Focus On

A reason to celebrate…

On a hot summer day last summer, Lisa Cressman, left, Christina Wilkinson and Camille Martin, staff members at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp in southwestern Ontario, cool off by being the target of water-filled sponges.

Canoeing on the pond is a popular activity at Hidden Acres. Out for a paddle last summer are Julia Schumm, Hannah Stanley and Joselyn Polanic.

The rock-climbing wall is always busy at Hidden Acres.

Hidden Acres campers take time out to read a book in this 1964 photo.

As we reach the 50th anniversary of Hidden Acres, it is abundantly clear that we have reason to celebrate!

Sagamace Bible Camp hopes to reopen this summer

Sagamace Bible Camp, operated by Nordheim Mennonite Church in northwestern Manitoba, had to cancel its program last summer due to flooding, but hopes to be up and running in 2012.

Nordheim Mennonite Church in the small community of Winnipegosis is Mennonite Church Manitoba’s most remote congregation. More than 275 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg and far from other area church congregations, this small church community continues to thrive.

The REAL thing at Bethany College

Matthew Bergen creates large graffiti art for Bethany College’s retreat.

Every February, high school students from across Canada brave the cold, snow, and winter wind to make the trip to Hepburn, Saskatchewan for Bethany College’s Youth Advance (YA)! Bethany’s annual youth retreat brings people together to be challenged through dynamic teaching, drama, music, art and loads of fun activities.

Seduced by our abundance

Walter Brueggemann inspires School for Leadership Training participants to move beyond the drive to accumulate toward accepting God’s gracious abundance.

Beware of seduction by accumulation. That was one of the money issues explored by Walter Brueggemann, a world-renowned Old Testament scholar, in talks to as many as 700 people gathered at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) Jan. 16 through 18.

Mennonites writing in Canada: The first 50 years

Rudy Wiebe is pictured after his reading at Conrad Grebel University College with moderator Hildi Froese Tiessen, professor of English and peace and conflict studies. Wiebe kicked off Grebel’s Celebrating Mennonite Literature reading series on Jan. 11.

The chapel at Conrad Grebel University College was packed to hear renowned Mennonite author Rudy Wiebe read through his life of writing on Jan. 11, 50 years after his 1962 novel, Peace Shall Destroy Many, was published.

New book recalls English school controversy

One of more than 200 photographs from the new book, The Pembroke Years: 1919-1968, shows Pembroke School ball players Frank Janzen, Peter Neudorf, Jacob Janzen, George Sawatzky, George Ens and Jacob Sawatzky piling onto Abe J. Friesen’s truck.

On Oct. 1, 50 people gathered in the fellowship centre at Saskatoon’s Bethany Manor to launch the new book, The Pembroke Years: 1919-1968.

A journey of peace

While reflecting on the MCC peace button message, students at Menno Simons Christian School, Calgary, work in groups to create artistic trees that represent the individual and collective work of creating peace at the school.

On Nov. 10, 2011, the community of Menno Simons Christian School participated in our annual peace festival, focusing on the meaning of the MCC button, “To remember is to work for peace.” We reflected on those who have been—and continue to be—affected by war, and how we, as a Christian peace community, can make our school and our world a more peaceful place.

Imaginations at work

Rosthern Junior College students put their imaginations to work on an international service learning trip in support of a community in Guatemala.

Every year, Rosthern Junior College staff and students from Saskatchewan partner with Habitat for Humanity to assist in the construction of homes for needy families.

Every September for the last 106 years, students have arrived at the Rosthern (Sask.) Junior College

Music for food

The Central Manitoba Youth Choir under the direction of Liane Ouimet performs at the Oct. 15 Musical Growing Project at Westminster United Church, Winnipeg, Man.

Great music was in the air on Oct. 15 and 16 in Winnipeg and Winkler, Man., for the inaugural Canadian Foodgrains Bank Musical Growing Project.

More than 700 people attended the two concerts, which raised about $20,000 for the Foodgrains Bank.

Tour member chooses to be baptized en route

On July 4, while on a TourMagination trip though the Swiss Alps, 14-year-old Westhenry was baptized in the Inn River with the tour group standing in as his congregation.

As we look over this past year, nowhere do we see TourMagination’s motto—“building bridges among Mennonites, other Christians and faiths around the world through custom-designed travel”—better lived out than in a series of events in the Swiss Alps.

Gifted for this time

Susan Schultz Huxman, new president of Conrad Grebel University College, is pictured in the entrance to her new office.

As Susan Schultz Huxman settles into her role as president of Conrad Grebel University College, the school of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada at the University of Waterloo, Ont., Canadian Mennonite settled in for a conversation about her and the university college.

New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale goes ‘green’

Tyler Yantzi, centre, moves compostable paper bowls from a blue box into the green bins as volunteers Scott Bauman, left, and Mark Brubacher, right, look on.

Savang Nay, a volunteer from the Grace Lao Mennonite Church, Kitchener, takes a break from making spring rolls to load up on fries and ketchup, served in a recyclable paper container.

In past years, garbage bins at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale were filled with a mix of recyclables, compostables and garbage. This year, there was an effort made to sort the garbage before taking it to the landfill.

One of the stated goals of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is creation care, to the point of MCC Ontario hiring Darren Kropf part-time to spearhead this effort in congregations. But activities like the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale, now having completed 45 years, are run by grassroots organizations and are not part of MCC proper.

‘This is home’

St. Clair O’Connor residents Julia Bringau, Jane Huggins, Mae King, Joyce Cockburn and Doris Cullen enjoy the community’s tea room, a place where residents and the public can enjoy a drink or shop for gifts.

Aquafit classes led by Linda DeHaan, front, help St. Clair O’Connor residents Norman Tom, Janet Grant, Pat Cavanagh, Pat Murray and John Harpen stay active

As Canada’s population ages at an ever-faster pace, Toronto’s St. Clair O’Connor Community may hold the key to keeping seniors independent longer, and teaching young people to respect their elders. Since opening in 1983, the community has provided family townhouses, independent apartments for seniors and a nursing home all under one roof.

A Psalm-like devotional

Tongue Screws and Testimonies, a book of essays, poems and artwork reflecting on Martyrs Mirror, is written by insiders for insiders. In the introductory essay, Kirsten Beachy, the editor, states that this volume reflects a wide variety of opinions of, and attitudes to, the role that Martyrs Mirror has played, and is playing, in the Anabaptist community.

Shedding light on southern Manitoba’s conservative Mennonites

This comprehensive biography of Wilhelm H. Falk (1892-1976), founding bishop of the Rudnerweide Mennonite Conference, is an important addition to the history of Mennonites, particularly in southern Manitoba. The book outlines the early history and origins of the Rudnerweide Gemeinde, later to become the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Church.


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