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God at work in the Church

Men retreat to explore manhood from an Anabaptist perspective

Scott Brubaker-Zehr, left, Clayton Kuepfer, David Armes, Geoff Wichert and Hidden Acres staff person Patrick Singh discover at a June retreat at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp near New Hamburg, Ont., that doing their own dishes is part of male spirituality.

God at work in the Church | By Story and Photo by Dave Rogalsky | Aug 13, 2014

Aged 18 to 71, 20 men gathered at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp from June 20 to 21 to explore what it means to be a Mennonite man in the 21st century. “Under construction: Reframing men’s spirituality” featured Gareth Brandt from the biblical/theological studies faculty at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B. C.

Discovering the kingdom at summer camp

Candy, a camper from Saskatoon attending Youth Farm Bible Camp’s Adult Special Needs session, enjoys playing the tambourine during chapel. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Story and photos by Donna Schulz | Jul 29, 2014

Swimming, archery, horseback riding and campfires are typical summer camp experiences. While children and teens enjoy these activities each year at Youth Farm Bible Camp near Rosthern, so do about 250 adults with intellectual disabilities.

New school greets returning children

After burning the school building on May 17, the Old Order Mennonite community in rural Manitoba, along with a number of outside helpers, began building a new school. The nearly completed building will open in September for new and returning students. (Photo by Terry Warburton)

God at work in the Church | By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jul 23, 2014

The old school has been burned to the ground and in its place stands a newly constructed, brilliant red building, a symbol of a new beginning for this Old Order Mennonite community that reflects its hope for, and commitment to, its children.

It has been over a year since Manitoba’s Child and Family Services (CFS) apprehended all 42 children from the rural community—which cannot be named to protect the identity of the children—and 16 adults were charged with offences including assault and assault with a weapon.

Mennonites learn about hospitality and living for others

The Goreme open air museum near Cappadocia, Turkey, includes rock-cut chapels that are part of an ancient Byzantine monastic settlement. A group of Ontario Mennonites visited the site in May as part of an intercultural learning tour.

God at work in the Church | By By Amanda Witmer | Jul 02, 2014

On May 5, a group of eleven Mennonites from Kitchener-Waterloo area churches embarked on a ten day intercultural study tour of Turkey, sponsored by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI). The tour was co-led by Leon Kehl of Floradale Mennonite Church and Sezai Yeter, a member of the Turkish community in Kitchener.

Metzger meets with Harmony Group

Erwin Warkentin, a member of the Harmony Group and Willard Metzger, executive director of MC Canada.

God at work in the Church | By Story and photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jul 02, 2014

Members of the Harmony Group, formed six years ago by Mennonites seeking inclusion of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) in Mennonite Church Canada, recently engaged in earnest dialogue with Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada. Metzger invited the Group’s responses to the next steps of the Being the Faithful Church (BFC) discernment process at a meeting held at Bethel Mennonite Church on June 19.

Dust settles on prison chaplaincy controversy

Chaplain Hank Dixon

God at work in the Church | By By Will Braun | Jul 02, 2014

After a series of bumps and scares in recent years, a new system of federal prison chaplaincy has emerged, with a single company, rather than individual denominations, holding the chaplaincy contracts.

No back row

God at work in the Church | By By Will Braun | Jun 18, 2014

Florence and Otto Driedger’s Regina living room is the opposite of the mega-church auditoriums that have become popular. On a typical Sunday, you might find a handful of refugees, a couple of people who have done time for sexual assault, and another handful of Euro-Canadian folk gathered around the retired couple’s living room, with Bibles open on their laps. The scene would be similar on Tuesday evening. That’s what Peace Mennonite Church looks like.

A call for Christians to be the kingdom of God

Greg Boyd, a best-selling author and cofounder of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., was this year’s “peace and justice guest” at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind.

God at work in the Church | By By Mary E. Klassen | Jun 18, 2014

“Look like Jesus, love like Jesus, serve like Jesus.” Greg Boyd, Ph.D., repeated this line several times during his visit to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) over two days in late April.

Boyd, a best-selling author and cofounder of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., was this year’s “peace and justice guest” at AMBS. In an evening lecture to a filled chapel on April 24, Boyd described characteristics of the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God. Then he outlined how to keep God’s kingdom “holy,” meaning distinct and separate.

