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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 bestseller 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.

Review: Show not so pure in its depiction of Mennonites

CBC’s new crime drama, Pure, which premiered on Jan. 9, has generated a lot of controversy in the Canadian Mennonite community, and for good reason, says reviewer Vic Thiessen.

Web First | By Reviewed by Vic Thiessen | Jan 23, 2017 | 6 comments

CBC’s new crime drama, Pure, which premiered on Jan. 9, 2017, has generated a lot of controversy in the Canadian Mennonite community, and for good reason.

10 things to know about Mennonites in Canada

There are several varieties of Mennonite and Amish groups in Canada. (Photos by Barb Draper)

Web First | By Barb Draper | Jan 12, 2017 | 3 comments

You may have seen traditionally dressed Mennonites at farmers’ markets or on TV, but you may not know that these are only a segment of the Mennonite population in Canada. There are several varieties of Mennonite and Amish groups in Canada, and—although they all share the same roots—each group practises its faith in unique ways. Here are some things you should know about your Mennonite, Old Order and Amish neighbours.

1. Why are there so many kinds of Mennonites?

Top 10 online stories of 2016

Web First | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Jan 11, 2017

In 2016 popular online stories on the Canadian Mennonite website dealt with gender identity, cohabitation, church institutions, and Mennonite history. Readers wanted to know about the growth of Old Order Mennonites communities in Ontario and the question of Mennonite historical involvement with Aryan ideology. They were interested in real people and their experiences with dementia, intergenerational living, and the quest for mental health.

Here are the top stories, based on the number of page views at canadianmennonite.org.

Frieda’s raisin bread

Frieda's raisin bread (Photo by Barb Draper)

Web First | By Barb Draper | Jan 11, 2017

Frieda Woelk, who lives in a seniors apartment in Leamington, Ont., put together a “Special Cookbook for my Children, Grandchildren, Family and Friends,” with editions in 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2011. She had one copy left at the end of 2016, which she shared with Canadian Mennonite. It is full of delightful hand-written notes that she added to subsequent editions over the years.

Worship and song submissions, recommendations sought for new hymnal

An international music group leads singing at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in 2015. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

Web First | Jan 11, 2017

What songs connect you to God and your community, and empower you to serve? What songs do you turn to in joyful or difficult times? What are your heart songs?

These are questions the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is asking, inviting Mennonites to fill out a survey as it embarks on a listening and study phase toward developing a new hymnal collection, to be released in 2020.

Australians speak for the stranger

Bible in hand, Love Makes A Way organizer Justin Whelan is removed by police from occupying the office of Malcolm Turnbull, who was Australia’s Minister for Communications, in May 2015. (Love Makes A Way photo)

Web First | By Rachel Stella and Mennonite World Review | Jan 11, 2017

Christian activists in Australia repeatedly risk arrest when they call attention to the plight of asylum-seekers suffering mistreatment in indefinite detention.

One of the activists is Matt Anslow, vice president of the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand. With some friends, he co-founded the organization Love Makes A Way (LMAW) in 2014 to take action on behalf of the detained asylum-seekers.

Third Way’s 2016 top 10 quirky queries

Angela and Erwin Rempel volunteer on the annual Everence Day of Generosity for MennoMedia, and year round answering questions at the Third Way website. (MennoMedia photo)

Web First | Jan 10, 2017

Millions of people will never pick up a book or magazine about Mennonites or enter any Mennonite church. But they will drop in anonymously to the Third Way website (thirdway.com) to get a quick glimpse of what Mennonites are about. The website averages more than one thousand hits a day, nearing a third of a million annually.

Film on COs wins awards and attention

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Dec 20, 2016

A film produced by the Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) Archives about conscientious objectors (COs) is garnering significant attention.

CBC recently aired The Last Objectors on its national channel, as well as in Manitoba. The 44-minute documentary won a Silver World Humanitarian award in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was also nominated for the Best Feature Documentary at the Views of the World Music & Film Festival in Montreal this summer. The film embodies faith, peace and service in action.

