People

Russian connection comes full circle

Friends Bob Bartsch, left, and Dick Hildebrandt, members of Black Creek (B.C.) United Mennonite Church, both trace their ties to the original two Prussian Mennonite delegates selected to survey land that eventually led to the Mennonite migration to what became Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Bob Bartsch)

Two members of Black Creek United Mennonite Church in British Columbia have found a common heritage that goes back 234 years to the Russian Empire.

In the late 18th century, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia conquered land she called “New Russia”—now Ukraine—and invited Europeans, including Mennonite farmers from Prussia, to settle the southern plains.

‘He kept looking ahead’

From their home, David and Doris Martin watch the virtual celebrations in honour of David’s retirement as executive minister from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, after 15 years of service to the regional church and 25 years as a pastor in the regional church. (Photo courtesy of MC Eastern Canada)

David Martin is passionate about curling. He is competitive and once won Steinmann Mennonite Church’s version of The Amazing Race. He is a bit nerdy and techy, and he loves a great superhero movie now and then.

Manitoba’s Winter Hour releases debut album

Mike Wiebe is the musical mastermind behind Winter Hour. (Photo from Winter Hour’s Facebook account)

You Made a Shadow is about the people and experiences that have made an imprint on Mike Wiebe’s life. (Photo from Winter Hour’s Facebook account)

Manitoba musician Mike Wiebe released his debut album, You Made a Shadow, on May 31 under the name Winter Hour. He wrote the album’s 10 songs over a period of five years, starting in 2015.

The 'poet of ironwork'

Pickup truck bookends by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

John Wiebe, a ‘poet of ironwork’

The Wiebe-Neufeld family displays one of the iron doves made by John Wiebe while watching this year’s Inter-Mennonite Good Friday service and preparing for communion in Edmonton. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

Horseback bookend by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

Curling bookend by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

If you are Mennonite and live in Alberta, you may not know John Wiebe, but you’ll recognize his work. Kate Janzen calls him the “poet of ironwork.”

Legacy of the last great epidemic

A Mennonite quartet sings for polio patient Ted Braun, in an iron lung at the King George Hospital in Winnipeg in the mid-1950s. Ted watches the singers in the mirror positioned above his head. (Photo courtesy of Henry John Epp)

An iron lung, the iconic image of the polio epidemic of the 1950s, at the Riverview Heritage Museum in Winnipeg. (Photo by Will Braun)

Dave Penner recalls playing in the ditch with his brother in the summer of 1952. He was 5, his brother Henry was three years older. The freshly dug ditch on the expanded Highway 3 next to their yard near Morden, Man., had filled after a rain storm and Dave remembers having a grand time in the water with his brother. 

MC Alberta says farewell to communications coordinator, clown

Variety show host Jungle June, aka June Miller, entertains the women at the 2014 MC Alberta women’s retreat. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Sassafrass, aka June Miller, sells Tupperware in costume. (Photo by Mackenzie Miller)

June Miller keeps the children entertained at Foothills Mennonite Church’s Vacation Bible School in Calgary. (Photo by Michelle Copithorne)

Mennonite Church Alberta is sad to say goodbye this summer to June Miller. Not only has she served the regional church as its first communications coordinator, she has also used her clowning gifts to bring joy to her congregation, Foothills Mennonite Church, as well as to the MC Alberta community.

104-year-old reader likes to ‘keep in tune’ with the church

Lydia Ann (Horst) Bauman is pictured with her granddaughter’s dog at a celebration for her 104th birthday in the summer of 2019. CM wonders if she is our oldest reader. (Photo by Lucy Goshow)

Lydia Ann (nee Horst) Bauman may be Canadian Mennonite’s oldest reader. At 104 years of age she still reads the magazine in her assisted-living suite at Fairview Seniors Community in Cambridge, Ont. She gets the magazine through nearby Preston Mennonite Church, where she attended until the COVID-19 pandemic closed churches. 

To death’s door and back

Vic Winter is back at home with a new outlook and a new beard. He says he is keeping it. (Photo by Marilyn Winter)

Vic and Marilyn Winter wave as 130 cars filled with well-wishers pass by their house to welcome his return after a lengthy hospitalization for COVID-19. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Vic Winter was admitted to hospital in Leamington on March 20. In short order his wife Marilyn was sent home while he was sent to the intensive-care unit at the Windsor Regional Hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and placed unconscious on a ventilator to help him breathe as he fought for his life. He wouldn’t see his wife again for six weeks.

Let’s go on an adventure!

Columbia Bible College student Claire Dueck, right, and new best friend Sarah Trentalance. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Claire Dueck, 2019 recipient of a tuition bursary from Mennonite Church Alberta, given to any student attending a regional church congregation who has successfully enrolled in a Mennonite or Anabaptist post-secondary institution. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Claire Dueck, third from left, and new friends, from left to right, Sarah Trentalance, Julia Derksen, Trever Renshaw and Zach Kitchener from the Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Group photo of Columbia Bible College’s 2019 Christmas banquet-2019. Claire Dueck is pictured fourth from left in the back row. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Every year Mennonite Church Alberta offers education bursaries to students who attend a regional-church congregation who have successfully enrolled in a Mennonite or Anabaptist post-secondary institution. In 2019, Claire Dueck, a member of Lethbridge Mennonite Church, was one of eight recipients.

The gift of giving time

After 46 years, Margie Steingart still works at the Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catharines, Ont. (MCC 100 stories for 100 years photo)

Many people have given their time to volunteering, but few have a record of volunteering for the same organization for 46 years. Margie Steingart has that distinction. She has volunteered for the Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catharines, Ont., since it opened in January 1974, making her, at the age of 93, the oldest volunteer there.

