Subscribe to Syndicate
Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

You are here

God at work in the World

‘We need legislated protection’

Sylvia McAdam listens as Leah Gazan answers an audience member’s question about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Oct 18, 2017

“My people don’t believe in coincidence,” Sylvia McAdam told her audience, “so you’re meant to be here today.” McAdam was speaking at a teach-in at St. Thomas More College in Saskatoon.

Billed as Let’s Walk the Talk Saskatoon, the Oct. 6, 2017, event was co-sponsored by Mennonite Church Canada, MC Saskatchewan and the college. It featured the teachings of Leah Gazan, an educator at the University of Winnipeg and a member of the Wood Mountain Lakota Nation; and McAdam, co-founder of the Idle No More movement and a member of the Big River Cree Nation.

Bringing people and food together

Gord Enns leads a bicycle tour of five farms in the Osler, Sask., area that sell meat, vegetables, fruit and baked goods directly to consumers. (Photo courtesy of Gord Enns)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Oct 18, 2017

On a sunny Saturday in early September, 13 cyclists set out to explore the Local Food Trail near Osler, Sask. Gord Enns, who is executive director of the Saskatoon Food Council and who lives on a farm in the Osler area, organized the tour in conjunction with the town of Osler and the rural municipality of Corman Park.

The four-hour trek took cyclists to five farms: Farmyard Market, Petter Farms, Pine View Farms, Anna’s Orchard and Floating Gardens. They ended their excursion at Enns’s home, where they savoured a meal made from food purchased at each of the farms.

Mennonites walk for reconciliation

B.C. Mennonites gather with a Menno Folk banner to march in the Walk for Truth and Reconciliation in Vancouver Sept. 24. (Photo courtesy of Garry Janzen)

God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Oct 18, 2017

The 2017 Walk for Reconciliation recognizing First Nations peoples drew an estimated 50,000 people in Vancouver on Sept. 24. Some two-dozen Mennonites from several Lower Mainland congregations walked together under a “Mennonite Folks” sign organized by Garry Janzen, Mennonite Church B.C.’s executive minster.

As an encouragement to join the walk, at least one MC B.C. congregation cancelled regular morning services.

Remembering the ‘forgotten people’

Ghada Ageel, a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta, grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza and still has many friends and family trapped there. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the World | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 18, 2017

As a teenager, Ghada Ageel had heated debates with her grandmother at their home in the Khan Younis refugee camp in South Gaza.

“I asked my grandmother many questions: Why didn’t you stay in Beit Daras and die there? Why do I have to be a refugee and live this misery?” Her grandmother was forced to flee in 1948, when Israel occupied and destroyed her village.

On a journey towards reconciliation

The new sign in Conrad Grebel University College’s garden, unveiled on Sept. 22, 2017, acknowledges the history of the land in relationship to Indigenous peoples. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 04, 2017

Twelve years ago, Conrad Grebel University College planted a black walnut tree and erected a sign marking the 200th anniversary of the arrival in 1805 of the first Mennonite settlers from Pennsylvania and the establishment of the “German Company Tract.” But time has a way of altering understandings of events and history. On Sept. 22, 2017, a new sign was erected beside the old one, acknowledging the larger and longer history of the land.

‘For Christ’s sake, we better do something about it’

Walkers hold signs advocating for Bill C-262 on their way to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

God at work in the World | By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe | Oct 04, 2017

“Walk the talk of nation to nation. Implement the declaration!”

More than a hundred people chanted these words as they walked for Indigenous rights in Winnipeg, situated on Treaty 1 land, on Sept. 23, 2017.

The group met at Stephen Juba Park and walked 12 kilometres to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in support of Bill C-262, a private member’s bill that, if passed, would begin the process of harmonizing Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Faces and places in an aging China

This man is 102 years old. I couldn’t resist capturing his image as he gazed out a window. (Photo by Anita Bergen)

God at work in the World | By Anita Bergen, Cameron Nicolle | Oct 04, 2017

Like Canada, China is facing an aging population. There is a growing need for elder-care homes, as families shift away from the cultural norm of taking care of their aging loved ones. Churches have stepped in and have begun to build elder-care homes to address the need. These churches have reached out to faith communities in North America that have a long history of running nursing homes, to hear about their experiences.

Fast for Indigenous human rights

Steve Heinrichs, director of MC Canada’s Indigenous relations, is fasting in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through Bill C-262. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | Sep 20, 2017

Bill C-262 is a big deal. So big, that some are taking up a fast in the days leading up to the bill’s debate in the House of Commons.

One of those people is Steve Heinrichs. As director of  Indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, Heinrichs began a fast on Sept. 13, 2017. Choosing Sept. 13 to start the fast is no accident. That’s the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the UN General Assembly.

Raising peacemakers

Children, along with their leaders Gabby Martin, far left, and Kerstyn Liddle, far right, participate in MCC Saskatchewan’s 2017 Raise the Peace 2017. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 20, 2017

Summer camp is a great experience for many children. For participants in Raise the Peace Camp, it is an opportunity to have fun while learning about peacebuilding.