Mission worker befriended Jews and Palestinians

Florence Kreider

Web First | By Wil LaVeist | Dec 20, 2016

Florence Cressman Kreider was a friend to both Jews and Palestinians, and she sought to spread peace wherever she traveled. The former mission worker died Nov. 1, 2016, in Broadway, Va., at the age of 87.

A native of Ontario, Florence Kreider was a graduate of the Ontario Mennonite Bible Institute of Kitchener in 1948 and of Eastern Mennonite College (now Eastern Mennonite University) in 1952. It was soon after graduation that she began to serve in missions.

The refugee highway in Kitchener-Waterloo

Wendy Adema, program director for MCC Ontario who gives leadership to the Refugee Resettlement Team, left; Shelley Campagnola, director of the Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support; and Lynne Griffiths Fulton, client support service director for Reception House, listen to Marlene Epp, professor of history and peace and conflict studies at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo. They participated in the ‘Three lanes on the refugee highway’ presentation at 50 Kent Avenue, in Kitchener. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 20, 2016 | 2 comments

“Why are there three Mennonite organizations working on refugee support in the Kitchener- Waterloo area?” was the question being answered at a Nov. 29, 2016, meeting at 50 Kent Ave. in Kitchener. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Reception House and Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support, which all work at the refugee question from different angles, provided some answers to those in attendance.

The danger isn’t over

Carlos Andres Palacios Lozano, pictured in the municipal capital of Istmina, Colombia, buys some supplies for his home in Suruco that was completely flooded days before. (MCC Photo by Brendah Ndagire)

Web First | By Rachel Bergen | Dec 20, 2016

For five days last October, intense rainfall caused severe flooding along Colombia’s Pacific coast in the Chocó area, seriously damaging the homes of more than 20,000 people.

Carlos Andres Palacios Lozano, a member of Sión Mennonite Brethren Church, recalled that at around 1 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2016, heavy rains caused the river to quickly overflow, flooding his home and entire community.

“We have become accustomed to the rising and flooding of the river,” he said, “but it had never flooded to this magnitude before.”

Future Directions Dream

Will Braun
Web First | By Will Braun | Dec 07, 2016

I want to be excited about church.          

I do not attend regional or national assemblies, but I care deeply about the broader church. I would rather hang out with my boys than attend a meeting to discuss a wordy Future Directions report, but I would clear my schedule to sit in a circle with others to share our passions about church.

‘Thanks to God, I have a new house’

Digna Macias and her daughter, Nidia Palma, stand in front of their new earthquake- and flood-proof home, which was built by Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Ecuatoriana (IEME), a Mennonite Central Committee partner, after an earthquake struck the Pacific coast of northern Ecuador in April. (Photo courtesy of Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Ecuatoriana)

Web First | By Rachel Bergen | Dec 06, 2016

Digna Macias remembers clinging to a door frame in her home in Manta, Ecuador, while the walls fell around her last April following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the Pacific coast of northern Ecuador, where she lives.

Fortunately, neither Macias, nor her daughter, Nidia Palma, who lives with her, were injured badly, but 668 died, more than 4,800 were injured and 80,000 people were displaced in in the country.

Roi des Rois interested in God’s kingdom realized

Lyne Renaud, left, and Michel Monette share their vision for a church in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area of Montreal at the 2016 Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual church gathering in 2015, in Leamington, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 06, 2016

Twenty-five years ago, Michel Monette was selling encyclopaedias door to door seven days a week. One of his fellow salesmen, a Mennonite Brethren man, would take Sundays off to go to a local evangelical church and would do the same Wednesday evenings for Bible study. On Halloween Eve 1991 in Rouyn-Noranda, Monette said to the man, “If you’re such a good salesman, sell me on your God.”

Winnipeg church hosts event of solidarity with Dakota Access protests

The logo of Mennonite Church USA flies alongside those of other organizations protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. (Photo by Tim Nafziger)

Web First | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Dec 06, 2016

Hundreds of concerned American citizens gathered peacefully to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and pray on Nov 26, 2016. At the same time, dozens more gathered at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg to add their voices.

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