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Growing apples to feed hungry people

To help combat world hunger, members of Petitcodiac Mennonite Church, in New Brunswick, picked apples and produced cider. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Web First | Oct 20, 2015

You don’t have to be a grain farmer to support the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through a growing project. And you don’t even need to be a farmer, as members of Petitcodiac Mennonite Church in New Brunswick have once again shown.

Each fall, church members take advantage of the province’s abundance of apples and turn them into a growing project.

This year, they produced 190 two-litre jugs of apple cider that will be sold at a local farmer’s market, with the proceeds donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Shantz Mennonite Church celebrates 175 years

Ken Ogasawara leads worship at Shantz Mennonite Church’s 175th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 3, 2015. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 20, 2015

On the weekend of Oct. 3 and 4, 2015, Shantz Mennonite Church congregation celebrated its 175th anniversary.

Shannon Moroney makes art from pain

Artist Shannon Moroney uses images to illustrate her journey through trauma and resilience. This piece is entitled “Letting Go.” (Photo courtesy of Shannon Moroney)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 19, 2015

“You should do something with all this,” was the doctor’s prescription.

“All this” were the art supplies scattered across Shannon Moroney’s husband’s studio in their house. Jason, her husband of only four months, had at that point been in prison for three months awaiting trial for two violent sexual attacks on other women. Moroney was feeling completely shattered, having been told of his arrest while on a business trip.

Making a difference

Arnaud Mennonite Church youth group members Meagan Schlorff, left; Cole Holdrick, second from left; Liam Thiessen, third from right; and Adrian Thiessen, right, are pictured with youth leader Ewald Boschmann, third from left and Art Enns, the farmer who donated the land, to celebrate a successful harvest that raised $12,600 for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Web First | By Amanda Thorsteinsson | Oct 19, 2015

In the Bible, there’s a well-known story about Jesus miraculously feeding five thousand with only a few loaves and fish.

That story inspired the Arnaud (Manitoba) Mennonite Church youth group in its quest to help make a difference for hungry people around the world, but its success wasn’t due to a miracle—at least not the same supernatural kind. It was due to hard work, the support of the community and a good Manitoba growing season.

“In class at school, a lot of us were learning about hunger in Africa and Asia,” says youth group member Meagan Schlorff.

Church leaders learn to pastor people of peace in a country at war

Cesar Jarmillo, left, makes a point to Paul Heidebrecht and Harry Huebner at the ‘Pastoring people of peace in a country at war’ seminar held at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., on Sept. 26, 2015. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 19, 2015

“We don’t practise peace because it always works, but because we are called to be faithful to Christ’s way.”

Scott Brubaker-Zehr, pastor of Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., made this statement in response to speakers at the “Pastoring people of peace in a country at war” seminar held on Sept. 26, 2015, at Conrad Grebel University College.

MCC cyclathon raises $1 million for Syrian refugees

Cyclists Len Block, Reimar Goetzke and Gerd Bartel brave wet weather as part of the Pedaling for Hope Cyclathon that brought in over a million dollars to support Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)

Web First | Oct 05, 2015

One-hundred-and-fifteen cyclists braved the rainy weather on Sept. 19, 2015, and brought in nearly a million dollars to support Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon.

CMU recognizes grads with Distinguished Alumni Awards

Larry Plenert

Web First | By Kevin Kilbrei | Oct 05, 2015

An Olympian-turned-lawyer, an English language educator, a businessman with a passion for international development, and a couple who have ministered for more than 45 years in Winnipeg’s North End are the recipients of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) 2015 Blazer Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Helping businesses connect with customers with social media

Jeff Horst in the echosims’ former offices in Kitchener, Ont. Waterloo Region is now touted as the second-largest new-media centre in North America. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky) 

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 05, 2015

At 26, Jeff Horst already has five years of entrepreneurial experience behind him.

That’s long enough to know that starting two companies at once is too much; that volunteering in many different social and community agencies can lead to burn out; and while he gains energy from relationships and community, he needs boundaries or levels of relationships with an inner core that is fully mutual.

Promise of peace returns to Burkina Faso after coup

Residents of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, are venturing out into the streets again, with talks between conflicting groups underway. The promise of peace once again holds out hope. (Mennonite Church Canada file photo by Deborah Froese)

Web First | By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen | Sep 28, 2015

A coup d’état in Burkina Faso brought the lead-up to democratic elections to a halt for a week filled with fear and shooting in the streets.

Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Mission Network personnel in the country and leaders of Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso) are “cautiously hopeful” that the worst of the violence has been resolved.

Profile surveys Mennonite World Conference churches

The Global Anabaptist Profile consultation group surveyed 24 church conferences of Mennonite World Conference concerning their demographics, beliefs, and practices. (Goshen College photo)

Web First | By Elizabeth Miller | Sep 24, 2015

Sociological surveys may be uncommon evangelistic tools, but Damien Pelende of the Democratic Republic of Congo testified that the Global Anabaptist Profile survey had drawn new people into his church.

The survey, a joint initiative of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (ISGA-Goshen College) and Mennonite World Conference (MWC), is a two-year project profiling the demographics, beliefs and practices of 24 church conferences in MWC.

10 ways to make your church autism-friendly

Geralde Reesor-Grooters

Web First | By Anna Groff | Sep 23, 2015

This list is based on the workshop, “How Can Church be Autism-Friendly?” led by Geralde Reesor-Grooters. The workshop was held on July 24, 2015 at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in Harrisburg, Pa.

Global Youth Summit: just like family

With several other delegates, Chris Brnjas (center back row), Mennonite Church Canada’s delegate to Global Youth Summit 2015, shared reflections of the event during one of the closing sessions. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Sep 22, 2015

Chris Brnjas felt a deep kinship with fellow delegates to the Global Youth Summit (GYS) held in Pennsylvania July 17-19, 2015. In a report following the event he wrote, “We were separated by language, ethnicity, and even theological differences. And yet, we felt like family. One American delegate commented during the delegate sessions that he felt like he was ‘amongst my people.’”

EMU and Goshen announce withdrawal from CCCU

Web First | Sep 22, 2015

The presidents of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) and Goshen College (GC) announced their voluntary withdrawals from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) today.

Mennonites eager to help refugees, slowed by red tape

Abdel el-Razek, his wife and their youngest daughter stand in the Jordanian countryside, where they have managed to put up their tent. Back home in Syria, el-Razek was a car salesman. Now he works for minimal wages at various labouring jobs. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Foodgrains Bank)

Web First | By J. Neufeld | Sep 11, 2015

Not long after a heart-wrenching photo of a refugee toddler lying lifeless on a Turkish beach hit the news, phones at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada began ringing off their hooks. People were calling to find out how they could help refugees fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria.

“It’s off the scale,” says Brian Dyck, MCC’s migration and settlement coordinator. “At any one time there’s 10 people looking at our refugee page on our website.”

Alleged sexual misconduct charge against Vernon Leis, deceased pastor

Vernon Leis

Web First | Sep 08, 2015 | 2 comments

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) has received an allegation of sexual and ethical misconduct against a former credentialed pastor, the late Vernon Leis. “It is a painful recognition of human sin and failure,” says an August 31 news release from MCEC. “In the midst of this challenging and painful situation, MCEC will do its best to walk alongside all those who are impacted.”

Video: Charting Walks with God

Web First | Aug 31, 2015

Nearly 500 years ago, the Anabaptist movement centred on rediscovering Jesus and applying what he taught to all aspects of life. The Mennonite World Conference assembly, held in July 2015 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., was an opportunity for followers of that tradition to focus on what binds them together. The theme of the assembly was “Walking with God.”

This video series gives voice to members of each of the five Mennonite World Conference regions and focusses on the Sermon on the Mount, a foundational and formational text for the Anabaptist movement in the past and today. 

New bursary to help MDS volunteers prepare for ministry

Youth help build a Mennonite Disaster Service house at Mennonite World Conference assembly. A new bursary will help youth who have volunteered with MDS pay for their studies. (Photo by Dale D. Gehman for Meetinghouse)

Web First | By Mark Beach | Aug 26, 2015

A new bursary will make it possible for students who volunteer with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) to receive financial help for their higher education.

Learning how to live out a life of service has come traditionally from home, church and, for some, through studies in Anabaptist colleges and universities. However, the opportunity to attend college and university is sometimes limited due to financial challenges.

AMBS program allows Canadian students to obtain distance degree

Canadian students can now earn a Master of Divinity at AMBS without moving to the campus in Indiana. (AMBS photo)

Web First | By Mary E. Klassen | Aug 26, 2015

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) has received long-awaited approval for students from Canada to study in the seminary’s distance program, Master of Divinity Connect.

