. 27, managed to create a sense of connection for participants and allowed them to transact business as in previous years.
“Together on [Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday], we feel connected to our brothers and sisters all over the world,” said Jannie Nijwening, pastor at Doopsgezind Gemeente Zaanstreek in the Netherlands.
Fifteen congregations have launched new websites through the Mennonite Church Canada congregational website hub.
“On the one hand, it’s hard work but it’s creative work,” says Rachel Siemens, pastor of Carman (Man.) Mennonite Church, whose website launched in August 2020. “What kind of images do we use, what do we say about us, what are the words we use to talk about ourselves?”
Jared Regier displays some of the fruits of his labour: winter squash and garlic, ready for storage. (Photo courtesy of Jared Regier)
As Jared Regier worked in his market garden plots, people walking by would stop and ask him questions about gardening. This led to the creation of the Vegetable Academy. (Photo courtesy of Jared Regier)
Jared Regier holds a tray of seedlings ready for transplant into his market garden. (Photo courtesy of Jared Regier)
The seed that eventually grew into the Vegetable Academy was planted when Jared Regier was a boy working, somewhat reluctantly, in his parents’ garden.
“Good food was always part of our home,” he says, and gardening was “an essential part of being human.”
Should Mennonite Church Canada leaders promote vaccines during this public health emergency?
That question arose in January when Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer, met with over 1,300 Canadian faith leaders, including from MC Canada, to encourage them to promote vaccines to their members.
It may seem obvious when humour crosses the line, but Christians have not always agreed when it is appropriate and when it is not. In fact, throughout many periods of history, Christians have felt that laughing and comedy were terrible sins.
When Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) moved its Xplore classes online for the fall 2020 semester due to COVID-19, Marlene Janzen was thrilled. Janzen lives in Ottawa, so the new format meant she could participate for the first time.
“This was really interesting to me, to access these resources from CMU,” she says, adding that she had a great experience in her course.
When COVID-19 struck last March, farmers who sell food directly to customers saw a rush on their products.
“It seemed like people were just googling farms to go right to the source,” said Sarah Martin-Mills of Growing Hope Farm in Cambridge, Ont.
“We had a huge spike,” said Ben Martens Bartel of Grovenland Farm near Lanigan, Sask.