God of grace, today we pray for peace for the City of Bethlehem.
It has had more than its share of conflict,
as it has changed from a sleepy little town to a bustling city
that is visited by millions each year.
Lord, you know the walls that separate people in Bethlehem:
walls of concrete, walls of prejudice, walls of hatred,
God of grace, today we pray for peace for the City of Bethlehem.
From the moment we learned I was pregnant, the baby we longed for was continually on my mind. What would it look like? What kind of personality would it have? How would this baby change our life? I was truly “expecting.” Expectant waiting with our baby in mind transformed not just me and my husband, but our whole extended family.
The peace pole and peace garden in front of Steinbach Mennonite Church connect the congregation with more than 200,000 groups and churches worldwide that desire a world at peace.
The pole displays the prayer, “May peace prevail on Earth,” in eight languages. Surrounding the pole is a newly planted peace garden with an inviting path and benches.
Sahar Vardi and Tarek Al-Zoughbi live less than 20 kilometres away from each other—Vardi in Jerusalem, and Al-Zoughbi in the West Bank city of Bethlehem to the south. A literal wall, checkpoints and cultures of mutual hatred separate the regions each call home.
A crowd of old friends and alumni, as well as people interested in restorative justice, filled the Grebel Gallery on Oct. 11, 2018, to hear from Dean Peachey. He reflected on the seeds of peace that were sown during the 25 years he and his wife Melissa Miller spent in Kitchener-Waterloo.
“Groups keep pleading for Peace Factory,” said a Mennonite Central Committee memo in 1996. An interactive exhibit, Peace Factory was a cooperative Mennonite project. Its goal was to “help all Christians connect their faith in God with a life of peacemaking.” In 1997, it toured southwestern Ontario.
Peace campers practise their listening skills by responding to commands during an ice-breaking session. (YSPP photo by Alouny Souvolavong)
Lydia Cheung was a participant in MCC’s Summerbridge program last year. She helped with children’s programming, including a carnival and two weeks of day camp at her home church, South Vancouver Pacific Grace Mennonite Brethren Church, where she also helped with youth devotions and worship. (MCC photo by Rachel Bergen)
Rorisang Moliko, 27, is a former IVEPer currently working as the demonstration farm manager at Growing Nations Trust in Maphutseng, Lesotho. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky)
Participants from several African countries are pictured at the 2017 Africa Peacebuilding Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the eMseni Christian Conference Centre. (MCC photo by Zacarias Zimba)
People often say that young people are the future. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is working with partners in Canada, the United States and around the world to invest in opportunities for young people to serve. It is committed to nurturing and developing the leadership skills of a new generation, with a focus on Anabaptist values such as peacebuilding and servant leadership.
In April 2018, the steering committee of the emerging Global Anabaptist Peace Network met for its first face-to-face meeting, in Limuru, Kenya. From left to right: Pascal Kulungu, Fulco van Hulst, Andrés Pacheco (Global Anabaptist Peace Network coordinator), Wendy Kroeker, Andrew Suderman (Peace Commission secretary). (MWC photo by Karla Braun)
Coffee breaks at the triennial Mennonite World Conference (MWC) General Council, Commissions and networks meetings in Kenya, April 2018, allowed Colombia peacebuilder and human rights lawyer Ricardo Esquivia to share with an old friend his vision for the Global Anabaptist Peace Network (GAPN): to build networks supporting peacebuilders in the field and communicating with the broader Mennonite c
Women artists produce angels from shards of glass at the Art and Culture Centre in Bethlehem, West Bank. Thousands of angels have been produced and sold worldwide. (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)
Originally, they were made of pieces of broken glass from the rubble an Israeli tank left behind when it slammed into the gift shop at the International Centre of Bethlehem (ICB) in 2002. Today the glass angels of peace are made of used bottles and have emerged into a small business enterprise employing around 50 people in the Bethlehem area.
Mennonite Church South Korea youth participate in a peace walk in April 2018. (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)
A group gathers for the Mennonite Church South Korea assembly in September 2017. (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)
In her entire life, Hyun Hee Kim never imagined that Donald Trump, president of the United States, and Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, would one day meet and shake hands.
Transformative. That’s the word Cheryl Woelk uses to describe the impact of language teaching and learning on human relationships.
