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A tale of two hills outside Lalibela

Berzegin Yimam stands in front of the protected hill outside of Lalibela, Ethiopia. She is a member of the local committee responsible for protecting the hillside. Since restoring the hillside, the community has seen many benefits, including more reliable water springs and new plants that can be used to make organic pesticide. (Photo by Stefan Epp-Koop)

Two hills, sitting side by side in a valley outside of Lalibela, Ethiopia, have a story to tell.

One hill is brown, its vegetation stripped away by livestock and deforestation. Deep gullies are carved through the hillside, where the unprotected soil was washed away by the rain. Trees have disappeared, cut down for firewood.

Supplying food to people displaced by violence

Agnès Ntumba, second from right in a blue shirt, and her family share a pot of beans that she made from supplies that were part of a food distribution she received earlier that day. (MCC photo by Mulanda Jimmy Juma)

Agnès Ntumba carries a sack of corn flour and oil she received during a distribution by Communauté Evangélique Mennonite in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (MCC photo by Mulanda Jimmy Juma)

Kanku Ngalamulume, 10, lost his entire family to violence in Kasai. In Tshikapa, where Kanku lives, Congolese Mennonites are distributing food packages of maize flour, beans, oil and salt, and hygiene supplies for women. (MCC photo by Mulanda Jimmy Juma)

Jean Felix Cimbalanga, a representative of Communauté Evangélique Mennonite in the Democratic Republic of Congo, explains how a food distribution will work to a group of displaced Congolese people. The distribution in the Kabwela area of Lomami Province took place on March 23 and 24, 2018, with food and hygiene supplies provided by MCC and numerous Anabaptist organizations. (MCC photo by Mulanda Jimmy Juma)

Agnès Ntumba remembers the day her husband and seven children fled the violence that took over their village in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I saw people being killed. They were coming to kill us, and we had to escape,” Ntumba said.

Building shalom in the Philippines

Jason Martin, Mennonite Church Canada director of International Witness, left, International Witness worker Joji Pantoja, and Norm Dyck, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada mission engagement minister, pose at the MC Eastern Canada office in Kitchener, Ont., where Pantoja spoke on April 4, 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Joji Pantoja speaks about her and her husband Dann’s work in the Philippines, building worshipping peace communities and developing Coffee for Peace, to create income for marginalized people. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Joji Pantoja and her husband Dann serve in the Philippines as Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers. Following the September 11, 2001, attack in New York City, Dann in particular felt called as a Christian to work at building peace with Muslims.

New network to encourage, support and connect peacebuilders

People converse at a dialogue organized by the Anabaptist Network in South Africa in Cape Town. (Photo by Andrew Suderman)

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member churches around the world act out of the belief that the Spirit of Jesus empowers them to become peacemakers who renounce violence, love their enemies, seek justice and share their possessions with those in need through local congregations, national churches and related ministries.

Humboldt Broncos tragedy has Mennonite connections

The Humboldt Broncos hockey team lost 10 of its players, its coach and assistant coach in the fatal April 7, 2018, collision. (Humboldt Broncos/Twitter)

Glen Doerksen drove the chartered bus involved in the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. (SASWP)

Tyler Bieber was an announcer covering the Humboldt Broncos hockey games for the 107.5 Bolt FM radio station.

Brody Hinz was a student intern with the 107.5 Bolt FM radio station.

The horrific collision that claimed the lives of 15 people, most of whom were players and coaches with the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, had several Mennonite connections.

Open letter on Syria

J. Ron Byler, left, and Rick Cober Bauman, centre, play games with children from the orphanage run by the Syrian Orthodox Church in Homs, Syria. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (I Cor. 12:26).

In February, we were part of a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) delegation to Syria, including Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo. We witnessed the devastation of war and heard testimonies of faith from people who have been living in difficult circumstances now for seven long years.

Music selection for new hymnal shaped by new table of contents

Six members of the Resonate team sample past selections from Sing the Story as they choose songs for the new Mennonite collection to be published in 2020. The team met in February at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. Pictured from left to right: Tom Harder, SaeJin Lee, Cynthia Neufeld Smith, Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Allan Rudy-Froese and project director Bradley Kauffman. (Resonate photo)

The work of the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is slow and joyful and involves a lot of singing.

