COVID-19

Mennonite leaders weigh in on vaccination

Stephen Kriss, executive minister of the Mosaic Mennonite Conference in the United States, poses for a selfie after getting his COVID-19 vaccination in January. (Photo: Stephen Kriss)

Should Mennonite Church Canada leaders promote vaccines during this public health emergency?

That question arose in January when Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer, met with over 1,300 Canadian faith leaders, including from MC Canada, to encourage them to promote vaccines to their members.

Church members enjoy ‘snail mail’ during pandemic

Angelika Dawson of Abbotsford, B.C., has been corresponding by mail with some members of her church during the pandemic. She is surrounded by some of the many cards and letters she has received. (Photo courtesy of Angelika Dawson)

In this time of isolation, some members of Abbotsford’s Emmanuel Mennonite Church are discovering the delights of a relationship based on the old-fashioned medium of handwritten letters.

‘We had a huge spike’

A meal at Grovenland Farm near Lanigan, Sask. (Photo courtesy of Grovenland)

Bacon and sausage from Grovenland Farm near Lanigan, Sask. (Photo courtesy of Grovenland)

When COVID-19 struck last March, farmers who sell food directly to customers saw a rush on their products.

“It seemed like people were just googling farms to go right to the source,” said Sarah Martin-Mills of Growing Hope Farm in Cambridge, Ont.

“We had a huge spike,” said Ben Martens Bartel of Grovenland Farm near Lanigan, Sask.

Transcending borders

Francine Mukoko, standing at right, a public health graduate and the first university graduate from the Communauté Mennonite au Congo community in Bateke, presents public-health advice in Teke, the local language. (Photo courtesy of Seraphin Kutumbana)

Congregations across Mennonite Church Canada have matched a $50,000 donation made by the nationwide church to a COVID-19 relief fund operated by Mennonite World Conference (MWC).

The fund, which is part of MWC’s Global Church Sharing Fund, helps MWC-member churches struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hope in a bleak midwinter

'Where do we find hope in this bleak midwinter?' (Image by Jörg Vieli/Pixabay)

Canadians are struggling with the heaviness of this winter. The prospect of several more months with physical gathering restrictions is as depressing as the grey skies of southern Ontario in February. As a society, we have started to squabble, point fingers and shift blame.

Learning together, apart

(Photo by Dylan Ferreira/Unsplash)

Whether you call it Sunday school, faith formation or Christian education, one aspect of a congregation’s life together is how we nurture faith in people of all ages. Last spring, with the coming of the COVID-19 restrictions, many churches saw drastic changes in their faith education programs. 

Churches work together to serve curbside Christmas dinner

Trisha Robinson, left, executive director of the Wilmot Family Resource Centre, New Hamburg, Ont., stands next to Santa and Mrs. Claus outside Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, where 137 free curbside Christmas dinners were distributed. At least 10 community churches joined in the effort to bring some Christmas cheer to people in the community who were alone for Christmas. (The Wilmot Post photo by Nigel Gordijk)

On Christmas Day, 137 free turkey dinners were served up for people who needed some Christmas cheer in the Wilmot and Wellesley townships of Waterloo Region.

Year of wonders

A cottage in the historic 'plague village' of Eyam, England. (Photo by Michael Beckwith, bit.ly/cclicence2-0)

I read with great interest the many articles about how different churches are responding to the pandemic and government restrictions. There are many! Because there are many ways for churches to respond both to the pandemic and to the restrictions.

CommonWord’s top hits of 2020

The year of the coronavirus pandemic saw everyone spending more time at home, and many paying increased attention to their bookshelves. We asked CommonWord, the bookstore and resource centre of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University, what people read in 2020. In-store and curbside pickup sales and loans across Canada have declined, says Arlyn Friesen Epp, CommonWord’s director. But online orders have increased significantly, making the staff busier than ever.

The weirdness of Christmas 2020

Jack Skellington, the main character in the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas, asks some great questions. (Photo by Christin Noelle/Unsplash)

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

A movie seemingly made for Christmas 2020 appeared almost 30 years ago—a creepy little stop-motion musical, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Was it a Christmas movie, a Halloween movie, or both? This year, I feel like I’m trying to prepare for Christmas in a rather ghastly Halloween world.  

Meditations while sheltering in place

When an in-person speaking engagement at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Church fell through earlier this year because of COVID-19, Evan Kreider began providing daily online meditations for the congregation and beyond. (Photo courtesy of Evan Kreider)

Evan Kreider was scheduled to speak at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver in the spring of 2020. But the pandemic put an end to that, as life as we knew it changed. Group meetings were discouraged. The timing coincided with the church’s plan to depart the chapel of the Menno Simons Centre, a student residence, after more than 30 years.

COVID-19 cases rise among Mennonites in Waterloo Region

On Nov. 30, public health officials in the Waterloo Region of Ontario issued an order to close all Old Order, Markham, Old Colony (Low German speaking) and David Martin Mennonite churches and schools due to significant community spread of COVID-19 in the northern portions of Wellesley and Woolwich townships. More than 200 new cases of the virus were confirmed in community members in the previous three weeks, according to a CBC news report on Dec. 4. The order, issued by Dr.

