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God at work in the World

‘Our family is here’

Pictured from left to right: Wanda Waldner; Najwa Hussein Al Mohamad; Elaine Hofer, sitting; Reyad Alhamoud; and Paul Waldner holding Lee Waldner, 1. (Photo courtesy of Ava Waldner)

God at work in the World | By Elaine Hofer | Oct 19, 2016

Elaine Hofer and Paul Waldner are members of Green Acres Colony, near Wawanesa, Man. Their Hutterite colony, along with Enes and Fata Muheljic from Wawanesa, worked with Mennonite Central Committee Canada to sponsor a family from Syria. Hofer writes in her journal about the day they met Reyad Alhamoud, Najwa Hussein Al Mohamad and their two children at the Winnipeg airport on Feb. 18.

‘Love for all, hatred for none’

Mennonites and Muslims mix, but genders do not. Out of respect for their Muslim guests, Wildwood Mennonite Church Pastor Joe Heikman instructed men and boys to sit on one side of the sanctuary while women and girls sat on the other. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Oct 05, 2016 | 1 comment

It isn’t every day that Mennonites share a potluck meal with Muslims. Yet this is what happened when Wildwood Mennonite Church in Saskatoon invited members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at to join them for a fellowship lunch.

Is climate change real? Part 2

Will Braun
God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Sep 21, 2016

Last February I wrote an article that elicited more response than anything I have written for this publication. The piece originated when a reader challenged my acceptance of the climate change narrative. I worked past my initial impulse—which was condescending and dismissive—and studied the sources he provided. In the resulting article, I didn’t bash him or his sources; I tried to understand them.

Zion Mennonite Fellowship lends a hand to its neighbours

Marilyn Brubacher and Bruce Weber display two of the many items available in Zion Mennonite Fellowship’s Neighbour to Neighbour lending program in Elmira, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 21, 2016

For anyone who lives in Elmira and needs a ladder to clean out his eavestroughs or get a Frisbee off her roof, call Bruce Weber.

Zion Mennonite Fellowship, in an effort to increase its visibility in the town of Elmira and improve the sense of community and neighbourliness in the community, came up with the idea of an object-lending program. Congregants have lots of items that they don’t use every day, so it was decided to lend them out to others as a service to local residents.

‘We’ve got your kids. Go have a nap.’

Volunteers, known as short-term missionaries are vital to the operation of Christian Horizons’ family retreat. Pictured (from left) are Neil Cudney (Christian Horizons’ Director of Organizational and Spiritual Life), Danny Robilliard, Ben Raine, Grace Funk, Paulin Apipila, Jordan Varey (Christian Horizons’ Director of Saskatchewan Services), Jonathan Danyluk, Blandine Wiebe, Shannon Wiebe, Laurica Oystrick, Holly Lightfoot, Alexa Harder, Massa Rogers and Tina Smart. Not pictured: Larissa Raine, Greg Baerwald and Liz Baerwald. (Photo courtesy of Christian Horizons)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 21, 2016 | 1 comment

For families with children who have exceptional needs, taking a summer vacation may seem like nothing more than an elusive dream. But now a groundbreaking program offered by Christian Horizons is making that dream come true for some families.

Honouring Alan Kurdi

Displaced people in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Afkar Society for Development and Relief)

God at work in the World | By Julie Bell | Sep 21, 2016

On Sept. 2, 2015, the heartbreaking picture of Alan Kurdi’s body on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea was a wake-up call to the world.

The three-year-old’s death was a tragic reminder of the desperate choices made daily by some Syrians as they flee conflict in their country. Like the Kurdi family, they risk piling into unsafe boats piloted by smugglers, in an attempt to find a safe haven.

Alan, his brother and mother, didn’t make it to safety.

How photo of Alan Kurdi inspired Canadian sponsors

Brian Dyck speaks at an event hosted by MCC Manitoba, when constituents and others interested in resettlement heard from young people who came to Canada as refugees. (MCC photo by Alison Ralph)

On September 2, 2015, the heartbreaking picture of Alan Kurdi’s body on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea was a wake-up call to the world concerning the plight of refugees. In the nine months between September of last year and the end of June 2016, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada assisted in the arrival of almost 1100 refugees.

Accord ends 50 years of war in Colombia

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, right, greets Colombians as he walks to the Senate to deliver the final text of the Peace Accord on Aug. 24, 2016. (Government of Colombia photo by Cesar Carrion)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Sep 07, 2016

For decades, Colombia has been known for violence, narcotics and instability. But now it is within sight of an historic peace agreement that César García—the Colombian who heads Mennonite World Conference, which is based in the country—says mirrors notions of restorative justice valued by many Anabaptists. 

After nearly four years of talks, the Colombian government and its main guerrilla adversary, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, reached a peace agreement on Aug. 24, 2016.

