Evelyn Rempel Petkau is retiring after more than 18 years of reporting for Canadian Mennonite. She was hired as the provincial editor for Manitoba in 1997, just after Mennonite Reporter changed its name and format to become Canadian Mennonite. Since 1990, when she began writing as a freelancer for Mennonite Reporter, she has written more than 600 published articles.
Although she lives in Carman, in southern Manitoba, Rempel Petkau was able to give good coverage to what was happening in Mennonite circles throughout the province. Her excellent listening and writing skills made her stories come alive, whether covering Partnership Circles between indigenous communities and more traditional Mennonite churches, or describing the plight of an Old Order Mennonite community that had almost all its children removed by Child and Family Services for nearly a year.
She did in-depth reporting on issues facing Mennonites of today. Some of her features included “The state of Mennonite farming today” (Nov. 12, 2007), “The changing face of mental illness among Mennonites” (Feb. 21, 2011), and “A time to die: The place of faith in the face of death” (May 26, 2014). Her obituaries and stories about art exhibits or church activities always had a personal angle that helped her readers connect with the story.
The church is also important to Rempel Petkau. Her feature “Finding new paths through the wilderness” (June 24, 2013) described churches across the country that are seeking new ways to come to terms with the modern context.
As her work with Canadian Mennonite was coming to a close, she said she really enjoyed her work and would miss the contact with those who work in the church and would miss being closely informed about the issues.
Her plans for her retirement include having more time available for her family, especially as a grandparent and as a daughter. She and her husband Brian attend Carman Mennonite Church.
Read Evelyn's final stories: