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Into the wilderness with hope

As part of the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s Spring Enrichment Day, Gloria Bauman, left, reflected on her journey with cancer, and Rita Bauman spoke of moving from her home in Abbotsford, B.C., to a dairy farm in Ontario. Journey and wilderness were themes for the April 13 event at Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Barb Draper)

There were rich experiences and mixed emotions at the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s Spring Enrichment Day, hosted by Floradale Mennonite Church on April 13. Along with inspiring worship and powerful storytelling, discernment about the future was on the agenda. 

Mennonite organizations help Montreal church with renovations

Peter Kroeker, a Mennonite Disaster Service volunteer from Vineland (Ont.) United Mennonite Church, works on the exit stairs during renovations at Hochma Mennonite Church to bring its basement homeless shelter up to code. (Photos by Nicholas Hamm)

Silvain L’hereault, Hochma Mennonite Church’s shelter coordinator, gives a thumbs-up in thanks for the 30 quilts from Mennonite Central Committee Ontario that will be enough to carry the ministry through the season and allow it to discard some of its threadbare bedding. (Photo by Nicholas Hamm)

Every night, from November to April, volunteers from Hochma Mennonite Church in Montreal open its doors as a warming centre for some 40 people who are experiencing homelessness. The church wants to become a licenced shelter operating year-round, but its building needs roughly $200,000 worth of renovations to bring it up to code. 

Workshop challenges participants to move from multiculturalism to antiracism 

Stacey Swampy, the Micah Mission’s Indigenous Awareness Program facilitator, tells his story of life within the system and of healing, at a two-day workshop entitled, “The awakening: Indigenous voices in restorative justice.” (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Group 2 has all the advantages in assembling its Lego set, including the participation of the presenter’s 11-year-old daughter! (Photo by Donna Schulz)

As part of an exercise to mirror the experience of Indigenous children in the residential school system, Group 1 must try to assemble the Lego set without instructions and without speaking. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Group 2 succeeds in assembling its Lego set. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Becky Sasakamoose-Kuffner believes that racism can be overcome with a ‘concentrated and deliberate change of policies.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

There were two Lego sets and two groups of participants. The first group to assemble its toy would be the winner, but it quickly became apparent that the playing field was not level.

‘A place to belong’

Members of the Sherbrooke Mennonite Church’s food-bank outreach ministry enjoy a Christmas celebration together. Participants say the gatherings help them feel like a family. (Photo by Yohan Sanchez)

Food may be what draws people to the basement of Sherbrooke Mennonite Church every Thursday morning, but it’s not what keeps them coming. It’s a feeling of family, a place to call home.

Come to the table

Sarah Kathleen Johnson, far right, talks with participants, from right to left, Eva Cressman, Carl Bear and Carrie Martens, at the two-part Anabaptist Learning Workshop worship clinic she led on communion at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., in March. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

For two evenings in March, Sarah Kathleen Johnson led an Anabaptist Learning Workshop focused on the ritual of communion, at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener.

Considering bylaws and budgets

Delegates cluster for small-group discussions at MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions, held at Zoar Mennonite Church in Waldheim. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

At the 2019 annual delegate session of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, Joel Ens explains a graphic he designed for his congregation, Eigenheim Mennonite Church, in Rosthern. As congregants explored questions around their church’s outreach, they had challenged themselves to list the various connections they have in their community and beyond, which are represented by interconnected circles. This illustrated a point made by guest speaker David Fitch, who encouraged listeners to seize opportunities for building relationships in the community in which they live and work. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

“We looked at the bylaws and asked, ‘Is this what we’re actually doing?’” said Tim Wiens. “Usually the answer was ‘No.’ ”

MC Alberta embraces new life, hope and possibilities

During a litany of release and embrace, MC Alberta delegates lit candles to remember and release individuals who have passed away, churches that have left MC Alberta, and programs no longer present in the regional church. Candles also celebrated and embraced new and hopeful baptisms, churches who have joined MC Alberta and vibrant programs. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta’s executive Minister, left, prays for Doug Klassen as Klassen prepares to leave pastoral ministry at Calgary’s Foothills Mennonite Church to become executive minister for MC Canada. The prayer was part of the blessing and commissioning of staff and volunteers at the MC Alberta annual delegate sessions at Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury, on March 15 and 16. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

It was an unusual delegate session, with the bulk of the time dedicated to discussion rather than business. “Discerning God’s call,” Phase 3 of Mennonite Church Alberta’s Vision 20/20 process, engaged participants in reflection on what was heard in congregations during the previous phase, “Season of prayer.”

Impacting the universe with the sounds we make

Ysaÿe Barnwell, visiting scholar for the Sawatsky Lecture, teaches a clapping rhythm to her audience at Conrad Grebel University College during an interactive presentation filled with demonstrations of the power of music to create inclusive communities. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

With her powerful, resonant voice, Ysaÿe Barnwell, composer, vocalist, speaker and former member of the African-American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, began to sing “Amazing Grace,” stretching out the length of each phrase. Members of the audience started to hum along. Soon she invited everyone to sing in full voice.

Hope Mennonite Church navigates growing numbers

Hope Mennonite Church worships in its new space that is rented from Thomson Funeral Home. (Photo by Heidi Nighswander-Rempel)

At Thomson Funeral Home on Sunday morning, you won’t find a hearse, or the building filled with mourners. Instead, it is bursting with life.

