People

Join the (fashion) revolution

Daniel Epp, left, and his partner Anna-Marie Janzen. Janzen wore a dress she made herself from thrifted fabric, while Epp is wearing a thrifted suit at the Fashion Revolution Week gala in Winnipeg. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

People who attended the gala were encouraged to have their picture taken holding a sign that read, ‘Who made my clothes?’ and then tag the company that made it on social media. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Who made my clothes?

That’s what the organizers of the globally observed Fashion Revolution Week want people to ask themselves the next time they put on an outfit or choose what clothing to buy.

Mediating in the church

Wayne Plenert uses a variety of techniques to get people to engage in their conflict instead of trying to win, avoid or compromise. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Plenert)

As a lawyer for more than 40 years, Wayne Plenert has seen his share of interpersonal conflicts in the secular world. But, now retired and a member of Northgate Anabaptist Fellowship of Dawson Creek, B.C., he believes that conflicts also are inevitable in faith communities and are too often destructive, with damaging fallout.

Sourdough spirituality

Joel Kroeker mixes sourdough starter at his dining room table as his daughter, Rehema, looks on. (Photos by Donna Schulz)

Each stencil Joel Kroeker uses in his breadmaking is cut free-hand from cardstock. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Joel Kroeker readies another two loaves of sourdough bread for the oven. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Each loaf is stencilled and then slashed to allow for rising while baking. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Baking bread is more than just a business for Joel Kroeker. It’s also a way to further important conversations.

With a deftness that comes from repetition, he slides another two loaves of bread into the oven. By the time he finishes for the day he will have baked 20 loaves and mixed another batch of dough for the next day’s orders.

Ethiopian church plant dreams big 

Bethel International Church Edmonton Oromo Congregation families are pictured at the front of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Edmonton, where they meet for services. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

The last Sunday of each month for the Bethel International Church Edmonton Oromo Congregation is a fast and prayer time followed by a Bible study. The fast is broken with a barley drink and coffee. Serving the drinks is Ebissie Besso, the wife of Pastor Mezgebu A. Tucho. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Pastor Mezgebu A. Tucho says that one of the things he loves about this congregations is that ‘they love to learn the Word of God. They have an appetite. They ask me to learn more, and this gives me joy.’ (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

“I have big dreams,” says Pastor Mezgebu A. Tucho of the Bethel International Church Edmonton Oromo Congregation.

From mould to masterpiece

A mosaic of mushrooms captured in Joel Penner and Anna Sigrithur’s film, Wrought, coming out in summer of 2019. (Photo by Joel Penner)

Joel Penner is a time-lapse filmmaker based out of Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood. But he doesn’t capture typical scenes like sunsets or the bustle of the city. 


Joel Penner.

Coffee and community

Brock Peters was the owner and operator of Strong Badger until March 16, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Brock Peters)

Five years ago, Brock Peters dreamed of an affordable coffee shop where everyone in the community would feel comfortable going.

“Sometimes, when I walked into coffee shops in the city, I felt like ‘I’m not cool enough to be here,’ ” he says.

Mennonites advocate for Bill C-262

Joel Kroeker stencils messages on bread he makes to expand the public discourse on different issues. (Photo courtesy of Joel Kroeker)

Allegra Friesen Epp, right, speaks at the CMU rally on March 26 that she helped to organize. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Steve Heinrichs, left, Romeo Saganash, Leah Gazan, Jennifer Preston and Paul Joffe speak at a press conference on the importance of passing Bill C-262. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Approximately 700 people rally at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg on March 26 for the Canadian government to pass Bill C-262. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Joel Kroeker owns Baeker Kraeker bread share in Saskatoon. He stencils messages on bread he makes to expand the public discourse on different issues. (Photo courtesy of Joel Kroeker)

From changing their profile pictures and holding rallies, to baking bread embossed with messages of support, young Mennonites are standing up to call for a private member’s bill to be passed.

Canadian Mennonite bids farewell to Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

Longtime Alberta correspondent Donita Wiebe-Neufeld is pictured with CD, her beloved horse. Over the years, she wrote around 385 stories, features and news briefs. (Photo by Melanie Cumin)

After more than 18 years of contributing to Canadian Mennonite as the Alberta correspondent, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld, who has developed a fondness for horses over the years—especially CD—has resigned from her reporting position to take on an increased role with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta. 

'Everything is possible'

Alma Darweesh, left, Reem Younes, Krista Neustaedter Barg and Brian Darweesh at Younes and Darweesh’s citizenship ceremony. (Photos courtesy of Reem Younes)

For Reem Younes and Brian Darweesh, everything seems possible now that they’re citizens of Canada.

Originally from Syria, Younes and Darweesh moved to Winnipeg in 2015 as privately sponsored refugees, welcomed by a Mennonite community there.

Bringing diverse voices together

Anneli Loepp Thiessen is pictured playing piano for worship at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Anneli Loepp Thiessen)

The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met in Cincinnati in July, 2018. Pictured from left to right, front row: Cynthia Neufeld Smith, Jackson, Miss.; Adam Tice, Goshen, Ind.; Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Ottawa; and Benjamin Bergey, Harrisonburg, Va.; and back row: SaeJin Lee, Elkhart, Ind.; Tom Harder, Hillsboro, Kan.; Allan Rudy-Froese, Kitchener, Ont.; Mike Erb, New Hamburg, Ont.; Bradley Kauffman, Cincinnati, Ohio; Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Winnipeg; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Toronto; and Katie Graber, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Mennonites are stereotyped as people who love singing and forming committees.

