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‘Covid composition’ wins Chronos competition

Leonard Enns conducts a DaCapo Chamber Choir rehearsal in a Waterloo parkade during COVID-19 restrictions. Enns won a recent composition competition with a piece called “A Little More Time,” which he wrote as part of a personal challenge to write a short choral work each week during the early part of the pandemic. (Chestnut Hall Music screenshot)

When the novel coronavirus pandemic broke out last spring, shutting down so many activities, Leonard Enns gave himself a challenge: to write a short choral work of three to four minutes in length each week. It is a commitment he kept up from April to June 2020. 

Spontaneous joy in this time of pandemic

Take two exuberant Mennonite Church workers, give one a bunch of balloons and the other a camera, and what do you have? Spontaneous joy on the streets of Calgary. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

(Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

(Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

(Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

Louisa Adria, Foothills Mennonite Church’s congregational support worker, and Ruth Bergen Braun, communications coordinator of Mennonite Church Alberta, sparked joy when they spontaneously decided to do a photo shoot on Feb. 26, next to a brightly painted shipping container near downtown Calgary.

Communicating at the table

International friendships develop. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

An impromtu soccer game. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

A neighbourhood work project. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

A formative experience for me was a youth work camp I participated in during my teenage years. The event was organized in connection with the ninth assembly of Mennonite World Conference, held in Curitiba, Brazil, in July 1972.

Brazilian beans

A meal of rice and beans makes a frequent appearance on every Brazilian table. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

I grew up in Brazil, a child of missionary parents. One regular item on our family menu was the traditional Brazilian rice and beans meal. These are the daily staples of cuisine throughout Brazil, a wholesome and inexpensive combination eaten by people of all economic classes.

Lecture-recital highlights women composers

Sisters Joanna, left, and Anneli Loepp Thiessen presented several hymns in the Voices Together collection by women composers, at a recent lecture-recital. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Celebrating the contribution of women composers in Voices Together means reclaiming the voices of historical women whose work has been overlooked and also to “elevate the voices of women who are living,” said Anneli Loepp Thiessen.

Church members enjoy ‘snail mail’ during pandemic

Angelika Dawson of Abbotsford, B.C., has been corresponding by mail with some members of her church during the pandemic. She is surrounded by some of the many cards and letters she has received. (Photo courtesy of Angelika Dawson)

In this time of isolation, some members of Abbotsford’s Emmanuel Mennonite Church are discovering the delights of a relationship based on the old-fashioned medium of handwritten letters.

Picturing her calling

Superb Mennonite Church, near Kerrobert, Sask., where Lois Siemens’ ministry began. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Her peers in ministry surround Lois Siemens at her ordination in 2011. Pictured behind Siemens, from left to right: Patrick Preheim, Claire Ewert Fisher, Garth Ewert Fisher, Pauline Steinmann and Jerry Buhler. (Photo courtesy of Lois Siemens)

Friends and family surround Lois Siemens at her ordination in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Lois Siemens)

"Finding surprises along the way: friendship, questions, allies, teachers, beauty, resources, answers to prayer, places to live, financial resources, extra jobs." (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Witnessing transformation in others and myself. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

“Times of waiting and stillness . . . and times to take off and go!” On the 10th anniversary of her pastoral ordination on Jan. 9, Lois Siemens went for a walk by the South Saskatchewan River and began taking photographs. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

"Thankful for the times I received support." (Photo by Lois Siemens)

There were celebrations of death and life. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Always looking for signs of hope. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Lois Siemens’s ordination Scripture verse, Psalm 86:12. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

What she really wanted was a party, but pandemic realities prompted Lois Siemens to find another creative way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her ordination.

A tribute to Menno Wiebe (1932-2021)

Menno Wiebe, left, presents a riding crop to renowned Lubicon Cree chief Bernard Ominayak in Little Buffalo, Alta., in 1993. Wiebe’s presentation was accompanied with the words, “Ride on, sir!” (Photo: Michael bryson / mennonite heritage archives)

Menno Wiebe with Steve Nosky at Checkpoint 4 of the Lubicon Cree blockade in 1988 in northern Alberta. (Photo by Elaine Bishop)

Upon entering the home of Menno and Lydia Wiebe at 10 Concord Avenue in Winnipeg, where they lived for 48 years, one would likely be met not with conventional niceties but with a bright-eyed, depth-probing question, possibly relating to birds and theology, or gardens and ecclesiology, or something else that would never otherwise cross your mind but regularly occupied Menno’s. 

