MCC

Diversity in our unity: Belonging to each other in the body of Christ

(Photo by Julianna Arjes on Unsplash)

When I was a young adult volunteer in Jamaica, part of Mennonite Central Committee’s Serving and Learning Together (SALT) program, I brought a pie to a Mennonite church-sponsored baking competition and was disqualified because my mango pie did not fit the unstated criteria of being a sweet pot

Biking and hiking raise funds for Alberta organizations

Cyclists (left to right) Ernie Engbrecht, Edgar Dueck, Dave Neufeldt, Doug Wiebe, Ken Esau, Zachary Wirzba and Ron Esau raised $10,000 for MCC on July 15. (Photo by Annie Dyck)

The annual Hike-a-thon for Camp Valaqua involved walking the north end of Jumpingpound Ridge on June 11. (Photo by Jon Olfert)

This summer, Alberta supporters of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Camp Valaqua got physical to raise funds.

Loss that cannot be counted

MCC partner Charitable Foundation Uman Help Center sets up a distribution event every week for food, hygiene supplies and other basic essentials for those living in or passing through Uman, Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of UMAN)

More than 100,000 people have fled to the area around the city of Uman in Ukraine as Russian military forces continue to advance. MCC partner Charitable Foundation UMAN Help Center distributes food; MCC hygiene kits, including toothpaste; and comforters to hundreds of people each month. (Photo courtesy of UMAN)

MCC partner Charitable Foundation UMAN Help Center provides food and other essential basics for people fleeing to, or through, the city of Uman, Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of UMAN)

As millions of civilians continue to flee the devastation of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, organizations like MCC partner UMAN (Charitable Foundation Uman Help Center) are working to support those who have left everything they know behind.

Small town, big heart

Participants at the Black Creek United Mennonite Church fundraiser in B.C. survey the goods for sale on May 29. Around $11,000 will be sent to MCC for Ukraine relief. (Photo by Marian Peckford)

The small town of Black Creek, British Columbia, showed its generosity with a sale for Ukraine relief, organized by United Mennonite Church, on May 29. The town has a population of just over 9,000 and is located on Vancouver Island, far from all of Mennonite Church B.C.’s other congregations.

‘Come over and help us so that we can help the needy ones’

The site of a camp that housed an estimated 64,000 Ethiopians displaced by violence in Afar state last year. As the violence shifted, these people returned home. (Photo by Rebecca Mosely)

A refugee camp in Debark, Ethiopia, set up to house people displaced by civil conflict. (Photo by Paul Mosely)

Rebecca Mosely of Mennonite Central Committee travels to meet a family who had returned home after being displaced from their home in the Afar region of Ethiopia for four months due to violence. (Photo by Rebecca Mosely)

Pastor Desalegn Abebe’s message to North American Mennonites is simple. Abebe is the head of Meserete Kristos Church (MKC), the Anabaptist denomination in Ethiopia, where 17 months of civil violence has led to 12 MKC churches being burned, 44 displaced and 163 full-time ministers and their families displaced and without income.

Boy’s bake sale raises funds for Ukraine

Cliff Gusztak with his mom Ashley hand over baked goods at his bake sale at Foothills Mennonite Church on March 27. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Cliff Gusztak is a little boy with a big heart. An idea for a small cupcake stand evolved into a fundraising campaign that raised a total of $7,150 for Mennonite Central Committee’s Ukraine emergency response.

“I was maybe thinking that we could stop the war,” he said innocently but sincerely of his efforts.

Making comforters for Ukraine refugees a community effort

Mother and daughter Marion and Irene Griese work together at a comforter at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26. (Photos by Emily Fieguth)

Women from the Westview Centre4Women work on the comforters.

A pile of comforters created at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26.

A basement room full of volunteers tie comforters at Niagara United Mennonite Church on March 26.

Bags of comforters ready for delivery to Mennonite Central Committee.

Niagara United Mennonite Church called its congregants and neighbourhood community together to tie comforters in the church basement on March 26. Advertisements in the local newspapers and in church bulletins invited anyone interested to gather for the morning.