The space is home to Winnipeg’s Hope Mennonite Church, a thriving community of around 200 active participants and members. The congregation moved into the funeral home last September because it faced a unique problem. It was growing.

Vintage hockey card auction nets over $13,000 for MCC

Gary Jantzi, left, from Jantzi Auctions Ltd., calls for bids on a vintage Darryl Sittler rookie card, held by volunteer, John Snider, right. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

It was standing room only in the community room at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira, Ont., for an auction of vintage hockey cards, hosted by the local Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift and Gift store on March 16.

Potential buyers lined up early to view the cards and other memorabilia, including rookie cards for Tony Esposito, Darryl Sittler and Bobby Orr.

Get ready to be shaken

‘Shake: Rattled by the Radical’ takes place from July 28 to Aug. 1 at Saskatchewan’s Shekinah Retreat Centre, 75 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Ready to be rattled by the Radical? Youth from Mennonite Church Canada congregations in grades 6 to 12 (including new graduates) are invited to take part in “Shake: Rattled by the Radical,” which takes place at Saskatchewan’s Shekinah Retreat Centre, located 75 kilometres north of Saskatoon, from July 28 to Aug. 1.

‘Audacious preacher’ tackles racism at School for Ministers

‘Audacious preacher’ Anthony Bailey is pictured with Marilyn Rudy-Froese, MC Eastern Canada’s leadership minister, at this year’s School for Ministers event. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Through worship, workshops and keynote addresses, Anthony Bailey challenged participants at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual School for Ministers to be audacious: bold, daring, provocative and courageous.

New structure brings challenges and opportunities

Nearly 150 delegates and other attendees representing 35 churches attended the annual delegate meeting at Steinbach Mennonite Church. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Henry Paetkau, interim executive minister of MC Canada, holds the covenant document between the regional churches that make up MC Canada. He said they are now more connected with each other than before. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

A Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey was spotted in Winnipeg Blue Bombers territory. Ken Warkentin, executive director of Mennonite Church Manitoba, speaks at the MC Manitoba delegate gathering in Steinbach, Man., on March 2, as Ryan Siemens, executive director of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, looks on. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Ken Warkentin, executive minister of MC Manitoba, accompanies the congregation in worship. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Delegates connect with each other over morning coffee at the MC Manitoba annual general meeting. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

The people of Mennonite Church Manitoba discussed and dreamed what the new structure of MC Canada means for their regional church, at this year’s annual delegate gathering. 

Nearly 150 delegates and other attendees representing 35 churches from across Manitoba gathered at Steinbach Mennonite Church on the first weekend in March. 

Budget matters

B.C. delegates engage together in ‘God’s mission’

MCBC executive minister Garry Janzen, right, gives a blessing to Tammy and Rob Wiebe of the Church of the Way in Granisle, as they leave MC B.C. for partnership with another denomination. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Delegates at the Mennonite Church B.C. annual meetings at Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, Feb. 23, found themselves walking alongside each other, encouraging each other and sometimes disagreeing with each other, yet with a common goal to fulfill “God’s mission: Our mission” as a church body.

Teaching horse sense

Cheralyne Gibson is horsemanship director at the Valley Equestrian Centre, a ministry of Youth Farm Bible Camp. She appreciates being able to offer equine-assisted learning in a Christian setting. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Youth Farm Bible Camp’s new riding arena will soon be the scene of both riding lessons and equine-assisted learning sessions.

No one likes to be told, “Hey! You need to change your attitude!” But that bitter pill is much easier to swallow when it’s administered by a horse.

The future is now

Mennonite places of worship across Canada.

I posed one question to the 186 Mennonite Church Canada congregations for which my search engine found email addresses. My question: “What changes has your congregation experienced as a result of the Future Directions decisions of October 2017?”

Going solar

Wayne MacDonald sees installing solar panels on the roof of Wildwood Mennonite as “an expression of what we value as a congregation.” The 20 panels are expected to cover 60 percent of the church’s energy costs. (Drone photo by Les Klassen Hamm)

Wildwood Mennonite Church recently became the first Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregation to go solar. But, as with all major spending decisions, this one wasn’t made overnight.

RJC and MCC Saskatchewan celebrate collaborative relationship

Following the concert, guests enjoyed conversation over coffee and Syrian pastries prepared by Basem Ahmad and Fadia Almasalma, a Syrian couple who have recently settled in Saskatoon through the help of MCC. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Richard Janzen led the RJC Ensemble as well as the Global Mass Choir, in which supporters of RJC and MCC Saskatchewan joined students to perform several works, including ‘Freedom Come’ by Ben Alloway. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The Alsheikh family are Syrian refugees who recently moved to Saskatoon. Accompanied by their brother Abdul on keyboard, sisters Zina and Janna Alsheikh entertained the audience with songs sung in both Arabic and English. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan and Rosthern Junior College (RCJ) joined forces to host a unique fundraising concert. 

Held on Feb. 10, 2019, at Grace Westminster United Church in Saskatoon, Global Songs and Sweets featured music and musicians from around the globe. Interspersed between the songs were times of sharing. 

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