‘Our children need to know’

The sign directing people to Stony Hill, the former site of St. John’s Lutheran Church and of the Young Chippewayan Reserve No. 107, was changed earlier this year to reflect its importance to indigenous people. The name Opwashemoe Chakatinaw means Stoney Knoll in English. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 07, 2016

“It’s really cool to see white people here today,” said Cheyenne Fineday. The first nation teenager was speaking at the 140th anniversary of the signing of Treaty 6 on Aug. 23, 2016. Held at Stoney Knoll, 76 kilometres north of Saskatoon, the celebration included both indigenous and settler peoples.

‘Still carrying on the vision’

A scene from the Tall Grass Prairie Bakery in Winnipeg. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Aug 24, 2016

The passions that inspired Winnipeg’s community shared agriculture (CSA) movement and the famous Tall Grass Prairie Bakery are now making waves around the world, from Winnipeg to Hokkaido, Japan, and back.

The right to die and the art of suffering

John Aldag, MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, B.C., was one of many to speak on Bill C-14 in the House of Commons this past spring. (Photo courtesy of John Aldag)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Aug 10, 2016

The ongoing discussion about medical assistance in dying has publicly raised questions that extend beyond the realm of politics and public policy to the bedrock of morality.

Voices in the wilderness

Andrew Micklefield, a member of Manitoba’s legislative assembly for Rossmere, attended the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s ‘ration meal’ lunch on behalf of Premier Brian Pallister, to voice the government’s ongoing support and mindfulness of refugee needs. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo by Amanda Thorsteinsson)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Jun 28, 2016

Raising awareness and funds for the ongoing demands of the global refugee crisis was the goal of a “ration meal” lunch hosted by Canadian Foodgrains Bank at Sam’s Place in Winnipeg on June 20, 2016, to honour World Refugee Day.

Ahmad Khattab, a former refugee from Syria who is now settled in Winnipeg, was a keynote speaker at the event. His sharing centred mostly around his previous work in Syria as an English teacher, his hope of working in his own field again some day, and his excitement for the progress his family has made since coming to Canada.

Art, theology and peace come together at global festival

Jeff Gundy, professor of English at Bluffton University in Ohio and a poet, discusses the piece “A tribe called Mennonite” with the painter Lisa Schirch at the Global Peacebuilders Conference and Festival, held from June 9 to 12, 2016, at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont. The piece, made up of buttons, and hooks and eyes, looks at how Mennonites have set themselves apart from the world through their dress codes. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Jun 28, 2016

Take almost 200 mostly Mennonite peacebuilders from around the world, bring them together for four days in June 2016, at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, liberally mix in keynote speakers, 30-plus workshops, warm sunshine, a concert and original play on conscientious objectors, and you have the making of a fabulous four days of building peace in the world—a world where there is none, or where it is in too-short supply, or where there is peace but it can be grown bigger—all nonviolently but passionately, and with painful honesty and humility.

Fifty years of funding relief

Christina Edmiston, left, a pastor at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., her husband Greg and their daughter Evangeline, pose with Mohamad Alasad in front of a tent focussed on raising $50,000 specifically for Syrian humanitarian relief at this year’s New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale. Alasad is a Syrian refugee sponsored by First Mennonite Church, Pioneer Park Fellowship and Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Jun 28, 2016

The way Ross Shantz remembers it, his father Ward contacted his buddies from the Second World War conscientious objector camp at Montreal River and they began the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale in 1967.

It is more complicated than that, though, as these buddies and their spouses came from many different Mennonite and Anabaptist groups, including Brethren in Christ, the “Swiss” Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec, “Amish” Western Ontario Mennonites, and the “Russian” United Mennonite Conference of Ontario.

Moments to remember

This year’s MCC Relief Sale in Coaldale, Alta., raised more than $218,000 for MCC ‘s ongoing international ministries. (Mennonite Central Committee Alberta photo)

God at work in the World | By Rose Klassen | Jun 28, 2016

The auction began. Among the crowds in Coaldale for the annual Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta Relief Sale on June 10 and 11, stood two Syrian men whose families had recently been assisted by MCC and sponsored by Mennonite churches to resettle in Canada. To their surprise, a loaf of bread was auctioned off for $200!

Walk of hope in support of refugees

Helping raise awareness of World Refugee Day, walkers in Abbotsford, B.C., make the trek to the MCC Centre on June 18, 2016. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)


God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Jun 28, 2016

The rain that fell on the morning of June 18 didn’t stop a group of walkers from making a three-kilometre trek in support of the upcoming World Refugee Day.

