Subscribe to Syndicate
Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

You are here

Web First

Mennonite observes Lent with ‘Fast for Healing Justice’ and tweets to Trump

Daryl Byler, executive director of Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, began a 40-day fast on Ash Wednesday 2017. His daily thoughts, addressed to President Donald J. Trump, combine readings from the Presbyterian lectionary with meditation on the themes of justice and healing for the United States. (Photo by Andrew Strack)

Web First | By Lauren Jefferson | Mar 21, 2017

In preparation for his 40-day fast, which began on March 1, Ash Wednesday, Daryl Byler made a few changes to his recreational reading. This lawyer, ordained minister and executive director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University favors non-fiction and legal thrillers.

Recently, however, Byler has been meditating on the Presbyterian daily lectionary—the faith tradition of President Donald J. Trump—and listening to the thoughts and ideologies that Trump has expressed in his many books.

Is there room enough for hope?

Mary Jo Leddy, left, poses with Lorna Sawatzky at the 2017 Rodney and Lorna Sawatzky Visiting Scholar lecture on March 3. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Mar 21, 2017

Mary Jo Leddy asked those gathered on a cold Canadian evening in Waterloo what kind of Canada they want to be part of: one that is mean and nasty, with borders open for business but not for refugees? Or a Canada that is just, good, caring and decent with borders open to invite people to join in the responsibility for this place?

Leddy, the director of Romero House in Toronto, a transition house for refugees, was the 2017 Rodney and Lorna Sawatzky visiting scholar at Conrad Grebel University College, who spoke on March 3, 2017.

‘Communities so full of love that it’s contagious’

Monday Night Peacemeal members meet weekly to share food, concerns and events in their personal lives, as a step towards living with each other in the vulnerability and accountability evident in true community. (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nimz)

Web First | Mar 21, 2017

Trusting enough to be vulnerable and the willingness to be accountable are key intentional acts needed to build true community. In the extensively secularized culture of England, self-reliance and independence are seen as ultimate strengths, but being vulnerable is seen as a weakness. So how does one encourage true community there?

Ministry on a human scale

Mandy Smith leads Mennonite Church Eastern Canada pastors in an exercise delving into their fear and shame of not being enough to truly serve God at the annual School for Ministers on Feb. 22, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Mar 21, 2017

“Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything) / That's how the light gets in.”

EMU alumnus among those kidnapped in Democratic Republic of Congo

Michael J. “M.J.” Sharp, a United Nations official and former Mennonite Central Committee peace worker, has been reported kidnapped with five others by unknown assailants in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In this 2015 photo provided by MCC, he visits with Elizabeth Namavu and children in Mubimbi Camp, home to displaced persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Jana Asenbrennerova, used with permission)

Web First | Mar 15, 2017

Michael J. “M.J.” Sharp, a United Nations official, was among six people kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a press release issued Monday by the Congolese government.

He was part of a UN panel of experts investigating ongoing civil conflicts in the country, according to Al Jazeera. A second UN worker, Zaida Catalan, was also kidnapped as well as four Congolese nationals, according to reports. Catalan’s nationality is variously reported as Swedish or Chilean.

‘Land rights apply to my church and my home’

Junia, seven months, and her mother Kandace Boos plan to walk the 600-kilometre Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights. (Photo courtesy of Kandace Boos)

Web First | By Dan Dyck | Mar 11, 2017

Nine-month-old Junia has just become the youngest participant to join the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, a 600-kilometre walk through from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., to Ottawa, taking place from April 23 to May 14, 2017.

Kandace Boos, 28, Junia’s mother, will put in the grunt work of carrying Junia on her back, alongside her task of documenting the walk through her art. Boos is an urban sketch artist, part of a global community of artists who practise drawing in cities, towns and villages they live in or travel to.

Famine ‘a tragic reality’ in South Sudan, according to UN

An internally displaced family in Mundri, South Sudan, prepares their dinner for the night. (Photo by Paul Jeffrey)

Web First | Mar 07, 2017

Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, where about 100,000 people are facing starvation, says a United Nations release dated February 20, 2017. In addition, a further one million people are on the brink of famine.

The ongoing civil war in South Sudan, now in its third year, has devastated the country’s economy, disrupting normal food transportation chains, and preventing countless small-scale farming households from growing their crops and tending their herds.

From Myanmar to Canada with dreams, gratitude and hope

A family Christmas 2016 photo in Canada. Pictured from left to right, front row: Htaw Meh and Mi Meh; and back row: Poe Reh, Su Reh, Lee Reh, Pleh Meh and Pheh Meh. (Photo by Arlene Hoke)

Web First | By Ferne Burkhardt | Mar 07, 2017

Settled in their new home in New Hamburg, Ont., Lee Reh and Pheh Meh constantly think of family members still in Ban Mai Nai Soi Refugee Camp in Thailand who the couple and their five children left behind when they came to Canada in April 2016. They wish their relatives could join them here and enjoy the safety and good life they have found in Canada.