In the MDiv Connect program, students do most of their study in their home contexts and come to the Elkhart, Ind., campus only for week-long classes two or three times a year. “This low-residency format needed approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” AMBS registrar Scott Janzen explained.

Canadian School of Peacebuilding completes successful 2015 session

Canadian Darnell Barkman took part in the 2015 Canadian School of Peacebuilding, along with 85 students from around the world, representing various faiths and identity groups. (CMU photo)

Web First | Aug 26, 2015

When Darnell Barkman found out he would be home in Canada during the Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP), he had to enrol. Barkman was one of 84 students from around the world who gathered at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) June 15-26, 2015, for two weeks of courses for peacebuilders from all faiths, countries, and identity groups.

Anabaptist educators gather for global conference

Web First | Aug 26, 2015

More than 100 Anabaptist educators attended a global education conference July 16-19, 2015, just before Mennonite World Conference assembly. The summit, held at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, attracted educators and leaders from 13 countries around the world.

Visa stories and surprises

A group of five singers from Kenya sang at the Thursday evening worship service. Of the choir of 30, only these five received visas to come to the U. S. (Photo by Dale D. Gehman for Meetinghouse)

Web First | By From reports by Phyllis Pellman Good, Judy Zimmerman Herr and Robert Herr | Aug 13, 2015

Applying for a visa to enter the U.S. was serious business for many internationals hoping to attend PA 2015, the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly held in Harrisburg, July 21-26, 2015.

MWC organizers report that 75 percent of the applicants who applied for a visa to attend the assembly were successful.

The MWC visa task force–with two members on the ground in Africa, one who moved between Africa and North America, four in Asia, and two in Latin America–assisted visa applicants in completing their paperwork and prepping for their embassy interviews.

At MWC assembly, MCC cans vegetables for first time

From left, Emmanuel of India, Khanyisani Ngwenya of Zimbabwe, and Tim Hochstetler pack green beans into cans in Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile canner at the Mennonite World Conference assembly, held July 21 to 16, 2015. (Photo by Dale D. Gehman for Meetinghouse)

Web First | By Tim Huber | Aug 11, 2015

Mennonite Central Committee’s mobile meat canner went vegan for the Mennonite World Conference assembly, switching for one week from pork, beef and turkey to green beans.

Slipping out a back door into a parking lot, attendees donned hairnets, a few beard nets and plastic gloves to volunteer packing and labeling the 23-ounce cans.

“We knew we couldn’t do meat in a parking lot in July, so this was the only option we had,” said canning coordinator John Hillegass on July 23, part way through the six-day event.

PA 2015 attendees seize opportunity to build MDS houses

Volunteers helped build two prefabricated houses for Mennonite Disaster Service at PA 2015. MDS staff were on hand every afternoon to guide volunteers in constructing the floors and walls for houses destined for families who lost their homes in natural disasters. (Photo by Dale D. Gehman)

Web First | By Byron Rempel-Burkholder | Aug 11, 2015

Pounding nails may be the last activity one might expect at an international church convention, but for many at the Mennonite World Conference’s PA 2015, it was a perfect fit.

Every afternoon July 22-25, 2015, just outside the air-conditioned halls of the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Farm Show Complex, two prefabricated houses were built by participants looking for a way to use their muscles that would connect meaningfully to their faith.

Assembly location a good choice

The Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., hosted the events of PA 2015, the 16th Mennonite World Conference assembly. (Photo by Dale D. Gehman)

Web First | By Devin Manzullo-Thomas | Aug 11, 2015

Would the attendees of Pennsylvania 2015 accept “an occasional farm smell” in their meeting space? That’s just one of the many questions Howard Good, national coordinator of PA 2015, asked as he and his team evaluated the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., as a potential location for the next Mennonite World Conference assembly.

First Anabaptist World Cup offers time for fun

Enjoying the international connections at the first ever Anabaptist World Cup. (Photo by Dale D. Gehman)

Web First | By Anna Groff | Aug 11, 2015

Two-hundred and sixty-nine individuals played in the Anabaptist World Cup in Logan Park in Dillsburg, Pa. This was the first soccer tournament for Mennonite World Conference and took place during its 16th assembly, held in Harrisburg, Pa., July 21 to July 2016, 2015.

Players ranged from ages 6 to 64 with 210 men and 59 women. Twenty-three countries were represented. The teams were intentionally diversified by country, gender and age, said Andrew Good, organizer.