Mennonite historical assumptions challenged

Chief Calvin Bruneau, left, Roger Epp, and Isaac and Millie Glick are pictured at the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta’s 2016 spring conference with a display of a model canoe and jams from people the Glicks worked with in northern Alberta. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the World | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jun 15, 2016 | 1 comment

Participants at the Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta spring conference, held on April 30, 2016, at Holyrood Mennonite Church, Edmonton, spent time “Rethinking Mennonite history in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” the theme of this year’s event.

Disparaging ‘the Donald’ plays into his hand

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Fountain Hills, Ariz. | Photo by Gage Skidmore / (CC BY-SA 3.0)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Jun 01, 2016

“America is again ablaze with partisan divisiveness.” That’s how I started an article during the presidential campaign of 2012. But the days of Barack Obama battling Mitt Romney seem pedestrian compared to the current convergence of reality TV and reality.

Together in lament, prayer and hope

Throughout a service of prayer and lament for Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Cross Lake, Man., at Home Street Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, people wrote prayers on slips of origami paper and folded them into paper cranes. The cranes will be delivered to Pimicikamak as a reminder of the prayers surrounding them in the wake of the suicide deaths of six members of that first nation community since Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo by Terry Zimmerly)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | May 18, 2016

Colourful paper cranes folded neatly over words of prayer. Bowls of floating candles melting together as one. A smudging ceremony rich with prayer that took five times as long as organizers thought it would because so many people took part.

These elements brought symbolic meaning to a March 20, 2016, service of lament and prayer at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. The service was held to show solidarity with Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Cross Lake, Man., and mourn the suicide deaths of six members of that first nation community since Dec. 12, 2015.

Stephen Lewis addresses Power of Partnership fundraiser

MCC Ontario executive director Rick Cober Bauman, left, shares a laugh with keynote speaker Stephen Lewis at the March 30 Power of Partnership fundraising dinner in Waterloo. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | May 04, 2016

“Don’t get too used to this kind of event,” said Rick Cober Bauman, executive director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario, to gales of warm laughter as he welcomed around 500 participants to the organization’s “first-ever signature event,” a four-course dinner at the St. George Banquet Hall in Waterloo on March 30. In spite of the splendour and glitz of the evening, he was at pains to note that MCC still wants to feel at home at ham and scalloped potato dinners in church basements.

Faith up front in Thailand

Upon their arrival in Khon Kaen, Thailand, the mission team from Canada was gifted with floral leis. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | May 04, 2016

A farmer disappointed by tumbling returns on his cassava crop is still eager to use a portion of his property for a future youth Bible camp facility. Another man is excited to witness to Christ in his secular job.

A little child will lead them

A sketch of the future futsal park, drawn by local Bontleng youth, Michael Zachariah, provides a rough idea of its layout. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

God at work in the World | By Nathan Dirks | Apr 20, 2016

A futsal (soccer) park project in Gaborone, Botswana, is springing to life with the help of children who are following God’s lead. Despite an encouraging start to this development, we ran into a number of obstacles along the way that made us wonder if God was calling us to continue or let the project go.

A search for common ground

Katherina Hiebert (1855-1910), seated (Photo courtesy of Preservings)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Apr 20, 2016 | 1 comment

The Ojibway word for medicine is mush-ki-ki, meaning “strength of the earth” or “power from the soil,” explained David Daniels of Long Plain First Nation, located near Portage La Prairie, Man., in First Nations Voice some years ago.

More recently, Daniels has been working in collaboration with Morden researcher Jason Dyck to trace the paths of medicinal practices in Manitoba Mennonite and Ojibway communities, in a search for common ground.

Listening with the heart

Chris Lenshyn, left, representing Mennonite Church B.C., presents a blanket made by MCC quilters to elder Robert Joseph, a hereditary chief of the Gwawanuk First Nation and founder of Reconciliation Canada, at the ‘Journey of reconciliation’ event at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, on April 9, 2016. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Apr 20, 2016

Listening on both sides is vital as indigenous people and settlers continue to learn to walk beside, and relate to, each other.

This was one key point that some 70 participants took away from a day-long meeting at Columbia Bible College on April 9, 2016, called “Journey of reconciliation: Listening to indigenous elders.” The event was jointly sponsored by Columbia, Mennonite Church B.C., and Mennonite Central Committee B.C.

Dancing towards reconciliation

At the end of the fields past Bloomingdale (Ont.) Mennonite Church is the Grand River, placing the church well within the Haldimand Tract given to the Six Nations of the Grand River by the British Crown in 1784. It was a fitting location for an MCC Ontario ‘Dancing towards reconciliation’ symposium on indigenous-settler relations. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 06, 2016

Jules Koostachin began her journey to dance in a jingle dress as an act of intergenerational healing, thinking that she would complete it in a year. Filmmaker James Buffin decided to follow her on this journey with his camera, he says, “entirely out of friendship.” Little did either of them know it would take six years before she danced, having moved through many steps of learning and healing.