A ray of sunshine in the classroom
Wilhelm (Will) Friesen, a Grade 5/6 student, does not have a voice. Will was born with severe cognitive and physical disabilities which prevent him from performing basic tasks, including speaking. Born in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia in 2004, he moved with his parents and two sisters to Manitoba in 2007.
Saskatchewan Mennonites pedal for peace
Before they ate their fill of rollkuchen, watermelon, farmer’s sausage and other traditional Mennonite food, a group of Saskatchewan Mennonites cycled 43 kilometres in solidarity with those who have to leave their homeland in search of peace.
A different way of thinking
Imagine these words as pictures with no direct meaning. That’s part of what it’s like to have dyslexia.
Baking cookies for clean water
Tyreese Hildebrandt is a 10-year-old who dreams of helping people to have clean drinking water. A while back, Hildebrandt read a book that touched him deeply. Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa that Brought them Together by Herb Shoveller is about a Canadian boy who raised money to dig a well in Uganda and a Ugandan boy who became his friend.
Staying close to God
When people complete high school, they are often overwhelmed and stressed because there are so many career options. When Afonso Arrais graduated, his stress came from a lack of options.
Arrais, now a student at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, was born in Portugal and attended high school in the capital city, Lisbon. He was constantly concerned about his future.
Where are the young board members?
Look at a board of any institution, Mennonite or otherwise. They’re mainly made up of middle-aged or retired professionals. With that said, many boards are looking to expand their horizons by diversifying. They want more women, people from different ethnic and professional backgrounds, and younger people.
Lessons learned at L’Abri
The view at the L’Abri branch in Huémoz, a small village surrounded by the Swiss Alps. Janzen spent two weeks there last year. (Photo by Tasha Janzen)
An accomplished musician, 20-year-old Tasha Janzen first got involved in her church as a child when her grandmother paid her $5 to play piano during the offertory. (Photo courtesy of Tasha Janzen)
The red piano in Janzen’s room represents the importance of music in her life. It also inspired the name of her Red Piano Rhapsody blog. (Photo by Tasha Janzen)
In addition to playing piano in church, Janzen has studied classical music, accompanied choirs and performed in rock bands. Last year, she performed with Abbotsford, B.C.’s Quinn and Tonic rock band. From left: Tasha Janzen, Rick Chappell, Savannah Quinn (foreground), Nick Kirby and Colin Hoock. (Photo courtesy of Tasha Janzen)
When Tasha Janzen thinks back to her time in Switzerland last year, learning the importance of life balance is one of the biggest things that sticks out for her.
Home Depot and a dog named Flash
Home Depot and a golden lab: these two things are important parts of Megen Olfert’s life.
Spreading the word about GROW
Sarah French and Mary Fehr start their trip on May 18 at Mile 0 in Victoria, B.C. (Photo courtesy of Sarah French and Mary Fehr)
Mary Fehr just learned to ride a bike a few years ago, when she was 17. Now she and Sarah French are cycling thousands of kilometres across Canada—from Victoria, B.C., to St. John’s, Nfld.—to raise money for Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) through its Bike To Grow campaign.
CMU graduate from Kenya wants to make a difference at home
Joseph Kiranto (red t-shirt) stands with his family (from left: Elizabeth, Joy, Joel and Kaleb) at a CMU event in September 2014. The Kirantos moved from Kenya so that Joseph could study at CMU. (Photo courtesy of CMU)
Joseph Kiranto was the valedictorian for CMU’s Class of 2015. He wants to use his training in peace and conflict transformation to make a difference in his home country. (Photo courtesy of CMU)
This article is the first in a series called Voice of the Marginalized. These articles were written by students in Canadian Mennonite University’s Journalism: Principles and Practice course. Voice of the Marginalized connected writers with people on the margins of the community.
‘This will lead to dancing’
Youths change lives on MDS trip . . . including their own
A group of Manitoba youths and young adults from the Bunker, a ministry of Winkler Bergthaler Mennonite Church, recently went to High River, Alta., to work with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS).
The Mennonite and the Lurmen
Are there parallels between the Star Wars universe and Anabaptism?
I asked myself that recently after watching an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated TV series.