MCC partners in India support migrant workers

Santosh Birhor works on his kitchen garden tomato plants. Through the support of CASA, an MCC partner, he has been able to drastically increase his yields and plant more diverse crops. (Photo courtesy of CASA)

When thinking about migration, it is easy to focus just on resettling refugees fleeing conflict or disaster. But the work Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) does with migrants isn’t just about resettling those on the move. Hundreds of millions of people are migrant workers, seeking higher-paying jobs far away from their families and homes.

MCC partners in Ukraine supply essential care

MCC partner, Kharkiv Independent ECB Churches, evacuated residents, housing them at a local Christian school and at the House of Hope, a seniors residence in a village community 50 kilometers from Kharkiv. (The names of the people pictured are not provided for security reasons.) (Photo courtesy of MCC)

Try to imagine hearing air raid sirens scream out their warning. In your panic, you seek shelter. Your freezing fingers remind you of the warm coat you’ve forgotten back home. Or maybe you pack the car full of blankets and food, planning to flee to a safer location. You hope you won’t get stuck in a kilometres-long line at a checkpoint.

Doug Klassen’s contract renewed

Doug Klassen looks forward to beginning his second term with planning for meaningful fellowship, worship and discernment at Gathering 2022 in Edmonton. His first term began in June 2019. (MC Canada photo)

Doug Klassen’s term as executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada has been renewed for a second three-year term beginning June 1.

“We received strong affirmation for Doug’s renewal from Joint Council,” says Calvin Quan, moderator for Mennonite Church Canada.

MCC pulls staff from Ukraine

Andrea Shalay and three American staff members of MCC scrambled to leave Ukraine. (Supplied photo)

Russia has begun military operations against Ukraine, but North American Mennonite Central Committee staff who were working in the latter country are safe.

That includes Winnipegger Andrea Shalay, the charity’s peace engagement co-ordinator for Europe. Shalay and three other staff, all Americans, were evacuated from Ukraine more than a week ago.

A little SALT goes a long way

In December 2018, Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike and her husband Christopher Eigbike visit the church she had served at while with SALT in 1982. (Photo courtesy of Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike)

Members of Brethren in Christ Church in Mpopoma township, Zimbabwe, gather to bid farewell to Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike at the Bulawayo Airport as she ends her SALT term there on Sept. 1, 1983. (Photo courtesy of Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike)

Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike, bottom right, poses with some of the second SALT cohort of 1982 during orientation in Akron, Ohio. (Photo courtesy of Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike)

In the summer of 1982, 20-year-old Sophie Tiessen-Eigbike was about to get on a plane bound for Zimbabwe. She didn’t know it yet, but this trip was going to change the trajectory of her life.

She was going to Zimbabwe for a year-long term with Serving and Learning Together (SALT), a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) program that was in just its second year.

Time well spent with MCC

The SALTers reunited at Martha and Brent Kuehl’s home on Aug. 19, 2021. Pictured from left to right, front row: Melody Steinman, Martha Kuehl and Lorie Yantzi; and back row: Nadine Moyer, Vi Martin and Marlene Letkeman-Holst. (Photo courtesy of Martha Kuehl)

The Winnipeg SALT unit circa 1983-84. Pictured from left to right, front row: Melody Steinman, Nadine Moyer, Annette Reesor, Vi Martin and Martha Kuehl; and back row: Marlene Letkeman-Holst, Thom Braun, Ruth Braun and Lorie Yantzi. (Photo courtesy of Nadine Moyer)

It has been well over half of their lifetime ago—“38 years to be exact,” said one of the six women who gathered on a warm August evening with their spouses to reminisce about their year of living in an intentional community doing voluntary service. One couldn’t attend the gathering.

MCC releases research findings on historical entanglements with National Socialism

Benjamin Unruh (front row, third from left) stands with refugee representatives in Moelln, Germany, circa 1930. Unruh, a displaced Mennonite from the Soviet Union living in Germany and a committed Nazi, negotiated with the Nazi government on behalf of MCC regarding a debt the relief organization owed. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Mennonite Central Committee has released the findings of its research on the organization’s historical entanglements with German National Socialism (or Nazism) and its legacy before, during and after the Second World War.

