community outreach

Tuesdays at Faith

Tuesday’s Book Club at Faith Mennonite Church includes, from left to right: Sonja Kuli, Joan Enns, Anne Reimer, Nancy Hogendyk and Rita Unrau.

Tuesday’s Book Club at Faith Mennonite Church includes, from left to right: Anne Reimer, Nancy Hogendyk, Rita Unrau and Linda Thiessen-Belch.

Rita Unrau shows off one of the many ‘encouragement cards’ that have been distributed in Faith Mennonite Church’s pews.

McKayla and her grandma, Marianne Dyck, pose for a shot while making vegetarian chili in Faith Mennonite Church’s kitchen.

Like at many Mennonite churches, the back of any given pew at Faith Mennonite in Leamington includes a blue hymnal, an offering envelope, and, for the lucky few, a small, colourful, hand-made encouragement card. These one-of-a-kind cards are something new and they point to a wily group of seniors who are helping to bring new energy into the life of the congregation.

‘A place to belong’

Members of the Sherbrooke Mennonite Church’s food-bank outreach ministry enjoy a Christmas celebration together. Participants say the gatherings help them feel like a family. (Photo by Yohan Sanchez)

Food may be what draws people to the basement of Sherbrooke Mennonite Church every Thursday morning, but it’s not what keeps them coming. It’s a feeling of family, a place to call home.

Church steps up to help local food bank

Pictured from left to right, Elaine Lepp, Pastor Karen Sheil, Margaret Wieler and Elma Lepp pack Christmas hampers for the local food bank in a Sunday school classroom at Harrow Mennonite Church. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

In December, Essex County was preparing to rest. The land had done its work, providing crops for farmers to harvest and get to market. The temperature dropped and the workload followed suit. Tractors were in the sheds and off the roads. Farmers and rural folk became shoppers and headed to urban centres to hunt down that perfect gift for Christmas.

Church members come through with ‘unexpected Christmas challenge’

ABBOTSFORD, B.C.—Christmas 2018 was a little merrier for residents of Kinghaven Treatment Centre, a 62-bed treatment centre helping men recover from substance abuse and addiction, and the George Schmidt Centre, a second-stage housing facility for men wishing to continue their recovery journey, thanks to members of Level Ground Mennonite Church.

‘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.

Creation care is a sacred trust

Sam Dueckman, left, and Emmanuel Denguessi, who helped organize the Emmanuel Mennonite summer cleanup day, survey the bags of garbage collected by church members. (Photo courtesy of Sam Dueckman)

Leane Winger, pictured with son Steven, work together to clean up the garbage on Blueridge Drive near Emmanuel Mennonite Church. (Photo courtesy of Sam Dueckman)

Nikki Rekman, a Crossroads church member and president of the Chilliwack/Vedder River Cleanup Society, believes that looking after the environment is a sacred trust for Christians. (Facebook image)

One plastic cup, one can, one disposable diaper at a time, Mennonite residents of B.C.’s Fraser Valley are trying to make a difference by cleaning up their environment. Crossroads Community Church of Chilliwack and Emmanuel Mennonite Church of Abbotsford are among those congregations that are supporting the Mennonite Creation Care Network through community cleanup initiatives.

Venezuelan Mennonites share faith through food and shampoo

Roselyn Rodriguez and Arli Rojas wash Silmarys Rodriguez's hair at Community of Peace Mennonite Church on Isla Margarita. In foreground, Jazmin Tormes waits her turn. (Photo by Linda Shelly)

In the midst of constant inflation and economic uncertainty, Venezuelan Mennonites minister creatively in and through their churches, sharing food and supporting their communities. Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Oriente (Evangelical Mennonite Church of the East, IEMO) coordinates efforts between two congregations on Isla Margarita, two on the mainland, and several additional study centres.

Kindred partners with Rockway to serve the community

John Klassen, a Rockway alumnus and board member and Kindred’s finance and compliance chief, right, helps a Rockway student mulch flower beds at Mennonite Central Committee Ontario’s building in Kitchener, where Thrift on Kent is located. (Photo by Jennie Wiebe)

Rockway principal Ann L. Schultz sorts donations at Thrift on Kent in Kitchener with a group of students. ‘All in all, students witnessed first-hand how, when we work together with shared values, we come closer to the peaceful, just communities to which we all aspire.’ (Photo by Jennie Wiebe)

Rockway alumnus Ben Janzen, left, now Kindred’s values integration director, loads wheelbarrows with earth for the planting of kale at Hacienda Sarria Market Garden, along with a Rockway teacher and students. ‘Looking back, I can see how Envirathon Servathon helped to shape my view of the community and what the purpose of education is,’ Janzen says. (Photo by Jennie Wiebe)

Kathy Clemence, right, a Rockway alumna and Kindred’s member support manager, helps with the gardening at the Steckle Heritage Homestead in Kitchener. (Photo by Jennie Wiebe)

As the presenting partner of this year’s Rockway Mennonite Collegiate Envirathon Servathon, Kindred Credit Union had its staff join 300 students and teachers, who fanned out across the region on May 7, 2018, to do everything from planting trees and preparing garden beds, to sorting clothing donations and serving meals.

Full Cupboard provides emergency help in Wellesley

Kara Carter, pastor of Wellesley Mennonite Church, left, stands with Christa Gerber, chair of Wellesley and Community Food Cupboard Committee and of the Wellesley Mennonite Church Mission Committee. (Wellesley Mennonite Church photo)

Four years ago, while part of a missional leadership group, Kara Carter, pastor of Wellesley Mennonite Church, received news from the local school parents advisory group that there were children who were coming to school hungry.

Mennonites in Montreal aid refugees

Hochma’s worshipping space was repurposed as a donation centre for refugees. (Photo by Michel Monette)

Michel Monette

Not feeling safe in the United States, a young woman climbed on a plane and flew to Montreal with her children. But the U.S. is considered a safe country for refugees, so she was forced to return. Still afraid, she crossed the border into Quebec and ended up at Coalition d’aide aux réfugiés à Montréal (Coalition to aid refugees in Montreal), housed in the Hochma church building.

‘We sit and eat at the same tables’

Cook Carol Weber of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church shows off the soup stirrer created by set-up volunteer Dan Ulrich when he found out that the church had no spoons long enough to stir the deep soup pots used for Stirling Avenue’s community dinners. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Volunteer Kim Barber, standing right, a Wilfrid Laurier University music professor and professional singer who attends Rockway Mennonite Church, serves guests at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church’s community dinner. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Young volunteers Cate, Ruth and Annalee of First and Rockway Mennonite churches prepare the menu board so that guests can see what is being served at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church’s community dinner on March 14. Volunteers like these young women help set up the tables and chairs, and are gone by the time guests arrive. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Lou Murray Gorvett prepares tea for guests before they arrive at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church’s community dinner on March 14. She is constantly on the go making sure the guests and volunteers alike are cared for. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

“Grab a coffee and go and sit down. You get served at the table. They’re really nice here,” said one guest to another on March 14 of the community dinners served every Saturday night from November through April at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener.

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