I have a few observations to make about the open letter from the Mennonite Church Canada network of regional working groups on Palestine and Israel (“MC Canada working groups call for sanctions against Israel,” May 21, page 28).
Rubiela, left, outside her house during her last visit with Hannah Redekop. (CPT photo by Caldwell Manners)
Five years ago I set out on a journey with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), providing international accompaniment to human rights defenders in Colombia.
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), on April 20 Conrad Grebel University College hosted a sold-out gala dinner featuring Bob Rae, a former Ontario premier, as keynote speaker.
Jason Martin, Mennonite Church Canada director of International Witness, left, International Witness worker Joji Pantoja, and Norm Dyck, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada mission engagement minister, pose at the MC Eastern Canada office in Kitchener, Ont., where Pantoja spoke on April 4, 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Joji Pantoja and her husband Dann serve in the Philippines as Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers. Following the September 11, 2001, attack in New York City, Dann in particular felt called as a Christian to work at building peace with Muslims.
Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member churches around the world act out of the belief that the Spirit of Jesus empowers them to become peacemakers who renounce violence, love their enemies, seek justice and share their possessions with those in need through local congregations, national churches and related ministries.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (I Cor. 12:26).
In February, we were part of a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) delegation to Syria, including Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo. We witnessed the devastation of war and heard testimonies of faith from people who have been living in difficult circumstances now for seven long years.
Johnny Wideman of Theatre of the Beat shares his peacebuilding wisdom with campers at Conrad Grebel University College's Peace Camp. Peace Camp is a day camp and peace educational program for youth aged 11 to 14 in Waterloo Region. Campers learn that peace is possible as they share stories and learn from people in the community and meet people from various cultural backgrounds, faiths, and orientations. (Peace Camp photo)
Have you ever been in a place, space or community where you have been encouraged to try something new? Have you been challenged to take risks and leap out of your comfort zone? Have you tasted the confidence that comes with mastering new skills?
Growing up as a preacher’s son, I was immersed in Christian values. Every memory I have revolves around Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Ho Chi Minh City. I learned the way of Christ: to love my neighbours and to give to the poor.
It’s been a long trek for eight small bags of medical supplies. They have been packed and re-packed, crossed an ocean, passed through three countries and numerous airport security checks. On this day, the bags have reached their destination—a small medical clinic on a farm near Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
The political scientist Harold Lasswell once defined politics to be “who gets what, when and how.” If that is politics, peace studies in contrast can be seen as an attempt to answer the question “why” things are given to whom, when and how.
Jessie Castello, a member of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., has just completed her master of peace and conflict studies degree at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)
In celebration of 40 years of leadership in peace education, the current Grebel Gallery exhibit, Beyond Essays: Approaching Peace Education Differently, showcases some of the creations of Conrad Grebel University College Peace and Conflict Studies students over the years. Submitted by PACS student Ambar Hernandez, this arpillera sheds light on the role that the Vicariate of Solidarity played in empowering and protecting individuals during the Chilean dictatorship (1973-90). It demonstrates the artist’s memories of the community coming together to fight for equality and dignity with hope as their shield. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)
In 1977, an academic concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) was formally introduced at the University of Waterloo, launched by Conrad Grebel College, now Conrad Grebel University College. It was the first undergraduate peace studies program at a Canadian university.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) campaigners Setsuko Thurlow, Ray Acheson and Cesar Jaramillo call on Canada to join a UN nuclear weapons ban at a press conference in Toronto on Oct. 27, 2017. Jaramillo is the executive director of Project Ploughshares, a Mennonite Central Committee partner. (Photo courtesy of Paula Cardenas)
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) congratulates Project Ploughshares, a member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), on winning the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Project Ploughshares, of which MCC is a member, was started 42 years ago by a former MCC service worker, Ernie Regehr.
Tear gas containers litter the gardens near the separation wall between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians know that every Friday they can expect tear gas to be lobbed into the refugee camps outside of Bethlehem. (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)
The separation wall in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. (Photo by Brandi Friesen Thorpe)
‘How you experience holy is different than you expect it to be.’ -Rev. Carrie Ballenger Smith
After a year of travel, seeking faith and justice on four continents, there are lessons that I am still unpacking. Between the busy schedules of church, master’s thesis work, travel and work with the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF), it takes a moment of pause to catch up with my experiences. And so, I pause. I look back to remember.