MCC responds to bombing in Gaza

Mohamed Al-Attar, at right in blue, lost his wife, children and his home during the violence in Gaza in May. Rifqa Hamalwai, far left, and Khaled Abu Sharek, centre back, staff members from Al Najd, MCC’s local partner, visited Mohamed and his nephews, Yaser Dia Al Attar, bottom left, and Ali Tamim Al Attar, back left. All local COVID-19 protocols were followed in this photo. (Photo courtesy of Al Najd)

Mahmoud Alhalimi, and sons Kareem, centre, and Anas, right, are pictured in front of their still-standing house. (Photo by Sanabel Alhalimi)

A Gazan home that was destroyed during the bombardment. (Photo courtesy of Near East Council of Churches)

Nighttime was the hardest for Mahmoud Alhalimi. With the electricity cut and bombs falling, the hours were dark and loud, as he tried in vain to help his two young children fall asleep.

MCC volunteers worked at boarding school being probed

The Timber Bay Children’s Home at Montreal Lake, Sask., as it appeared in 1974. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) supported an Indigenous boarding home that is under investigation by the Saskatchewan RCMP.

The Mounties say a complaint was made in 2020 about a death that potentially occurred at the Timber Bay Children’s Home at Montreal Lake, Sask., in 1974.

Newcomer youth raise money for MCC

Two youth connectors from the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers—Emmanuel Mbonimpa of the Congo, left, and Amena Shehab of Palestine, right—delivered 131 hygiene kits to the Mennonite Central Committee Alberta office on behalf of immigrant and refugee youth volunteering at the newcomers centre. Donita Wiebe-Neufeld, MCC Alberta’s development coordinator, centre, was on hand to receive the kits. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Edmonton newcomer youth from seven countries raised funds and assembled 131 hygiene kits for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) recently.

One piece at a time

Anju Shaw, 41, is a client of MCC partner Barrackpore Avenue Women's Cultural & Social Welfare Society. (Photos courtesy of Barrackpore Avenue)

Susmita Badiya, right, fills out her abuse report with the help of a counsellor from MCC partner Barrackpore Avenue Women's Cultural & Social Welfare Society.

There was no peace in Anju Shaw’s life.

For 20 years, she endured constant abuse and neglect at the hands of her husband and then her husband’s parents. She had no support, no one to speak for her or listen to her. She didn’t think the police would care about her—if they believed her at all. The ideas of peace, safety or stability were as far from her as the sky itself.

Making a difference

Grow Hope Niagara

Forty-one acres in Campden, Ont., are being cultivated, planted and harvested for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, with sponsorships of $400 an acre helping to plant a crop for the Grow Hope Niagara project. When the harvest is sold, farmers will donate the money to the Foodgrains Bank through Mennonite Central Committee.

Under the sparkling stars

Middle Eastern Christians re-enact the Christmas story in Nazareth. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

The carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” paints a Christmas card picture of the ancient town of the Nativity: sparkling stars lighting quiet streets, a Holy Baby resting in a manger as the townspeople sleep, unaware. That idyllic view was replaced by a fuller perspective when my family moved to Israel in 1996.

MCC responds to double hurricanes

In response to Hurricane Eta, MCC staff member James Helmuth, left, and volunteer Edgar Hernandez load vehicles with relief kits that will be delivered to the Q’eqchi’ Mennonite Church in the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala. The church will distribute the kits, which contain towels, hygiene and laundry supplies, to people affected by flooding. (MCC photo by Jardely Martínez)

After two hurricanes in two weeks flooded several countries in Central America twice, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is providing emergency food and supplies and making longer-term plans to help with recovery.

Victor Neumann

(Photo: Annie Krasker/ MCC collection)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) began work in Thailand in 1960, but from 1963 to 1975 it had no programs there. In 1979, MCC started working with Indochinese refugees coming into Thailand with job creation, social services, agriculture and education programs. This is a photo of MCCer Victor Neumann of Abbotsford, B.C., with refugee workers processing mail at Songkhla camp, Thailand.

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