Plans begin for French-language Anabaptist theological centre

Participants at the Francophone Mennonite Network meet in Ivory Coast to discuss plans for the new Justice and Peace Training Centre: Anabaptist Seminary. The Network is a ministry of Mennonite World Conference. (Photo provided)

A shortage of French-language Anabaptist literature and training motivated 21 participants from eight countries on three continents to gather in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Sept. 27-29, 2017, in search of a solution.

MCC celebrates 75 years of service work in India

MCC supports a community school program at a girls’ hostel run by Lee Memorial Mission in Kolkata, India. Pictured are students Priya Biswas, foreground left, and Srilekha Das. (MCC photo by Dave Klassen)

Maheshwar Pujari, pictured with his wife Shakuntala Pujari of Sinisingi village in India’s Orissa region, has seen an increase in rice yields now that he follows the system of rice intensification method of rice cultivation, and after a diversion-based irrigation system was installed in his village in 2013. (MCC photo by Pabitra Paramanya)

Children aged three to five attend an MCC-supported preschool in Andulgaria village, India, in a child-friendly environment to prepare them for primary school in the formal education system. (MCC photo by Dave Klassen)

Canadian Bert Lobe travelled to Kolkata to celebrate MCC’s 75 years in India. (MCC photo by Sanjib Khan)

This year, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is celebrating 75 years of relief, development and peace work in India, making it one of the oldest international aid organizations in the country.

Telling Anabaptist stories old and new

David Weaver-Zercher visits with Marlene Epp, dean of Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., at the 2018 Bechtel Lectures, held on March 1 and 2. The theme this year about how Mennonite stories, old and new, are used in the media and church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Bruce Bechtel, left, and his father Lester, founder of the Bechtel Lecture series at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., chat with David Weaver-Zercher, this year’s lecturer. The theme this year was about how Mennonite stories, old and new, are used in the media and church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The Bechtel Lecture panel, left to right: David Weaver-Zercher, this year’s visiting lecturer; Johnny Wideman of Theatre of the Beat; Sherri Klassen, the ‘Drunken Mennonite’ blogger; YouTube vlogger Katie Steckly blogger; and Sam Steiner, blogger and an editor of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, at the March 1 and 2 Bechtel Lectures. The theme this year was around the topic of how Mennonite stories, old and new, are used in the media and church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The two nights of the 2018 Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College were connected by David Weaver-Zercher and focussed on Mennonite stories and how they are used in the media and elsewhere.

More about Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador, head of the Catholic Church in El Salvador from 1977 to 1980, when he was assassinated. (commons.wikimedia.org photo)

Murals are common in El Salvador. This one, in the village of Arcatao, depicts the brutal violence of the era in which Oscar Romero led the church in El Salvador. (Photo by Will Braun)

This online supplement accompanies the viewpoint, “Evangelical social justice,” about Archbishop Oscar Romero, in which Will Braun considers Romero’s message for Mennonites.

MCC may allow exceptions to ‘lifestyle expectations’

The boards of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and U.S. have approved the possibility of exceptions to the “lifestyle expectations” for some MCC personnel, although those parameters have not been completely defined.

The updates came as the boards reviewed MCC’s human resources framework at their annual joint meeting on March 16 and 17, 2018, in Abbotsford, B.C.

Scholars uncover hidden stories of the Holocaust

Doris Bergen of the University of Toronto delivers the keynote address, “Neighbours, killers, enablers, witnesses: The many roles of Mennonites in the Holocaust,” at the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference held on March 16 and 17, 2018, at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)

Bethel College students Jacob Russell, left, of Lawrence, Kan., Albert Bratthammar of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Henry Baxter of Dothan, Ala., talk with Mark Jantzen, centre, Bethel professor of history, and Doris Bergen of the University of Toronto. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)

Participants in the Mennonites and the Holocaust conference talk after Doris Bergen’s keynote address in Memorial Hall at Bethel College. At left is Ben Goossen of Harvard University, author of Chosen Nation: Mennonites and Germany in a Global Era. At right, Joel Nofziger, director of communications for Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite Historical Society, talks with Rachel Waltner Goossen of Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., who moderated one of the conference sessions. (Bethel College photo by Vada Snider)

In 2004, Joachim Wieler of Weimar, Germany, opened a small wooden box he inherited after his mother’s death. To his surprise and horror, it contained letters his late father wrote while serving as an officer in the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Canadian Mennonites and Anglicans meet for first dialogue

Members of the Anglican Church of Canada-Mennonite Church Canada dialogue at their first meeting at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., on Feb. 2 and 3, 2018. The dialogue was co-chaired by Melissa Miller front row centre, intentional interim pastor of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and CM’s Family Ties columnist, and Scott Sharman, back row right, an Anglican Church of Canada staff person. (Photo courtesy of Scott Sharman)

As the Anglican Church of Canada has increasingly found itself on the margins of power in Canadian society, it decided to reach out to a group of fellow Christians that has long been in the position. At the invitation of the Anglicans, a group of Mennonite Church Canada leaders and lay people met with their Anglican counterparts at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo on Feb.