Making sense of the bleakness

(Photo by Greyson Joralemon/Unsplash)

“An urgent reality … a state of public health emergency.” This is how our premier, Jason Kenney, described our situation in Alberta last week because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is probably not news to anyone that the number of new cases in Alberta has continued to rise dramatically over the last couple weeks. Hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients and intensive care units are nearly at full capacity. Many of us have at least been indirectly affected now and perhaps we even know one of the many beloved people who have died due to complications of the virus.

Flexibility key to youth ministry

In preparation for Remembrance Day in early November, Noel Dueckman of Emmanuel Mennonite Church leads high school youths in a Bible study on peace. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

The weekly church youth group gathering, whether for service, faith discussions or recreational activity, has had to change this fall in the face of COVID-19. B.C. youth leaders are adapting the best they can, trying to keep young people engaged and connected to the church.

Zoom check-in

Thanks to a generous donor, Camp Valaqua was able to build two yurts this spring to offer as places to rest and refresh. Next to the Little Red River on the north quarter of the camp’s property in Water Valley, Alta., each yurt has a bunk bed, and pull-out queen bed together with other modest furnishings. Yurt bookings are expected to be available by April 2021. (Photo by Jon Olfert)

A regional church check-in meeting last month gave members a chance to learn how Mennonite Church Alberta is faring.

With the arrival of fall, when in-person meetings were prohibited, MC Alberta leaders decided to host a Zoom check-in for all the churches so communities could connect and hear how things are going.

MC Canada calls for prayer for Ethiopia and Eritrea

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada staffers Fanosie Legesse (left) and Norm Dyck, pictured last year by the sign in front of the Meserete Kristos Church in Mekelle. Mekelle is the capital city of the Tigray region, which is at the centre of the war in Ethiopia. (Photos courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) held a nationwide fasting and prayer for peace on Nov. 16.

‘How can I keep from singing?’

Grade 10 music students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., take to drumming outside on the back field of their school in order to explore music in a different way while pandemic protocols prohibit them from singing or playing wind instruments inside the classroom. (Photos by Leanne Lobe)

Grade 10 music students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., take to drumming outside on the back field of their school in order to explore music in a different way while pandemic protocols prohibit them from singing or playing wind instruments inside the classroom. (Photos by Leanne Lobe)

Eric Dettweiler, standing left, a music teacher at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., leads his Grade 10 music class in an outdoor drumming exercise.

Eric Dettweiler’s Grade 10 music class at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener began the school year drumming every day for the first few weeks, often outdoors. Now the 11 students drum a couple of times a week. It is a safe way to conduct a music class while maintaining physical distance in the reality of pandemic protocols.

Pandemic offers new opportunities for students

Online classes have changed the way the master of theological program operates at Conrad Grebel University College. With the rise in enrolment and interest in the program, there may be lasting online opportunities, according to program director Jeremy Bergen. (Photo by Christin Hume/Unsplash)

The pandemic this year has turned the master of theological study (MTS) program’s teaching model on its head.

Anabaptist health network responds to COVID-19

CPN promoter Rosneka Mulalyah, right, hands over a hand-washing station to Paul Karuiki and Mike Musyoki in Mathare 3B community, Kenya. (Centre for Peace and Nationhood photo)

A care group volunteer uses the hand-washing stations provided by CPN in Mathare, Kenya. (Centre for Peace and Nationhood photo)

“We are bound together as a community not only through this global pandemic, but through our faith,” says Rick Stiffney, steering committee member of the Global Anabaptist Health Network.

The global network held its first webinar on Sept. 16, which was attended by two dozen Anabaptist-related health professionals from Asia, Africa, North America and the Caribbean.

Take care

We can and should seek self-care in these uncertain times. (Photo by Miguel Perales/Unsplash)

Recently the worldwide number of souls lost to the COVID-19 virus surpassed 1 million. Visualizing that large number of lives cut short touches one’s own soul. We, the living, mourn and seek to understand. 

Communion and community during COVID-19

Pastor Craig Neufeld and deacon Debbie Baergen are ready to serve communion in a “covid friendly” way at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church, Sept. 27, 2020. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister of Mennonite Church Alberta, receives communion from deacon Debbie Baergen at Edmonton First Mennonite. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister of Mennonite Church Alberta, adds a leaf, signifying a commitment to a spiritual practice, to the E3 tree visual at Edmonton First Mennonite Church. Beginning in 2020, MCA congregations are committing themselves to a 3 year action plan for renewal, Encountering, Embracing, and Embodying Christ. For more information go to: https://mcab.ca/e3-mca. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

For many congregants, the invitation to receive communion at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church on Sunday, Sept. 27 would mark the first time they had physically set foot in the building for six months.

Niagara churches reopening

Niagara (Ont.) United Mennonite Church began in-person worship on Sept. 13, 2020. (Photo credit: Rachael Peters)

Vineland (Ont.) United Mennonite Church plans to continue meeting virtually for worship through September, using YouTube video. According to pastor Louise Wideman, the church is planning a cautious tiered approach to reopening. The first step will be to install equipment for livestreaming the service. The next stage will include inviting small groups to join for in-person worship.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - COVID-19