I like the Bible verse that says, “Do not store up treasures on earth,” but I also like the thought of a few treasures on the side for the sake of financial security. That tension gripped my soul as I opened the Mennonite Church Canada pension package I received when I joined the staff of this magazine.
God at work in the World
From left to right: Norm Voth, director of evangelism and service for MC Manitoba; Orly Friesen, volunteer site manager; Jon Owen, caretaker and resident; Alvin Thieseen, supporter and volunteer; Pearl Plohman, resident; and Jamie Arpin-Ricci, pastor of Little Flowers Community, cut the ribbon to officially open Chiara House in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Jon Owen).
“When one of our members suffered from untreated mental illnesses and committed suicide quite publicly five years ago, we realized how critical it is to provide community supports and affordable housing in order for people to have a chance at healthy living,” said Jamie Arpin-Ricci, pastor of Little Flowers Community in Winnipeg’s downtown West End, at the official opening of Chiara House.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is appealing for donations to significantly scale up its humanitarian assistance in eastern Ukraine.
Continued violence and armed conflicts have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes to seek safety in neighbouring countries and within Ukraine. Tens of thousands of people have been killed or wounded.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba planned an event to be held on Nov. 15, 2014, at the Immanuel Pentecostal Church in Winnipeg, a venue MCC was renting for the large event. But days before, MCC cancelled the event based on objections the congregation’s leadership had to an indigenous smudging ceremony that was to be held on church grounds.
The landmark event was intended, in part, to promote reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. That goal will likely be achieved to a far greater extent than organizers ever imagined, but the path will be circuitous and theologically bumpy.
“Regardless of our perspectives on ‘just war’ and pacifism, as Christians we are all united in our desire for peace and justice in our community and around the world,” says Michael Pahl of his idea to hold an annual Peace Prayer Walk in Morden, Man., last year.
Michael Champagne, left, participates in a table discussion of opportunities and barriers to indigenous people and settler populations working together in the city.
Michael Champagne speaks with energy and passion about indigenous youth and young adults in the city.
Instead of the usual small, intimate gathering that has characterized previous fall Partnership Circle meetings, more than 85 northern indigenous people, Mennonite Church Manitoba representatives, people from other denominations and social service agencies gathered on Nov. 1 to form a vastly expanded circle at Winnipeg’s Circle of Life Thunderbird House.
When Mennonites in Winnipeg baptize a believer, they do so with water from Shoal Lake. The baptismal water comes from a project for which the members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation were involuntarily moved. It comes from a place where local residents have lived under a boil-water advisory for 17 years.
Mennonite Church Canada has responded with letters of support to the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community and the Middle East Council of Churches.
We share in the grief and shock our nation is feeling. We honour Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who were killed. Our prayers for comfort and healing are offered for the families of Cirillo and Vincent, those wounded, and those who were the first responders on the scenes. We offer our prayers for the families of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau.
Canada is not among the nations to ratify the new United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that seeks to better regulate the $85-billion global arms industry and thus prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands.
Before 120 political leaders gathered at the request of the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon for a summit on climate change, and before more than 300,000 people marched through the streets of New York for the People’s Climate March, religious leaders from around the world gathered to consider the threat posed by climate change.
Even urban Mennonites lay claim to an agrarian heritage. According to many speakers at Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, held last month at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), this is important despite the urbanity of most Mennonites and North Americans in general.
Melanie Kampen camped out at the Native Women’s Protest site near the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg earlier this month, to protest the government’s lack of response to the 1,182 missing and murdered indigenous women from across Canada. (Photo by Chris Swan)
On a very windy, cold and dark Oct. 3 night, Steve Heinrichs, director of indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, and a few others strung 20 dresses on fishing line on both sides of the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge that spans the Red River near The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.
Volunteer exhaustion and the difficulty recruiting more and younger volunteers are a big part of the reason the Morris MCC Relief Sale is shutting down after 33 years, but George Klassen, chair of the now defunct board, identifies other reasons as well: ‘People do not need “stuff” as much as they used to.’ (Credit: Kristian Jordan)
“It almost felt like a huge sigh of relief coming from the volunteers,” said George Klassen as he closed the books of the Morris (Man.) Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale. On Sept. 13, about 250 volunteers served their last perogies, knitted their last slippers, baked their last pies and directed traffic for the very last sale in Morris.
Team members of the MEDA Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb celebrate as they reach the summit on July 14 after beginning that morning at 5 a.m., which required wearing headlamps to see. (Photo: Duane Eby)
Allan Sauder, MEDA president, on the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb in July. (Photo: courtesy of Allan Sauder)
Allan Sauder, MEDA president, on the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb in July. (Photo: Tom Bishop)
After 27 years with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), the last 12 as president and chief executive officer, Allan Sauder of Waterloo felt that he needed a professional development leave to both freshen his energies and to give him a new perspective on his work.
David Shenk, fourth from right; Pastor Jeremiah Choi, sixth from right; and Pastor Crystal Nana Lee, fifth from left, discuss relationships between Muslims and Christians at Agape Mennonite Church in Hong Kong in September 2013. (Photo courtesy of David Shenk)
The Christian/Muslim Relations Team, from left to right: David Shenk, Grace Shenk, Jonathan Bornman, Sheryl Martin and Andres Prins. (Photo: Tammy Evans)
“Are Muslims trying to take over America?” “Who are the ‘true Muslims’—the peaceful ones or the violent ones?” “How should Christians respond to jihadi Muslims?” “Isn’t force the only effective way to respond to Islamist terrorism?”
Clerical collars and hijabs, men and women, black and white, the diversity in the crowd of more than 200 was clearly visible. Just as obvious, however, was the palpable presence of God as the crowd listened intently to both Christian and Muslim speakers share about the importance of faith to both private and corporate life today.
Friends would apologize for throwing things out when they visited. People posted nasty notes on the CBC and CTV websites in response to “the challenge.”
Frank Elias, left, president of the Carman Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift Shop, welcomes Ron Janzen, director of MCC Manitoba, as he arrives on his 600-kilometre bicycle tour of the 16 thrift shops in Manitoba. Each store was given a rebuilt bicycle to raffle off during the celebrations when Janzen arrived.
It only took a few seconds for Ron Janzen to catch his breath as he dismounted his bicycle and entered the Carman Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift Shop to greet volunteers and shoppers.
Ilda Bauman in the early 1940s in front of The House of Friendship for all the Nations on King Street in Kitchener, Ont.
A paper cut-out of Joseph Cramer has stood prominently at the many House of Friendship (HoF) events during the Kitchener-based social agency’s 75th-anniversary year.
When John Neufeld took the reins as director of Kitchener’s House of Friendship (HoF), he was confused by the 19 separate programs it was running: shelters, a food bank, addiction programs, a youth program, work in community centres, and on and on. How to make sense of it all?