Raise the Peace is a day camp for children between 9 and 13. It’s offered by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, and is primarily for children from Saskatoon’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood.

‘We sing the same songs’

Mennonite choir members, first nations drummers and dancers, and recent immigrants from the Saskatoon Open Door Society gather for a group photo at the “Shared Land, Shared Song” event. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

“Next to food as a gift from God . . . song pulls us together.” With these words, Harry Lafond welcomed singers, dancers and audience members to a very special concert.

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation hosted the culture-sharing event, which took place Aug. 20 in a large outdoor shelter known as the Arbour. The people of Muskeg Lake and Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s Walking the Path Committee worked together to plan the event.

Back to school around the world

Guarderia Moises: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
MCC partners with Stansberry Children’s Home. The children’s home has been a refuge for abandoned children since 1954. It also runs a daycare program called Guarderia Moises, providing a safe, educational environment in which children can learn and grow while their parents are focussed on sustaining their families. Pictured, students in the pre-Kindergarten class attend classes at the daycare program. (Stansberry photo by Juliane Kozel)

God at work in the World | By Rachel Bergen | Sep 06, 2017

When a child learns, communities benefit and lives change. From Afghanistan to Canada, and Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is promoting education in order to foster leadership capabilities and help young people overcome obstacles locally and around the world. By working alongside local communities and partners, MCC hopes to increase access to education, improve the quality of learning, support vocational training and promote peace. Welcome to class.

—Corrected Sept. 27, 2017

‘Colombia fever’

David Fehr, left, and Klaas Wall in the middle of a rice field not too far from Puerto Gaitán, Colombia. (Photo courtesy of Kennert Giesbrecht)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Aug 23, 2017 | 1 comment

Despite warnings from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Low German Mennonites from drought-prone regions of northern Mexico have bought over 20,000 hectares of land in Colombia.

Kennert Giesbrecht, long-time editor of Die Mennonitische Post—a newspaper for Low German Mennonites throughout the Americas—notes the Liviney Colony and another 12,000-hectare parcel as two examples of land acquisitions. Another group is currently considering a 10,000-hectare plot. The lands are all in the Eastern Plains of Colombia, about 200 kilometres east of Bogotá.

Creating a we-centred world

Cassie Bobbitt, Richella Li, Olivia Atherton-Reimer and Kate Boyer bag dehydrated vegetables at Okanagan Gleaners in Oliver, B.C. (Photo courtesy of Rosthern Junior College)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Jul 18, 2017

As far as David Epp is concerned, the 2016-17 school year was “a real success.” His first year of teaching at Rosthern Junior College (RJC) was also the first year of the school’s Imagine program for Grade 10 students.

A social-justice initiative offering integrated learning in English, history, Spanish and Christian ethics, Imagine also provides experiential-learning opportunities both in and outside the classroom.

‘Your joy becomes my joy’

Muslim students from the University of Waterloo sit with Conrad Grebel University College students as they participate in an interfaith fast-a-thon, ending in an iftar dinner. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

God at work in the World | By Jennifer Konkle | Jul 18, 2017

For Muslim students at the University of Waterloo, long spans of fasting during the longest days of the year are over and may already feel like a distant memory. However, it was just a few weeks ago that students were stretching the limits of their bodies as they refrained from eating or drinking each day while the sun was up. This religious practice during Ramadan becomes even more difficult for university students living away from the support of their families for the first time.

World Refugee Day celebrated in B.C.

Children of the Kabala and Djumaine families of Mission, B.C., perform a dance at the celebration of World Refugee Day in Abbotsford’s Mill Lake Park on June 24, 2017. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Jul 18, 2017

“We are here to celebrate with you,” said Melissa Giles, director of programs for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C., as she praised the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees around the world at a World Refugee Day event held in Abbotsford’s Mill Lake Park on June 24, 2017, that included speakers, song and dance.

“At MCC, refugee sponsorship is so important to our work,” she added, lauding newcomers to Canada and those who have welcomed them.

A field of a million prayers

A million praying South Africans gathered on 800 hectares of farmland on April 22, 2017, to pray for healing of the nation. (Photo courtesy of MC Canada.)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | Jun 28, 2017

They were called and they came, a million people from every corner of South Africa. They gathered on April 22, 2017, in an expanse of field near Bloemfontein for the largest prayer meeting the country had ever seen.

“[Bloemfontein] is the centre, or the heart, of the nation,” said organizer Angus Buchan as the event began. “And we are asking God to change the heart of our beloved nation, beginning with our own hearts. . . . We will ask the Lord to bring justice, peace and hope in our beloved South Africa.”

