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Young Voices

It’s not easy being global

Rachel Bergen served in Cambodia with Mennonite Central Committee’s Serving and Learning Together program. (Photo by Jessica Sosa)

Young Voices | By Rachel Bergen | Sep 07, 2016

For much of my life, I’ve called myself a global citizen. Until recently, though, I had no idea how naïve saying this actually was.

A global citizen is someone who identifies him- or herself as part of an emerging world community, and who is committed to building this community’s values and practices.

Letting Christ abide, from Saskatchewan to Gambia

Terri Lynn Paulson’s interest in agriculture took her to the West African country of Gambia. (Photo by Michael Friesen)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Aug 24, 2016

Tending to the grapes she grows in the house she lives in provides Terri Lynn Paulson with a very tangible way of considering John 15, a chapter of the Bible she has been reflecting on in recent months. It begins: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.”

A potluck plate full of Mennonite cultures

During his internship, Andrew Brown, centre, happened to meet brothers John, left, and Peter Redekop, right, who were part of a group of Mennonites that Brown researched. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Brown)

Young Voices | By Andrew Brown | Aug 24, 2016 | 1 comment

This spring I was awarded an archival internship with the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission that allowed me to travel to various Mennonite Brethren archives in North America to learn how they work, as well as to do some of my own research.

I visited the archives at the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Abbotsford, B.C.; the Hiebert Library at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, Calif.; the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan.; and the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Winnipeg, spending a week in each place.

On the outside looking in

Catherine Richard, who played piano as part of the worship team at Assembly 2016, sensed a desire for unity by delegates. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Aug 10, 2016

“Three people in their early 20s—a Catholic, a Mennonite Brethren man and a United Church member—walk into a Mennonite Church Canada assembly.” It may sound like the set-up to a joke, but it’s exactly what happened last month.

Although they do not belong to MC Canada congregations, Catherine Richard, Nick Czehryn and Matthew Dyck each travelled from their homes in Winnipeg to Saskatoon to participate in Assembly 2016. For each of them, it proved to be a meaningful experience.

Learning to be grateful

Much of Claudia Dueck’s volunteer work at Kilometre 81 involved doing laundry. (Photo courtesy of Claudia Dueck)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Aug 10, 2016

When Claudia Dueck thinks back on the voluntary service she did in Paraguay earlier this year, it’s the Tuesdays that stick out the most.

Dueck, 19, spent three months volunteering at Kilometre 81, a Mennonite hospital in eastern Paraguay that treats people with leprosy, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Every Tuesday evening, Dueck and the other volunteers at the hospital would gather to sing for their patients. It was one of the only times when the volunteers had direct contact with them.

‘We’re not your stereotypical teenagers’

Daniel Ayala, left, and Jonah Thiessen participate in #CovenantCrew2.0. (Photo by Krista Loewen)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jul 20, 2016

When an intense rainstorm started just as Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2016 participants set up their tents during the first afternoon of their canoe trip, organizer Krista Loewen was apprehensive.

Laments and hopes for MC Canada

EVI members Laura Carr-Pries and Peter Epp speak to delegates during a seminar at Assembly 2016. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jul 20, 2016

When Laura Carr-Pries got together with fellow students at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg last year to discuss the challenges facing Mennonite Church Canada, she wasn’t sure how things would go.

Out of those discussions, she and her peers formed the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) in response to MC Canada’s Future Directions Task Force. EVI had a strong presence at the MC Canada Assembly 2016 in Saskatoon from July 6 to 10, 2016, and led one of the event’s seminars.

Exploring alternative ways of living

Jonas Cornelsen, left, and Erwin Cornelsen, pictured in 2013, are looking forward to spending time together now that they live together. (Photo courtesy of Jonas Cornelsen.)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 28, 2016 | 1 comment

Jonas Cornelsen jokes that, at the age of 22, he’s retired.

While most of his peers are looking to start their careers, the Winnipeg native and recent university graduate moved to Vancouver last month to live with, and care for, his 97-year-old grandfather, Erwin Cornelsen.

Although he is as healthy as a 97-year-old can be, Erwin and his family decided that having Jonas live with him and help him with his daily routine and chores around the house would be beneficial.

Follow the money

Participants in MCC’s 2016 Uprooted learning tour include, clockwise from top left: Thomas Coldwell (MCC Alberta), Andrew Brown, Alannah DeJong, Allison Goerzen (MCC Alberta), Jana Klassen, Carol McNaughton and Maria Alejandra Toro. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Coldwell)

Young Voices | By Andrew Brown | Jun 28, 2016 | 1 comment

What is the real cost of the things we buy?