Graduates challenged to imagine what the world could be

Cheryl Pauls, Canadian Mennonite University president, centre, awarded President’s Medals to valedictorian Scott Sawatzky, left, and Justin Rempel, both English majors in the four-year bachelor of arts program, in recognition of their qualities of scholarship, leadership, and service.

God at work in the Church | By Story and Photo by Canadian Mennonite University | Jun 18, 2014

Make the future a figment of your imagination. That was the message delivered to 80 graduates at the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) graduation service on April 27.

“Faith in God compels us to imagine what the kingdom of God in our wildest dreams could be,” said keynote speaker Don Friesen said during his address. “Imagination looks at the world as it is, and seeks to reshape that reality.”

Prioritizing ministry

God at work in the Church | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jun 04, 2014

Two topics were front and centre when the board and staff of Mennonite Church Manitoba travelled the province in April for face-to-face conversations with congregations in seven regional meetings.

Being a Faithful Church

‘The fruit of renewal’

The cross with the crucified Christ is an important icon for Greek Catholic worshippers. (Credit: George Dyck)

God at work in the Church | By By Ron Rempel | Jun 04, 2014 | 1 comment

A former Mennonite church building in Ukraine is being restored and transformed with the help of Canadian Mennonites into a Greek Catholic church.

According to observers, this development is an example of Mennonite-Catholic collaboration in the spirit of other exchanges over the past decade or so.

The Mennonite church in the former village of Schoensee—now Snegurovka—was originally built in 1909. During the Soviet era after the October 1917 Russian Revolution, when Mennonites were forced to leave, the church building was used for storage and then fell into disrepair.

Gathered to grow . . . scattered to serve

Recent member Donna Bentz and founding member Ron Zehr look at photos from Hillcrest Mennonite’s 50 years at the anniversary celebration on May 24. Behind them are the 50 comforters knotted this year as an anniversary service project.

God at work in the Church | By Story and Photo by Dave Rogalsky | Jun 04, 2014

Things moved fast 50 years ago. On May 14, 1963, East Zorra Mennonite Church near Tavistock decided that it needed to plant a daughter church to alleviate crowding in the mother church. A building committee met the next day to plan where the new congregation’s building would be and what it would look like. Members of East Zorra and daughter churches Cassel and Tavistock Mennonite were canvassed and funds gathered.

B.C. women ‘at a time of crossroads’

Cutting the celebratory birthday cake for B.C. Women’s Ministry are members of the planning committee: Cheryl Dyck, left, Waltrude Gortzen and Rita Siebert.

God at work in the Church | By Story and Photo by Amy Dueckman | May 21, 2014 | 1 comment

Seven-and-a-half decades after its founding, Women’s Ministry of Mennonite Church B.C. celebrated its diamond anniversary on May 3 with a day of memories and celebration. The annual spring Inspirational Day held at Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew 138.

Five past presidents of what was formerly B.C. Women in Mission shared memories of their terms of service spanning the years 1980 to 2007, reflecting on how serving had changed them, and how women’s roles in church and society had changed over the years.

Discovering faith in a consumer age

Scott Haley of Forge Canada challened B. C. Mennonites to think about how Christians view the church as consumers in an April 5, 2014, seminar at Level Ground Mennonite Church in Abbotsford. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | May 07, 2014

“We are formed to be consumers, wanting maximum value for the lowest price,” Scott Hagley of Forge Canada told a group gathered at Level Ground Mennonite Church for “Consumed: Finding faith in a consumer age.” Not only that, but he said people have come to “imagine God in economic-consumeristic terms.”

Four new directors named at 43rd annual CMPS meeting

Bryan Moyer Suderman

Four new directors were named to the Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS) board at its 43rd annual meeting held here from April 10 to 12. They are Henry Krause of Langley, B.C.; Ken Reddig of Pinawa, Man.; Bryan Moyer Suderman of Stouffville, Ont.; and Kuen Yee of Edmonton. All will serve three-year terms.

Between horizons

Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board offers this discernment guide in advance of Assembly 2014, to be held in Winnipeg from July 3 to 6.


Mutual aid or financial institution?

Using a quilt to symbolize mutual aid, members of the Theatre of the Beat painted pictures of many of the ways in which the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union is doing the work of faith through money management. The Credit Union celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 8 at its annual general meeting held at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 23, 2014

Fifty years ago—March 21, 1964—22 Waterloo County Mennonites got together and deposited a dollar each in a cash box to create a credit union to serve members of their faith community. From the beginning it was envisioned as an extension of mutual aid, a significant component of Mennonite self-identity, practice and theology.

