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God at work in Us

40 years of canoe tripping

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Donna Schulz | Jan 15, 2014

The trickling of an indoor waterfall in the room where Ric Driediger sits evokes images of a northern stream while he reflects on 40 years on the waterways of northern Saskatchewan as a canoeing guide. 

His career began in 1972 when, at 19, he was invited to help guide a group of Mennonite students on a canoe trip. When asked how much he would like to be paid, he began to see guiding as a career possibility.

From opera to open spaces

Former opera singers Terry and Monique Mierau with their youngest son, Hein, at their house-barn home in Neubergthal, Man., where they practise sustainable farming.

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Dec 11, 2013 | 1 comment

When Terry and Monique Mierau moved to rural Manitoba in 2011 with their three young children, they had, for the most part, stopped singing. The former opera singers, professionally trained and with no shortage of singing engagements in Europe, wanted to give heart, soul and even their voices over to farming—although they do add their voices in congregational song at Altona Mennonite Church, where they now attend.

What I did on my sabbatical

Dave Rogalsky at the Coliseum in Rome during his sabbatical this May.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Aug 28, 2013

Before we took it, many people questioned my sabbatical.

A lasting legacy in wood

One of the plaques crafted by John Reimer.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Aug 14, 2013

John Reimer, who died on June 28 at age 86, left a lasting legacy to Mennonite Church Canada and its congregations. All of the wooden plaques depicting a dove with an olive branch that hang in MC Canada congregations across Canada were handcrafted by him in 2000.

In a tribute at Reimer’s memorial service on July 12, John Lohrenz recalled how Reimer worked tirelessly almost every day to have nearly 250 plaques cut in time for the Lethbridge assembly in July 2000, a symbolic transition point when the Conference of Mennonites in Canada became MC Canada.

From pew to pulpit to pew

Jake Neufeld continues to volunteer much of his time with maintenance work at Camp Koinonia.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jul 24, 2013

Jake Neufeld, lay minister for 46 years, was released from his ordination to ministry last October in Whitewater Mennonite Church in Boissevain. Neufeld leaves ordination behind with a grateful heart for the life-changing course it set him on.

Neufeld was born in 1936 into the community and the church that he lives in today. He married Wanda Peters in 1958 and farmed on the home place. Here they raised their two sons, Murray and Randy, and continued an active involvement in the church.

Henry Engbrecht awarded honorary doctorate


God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Jul 03, 2013

“It was an amazing time when I think back,” says Henry Engbrecht. “How could I be so lucky to grow up in that experience?”

Three remembered for strong relationships

God at work in Us | By Mennonite Church Canada | Jun 18, 2013

Three former staff members of Mennonite Pioneer Missions and Native Ministry, the predecessor organizations of Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous Relations, passed away in April and May of this year. Ronald Peters, Jacob A. Wiebe and Cheryl Fisch all based their lives and ministries on strong relationships, say former co-workers Neill and Edith von Gunten. Their relationships extended to people across the various communities in which they lived and worked, as well as to the broader church.

Ron Peters

Sharing a miracle

Amanda Falla

God at work in Us | By By Kelsey Hochstetler | Jun 05, 2013

Amanda Falla believes that miracles appear to be uncommon because people don’t talk about them. But she cannot keep quiet about hers.

An unlikely friendship

Through the safe spaces provided for connection and discussion by the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA) Dialogues, Mzwandile Nkutha, left, and Cobus van Wyngaard are building an unlikely friendship across a history of racial divide.

God at work in Us | By By Andrew Suderman | May 22, 2013

An unlikely but emerging friendship between Mzwandile Nkutha and Cobus van Wyngaard through the Anabaptist Network in South Africa (ANiSA) demonstrates in a small way what it looks like to overcome deeply rooted racial prejudices in South Africa.

It is an unlikely friendship because Nkutha is a black Zulu and van Wyngaard is a white Afrikaner.

“ANiSA opened up a space where we could talk, share our story, talk about our backgrounds in an honest and open way [more] than perhaps we could elsewhere,” says Nkutha. “It was these spaces that made this friendship possible.”

MCC B.C. mourns loss of long-time volunteer

Clyde Dougans is pictured in action on the auction floor at last year’s MCC Festival for World Relief, Abbotsford, B.C. The popular auctioneer passed away on March 7.

God at work in Us | By By Angelika Dawson | May 08, 2013

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff and volunteers are mourning the loss of their friend and long-term volunteer, Clyde Dougans. Dougans was a fixture at the annual MCC Festival for World Relief in Abbotsford, where he entertained crowds as an auctioneer, helping MCC to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars over the span of his career.

“Clyde was the life and the energy that has driven the MCC auction for many years,” said Dora Hoeppner, MCC B.C. relief sale coordinator. “He will be sorely missed.”

From computers to cash

Nolan Andres, left, puts on a Conrad Grebel University College tie given him by Paul Penner, Grebel’s director of operations, at the Feb. 20 fête honouring Andres as he leaves PeaceWorks Technology Solutions, which he founded 17 years ago.

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Dave Rogalsky | Mar 13, 2013

In his first year working in information technology (IT) in 1996, Nolan Andres was living at Conrad Grebel University College and his roommate was Tim Miller Dyck, later to become editor of Canadian Mennonite and now an owner-employee at PeaceWorks Technology Solutions of Waterloo, Ont., that Andres founded.

‘Stayed on thee’


God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Feb 27, 2013

Bill Block has more than 1,300 sermons that sit in his bottom filing cabinet drawer, evidence of his many years of working for the Mennonite church as a pastor, chaplain and conference minister.

‘A good journey . . . a labour of love’

God at work in Us | Feb 13, 2013

Paul M. Zehr is retiring after serving as chair of the editorial council of the Believers Church Bible Commentary (BCBC) series for more than 25 years. “While it’s been a labour of love,” says Zehr, a retired bishop and seminary instructor, “it is time for someone else to take over.”

