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Customs vary among Ontario Amish

The Amish of Milverton, Ont., use open buggies with slow-moving-vehicle signs. The various Ontario Amish settlements have their own idiosyncrasies, as buggy styles and other customs are not necessarily the same in each community. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Web First | By Barb Draper | Nov 30, 2016 | 1 comment

The Amish in Ontario are a diverse group, explained Fred Lichti at the fall meeting of the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario, held on Oct. 15, 2016, at Milverton Mennonite Fellowship. Milverton is a small town a half hour west of Kitchener-Waterloo.

There are 21 different Amish settlements or communities mostly scattered throughout southern Ontario. Each of these settlements has its own idiosyncrasies, as buggy styles and other customs are not necessarily the same in each community.

‘God is leading us into this process’

Keith Regehr (Photo by Matthew Lester) 

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Nov 16, 2016

“God is helping us take apart what was, in order to build something new, so that we can engage the world in more effective ways,” says Keith Regehr confidently.

Regehr is the newly appointed transition coordinator for the five area churches and national church that together comprise Mennonite Church Canada. He is tasked with managing the transition of these structures as they respond to the change principles outlined in the final report and addendum of the Future Directions Task Force.

Breathing together

A choir made up of children of Karen families who came to Rosthern, Sask., as refugees perform for delegates at the MCC Saskatchewan ‘encounter’ and annual general meeting. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Web First | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

“It is all of us together that make Mennonite Central Committee [MCC] breathe,” said Eileen Klassen Hamm, and each element of MCC Saskatchewan’s “encounter” and annual general meeting bore witness to her statement.

The organization chose “Peacebuilding on the prairies and around the world” as the theme for the Nov. 5, 2016, event, which was held at Rosthern Junior College (RJC). In her report, Klassen Hamm, who is MCC Saskatchewan’s executive director, noted both positive and negative outcomes of peacebuilding.

Mennonite Worship and Song Committee holds first meeting

Members of the new Mennonite Worship and Song Committee take a break at their first meeting September 22-25, 2016. Committee members include (first row, left to right): Bradley Kauffman, project director; SaeJin Lee; Karen Gonzol, editorial assistant; Katie Graber; Adam Tice, text editor; Emily Grimes; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor. Second row, Amy Gingerich, editorial director for MennoMedia; Cynthia Neufeld Smith; Mike Erb; Tom Harder; Darryl Neustaedter Barg; Paul Dueck; Benjamin Bergey, music editor, and Anneli Loepp Thiessen.

Web First | By Deborah Froese, with MennoMedia files | Nov 16, 2016

Members of the new Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met for the first time Sept. 22 to 25, 2016, at Park View Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Saskatchewan women celebrate transitions

Mel Harms has been MC Saskatchewan’s women’s representative since Saskatchewan Women in Mission was disbanded in 2015. Harms is pictured holding Pilgram, the infant son of Cindy Wallace, a professor of English at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan, at the area church’s women’s retreat.

Web First | By Lois Siemens | Nov 16, 2016

“Every transition is an invitation to journey with God,” is how Cindy Wallace ended each session with the women attending the annual Mennonite Church Saskatchewan women’s retreat last month.

MCC calls for ‘big tent thinking’

Mary Anne Isaak prepares communion elements during the evening worship session at MCC Canada’s 2016 annual general meeting in late September 2016. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Web First | By Rachel Bergen | Nov 01, 2016 | 1 comment

Comparing Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to a big tent, Don Peters, the executive director of MCC Canada, described the organization as “the place where the Anabaptist community works and serves together,” at its annual general meeting in Winnipeg at the end of September 2016.

However, the question on many people’s minds has been, “Can supporters stay under the tent together?” In this metaphorical tent there are many people with different backgrounds, gifts, challenges and perspectives.

Huxman completes role at Grebel

Friends and colleagues of Susan Schultz Huxman paid tribute to her time as president of Conrad Grebel University College. Huxman (second from left) stands with the three board of governors chairs from her presidency: Geraldine Balzer, Susan Toews, and Fred Redekop. (Photo by Aurrey Drake)

Web First | By Fred Martin | Oct 31, 2016

On September 30, 2016, friends and colleagues of Susan Schultz Huxman paid tribute to her time as president of Conrad Grebel University College. She has accepted the presidency of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Va.

The appointment of Schultz Huxman at Conrad Grebel University College in 2011 represented the first time a second-generation family member served as president of a Mennonite college. Harold Schultz, Huxman’s father, served as president at Bethel College in Kansas for 20 years, 1971–1991. 

EVI announces workshop tour

More than 70 of those attending Mennonite Church Manitoba’s annual gathering in March 2016 participated in an interactive workshop presented by the Emerging Voices Initiative. Discussions explored Future Directions Task Force findings. The group will host further discussions about transition into a new church structure in workshops this fall. 

Web First | By Deborah Froese with files from Emerging Voices Initiative | Oct 31, 2016

Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) is embarking on a fall 2016 workshop tour. This group of concerned young adults hopes to encourage further discussion about the process of transitioning into a new church structure in response to Future Directions Task Force findings. (See ‘We are all responsible for what happens next’ on the decision at Assembly 2016.)

Like a ‘biblical mustard seed’

Web First | By Victor Fast | Oct 29, 2016 | 2 comments

It all started simply enough. In January 1996, Clare Jantzi, worship leader at Valleyview Mennonite Church in London, invited three men from the congregation to sing an introit during four consecutive worship services.

Kuttab calls Mennonites to action for Middle East peace and justice

Jonathan Kuttab

Web First | Oct 19, 2016

On September 28, 2016, Palestinian Christian Jonathan Kuttab spoke to Mennonites gathered for lunch at the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario building in Kitchener, Ont.

Responding to the action Mennonite Church Canada delegates took to approve a resolution concerning Israel and Palestine, Kuttab affirmed the call to support the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement. He sees BDS as a way to “end the occupation and facilitate a just peace with the Palestinian people.” 

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