Breaking down walls in the name of Christ

Elaine Klassen and Noreen Neufeldt ham it up in the kitchen as they prepare food for delegates at the annual Mennonite Church Alberta assembly hosted by Lethbridge Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 09, 2014

“As a child, I didn’t see the wall,” Arlyn Friesen Epp told delegates to the 85th annual Mennonite Church Alberta assembly, as he spoke of growing up in small-town Saskatchewan with no real knowledge of, or connections to, first nations people other than negative stereotypes.

Fewer Canadians studying at AMBS

Fewer Canadian students are making use of the library and bookstore at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind.

God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Apr 09, 2014

Maclean’s magazine sits on the library shelf at the Mennonite seminary in Elkhart, Ind., but there are few Canadians there to read it.

Officially, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) is a binational school, serving Mennonite Church U.S.A. and MC Canada, but this year there are only six people from north of the border among the school’s 101 students. That’s down from 18 Canadian students a decade ago, when the seminary had 191 students in total.  

César García calls for ‘mission from below’

César García

God at work in the Church | By By Ron Rempel | Mar 26, 2014

“What would happen if, following the example of monastic orders, there would be a ‘vow of poverty’ in multicultural mission teams for everyone?”

This question, posed by César García at the annual consultation of the Council of International Anabaptist Ministries in Chicago earlier this year, focused one of his proposals for how North American mission agencies might respond to shifting global realities.

MC Saskatchewan adopts safe church policy

Representatives of the MC Saskatchewan council, Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization and Rosthern Mennonite Church flank new area church youth minister Kirsten Hamm in a prayer of commissioning at the annual delegate sessions.

God at work in the Church | By Story and Photo by Donna Schulz | Mar 26, 2014

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan now has a new safe church policy, ratified during the area church’s annual delegate sessions held in Regina on March 14 and 15.

But before the ratification vote took place, delegates had to wrestle with an amendment related to the policy’s Section V on “Preventing discrimination,” which states, “No person will be granted a po-sition or prohibited from a position on the basis of age, gender, cultural background, physical appearance or sexual orientation.”

Rome relaxes

As Pope Francis finishes his first year as pontiff, 85 percent of Americans have a favourable view of him, but the number of people attending Catholic churches in the U.S. has not increased.

God at work in the Church | By By Will Braun | Mar 26, 2014

It's been a year since Argentina's Jorge Bergolio became the 266th Roman Catholic pope. Although he is 77 years old, the new pope has brought fresh energy to one of the most staid institutions in history.

Let your hopes run wild!

Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2014 planners encourage people to check out the website and register online. Pictured from left to right: MC Canada staffers Vic Thiessen, chief administrative officer, left, and Karen Martens Zimmerly, denominational minister; and Ken Warkentin, executive minister of MC Manitoba, the hosting area church. Not pictured: MC Canada’s executive minister of formation, Dave Bergen, and executive assistant Coreena von Kampen. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

God at work in the Church | By Deborah Froese | Mar 12, 2014

Leaders and planners want participants to bring their wildest hopes and dreams for the future of the church to Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2014, from July 3 to 6 in Winnipeg.

The theme, “Wild hope: Faith for an unknown season,” will explore how Mennonites can live out their Christian faith in a world in which attitudes and ideals are continually shifting. Mark 4: 35-41, the story of Jesus calming stormy seas, will help provide scriptural focus.

Becoming missional communities in B.C.

Long-time Camp Squeah workers Dan and Lorraine Friesen, centre, who have served more than 25 years at the MC B.C. facility, are honoured with a prayer of blessing and support by a circle of friends at the area church’s annual meeting in February. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Mar 12, 2014

Excitement and challenges in Mennonite Church British Columbia were a recurring theme when delegates met for their annual general meeting at Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack on Feb. 22, 2014.

Throughout the morning, Garry Janzen, MC B.C.’s executive minister, interviewed several people in leadership positions of area church leadership, asking them, “What excites you?” and, “What are your challenges?”

Telling God’s story

In the newly-expanded archives, Jean Fehr peruses Maureen Klassen’s book It Happened in Moscow, which the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan launched last November. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Mar 12, 2014

“Please do not take photographs.”

With these words, Jake Buhler, chair of the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan, introduced the evening’s guests, an a cappella choir from the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, sometimes known as the Holdeman Mennonite Church.