Good news by the numbers in Botswana

Children play on a round-about in Bontleng Park, a local initiative supported by the energy and initiative of Mennonite Church Canada workers Nathan and Taryn Dirks. (Photo by Gonna Lewis)

Web First | By Deborah Froese with files from Nathan Dirks | Mar 07, 2017

For Nathan and Taryn Dirks, ministry in Gaborone, Botswana, is all about relationships. But ministry by relationship is hard to measure, so they’ve creatively translated some of their good news into numbers.

For almost five years, the Dirkses have served youth and young adults from local African Initiated Churches (AICs) through their role as Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers, in partnership with Mennonite Mission Network and local churches. Following community needs and initiatives, they focus on development and Bible teaching.

Online theology education opens doors

Spanish Anabaptist educators from Latin America and the United States during the gathering at SEMILLA. Back, left to right: Floyd Saner, Marco Alfredo Mahecha, Fernando Pérez, Linda Shelly, Luz Estela Cortes, Marco Guete, Willi Hugo Pérez, Oscar Jaime Dominguez. Front, left to right: Carlos Martínez, Rebeca González, Pablo Pérez, Joaquín Zazueta. (Photo by Jerry Higueros)

Web First | By Kelsey Hochstetler | Mar 07, 2017

Nora Marleni Martínez of Metapan, El Salvador, is in the first group of students in a regional Peace and Justice Institute program of the Seminario Anabautista Latinoamericano (SEMILLA). Many SEMILLA courses are taught in local centers across Central America and Mexico, but this program was designed for students from multiple countries to study together, so traveling to Guatemala for classes was still a requirement.

Mennonites plan pilgrimage for indigenous rights

Web First | By Dan Dyck | Feb 27, 2017

Houses. Toilets. Schools. These are basic human rights to which Canadians feel entitled—and which many vulnerable and disenfranchised indigenous people do not have.

Indigenous leader Leah Gazan says the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is really just the floor for human rights. The activist, policy analyst and educator at the University of Winnipeg says UNDRIP outlines “the minimum human rights to be healthy.”

Camp farm program invites delight in God’s creation

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe served as nature instructor at Camp Assiniboia, one of three camps that make up Camps with Meaning, a ministry of Mennonite Church Manitoba. (Camps with Meaning photo)

Web First | By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe | Feb 22, 2017

Picture gleeful campers chasing squawking chickens back into their pen, and others exclaiming with delight as they bite into freshly picked tomatoes, juice dribbling down their chins. This is what a typical day at camp looked like for me this summer—days that were never actually typical but always full of new adventures.

The Bible still speaks, say Renewal 2027 speakers

At the Renewal 2027 event organized by Mennonite World Conference, participants read and interpreted scripture together in small groups. (Photo by Susanne Werner)

Web First | Feb 21, 2017

Regional Anabaptists and leaders from around the world gathered on February 12, 2017, for “Transformed by the Word: Reading Scripture in Anabaptist Perspectives,” the first in a 10-year series of events called “Renewal 2027” organized by Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The events will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, with appreciation and critical reflection on what is now a global movement within the larger body of Christ.

Working together in Ontario

Maria Bueckert with three of her eight children, Eva, Jacob and Helena in Aylmer, Ont., last fall. (Mennonite Community Services photo)

Web First | By Helen Bergen | Feb 21, 2017

When Maria and Heinrich Bueckert immigrated to Canada with their seven children in 2011, they looked forward to working together with their children and earning enough to feed their family.

“We’re just so very thankful. Coming to Canada and working together on the farm allowed me to get to know my husband again,” Maria says in Low German. In Mexico he had been too busy trying to make ends meet.

Having grown up on a farm in Mexico, Maria and Heinrich were especially interested in continuing to work in the agricultural sector in Ontario.

Lebanese thrift shop helps with winter needs

A new thrift shop run by MCC partner Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training in Baalbek, Lebanon, is stocked with warm clothes for the winter season. (MCC photo by Doreen Martens)

Web First | By Doreen Martens | Feb 21, 2017

A visit to Gift and Thrift Shop in Virginia, one of 108 Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift shops, was a revelation to Tarek Chebli, a peacebuilding student from Lebanon.

Thrift shops are an unknown concept in Lebanon, Chebli said, so he was intrigued by what he learned on a day trip there with other students attending the 2015 Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

MCC Canada executive director announces retirement

Don Peters

Web First | By Laura Kalmar | Feb 21, 2017

With a mixture of gratitude and sadness, the board of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) announces the retirement of Executive Director Donald Peters, effective September 30, 2017.

“Don has been an inspirational leader, demonstrating MCC's values in word and deed,” said board chair Peggy Snyder. “Don’s steady, servant leadership enabled the organization to weather joys and challenges, guiding the organization during polarizing times, both internally and externally. The board is grateful for the blessing Don has been to MCC.”