That’s the question I asked myself during Uprooted, a three-week learning tour for young adults through Mexico, Guatemala and Arizona that took place in May. Organized by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta and MCC Saskatchewan, the tour looked at issues surrounding migration in Central America and peacebuilding projects in the region. Our first week was in southern Mexico and Guatemala, our second week was spent in and around Mexico City, and our last week along the Mexico-U.S. border.

Sharing faith through teaching Sunday school

Benjamin Weber is a member of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 15, 2016

Some teachers want their lessons to run smoothly, but not Benjamin Weber.

“I like a healthy amount of chaos,” says Weber, 29, who teaches the youth Sunday school class at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont. “I open the floor and let them ask me about anything. Usually it’s about current events, so we relate that back to the topic at hand.”

Weber has taught the class for the last four-and-a-half years.

The power of film

Watching great films is a spiritual experience for Winnipeg filmmaker Paul Plett. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 15, 2016

“Watching great films is a very spiritual experience for me,” says Paul Plett. “It hits a tuning fork in [my] heart and my whole soul reverberates.”

The 30-year-old, who attends Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, is not only an avid film watcher but makes films himself. He recently completed work on Northern Folk, a documentary about folk music in Canada, as well as a three-minute science fiction film for children about a day in the life of a hologram.

Raising awareness, raising funds

Martin Bauman has been training for his 7,500-kilometre journey since last October. (Photo courtesy of Martin Bauman)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 01, 2016

A young man from southern Ontario is cycling across Canada this summer to raise awareness of mental health issues, while also raising funds for the Defeat Depression campaign.

Martin Bauman of Waterloo, Ont., embarks on the 7,500-kilometre trip on June 7, 2016. The ride will start in Vancouver and end in St. John’s, N.L., at the end of August. Riding under the banner, “Keep pushing: Martin’s ride for mental health,” Bauman hopes to raise $10,000, the majority of which will be allocated to the Waterloo-Wellington-Dufferin branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

‘It’s fun being on this ride together ...’

Arylla Inc. co-founders Benjamin Rasera, left, Perry Everett and Graham Thomas met at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Margaret Gissing)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 01, 2016

Three recent graduates of the University of Waterloo (UW), Ont., who resided at Conrad Grebel University College, are pouring their energies full-time into their own startup company.

Perry Everett, Graham Thomas and Benjamin Rasera graduated in April and are the founders of Arylla Inc., which aims to bring an end to the counterfeiting industry.

‘I am still holding out hope that I will be free of this one day’

Melanie Kampen manages her anxiety with medication, counselling and exercise. (Aaron Epp photo)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 18, 2016

What is it like being a young adult journeying with mental illness? Canadian Mennonite spoke with three people from Mennonite Church Canada congregations to find out.

Melanie Kampen

Melanie Kampen sought help for her anxiety when it got so bad last summer that she couldn’t get out of bed.

Six tips for better self-care

Self-care can go a long way to helping young people thrive, says Lynda Loewen, a counsellor at Recovery of Hope in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Loewen)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 18, 2016

From the time you are 15 or 16 to the time you are 26 or 28, your brain undergoes rapid cognitive changes.

“It’s the busiest time [of brain development] since early childhood, and it will never be that busy again,” says Lynda Loewen, a counsellor at Recovery of Hope, a program in Winnipeg run by Eden Health Care Services. “That time of rapid brain development is a huge part of the reason for impulsivity in that age range.”

Contradicting the status quo

Johnny Wideman co-wrote Yellow Bellies with his fellow Theatre of the Beat member, Rebecca Steiner. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 04, 2016 | 2 comments

After exploring lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer inclusion in the Mennonite church in This Will Lead to Dancing, the Stouffville, Ont.-based theatre company Theatre of the Beat is setting its sights on the experience of conscientious objectors (COs) for its new production.

Entitled Yellow Bellies, the play is a historical drama that highlights the experiences and public response to Mennonite COs during the Second World War. The episodic tale takes audiences across Canada, featuring verbatim interviews, fictionalized scenes and live music.

The things that are most worthwhile

Maia Fujimoto recalls feeling terrified when she started university. (Photo courtesy of Maia Fujimoto)

Young Voices | By Maia Fujimoto | May 04, 2016

The following article was originally given as a short speech at a community supper at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., where Maia Fujimoto lived in residence for two years.