There is no peace without Christ

Youth from Addis Ababa and surrounding areas come for discipleship and leadership training by Pastor Mezgebu A. Tucho. Tucho’s son, Zecharias Abdissa, centre, also preached. (Photo courtesy of Pastor Mezgebu Tucho)

Pictured from left to right: Pastor Mezgebu A. Tucho of Bethel International Church-Edmonton Oromo Congregation; Bruce Buckwalter, Ethiopian representative for Mennonite Central Committee; and Joanne and Pastor Werner De Jong of Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton, met at the MCC Ethiopia compound in November 2018. Pastors Tucho and De Jong went together to the Burayu Bible College to do leadership, peace and spiritual formation training. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

What was so important that an Ethiopian Mennonite pastor would go back to Ethiopia with his family during COVID-19 and a war?

Teachers learn lessons, too

Linda Bartel, centre, volunteers at the Good Neighbours Food Centre in Rosthern, Sask., every week. She is pictured with fellow volunteer Rachel Wallace, left, and Good Neighbours community catalyst Pristine Chabaylo. (Photo courtesy of Good Neighbours Food Centre)

Linda Bartel taught Kindergarten at Stobart Community School for 20 years. She’s pictured with her last class in 1994. (Photo courtesy of Linda Bartel)

It’s not uncommon for Linda Bartel to meet former students while volunteering, and she’s always delighted to see them.

‘What will happen to us now?’

Jake Buhler’s mother, Maria, top left, is pictured with her family before tragedy struck in 1918. (Photo courtesy of Jake Buhler)

COVID-19 has given Jake Buhler pause to reflect on his family history and how it has been shaped by pandemics.

In 1918, when both the Spanish flu and tuberculosis were wreaking havoc in South Russia, Buhler’s mother Maria was an 11-year-old girl growing up in the Mennonite village of Grigoriewka. She was the second of seven children born to Helena and Heinrich Pauls. 

When change is your only option

Chris Mullet Koop’s son Timothy works on the family farm, packing 30 eggs to a tray, that get stacked on skids. Six skids of eggs are picked up once a week. (Photo: Chris Mullet Koop)

When the pandemic hit in March, Chris and Laura Mullet Koop, who own and operate Elmwood Farms Inc., were profoundly impacted. Their farm, located in Jordan, Ont., in the designated green belt area on the Niagara escarpment, is an egg production and grape-growing enterprise, started by Chris’s family in 1932.

Mennonite milestones through an artist’s lens

Lynda Toews painted “Psalm 19” to commemorate the launch of Voices Together. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)

Unintentional figures, like a fish and an eagle, appear in Lynda Toews’s painting. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)

Lynda Toews created a quilt with Cheryl Warkentin, in honour of Mennonite Central Committee’s 100th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)

Lynda Toews is Bethel Mennonite Church’s artist-in-residence for 2020-21. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)

The year 2020 featured some big moments in the Mennonite world. MennoMedia launched Voices Together, the new worship and song collection; and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) celebrated its centennial.

Canadian students come second, third in binational speech contest

Catherine Bergs, Conrad Grebel University College. Second place

Ronit Goswami, Goshen (Ind.) College. First place.

Jubilee Dueck Thiessen, Canadian Mennonite University. Third place.

Catherine Bergs, a student at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., and Jubilee Dueck Thiessen, a student at Canadian Mennonite University when she gave her speech earlier this year, came second and third in the 2020 intercollegiate C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest administered by Mennonite Central Committee U.S.

Christmas pudding a long-time tradition

Ethel Draper copied her mother’s Christmas pudding recipe into her scrapbook of recipes. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Ethel Draper at age 20. (Photo courtesy of Barb Draper)

For many of us, sitting around the table with extended family is a very important part of our Christmas celebration. In my family of origin, the traditional menu included turkey and dressing, while dessert was always iced sugar cookies and fruit salad with cubes of red and green Jell-O. I’m sure each family has its own well-worn food customs.

Pastor uses medical assistance to die

Rennie Regehr and his wife Jenny are pictured with Rennie’s father, John. (Photo courtesy of the Regehr family)

Before his death in November 2019, John Regehr of Winnipeg said he wanted to start a discussion about death and dying.

Regehr, 93, a former Canadian Mennonite Brethren pastor and professor at Mennonite Brethren Bible College (a founding college of Canadian Mennonite University), did just that when he chose to die using medical assistance in dying (MAID).

‘We are going to need more of each other’

Leah Reesor-Keller, recently appointed executive minister of MC Eastern Canada, says regular opportunities to develop leadership gifts when she was growing up helped to prepare her for this role in the regional church. (Photo by Jacquie Reimer)

Leah Reesor-Keller, purple shirt in centre, jumps rope with friends in 1993, in Bwadelorens, Haiti, where she lived with her family for three years between the ages of 6 and 9. She credits her international experiences with helping to prepare her to take on the role of executive minister of MC Eastern Canada. (Photo courtesy of Leah Reesor-Keller)

Leah Reesor-Keller anticipated that her work as the new executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada would involve “a lot of talking to people at potlucks.” She was especially looking forward to going to Montreal to eat Haitian food.

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