Online paska contest a resounding success

Heather Driedger, shown here with her own paska, held a virtual paska bake-off via Instagram this Easter. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

This braided paska by Holly Brown of Germany tied for first place in Heather Driedger’s paska bake-off. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

Maria Krause of Vancouver tied for first place in Driedger’s paska bake-off with this COVID-19-inspired paska. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

Megan and Jesse Krause took second place in the paska bake-off with this entry. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

She couldn’t gather family and friends around her table to eat paska this Easter, so Heather Driedger decided to hold a virtual paska bake-off instead.

‘A well-nourished spirit’

Susan Clemmer Steiner

Sue Steiner left behind a huge legacy when she passed away on Aug. 26, 2019. As beloved wife to Sam Steiner for 50 years, treasured aunt to a number of nieces and nephews, and a cherished member of several circles of close friends, she left personal legacies. As a woman who served the church as pastor, clergy coach and trainer, writer and spiritual director, she influenced many. 

We need more Peters!

Kayel Truong, centre in white shirt, and crew cut hair for free every Saturday for homeless people living in downtown Calgary.

Peter Worsley

“We need more Peters! He’s only one man,” exclaims ex-offender Kayel Truong, when asked about the Bridges Ministries program run by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta to help prisoners of faith successfully reintegrate into the community.

Not so radical after all

While volunteering with Christian Peacemaker Teams, Steve Heinrichs documented the presence of the RCMP and Coastal GasLinks in Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia.

Steve Heinrichs volunteered with Christian Peacemaker Teams for two weeks in Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

While people across Canada and around the world self-isolate from COVID-19, work continues on the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline in northern British Columbia, without the full consent of the Wet’suwet’en people. The 670-kilometre long pipeline plans to snake through Wet’suwet’en territory and export liquefied natural gas around the world.

A lifetime of taking pictures

Henry Harms proudly displays a camera that once belonged to Esther Patkau, former missionary to Japan and long-time spiritual care director at Bethany Manor, where Harms lives. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Henry Harms holds up the Baby Brownie Special he bought when he was nine years old. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Henry Harms shows a damaged old photograph taken at a Sunday school picnic near Hague, Sask. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Henry Harms shows his restored version of the same Sunday school picnic photo. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Henry Harms’s photo of the demolition of a grain elevator in Osler, Sask., was taken in 1999. (Photo by Harry Harms)

Henry Harms restored this historic photograph of the sinking of the S.S. City of Medicine Hat when it struck the traffic bridge in Saskatoon in 1908. (Photo by Harry Harms)

Henry Harms displays the original glass negative he used to restore the photo of the sinking of the S.S. City of Medicine Hat. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Henry Harms enjoys using digital technology to create new photographs. Here he shows a composite photo he created depicting five Boldt brothers from Osler, Sask. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

This picture of a Baltimore oriole shows Henry Harms’ skill as a nature photographer. (Photo by Harry Harms)

This photo of the UofS Huskies men’s basketball team shows Henry Harms’s skill at capturing athletes in action. (Photo by Harry Harms)

Henry Harms once owned a thousand cameras. He still has a closet full of them. They bear witness to a life-long love of photography.

Harms was 9 when he bought his first camera—a Baby Brownie Special. As a boy growing up on a farm near Hague, Sask., he would go to Saskatoon to watch ball games at Cairns Field. He purchased the camera at a store next to the ball diamond.

Balancing competitiveness and learning

Adam Ens, with his back to the camera, during his two seasons of playing professional volleyball in France. (Photo by Wes Ens)

Adam Ens in action with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s volleyball team. (Photo by Henry Harms)

Adam Ens in action with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s volleyball team. (Photo by Henry Harms)

Adam Ens shakes hands with a Canada West representative as he is inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame at the University of Saskatchewan. (Photo by Henry Harms)

Winning awards is nothing new for Adam Ens. Maybe that’s why he expressed surprise when his whole family planned to show up for his induction into the Canada West Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony took place on Feb. 8 at the University of Saskatchewan, where Ens played with the Huskies men’s volleyball team from 1999 to 2004. 

Cross-cultural challenges and blessings

Lynell Bergen and Brian Dyck have done a lot of bird watching during their time in Ethiopia. This cinnamon-chested bee-eater visited them outside their home. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

Bergen teaches a class on Wisdom Literature, with over 40 students, at Meserete Kristos College. (Photo courtesy of Lynell Bergen)

Bergen and Dyck travelled around Ethiopia with their two sons before they began their work. This view was from a hike in Lalibela. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

A Sunday sunrise walk led Bergen and Dyck to Chelekleka Lake, about ten minutes on foot from the school where they are staying. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

There is a never-ending abundance of birds outside their home. “These two showed up just as we were thinking about supper,” says Dyck. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

Bergen and Dyck are living on the campus of Meserete Kristos College for three months. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

Dyck and Bergen at Sabahar, a weaving and textiles shop in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. (Photo courtesy of Lynell Bergen)

Lynell Bergen exchanged the snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures of a Winnipeg winter this year for the warm sunshine and mountains of Ethiopia.

Bergen is a pastor of Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and is currently spending a sabbatical teaching at Meserete Kristos College in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.

Takin’ care of his musical business

Jay Hildebrand continues to be active musically in church, bringing a creative flair to worship services at Leamington United Mennonite Church, playing piano, bass and guitar, or through solo vocal performances. (Photo by Mitchel Hildebrand)

In the front yard of an average looking home lies a large rock with a landscaped garden bed around it. The rock reads “JAYCELAND’ and bears a lightning bolt with the capital letters T, C and B around it. This is the home of the Hildebrand family, where Jay and Monica and their son Mitchel are a typical family who go about their daily routines of work and leisure.

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