God at work in the World

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Walking together . . . rather than around each other

She is a novelist and world traveller, speaks Mandarin and has a brown belt in karate. Shaimaa Kraba also wears a hijab and is a Sunni Muslim. At the third annual Christian-Muslim dialogue in Edmonton on Oct. 17, 2015, emcee Miriam Gross humorously addressed the issue of stereotyping when she quipped, “There is more to her than a ‘scarf-clad’ girl. After all, it’s a hijab, not a halo!”

Hatching peace

While the physical space has been there since the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) Centre for Peace Advancement was inaugurated a year ago, the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator got its official opening on Sept. 22, 2015, at Conrad Grebel University College.

Building peace in northeast Asia

Participants and instructors at NARPI’s summer peacebuilding training session in Mongolia gather for a group photo. Scott Kim is on the far left, wearing a light blue shirt, and Cheryl Woelk is standing behind the banner, holding her infant son. For more photos, visit facebook.com/narpipeace or narpi.net.

During NARPI’s Summer Peacebuilding Training, Scott Kim, left, and Cheryl Woelk, holding their son, visited a Mongolian family, who gave them a sense of Mongolian nomadic lifestyle. They were served delicious homemade butter, curd, fried dough and horse milk.

“Conflict isn’t something we should avoid,” says Cheryl Woelk, “because there are good things on the other side.”

Recently, Woelk and her husband, Scott Kim—members of Wildwood Mennonite Church in Saskatoon—served as instructors at the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) annual Summer Peacebuilding Training.

Mennonites in Panama oppose clear-cutting, request prayer

A Mennonite World Conference delegation attended a worship service at the Mennonite Brethren church in Majé, Panama, in February 2015. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Henk Stenvers)

This household in a remote village in Panama hosted the Mennonite World Conference delegation. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Henk Stenvers)

The mother of a man sentenced to 20 years in prison on false charges participates in a community meeting in the Wounaan village of Majé, Panama.(Mennonite World Conference photo by Henk Stenvers)

With the future of the Wounaan indigenous people of Panama being chopped down before their eyes, the largely Mennonite leadership of the group is asking the global Mennonite community to stand with them, and kneel with them in prayer for fair treatment.

Sunday dinners with the homeless

Volunteer Ingrid Schultz, right, enjoys dinner and fellowship with a guest at one of this summer’s fellowship dinners in Abbotsford. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Mennonite Central Committee B.C.’s offices and thrift shop may be closed on Sunday, but two Sunday afternoons a month there is plenty of activity in the back parking lot of the MCC Centre. Here homeless and low-income people meet with volunteers for a hot meal, friendship, and free clothing and groceries.

MCC Global Family program goes local

Beatrice Kuzinza holds up a small lettuce plant she found in the compost during a Bread for Success field trip. Bread for Success is a new approach by MCC. (Photo by Meghan Mast)

A group of children visited a greenhouse on the last day of Bread for Success, an after-school project in Saskatoon supported by Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) Global Family education program. The kids are learning about how vegetables are grown, and Chris Buhler, co-owner of Floating Gardens Ltd., showed them around where tomatoes and eggplants twist their way toward the ceiling.

Faith, fasting and feasting

April Yamasaki speaks about fasting from the Christian perspective at the Abbotsford interfaith symposium on July 6, 2015. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Those attending the “Fasting: An Aid to World Peace” interfaith event in Abbotsford enjoyed dinner together. The meal was not served until after sunset because it took place during Ramadan. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

An interfaith symposium on July 6 at Abbotsford’s Garden Park Tower found Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs reflecting on fasting and peace and then eating together with a meal around formally set tables.

New peace award at Grebel to empower women

Ziauddin Yousafzai (left) chats with Susan Schultz Huxman about a new peace scholarship that will allow a female student from a region of the world experiencing conflict to study at Conrad Grebel University College in the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies program. Also part of the conversation are Mohan Kendall and Ahmad Shah.

Conrad Grebel University College is offering a $10,000 scholarship to a female Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) student, thanks to a partnership with Ziauddin Yousafzai, the Global Peace Centre Canada (GPCC) and the Women’s Executive Network. Yousafzai is the father of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Ride for Refuge to support ministry in Thailand

Tom and Christine Poovong recruited local volunteers to assist with a newly launched nursery, a community outreach program in Khon Kaen, Thailand. From left to right: Benz Khemma, Tom and Christine Poovong with their young children, and Amp and Naaming Anantasak with their young son.

Northeast Thailand is the poorest region in the country. Democracy is uneven, and peaceful protests can land protesters in barred cells overnight. Since a military coup in 2014, poor and landless subsistence farmers are reportedly being evicted from national reserve lands they have farmed for decades.

