God at work in the World

H•U•N•G•E•R

‘One in six: Hunger’ was one of two works by Hamilton, Ont., artist Karen Thiessen on display at Conrad Grebel University College’s ‘Just Food’ exhi-bition last month. Thiessen’s piece had viewers wondering, ‘What do tires and barcodes have to do with justice and food?’

‘Is food a human right?’ panellists Clare Schlegel, left, and Steffanie Scott continue discussing the topic after the event at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo.

All the members of a panel convened by Rick Cober Bauman, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario’s di-rector, on Sept. 21 agreed that food security is a human right. But they did not agree on how to go about achieving it.


Financial crisis looms

Ray Koop, CEO for Bethania Group, and Ferdinand Funk, chaplain at Bethania Personal Care Home, stand in front of the Bethania facility.

What makes a Mennonite personal care home Mennonite? This question is central to the critical financial situation that the Bethania Group faces in its two personal care homes.


‘Churches are too quiet’

A banner on the shore of JeJu Island reads, ‘Stop the naval weapons base! No more relocation [of the base] to the beautiful village of Gangjeong!’

“The sad thing is, the churches are too quiet,” says Kyong-Jung Kim, director of the Korea Anabaptist Center, in Seoul, South Korea. “Either they don’t pay attention to this or they don’t want to step on boundaries that are not welcome by government.”



MCC expands response for East Africa drought

Ahada Kusoco Hassan, 23, cooks breakfast for her family in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has surpassed its initial target of raising $1 million for the East Africa drought and is now expanding its response to the continuing crisis in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. At press time, nearly $2 million had come in, $1.6 million of it from Canadian donors and a further $300,000 from U.S. donors.



Canadian Foodgrains Bank commits $7.8 million to East Africa drought response

A typical ration for one adult for one day—as outlined by the World Health Organization—includes 460 grams of cereal, 50 grams of pulses, 50 grams of oil and five grams of salt.

Two new projects supported by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee—Canadian Foodgrains Bank member agencies—have been added to the Foodgrains Bank response to the food crisis in East Africa.



MCC requests funds for East Africa drought response

To help people of Kenya affected by the drought and food crisis, MCC will support food-for-work programs similar to the one these Kenyan men and women are working on. Sand dams help to conserve water that can be used for irrigation during the dry season.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is appealing for donations in response to a critical drought and food crisis in East Africa, which has affected about 11 million people.

Challenging the politics of empire

Cobus van Wyngaard, a pastor from the Dutch Reformed Church, left, and Mpho Putu, a pastor at a Vineyard church in Soweto, participate in the inaugural theological forum put on by the Anabaptist Network in South Africa. Both are members of the network’s steering committee.

As a young Christian man actively involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Mpho Putu knew that some of the movement’s protest songs included themes of revenge killing that posed challenges to what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus.

Moving forward

MCC Binational chair Herman Bontrager, left, praises executive director Arli Klassen for her role in the New Wine/New Wineskins process.

The last Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) annual meeting likely to be held in Canada addressed issues related to the implementation of the New Wineskins strategy, a three-year process nearing its end.



Evacuation

“Where have you been today?” the customs officer at the Edmonton International Airport asked.



My wife Winifred named the places: “Meridian, Miss.; Atlanta, Ga.; Minneapolis, Minn., and here.”



“What have you heard about Slave Lake?”



“We haven’t heard anything since we left home eight days ago.”



Slave Lake burns while Valaqua road is flooded

All that’s left of the home of Abe and Rita Dyck of Slave Lake, Alta., after last month’s wildfire wreaked havoc to the town of 7,000.

The Water Valley bridge over Little Red Deer River flooded this spring, blocking access to Camp Valaqua from the north.

In the past month, wildfires in northern Alberta devastated the community of Slave Lake, with the resulting losses coming to the attention of both Mennonite Mutual Insurance (MMI) and Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), while in the south the swelling Little Red Deer River cut off access to Camp Valaqua from the north.



Paying the price to keep Winnipeg dry

Tony Peters looks at his flooded farmland. The Manitoba farmer hopes this year’s flooding prompts the province to re-examine its entire flood-protection system to better balance the negative effects of flooding.

While Winnipeggers remained dry and free from the worry of flooding this spring, this is not the case for farmers living near the Portage Diversion, including Tony and Astrid Peters and their family. Up to 75 percent of the Peters’ 405-hectare potato farm is engulfed by water.

Speaking with one voice

German Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns, who first proposed the Decade to Overcome Violence, speaks at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, an event held to celebrate the decade’s conclusion.

Thomas Finger, a former professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va., leads a workshop on ‘Peace: The lens for re-visioning Christian theology and mission,’ at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica.

Participants at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC)—held last month in Kingston, Jamaica, to celebrate the end of the Decade to Overcome Violence—released a message expressing their unified experience of a week-long exploration of a just peace and ways to navigate a path forward as they return to their homes and churches around the world.

Inspired to alleviate suffering

Disaster recovery studies graduate David Barker, second from right, poses with, from left, CMU president Gerald Gerbrandt and instructors Lois Nickel and Kenton Lobe.

Three years ago, in the middle of reading Roméo Dallaire’s traumatic first-hand account of the Rwanda genocide, David Barker decided his future would be in disaster response.

“It was the first time I read something about the actual suffering going on in the world,” says Barker, recalling his profound emotional response to Dallaire’s book, Shake Hands with the Devil.

‘A light in the darkness’

MDS volunteers Dave Friesen and Eric Penner examine the drywall finishing work they are completing.

Destruction path left over from the devastating flood in Kingcome, B.C.

On the weekend of Sept. 25-26, 2010, the Kingcome River raged through the remote First Nation community of Kingcome. Floodwaters forced lifelong residents of the Pacific coastal village to flee from their homes with only a few minutes notice. As the waters quickly rose, villagers gathered at the school and waited to be airlifted out by helicopter.

In gratitude of J.S. Bach

Now no longer hosting classical radio shows or conducting the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Howard Dyck enjoys his leisure time at his Waterloo Region home.

The response to my request for an interview last September said it all: “Maggie and I are in Tuscany. . . . We’ve rented a small villa very near Cortona [Italy] and will be here until the end of October. I’m afraid the interview will have to wait until early November. Ciao.”

Let war resisters stay in Canada, rally urges

Protesters at the Let Them Stay rally picket the office of Vic Toews, federal minister of public safety, in hopes of setting up a meeting to discuss the deportation and incarceration of American war resisters. Michael Bueckert, holding the Peace Alliance Winnipeg sign, right, protests as a representative of Project Peacemakers.

The Steinbach office of Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was the scene of a mid-January rally in support of American war resisters seeking asylum in Canada that took place in the wake of the defeat of Bill C-440.

Ernie Regehr receives Pearson Peace Medal

Ernie Regehr, left, the cofounder of Project Ploughshares and a longtime peace advocate, holds the Pearson Peace Medal he received from Governor General David Johnston during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ont., on Jan. 21, while his wife Nancy looks on.

Ernie Regehr, cofounder of Project Ploughshares and longtime peace advocate, was honoured with the 2010 Pearson Peace Medal at a special ceremony in Ottawa last month.

A new direction for Sam’s Place

Patrons at Sam’s Place in Winnipeg, Man., enjoy coffee, reading and good conversation under the watchful eye of ‘Sam,’ the Komodo dragon. The formerly independent, community-based, non-profit organization is now a part of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba and the board that ran it now acts in an advisory capacity.

Sam’s Place, a used book store, café and performing arts venue, has developed into a welcoming meeting place for people living in Elmwood, a working class neighbourhood in the northeast part of Winnipeg.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - God at work in the World