The WhizBang Shufflers returned to Mennofolk after first performing at the event in 2005. From left: Donald Willms, Luke Enns, Curtis Wiebe and Rick Unger. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
Clockwise from bottom right: Jodi Plenert, Charlie Enns, Brent Retzlaff, Brandon Bertram, Thomas Krause and Clare Schellenberg organized Mennofolk 2015. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
‘Mennofag,’ a mixed media piece by Jordan Weber, depicts the artist’s struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
Well Sister, a folk group fronted by Jaymie Friesen, pictured, was one of three musical acts that performed at Mennofolk 2015. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
‘Living in the Fast Lane,’ an acrylic painting by Danielle Fontaine Koslowsky. Twenty visual artists ranging in age from 18 to 55 displayed artwork at Mennofolk 2015. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
When Jordan Weber began making visual art four years ago, he wanted a new way to express himself.
“I never expected my art to be on display for anybody to see,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s super exciting that people have been coming up to me and saying they like my work.”
Living in limbo
Hundreds of families in Canada live in limbo, not sure if they’ll ever be granted permanent resident status.
Countercultural mountain music
For Quiet in the Land, music is meant to be participatory and community-building, an approach that was shaped by the duo’s Mennonite upbringing. (Photo by Meg Harder)
Dan Root and Laura Dyck grew up in the mountains of Pennsylvania, which has influenced the themes in their music. (Photo by Meg Harder)
Dan Root and Laura Dyck quickly became friends after they met in the fall of 2009 and realized how much they had in common. Both were living in the Conrad Grebel University College residence in Waterloo, Ont.; both were studying international development at the University of Waterloo; and both had a deep love of folk music.
SOS for Syria
In the early 1900s, SOS became the worldwide distress signal, but typically in maritime situations. These days it’s used as a sense of urgent message or appeal for help from anybody in any situation.
‘The best possible reward’
“I’ll intentionally call you my sister, for I have two and I love them so much. Now I have three and I love them all to the degree that I’m ready to die for them. So you are really beyond a friend for me.”
There is a terrifying amount of paper documenting Mennonite history, and more than a few gems hidden in the vault.
Photos in the Archives document the experience of conscientious objectors during the Second World War.
It wasn’t until Grade 6 that I realized it was possible to be more than just a Mennonite. Our teacher asked us to come up with one word to described ourselves. One of my classmates chose the phrase, “Russian Mennonite.”
Community Mennonite Church face off against East Zorra Mennonite Church at the 2014 Bible quizzing event. (Photo courtesy of Jeramie Raimbault)
For about 30 years, youth from several Mennonite Church Eastern Canada congregations in Ontario have looked forward to their annual Bible quizzing event. It’s centred around friendly competition, memorization of minute biblical details and application of biblical principles to everyday life.
Morning prayers at the Y
There is a natural dignity in the morning routine of a 95-year-old man living alone. Especially when the routine is based on building friendships across cultures.
At 6:42 a.m., the Langara Family YMCA may be the noisiest spot in South Vancouver. Among the squeaks of gym shoes and hiss of locker room showers, you can even catch a chorus of gospel music—in Mandarin.
‘We’re not strangers anymore’
Emmaus House is an intentional community for university students in Winnipeg made up of 13 people. (Photo courtesy of Emmanus House)
Kelsey Wiebe, left, and Davis Plett clean up after supper one evening. Members of the Emmaus House community eat supper together daily. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
Emmaus House community member Louisa Hofer, with Remy, one of two dogs that also live in the house. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
When Davis Plett was considering moving out of his parents’ home, he wasn’t sure he was ready to be on his own. Moving into a 103-year-old house with 12 other people seemed like a good option.
“The danger of meeting new people and then having the additional risk of living with them excited me,” says Plett, 21, who studies English literature at the University of Winnipeg.
Rebuilding lives and languages
St. Michael’s Residential School was open for 50 years. It now stands empty and decrepit, serving as a dark reminder of past abuses, awaiting its final demolition. (Photo courtesy of Janna and Jon Janzen)
Jon and Janna Janzen stood in front of St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay, B.C., in February and they say they felt darkness in its presence.
Top marks for CMU
According to a recent Maclean’s Magazine report, students at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg are very satisfied with their education and their experience at the Christian liberal arts school.