How it feels to give a house away

Ramia Sraa and Omar Falah Hindawi with their children Hala, 1, Dima, 9, Mohammed, 8, and Rahaf, 4. The house where they live in Saskatoon is owned by Canadian author Yann Martel. Working with MCC and Mount Royal Mennonite Church, Martel offered his house for use by the family when they arrived from Lebanon last year.

Web First | By Yann Martel | Feb 07, 2017

Yann Martel is known to many as the author of Life of Pi, an international best seller that became an Oscar-winning movie. But at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, he is also known as the man who welcomed a Syrian family of six into the home he owns in Saskatoon. The family arrived in 2016, and he wrote about the experience for the London Sunday Times. What follows is an excerpt from that story.

‘Befriending death’ at the ‘death café

Ray Martin, pastor of East Zorra Mennonite Church, chats with Michelle O’Rourke about her presentation ‘Befriending death’ at the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual Pastors, Chaplains and Congregational Leaders Seminar held at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, Ont., on Jan. 21, 2017.

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Feb 07, 2017

Michelle O’Rourke never expected that within months of having a lead role in designing and building the 10-bed Chatham-Kent Hospice, which opened in April 2016, that she would be moving her own father into the hospice on Fathers’ Day.

Caring for those who couldn’t escape

Mary Raber serves through Mennonite Church Canada Witness and the Mennonite Mission Network in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Mary Raber)

Web First | By Kelsey Hochstetler | Feb 07, 2017

Many of the people who have stayed behind in Ukraine’s militarized areas are those who cannot run away: the elderly, children and people with disabilities.

“Certain pastors and their families have made the conscious [and potentially dangerous] decision to remain in the region to serve,” Mary Raber writes in a January 2017 update. She serves through Mennonite Church Canada Witness and the Mennonite Mission Network in Ukraine.

New publisher, executive editor named to lead Canadian Mennonite

Tobi Thiessen and Ginny Hostetler

Web First | By Henry Krause | Feb 01, 2017 | 1 comment

Tobi Thiessen and Ginny Hostetler have been chosen by the board of Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS) Inc. to lead Canadian Mennonite’s magazine and digital news services into the future, beginning March 20. The positions of publisher and executive editor, initially two-year appointments, will replace the former role of publisher/editor currently filled by Dick Benner, who will retire on March 31.

Publisher

‘Hope was not on the ballot’

Two friends travel from Canada to witness the U. S. presidential election and share their observations through video. (Photos by D. Michael Hostetler)

Web First | By Michael Hostetler | Jan 31, 2017 | 1 comment

Following the news coverage leading up to the 2016 American election, I wondered if there was a place for hope in an atmosphere of division and fear. In the days leading up to the election, my friend Will and I travelled from the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. area to Washington D.C., on a pilgrimage of sorts. We wanted to experience a historical moment and to better understand our neighbours to the south. (See the video below.)

The next 500 years of Anabaptism

Worship at a congregation of the Kenya Mennonite Church. (MWC photo by Liesa Unger)

Web First | Jan 25, 2017

Tremendous change rocked the western church 500 years ago, as successive groups discovered new things about God through Scripture and separated themselves from the Roman Catholic church.

Renewal 2027 is a framework for a 10-year series of events within the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) global family, commemorating Anabaptism’s role in that period of culture and religious change called the Reformation.

Bethany College set to ‘thrive’

Web First | Jan 24, 2017

The new year brings a new beginning for Bethany College, as it announces its re-opening for fall 2017 with a new discipleship program called Thrive. Thrive replaces the college’s previous academic-focused curricula with a new practical approach to biblical learning for post-secondary students.

Since Bethany ceased operations in 2015, volunteers have been working tirelessly to design a fresh new program that can engage youth looking to fill the gap year between high school and starting a career or going on to secular studies.

Preparing for pastoral ministry

Lee Hiebert

Web First | Jan 24, 2017

A desire to immerse himself in a learning community in preparation for pastoral ministry was part of what drew Lee Hiebert to relocate to Elkhart, Ind., and enrol in the master of divinity program at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS).

Hiebert, who grew up in Kelowna, B.C., and was a member of First Mennonite Church there, had served for three years as a part-time associate pastor at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church in Winnipeg while attending Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) full time.

Canadians join Women’s March on Washington

Canadian Mennonites Marlys Neufeldt (third from right), Siena Armstrong (second from right) and Thea Armstrong (far right) took part in the Washington Women’s March, on Jan. 21, along with Mennonite marchers from the U.S. (Photo by Doreen Martens)

Web First | By Doreen Martens | Jan 24, 2017 | 9 comments

Canadian Mennonite women were among millions who peacefully made their voices heard for justice, equality and a host of social causes at the Women’s Marches that took place across Canada and every continent on January 21, 2017, the day following the Donald Trump inauguration.

Some even made it all the way to Washington, D.C., where hundreds of Mennonites arrived in buses, by plane, train and car to join in a massive, peaceful gathering estimated at more than half a million, which far exceeded expectations and led to human gridlock in the core area of the city.

Pages