Kairos hosts Time for Reconciliation

Drummers open the Kairos reconciliation event in Ottawa, May 29, 2015. (Photo by Dennis Greunding)

Panelist Marie Wilson, TRC commissioner, expresses kind words to Mike Cachagee, spokesperson for residential school survivors, as he recalls his childhood in a residential school. (Photo by Dennis Greunding)

Along with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other organizations, Kairos invited children and youth from across the country to create Heart Gardens. These gardens honoured memories of students who did not return from residential schools and pointed to dreams for a reconciled future. A Heart Garden was planted at Rideau Hall during the last TRC events in Ottawa. (Photo by Dennis Gruending)

While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hosted events in Ottawa leading up to the release of its summary report, the ecumenical justice coalition Kairos organized a complementary gathering called Time for Reconciliation.

We’ve heard the truth. Do we have the courage for reconciliation?

Lorraine Clements holds burning sage for Gerry Shingoose, a residential school survivor, as she smudges at the closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Winnipeg. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

About 200 people marched from the University of Winnipeg to Thunderbird House for a feast and a pipe ceremony following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

“Reconciliation is not an aboriginal problem. It is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.” Justice Murray Sinclair spoke those words on June 2 at the closing ceremonies of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa. I watched a live feed of Sinclair’s speech at the University of Winnipeg, among tens of thousands of Canadians who tuned in to witness the historic event.

A partner for healing, help and freedom

Toronto United Mennonite Church members on the Aurora House board include, from left to right: Pastor Marilyn Zehr (ex-officio), Christy Langschmidt, Lisa Horrocks and Mary Klein.

“And when you send a slave out from you a free person, you shall not send him out empty-handed. Provide liberally out of your flock, your threshing floor, and your wine press, thus giving to him some of the bounty with which the Lord your God has blessed you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you” (Deuteronomy 15:13-15a).

Concert held for Nepali earthquake survivors

Violinist Calvin Dyck, wearing a traditional Nepali men’s hat called a topi, performs at the Abbotsford benefit concert to raise funds for survivors of Nepal’s two earthquakes this spring. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Members of the Mennonite community and other citizens of Abbotsford, B.C., raised more than $25,000 in a benefit concert at Emmanuel Mennonite Church on May 17 to aid survivors of the earthquakes that ravaged Nepal in April and May.

Students learn about indigenous land issues

Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Neighbours Program Coordinator, Leonard Doell (left), tells students at Rosthern Junior College what MCC has been doing to help the Young Chippewayan people in their land entitlement claims against the Canadian government. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Four ratepayers of the Rural Municipality of Laird signed a petition to include the Cree name, Opwashemo Chakatinaw, on the road sign leading up to Stoney Knoll. The four signers are descendants of the original Mennonite settlers in the area and members of MC Saskatchewan congregations. Left to right, they are Eldon Funk, Allan Friesen, Wilmer Froese, and Ray Funk. George Kingfisher, hereditary chief of the Young Chippewayan First Nation, is seated at the table. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Rosthern Junior College student Madi Davis (in the red hooded sweatshirt) awaits her turn as her fellow student, Matthias Thiessen adds his name to the petition urging the Rural Municipality of Laird to add the Cree name, Opwashemo Chakatinaw, to road signs leading up to Stoney Knoll. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Looking west from the top of Stoney Knoll, one can see the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The gently sloping hill, once home to the Young Chippewayan First Nation, is some of the best farmland in Saskatchewan. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Should the petition that Rosthern Junior College students signed be successful, this sign will be changed to include the Cree name, Opwashemo Chakatinaw, which translates into English as Stoney Knoll. Over time, the original English name was further changed to become Stony Hill. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

“I feel like a refugee in my own country,” said George Kingfisher. The hereditary chief of the Young Chippewayan First Nation was at Rosthern Junior College (RJC) to tell students how his people lost their land.

Credit helps Mennonite farmer in Burkina Faso

Mennonite Church Canada is working to develop entrepreneurship in Burkina Faso so that young Mennonite Christians can support their families and churches. (Photo by Siaka Traoré)

Siaka Coulibaly was able to increase his harvest of sweet potatoes, thanks to the generosity of a Canadian donor and micro-credit from Mennonite Church Canada. (Photo by Siaka Traoré)

“I love everything about farming,” Abram says. That passion—and his generosity—led him to empower the self-sufficiency of a farmer on the other side of the world.

A warming world should make us uncomfortable

Susan Johnson, left, Willard Metzger and Joe Gunn discuss poverty and climate change in Winnipeg during a cross-country tour organized by the Canadian Council of Churches and Citizens for Public Justice. (MC Canada photo by Dan Dyck)

It’s time for some uncomfortable conversations about climate change and poverty, says Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada.

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