Mennos gather at MP’s office for Day of Action

December 20, 2023 | News | Volume 27 Issue 26D
Amy Rinner Waddell |
Abbotsford, B.C.
Lydia Fawcett reads a statement about the Gaza war at the office of MP Ed Fast in Abbotsford, B.C. Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell

About 30 Mennonites assembled in the lobby of Garden Park Tower on December 19 to make their voices heard on the Mennonite Day of Action asking for a ceasefire in Palestine. Organizers originally planned to assemble at the second-floor office of Ed Fast, Abbotsford Member of Parliament, but due to the larger-than-expected gathering, organizers decided to utilize the lobby on the main floor.

Fast, a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, was not present but Mike Murray, his executive assistant, heard the group’s concerns.

Members of Langley Mennonite Fellowship were among the organizers who spread the word about the event to other local Mennonites. Members of the group held signs reading, “Swords into plows,” “Stop genocide in Gaza,” and “Mennonites for a ceasefire.”

Lydia Fawcett made a statement on behalf of those assembled, saying, “As Mennonites, we are called to be peacemakers. . . . We are shocked by Hamas’s attack on Israeli civilians on October 7, and we are horrified by Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians . . .  including thousands of children. We cannot keep quiet.”

She added that many citizens are compelled to take action, including contacting MPs and calling on the Canadian government to apply pressure for a ceasefire.

The group sang one verse of the hymn “We Are People of God’s Peace.” Murray acknowledged the Mennonites’ concerns, noting “[Fast] is not here but he will know that you came.” A representative of the office building then reminded the group that they were “not on public property” and in the future they should assemble outside for any protests.

Afterwards, Fawcett told Canadian Mennonite she couldn’t keep quiet. “I’ve worked my whole life to save children,” she said. “I have a vested interest in saving children. Trauma begets trauma.”

Ian Funk of Langley Mennonite said another such event is planned for January and possibly every succeeding month after that to keep the issue at the forefront of the MP’s and the public’s attention.

Lydia Fawcett reads a statement about the Gaza war at the office of MP Ed Fast in Abbotsford, B.C. Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell

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