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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.

EVI listening tour roundup

Clockwise from left: Sara Erb, Steph Chandler Burns, Kathy Janzen, Ed Janzen and Chris Brnjas consider the questions posed at the second Emerging Voices Initiative listening tour event on Nov. 11, 2016, at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | Jan 25, 2017 | 2 comments

Over the past three months, the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) conducted a cross-country listening tour, endeavouring to gauge the mood of Mennonite Church Canada congregants on what should happen next with the national church following the presentation of the Future Directions Task Force recommendations at last summer’s assembly in Saskatoon and the creation of a transition process to redefine the area and national churches.

Alberta names new area church pastor

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld has been hired as the new Mennonite Church Alberta area church pastor. Starting in February, he will combine this half-time position with a quarter-time role as Future Directions coordinator for the area church. As area church pastor, he will serve administrative roles relating to ordination and licensing, provide coaching and leadership support to pastors, and serve as a key link between the area church executive and congregations. He completed undergraduate degrees at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg (theology) and the University of Waterloo, Ont.

​‘Let him speak’

Beth Downey Sawatzky
God at work in the Church | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Jan 25, 2017

An Mennonite Church Manitoba meeting at Fort Garry Mennonite Church took a confrontational turn on Jan. 12, 2017, opening the floodgates of debate on just what it means for local congregations to “create space” for one another based on the Being the Faithful Church (BFC) 7 resolution passed at last summer’s general assembly in Saskatoon.

To distinguish the conversation at hand from any previous theological debates on same-sex unions, moderator Peter Rempel outlined three core areas for discussion:

Carving a new peace path

Teachers want to integrate peace education into their classrooms but don’t always have the time or resources to do so, Katie Gingerich says. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jan 25, 2017

A young woman in Waterloo, Ont., is using her passion for peace to positively impact students.

Katie Gingerich, 24, is director of The Ripple Effect Education (TREE), a peace-education initiative that integrates conflict resolution and social-justice concepts into social studies curriculum in elementary school classrooms.

‘Sparky’ music

Jill Wiens, left, Curtis Wiens, Zac Schellenberg and Clay Buhler are Sparky and the Plugs. (Photo courtesy of Zac Schellenberg)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jan 25, 2017

They might perform at cafes, bars and festivals throughout the Saskatoon area these days, but bluegrass quartet Sparky and the Plugs got their start playing music in church.

Guitarist Zac Schellenberg says that doing special music and accompanying hymns at Mount Royal Mennonite Church gave the group a safe place to get their feet wet.

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 | 7 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 | 7 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.

‘Everything turned into a sea for three days’

A local North Korean official takes a moment to survey the reconstruction efforts in Yonsa County following Typhoon Lionrock last fall. (Photo: John Lehmann, Mennonite Central Committee)

God at work in the World | By Rachel Bergen | Jan 11, 2017

Partners of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, are working to provide relief assistance for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by flooding and landslides in the isolated country.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 of 2016, heavy rains caused by Typhoon Lionrock pounded six counties of Hamgyong Province in the northeast part of the country. According to the United Nations, 138 people were killed, more than 100,000 were displaced and 600,000 others are in need of assistance.

Questions for an uncertain year

Donald Trump at the New Hampshire Town Hall at Pinkerton Academy, Aug. 19, 2015. (Wikimedia photo)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Jan 11, 2017

The year we left behind created big uncertainty for the year that lies ahead. Here is a glance at key questions that hang over what is sure to be an interesting and consequential year.

What will Trump do?

He is the most “un-ignorable” guy in the world. He dominated the news in 2016—including the year-end reviews of religious news outlets—and the biggest question of 2017 is how the decisions of his administration will play out in the U.S. and abroad.

‘Consult or consent’

Pictured from left to right, front row, at the ‘Consult or consent’ panel discussion in Winnipeg on Nov. 12, 2016: Grandma Shingoose, an elder who gave an opening welcome and prayer; Quebec MP Romeo Saganash; Sylvia McAdam, a co-founder of Idle No More; and Winnipeg MP Robert Falcon-Ouelette. (Photo by Rachael Howgate)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Jan 11, 2017

Mennonite organizations played a large role in putting on a public panel discussion on indigenous land rights in Canada and how they impact social groups at the community level, held late last year at Winnipeg’s Circle of Life Thunderbird House. Entitled “Consult or consent,” the event was sponsored by Mennonite Church Canada, the Canadian Mennonite University Student Council, and Kairos (of which Mennonite Central Committee is a member), along with three other organizations.

No longer alone

Ottawa Mennonite Church is located at 1830 Kilborn Avenue in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Jan 11, 2017 | 2 comments

In past years, there were only two Anabaptist congregations in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, one Mennonite Brethren and the other, Ottawa Mennonite Church, a member of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

But there has been an explosion of congregations of late: two new Mennonite Brethren associate congregations; a Brethren in Christ satellite of Oakville’s Meeting House; and four more MC Eastern Canada congregations: Church of the Living Word and Oromo Evangelical Church (both Ethiopian), Chin Christian Church, and Village International Mennonite Church.

Engraved on the heart of God

With the moon still peeking over the mountains and the stars twinkling in the clear sky, more than 60 people gathered together in the wee hours of Christmas morning at the Epp family farm in Yarrow, B.C., to celebrate Christmas with a sunrise service. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)

God at work in the Church | By Angelika Dawson | Jan 11, 2017 | 1 comment

With the moon still peeking over the mountains and the stars twinkling in the clear sky, more than 60 people gathered together in the wee hours of Christmas morning at the Epp family farm in Yarrow to celebrate Christmas with a sunrise service.

The service, entitled “While by my sheep,” was written by Heidi Epp, and included singing, monologues, Scripture reading and fireworks. Epp was very intentional about having the service outdoors and at sunrise.

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.

Painting for community

Teens from Kelsey Nowaczynski’s art classes at Edmonton’s Dan Knott Jr. High School painted a mountain scene mural on the walls of a therapy room at Southview Child Care, which is owned and operated by Edmonton First Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Dec 21, 2016

In an ironic coincidence, ugly graffiti was sprayed on the outside wall of Edmonton First Mennonite Church the same day that teenagers from a local junior-high school painted a beautiful mural on walls inside the church late last year.

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