Zehr will work with a co-chair Gordon Matties, professor of biblical studies at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, until the November 2013 meeting of the council, at which point Matties will become chair.

One woman’s journey into the pastorate

Martha Smith Good signs her book Breaking Ground: One Woman’s Journey into Pastoral Ministry for Jean Shantz at a book-signing event at Wilmot Mennonite Church, Ont., in mid-December.

God at work in Us | By Reviewed by Dave Rogalsky | Jan 30, 2013

Guelph Mennonite Church, which Martha Smith Good was pastoring, had requested ordination for her, but the then Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec wanted to license her instead.

A servant leader


God at work in Us | By By David Neufeld | Jan 30, 2013

Joseph S. Neufeld was born into a large Mennonite family and community in rural Alberta. Having many sisters and brothers, and growing up in the Dirty Thirties, he quickly developed an ability to accommodate others, and be resourceful and generous. He saw Christian faith-in-action modelled, a lesson he took as his own.

Long-time youth advocate retires


God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | Jan 16, 2013

Dessert was artistically displayed against a candlelit backdrop at Wildwood Mennonite Church as a few dozen people gathered late last year to celebrate Anna Rehan’s long and fruitful ministry as area church youth minister for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan.

Eldon Funk, who met Rehan in the early 1980s, reflected on Rehan’s influence. In 1983, there was nothing for youth in Saskatchewan, he noted, crediting her for the health of the program now. “Bringing it up from the ashes was a really amazing thing,” he said.

CMU student hopes for stability and reconciliation in Congo


God at work in Us | By By Lyndsay Wright | Jan 02, 2013

Shadrack Mutabazi is a Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) student who is trying to concentrate on his studies in spite of the trauma that plagues his family and his country. Mutabazi was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but lived for ten years in exile in Rwanda and five years as a refugee in Uganda.

“I have lost many relatives—parents, uncles, brothers, cousins, colleagues, and friends—and I have narrowly escaped life-threatening incidents myself. I grew up with no peace, no hope for stability,” he said.

Housing project visualizes new model of care

God at work in Us | By By Walter Friesen | Dec 11, 2012

Over the last number of years the St. Clair O’Connor Community (SCOC) Board has reviewed and renewed its mission statement and constitution. Through these evaluations many questions were raised about this multi-generational housing project that currently has residents from young children to those over 100 years old.

“My great-grandfather was a Mennonite:”


God at work in Us | By By Dan Dyck | Nov 21, 2012

Although Odette Mukole has surely told her story hundreds of times, she speaks softly. She is patient, humble and gracious.

First female Mennonite missionary went down with the Titanic

This Annie C. Funk postcard was issued a couple years after her death in 1912.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Nov 07, 2012

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Throughout this commemorative year there has been much in-depth coverage of the Titanic but a little-known part of that story will hold particular interest to Mennonite readers.

An effective evangelist

Katie Goetz

God at work in Us | By By Carl DeGurse | Oct 24, 2012

Katie Goetz, a church sister, asked if we could talk. Something was bothering her.

Elsie Cressman, pioneer missionary and midwife, dies

Elsie Cressman, (foreground) the subject of a documentary, Return to Africa: The Story of Elsie Cressman, is pictured with filmmakers Paul Francescutti, and Paula and Paul Campsall, at a screening in Waterloo in 2010.

God at work in Us | By By Linda Moffett | Oct 10, 2012 | 3 comments

Funeral services were held Sept. 23, for Elsie Cressman, a former Eastern Mennonite Missions worker in East Africa, who died Sept. 11. Cressman was known for her work among leprosy patients and her work as a midwife both in East Africa and in Canada.

A graduate of Goshen College, Cressman went to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) aboard the Queen Mary in 1954 with the charge to set up a leprosy hospital and accommodations for patients and staff. In the 1950s leprosy was rampant in that region and there was a great social stigma attached to those with the disease.

The best coach I ever had

Sam Gingerich and Ryan Roth

God at work in Us | By By Ryan Roth | Aug 29, 2012

The spring after I turned 15, Sam cornered me in the hallway of Steinmann Mennonite Church and said, “You’re playing church league ball this summer.” It was more of an instruction than an invitation, and thus began my relationship with Sam Gingerich, my ball coach.

Recognizing God at work

Muriel Bechtel, retiring this summer after 12 years as Mennonite Church Eastern Canada conference minister, is pictured in her office, familiar to many pastors through the years.

God at work in Us | By Story and Photo by Dave Rogalsky | Aug 15, 2012

After 12 years as Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s conference minister, Muriel Bechtel will be moving into retirement this summer. On June 24 she also celebrated 20 years since her ordination, when she was pastor of Warden Woods Mennonite Church, Toronto.

Sunday school teacher, 103, had lasting influence

Eliesabeth Klassen celebrated her 103rd birthday on March 3. A few weeks later, six of her students from 60 years ago went to visit her at Blenheim Lodge. Pictured from left to right, front row: Lucy Meyer, Eliesabeth Klassen, Marie Penner and Margie Ewert; and back row: Elfrieda Klassen, Margaret Ewert, Helga Stobbe and Elvira Guenther.

God at work in Us | By By Rebekah Funk | Jul 04, 2012

Eliesabeth Klassen says she’s three. “Forget the other hundred years,” she says with a laugh, using a magnifying glass to scan familiar faces in old directories from Vancouver’s First United Mennonite Church, a congregation she attended from its humble beginnings in 1937.

Klassen is the only surviving charter member, and one of just two woman invited to its first “brotherhood” meeting that established a place of worship for Mennonite immigrants who settled in the city’s Fraser Street area.