Edmonton church experiences blanket exercise

At the beginning of the blanket exercise, the floor is covered and people walk freely over the “land.” (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the World | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jun 28, 2017

On Pentecost Sunday, June 4, 2017, a spirit of truth and reconciliation filled the fellowship hall and sanctuary of Edmonton's First Mennonite Church. Instead of the regular Sunday School time, adults and youth gathered for a “blanket exercise.” Developed by KAIROS (an ecumenical movement for ecological justice and human rights) in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the exercise is a participatory journey through 500 years of history, paying attention to the stories of Canada’s aboriginal peoples.

‘It doesn’t feel so lonely anymore

The final rally at the Human Rights Monument, with walkers standing under the inscription, ‘All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ (Photo by Ally Siebert)

God at work in the World | By Ally Siebert | May 31, 2017

The crowd that gathered at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa on May 13 didn’t allow the rain to dampen their celebration of the arrival of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights.

More than 30 walkers rallied together with indigenous leaders, government officials and a few hundred supporters to mark the completion of their 600-kilometre journey and to demand that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) be fully adopted and implemented by the federal government.

‘Happy to find a safe place’

Heather Menzies, back right, and Jennifer deGroot and sons deliver hygiene kits to the Gretna refugee reception centre. (Photo by Will Braun)

 

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | May 31, 2017

“The world has come to Gretna,” says Robin Neustaeter, a resident of the normally quiet town of 550 on the border between Manitoba and the U.S. On May 4, 2017, Manitoba’s Conservative government opened a “reception centre” in Gretna to provide temporary housing for asylum seekers who walk across the border in the area.

On the first Sunday the centre was open, six asylum seekers from Cameroon and Nigeria attended the local Mennonite church. Co-pastor Jana Wiebe says many in the congregation found it “energizing.”

‘Without CoSA I’d be lost’

A former core member of a Mennonite Central Committee-supported Circle of Support and Accountability program run by the Moncton Community Chaplaincy. He wishes to remain anonymous so that he can reintegrate into society without the stigma related to sexual offenders. (MCC photo by Shane Yuhas)

 

God at work in the World | By Racahel Bergen | May 31, 2017

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) welcomes the Canadian government’s announcement that it will provide nearly $7.5 million over five years to Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), which helps convicted sex offenders reintegrate into their communities.

CoSA is a national restorative justice organization for women and men who have committed serious sexual offences. It allows the community to play a direct role in the restoration, reintegration and risk management of people who are often seen with only fear and anger.

‘One night changed everything’

Alina Kehl, left, and Taylor Clemmer fill their plates at a refugee fundraiser lunch at Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church on March 26, 2017. The food was prepared by a Turkish refugee who is being hosted in the village. (Photo by Barb Draper)

God at work in the World | By Barb Draper | May 17, 2017

Last November, two Turkish men arrived in the small village of Floradale, in the heart of Ontario’s Mennonite country, seeking refuge. Leon Kehl, a local resident, had developed a relationship with Turkish Muslims in the past, so it was natural that they turned to him for help. He arranged to have the men, who are not named because their families remain in peril in Turkey, live with his parents next door while they applied for refugee status.

Lifesaving latrines and the importance of local partners

This is the frame of the first latrine to be built as part of MCC’s project in the rural community of Wopisa-Gabriyèl in Haiti. (MCC photo by Ted Oswald)

God at work in the World | By Rebecca Shetler Fast and Ted Oswald | May 17, 2017

Hurricane Matthew hit the rural community of Wopisa-Gabriyèl, Haiti, hard last October, leading Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to respond to sanitation needs identified by community leaders.

“There was a lot of damage to this community in the storm,” says Previl Pierre, a local leader and community monitor in MCC’s environmental education program in the Artibonite region in central Haiti. “Many goats and cows died, and whole gardens were lost.”

Stations of the Cross on Broadway

Maelle, left, and Esme Kulik enjoy bannock provided by Kairos Manitoba. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | May 03, 2017

On Good Friday, April 14, 2017, pilgrims from Winnipeg and beyond gather at Broadway Disciples United Church to walk the Stations of the Cross on Broadway, one of Winnipeg’s oldest and most historic thoroughfares.

Before observing the first station at the church, and setting out against the day’s damp cold, guests are invited to warm themselves with music, snacks and hot coffee.

‘A downstream solution to an upstream problem’

Volunteers show off food baskets in front of the newly rebuilt House of Friendship Emergency Food Distribution Centre on Guelph Street in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | May 03, 2017

When the first food bank was created in Canada in 1981 in Edmonton, it was seen as a short-term project that would be unnecessary when the economy improved. Fast-forward to 2017 and Kitchener’s House of Friendship’s emergency food program that distributes food to 1 in 20 people living in Waterloo Region.

Learning cycles of peace

Jorgina Sunn tells her life story at the Parkland Restorative Justice Spring Banquet in the Woods. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | May 03, 2017

“I needed to go through what I did because that’s what helps me understand the people I work with,” said Jorgina Sunn. The indigenous singer/songwriter was the featured speaker at Parkland Restorative Justice’s Banquet in the Woods, held April 22, 2017, in Prince Albert.

Pages