creation care

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.

Faith and fixing at the Repair Café

Dan and Erin paint the Repair Café trailer outside the Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church. (Photo by Frank McKinney)

Five-year-old Summer watches volunteer fixer Bennett McCardle fix the broken clasp on her purse that her grandma gave her. (Photo by Julie Trinh)

Pastor Brian Quan leads by example as he repairs a bicycle. (Photo by Frank McKinney)

Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church held a Repair Café on Earth Day. (Photo by Sandy Yuen)

Jason Yuen watches as volunteer fixer Kenny Fong examines a broken bathroom scale. (Photo by Sandy Yuen)

Paul Magder, one of the founders of Repair Café, fixes a Magic Bullet blender. (Photo by Frank McKinney)

Four years ago, my father Albert Kiang passed away. He was the ultimate Mr. Fix It, whether it was cars, computers or electronics. He was always tinkering away.

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.

A tale of two hills outside Lalibela

Berzegin Yimam stands in front of the protected hill outside of Lalibela, Ethiopia. She is a member of the local committee responsible for protecting the hillside. Since restoring the hillside, the community has seen many benefits, including more reliable water springs and new plants that can be used to make organic pesticide. (Photo by Stefan Epp-Koop)

Two hills, sitting side by side in a valley outside of Lalibela, Ethiopia, have a story to tell.

One hill is brown, its vegetation stripped away by livestock and deforestation. Deep gullies are carved through the hillside, where the unprotected soil was washed away by the rain. Trees have disappeared, cut down for firewood.

Selling thrift by the pound

MCC’s rePurpose Centre opened in March 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Staff member Barratt Bender, left, and volunteer Virginia Kreitz sort clothing that has been shipped from another thrift store to MCC’s new rePurpose store in Elmira, Ont., where it is sold by the pound. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

MCC’s new rePurpose Store is located in Elmira, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Volunteers who work at any of the many Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift stores know the sorrow of unsold goods: clothing that hangs around for more than a month or dishes that don’t move out the door to grace someone’s table.

Faith leads to composting

Anna Kuepfer (aka Teka) is pictured in her role as Hidden Acres' environmental services coordinator. (Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp photo)

A camper at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp 'takes aim at summer.' (Photo: Anna Kuepfer, Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp)

Donning my biology lab coat and goggles, I push through the bustling crowd of eager campers who are anxiously waiting to sing for their lunchtime mail delivery, and I raise my hand in the air. “Ready?” I ask. “One, two, three!” And the crowd of 80 bursts into an enthusiastic, barely organized uproar.

Farmers, thinkers, eaters

Field day at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Harvesting grain as part of a long-term organic crop rotation study at the University of Manitoba's Glenlea research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Laura, the sheep, participating in an organic cover crop grazing study at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Agriculture is changing. Perhaps it always has been. Markets realign. Tastes shift. Ideas evolve. Climatic conditions rearrange.

Mennonites are part of the change—as farmers, thinkers and eaters. 

Mysticism for toddlers

One of Tomie dePaola's beautiful collages in The Song of Francis. (Photo by Susie Guenther Loewen)

I was happy to discover another gem of a children’s book on the subject of faith at my public library recently: it’s called The Song of Francis, written and illustrated with beautiful, vibrant collages by Tomie dePaola.[1] It’s another one of my son’s current favourites.

Care for creation and environmental justice

Nate Howard, an MCC worker from Muncie, Ind. shows visitors this mine in San Miguel, Guatemala. The mine uses vast amounts of water which eventually leaks potent chemicals into the water table. (MCC photo by Melissa Engle)

When Bob Lovelace, a chief of the Ardoch Algonquin of Northeastern Ontario, wrote about his people’s struggle over uranium exploration on their land, he did so from a Canadian maximum security prison. To protect their traditional territories from uranium exploration, the Ardoch Algonquin had set up roadblocks.

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