Looking back on my years at university, I am always brought back to my first day at Grebel. It was a hot, sweaty day. I remember seeing crowds of students already mingling with each other and thinking, “How do they seem to already know each other?” Since living at Grebel, I have now learned what “the Mennonite Game” is and that first day makes more sense.

Climbing toward a greater unknown

David Dueckman, left, Scott Currie, Stephen Dahl and Matthew Jake Janzen are Oh Village. (Photo by Abbye Dahl)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 20, 2016 | 1 comment

Spending time with his band mates is one of the first things Oh Village singer/pianist Scott Currie mentions when asked about the best part of making Ocris, the band’s second full-length album.

“My favourite part of the week was Friday mornings,” the 21-year-old says. “Every Friday morning we would get together and just talk and hang out. Sometimes we would have breakfast and chat and discuss things not related to music, and just get to know each other as people. . . . Since the album’s [been] finished, that’s kind of one of the main things I miss.”

Outside his comfort zone

Moses Falco is pastor of Sterling Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 20, 2016 | 1 comment

Six months into his first pastoral job, Moses Falco feels very inadequate. “Am I really cut out for this?” and “Do I have the skills to be in this position?” are questions he has discussed with members of the church council and deacons.

Although he feels inadequate, Falco—who is the sole pastor at Sterling Mennonite Church, a Mennonite Church Manitoba congregation in Winnipeg with a membership of about 140—is confident that God, as well as his brothers and sisters in the church, will help him along.

Take a look, it’s in a book...

Katrina Sklepowich is the creator and host of ‘Literally, Katrina,’ a podcast exploring literature in Manitoba and beyond.

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 06, 2016

When Katrina Sklepowich was assigned to write a weekly blog as part of her school work, focussing on literature was an obvious choice.

“I love books and I’m always reading, so I thought I would have endless source material,” says Sklepowich, 26, who is finishing a diploma in creative communications, with a concentration in public relations and communications management, at Winnipeg’s Red River College.

Flipping on the pastor switch

Amanda Zehr was in high school when her pastor suggested she could work in the church some day. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Zehr)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 06, 2016 | 1 comment

Ask Amanda Zehr what her favourite Bible story is, and she points to John 9, where Jesus heals a blind man.

“It really questions who the blind one is,” says Zehr, associate pastor at Listowel Mennonite Church in southwestern Ontario. “In the end, it was the spiritual leaders who were blind, not the actual blind man. That [story] is important to me as a reminder to see things clearly.”

Researching the past to understand the present

Stefan Epp-Koop is the author of We’re Going to Run This City: Winnipeg’s Political Left After the General Strike. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Mar 23, 2016

“Why couldn’t I have been more interested in Caribbean history?”

That’s what historian Stefan Epp-Koop asked himself during a December 2007 visit to Winnipeg, as he trudged through a deep layer of fresh snow in -30 C weather to the City of Winnipeg Archives.

Epp-Koop was visiting the archives to research Winnipeg in the 1920s and ’30s. The research was for a major project Epp-Koop worked on while studying history as a master’s student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

Welcoming the vulnerable

Students and MCC staff from across Canada met in Ottawa in February to learn about refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. (Photo by Thomas Coldwell)

Young Voices | By Amy Matychuk | Mar 23, 2016

From Feb. 18-20, I was part of a group of 30 students and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff from across Canada who met in Ottawa for the annual MCC Student Seminar to learn about refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. We heard from United Nations staff, MPs, MCC staff who work with refugees, and volunteers who assist newcomers to Canada.

Helping students see beyond stereotypes

Students eat sticky rice, stir fry, spring rolls, dumplings and more on Hong Kong Day at RJC. (Photo courtesy of Valerie White)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Mar 09, 2016

When Naomi Chan moved from Hong Kong to Rosthern, Sask., for school, the only thing she knew about the town is that it’s small.

Chan, an international student at Rosthern Junior College (RJC), went from living in one of the world’s most densely populated metropolises, to living 40 minutes north of Saskatoon in a town of just 1,600 and attending a school with a student body of 75.

Savvy students scrutinize ‘digital citizenship’

Micah Neufeld, left, pictured with Aidan Morton Ninomiya, says Rockway’s digital citizenship event reinforced the importance of communicating with care online. (Photo by Charles Kruger)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Mar 09, 2016

For Ruth Charette, spending time online is a good way to both get her homework done and have fun playing games and watching funny videos. Using social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat, meanwhile, allows her to connect with her friends through pictures and videos, so they can keep each other updated on what they’re doing.

For all the benefits that the Internet and social media provide, Charette knows it is important to be safe. Her parents have taught her to be careful online, and to never give out personal information.