AMBS conference models practices for sustaining faith and hope

Daily opportunities for worship are an integral part of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary’s annual Pastors and Leaders Conference. Pictured, members of the seminary learning community lead participants in worship on Feb. 27, 2018. (AMBS photo by Jason Bryant)

With contentiousness and fracturing in the body of believers, and hostility and injustice all around, these are difficult days for church leaders, who are supposed to provide guidance for people struggling with the trials of the times while at the same time often wrestling with their own challenges.

UWinnipeg Fellowship to crack open KGB archives

The new fellowship is named in honour of the late Paul Toews, who was the resident historian of the Mennonite Heritage Cruise that took thousands of Mennonite “pilgrims” on a journey back to Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of University of Winnipeg)

In the 1930s, thousands of Mennonites disappeared in the Soviet Union without a trace. The KGB archives in Ukraine has thousands of files on these missing Mennonites, and a newly announced University of Winnipeg Fellowship wants to crack into these archives to uncover the stories of lost relatives, ancestors and much more.

Award-winning Herald Press book gets an update

Donald B. Kraybill is the author of the award-winning book, The Upside-Down Kingdom.

In Donald B. Kraybill’s The Upside-Down Kingdom, Jesus is slightly irreverent. He critiques the rich, scorches nationalism, redefines Old Testament law, and undercuts the authority of religious leaders. 

Kraybill points out that Jesus is into sharing, not hoarding. Service, not status. Community, not competition. Basins, not swords. Loyalty to God, not nation.

OMMC offers music, fun, connections

Young musicians practice during the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp. From left to right are Anna Tyas-Petrik, Hallelujah Tezera, Aidan Morton-Ninomiya, Isabelle Netherton, and Jayden Liu. (Photo courtesy of OMMC)

Aidan Morton-Ninomiya’s review of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp: “Awesome.” (Photo courtesy of OMMC)

When the idea of the Ontario Mennonite Music Camp (OMMC) was pitched to me at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, I was immediately excited. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I got there, I knew it would be awesome. 

Mennonite diaspora encounters Muslims in the Russian Empire

Seth Ratzlaff, left, a student at Conrad Grebel University College, his father Victor, lay minister of Westview Christian Fellowship in St. Catharines, Ont., and Aileen Friesen, the J. Winfield Fretz Visiting Research Scholar in Mennonite Studies, discuss her ‘Muslim-Mennonite Encounters in the Russian Empire’ lecture on Jan. 25, 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Aileen Friesen was the go-to person to help visitors order in Russian cafés at a scholarly gathering in Russia’s Far East, according to Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University College’s dean. Epp introduced Friesen as the inaugural J. Winfield Fretz Visiting Research Scholar in Mennonite Studies before Friesen’s lecture on ‘Muslim-Mennonite Encounters in the Russian Empire’ on Jan.

Singer-songwriter leads ‘Reading the Bible with Jesus’ workshops

Bryan Moyer Suderman, teaching associate for the Church Leadership Center of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, leads a ‘Reading the Bible with Jesus’ workshop for Walnut Hill Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., at the Amigo Centre in Sturgis, Mich. (Photo by Jace Longenecker)

Bryan Moyer Suderman believes that paying attention to Jesus as interpreter of Scripture can transform how we, too, engage Scripture and each other.

Argentine Mennonites celebrate one hundred years

At festivities celebrating 100 years of Mennonite witness in Argentina, a youth drama troupe mimes the temptations and struggles that confront a young adult seeking to follow Jesus. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)

Performing before hundreds of Mennonites and passersby at a park in downtown Buenos Aires, a drama troupe from the Mennonite church in Villa Adelina, Argentina, mimed challenges and struggles facing youth: violence, drugs, promiscuity, greed, and death itself.

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