Anneli Loepp Thiessen fulfills both of these stereotypes. The 23-year-old is one of 12 people from Canada and the United States who make up the Voices Together committee charged with making a new Mennonite hymnal planned for release in 2020.

Wacky Cake recipe

Wacky cake is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those with an allergy to eggs. (Photo by Barb Draper)

This cake is so good and easy; it is my favourite! Because it has no eggs or milk it is suitable for those who are vegetarian or vegan or those with an allergy to eggs.

‘I feel like it is God’s will that I am here’

Ukrainian IVEPers Maryna Bogomaz and Anton Shylov, left, perform with Daniel Verchau, a German service worker, at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

South Koreans Eunji Ryu, left, and JuYeong Lee take part in an IVEP worship service at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Dancing up a storm at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10 were Indian IVEPers Chattu Sinha, Sharon Dass Sumanta Mandi. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

This year’s IVEPers pose with their flags at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10 during a worship service with their hosts from four local Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

For a week in early February, North Leamington United Mennonite Church played host to the annual mid-year conference of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP), including an international worship service on Feb. 10.

Swords into ploughshares, guns into art

Irian Sittler-Fast works as a blacksmith in Floradale, Ont. (Photo by Paul Dimock)

Sittler-Fast sits by her sculpture, ‘Gun Shy’ at her first public showing at Hawkesville (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Elo Wideman)

(Photo by Paul Dimock)

(Photo by Paul Dimock)

(Photo by Paul Dimock)

Irian Fast-Sittler spends her days hammering hot steel and welding metals together at a forge in Floradale, Ont.

Recently, the 20-year-old blacksmith created a modern-day take on the analogy from the Book of Isaiah of turning swords into ploughshares. Instead, she turned her grandfather’s shotgun into a work of art.

Winter cyclists brave the cold

Michael Veith and his sister Marika Veith prepare for a winter bike ride. (Photo courtesy of Michael Veith)

Michael Veith, bundled up and frosty, after a winter bike ride. (Photo courtesy of Michael Veith)

A passion for cold commuting runs in the family. Michael Veith, centre, and his siblings Marika, left, and Matt are all avid winter cyclists. (Photo courtesy of Michael Veith)

While a polar vortex and temperatures of -50C with the wind chill attacked Winnipeg, most people scurried from building to building, trying to be outside as little as possible.

All except a select few: the winter cyclists. Snapping on ski goggles and carefully covering every inch of exposed skin, these commuters brave the cold, snow and ice to bike all 12 months of the year. 

Freedom on two wheels

A member of Freedom Concepts Inc.’s staff works on a custom bike. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Colin Bock builds custom bikes for people with disabilities, at Freedom Concepts Inc. of Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

If you ever see a candy-apple-red tandem bicycle cruising through the streets of Winnipeg, you can be sure it’s the Dueck family.

“We go out pretty much daily, weather permitting, from as early in spring as we can go out until as late fall as we can,” says Linda Dueck. “We are well-known in our neighbourhood for the people with the red bike.”

They put a spell on you

‘One of the best things about the group is the community and friendships,’ Incantatem co-founder Allison Alexander says. (Photo by Kyle Rudge)

Formed in January 2016, Incantatem performs music from movies, TV shows and video games. (Photo by James Cheng)

Non-geeks and non-Christians are invited to join Incantatem, which rehearses every Monday evening at River East Church in Winnipeg. (Photo by Kyle Rudge)

Don’t expect to hear anything by Bach, Brahms or Beethoven if you attend a performance by Winnipeg’s Incantatem. The a cappella choir’s repertoire has a unique focus: music from movies, TV shows and video games.

‘To the heart through dal’

Ashisha Lal, an MCC IVEPer who served at Thrift on Kent in Kitchener, Ont., made dal for her coworkers. (Photo courtesy of Ashisha Lal)

During my year of living in Canada as part of the International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP), sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), I made dal (lentil soup) a number of times. In my country, India, dal is a basic everyday food.

‘That is a Christian!’

Alvin and Helen Lepp pose in front of a mural at the Siksika Nation community hall following a service honouring them for their service to the First Nation in 2010. (File photo courtesy of Neill and Edith von Gunten)

Members of the Rosemary Mennonite Church community and the Siksika Nation gathered together on Jan. 4 to praise God for the life of Alvin Lepp. 

‘It was just helping people’

An updated photo shows Keith Wagler with his appliance repair van, in his early years. (Photo courtesy of the House of Friendship)

Keith Wagler in 2018, before he retired after 34 years on the job. (Photo courtesy of the House of Friendship)

For 34 years, Keith Wagler lived out his Christian faith by serving others through the Appliance Repair Program of the House of Friendship (HoF), a social service agency in the Waterloo Region of Ontario. His job involved servicing and repairing appliances for people living on a low income, who could not afford to pay for a regular service call or to replace their appliances.

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