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Good things happening among Bolivia’s Old Colony Mennonites

During a trip to Bolivia earlier this year, Helen Funk, a Winnipeg-based Low German radio host, distributes her Low German cookbook, Met Helen en de Kjäakj/With Helen in the Kitchen, that she wrote at the request of Bolivian colony listeners.

God at work in the Church | By By Leona Dueck Penner | Sep 29, 2010 | 1 comment

Despite tragic reports of sexual assault, alcoholism and drug use among Old Colony Mennonite communities in Bolivia this past year, there are many good things happening there, which offer hope for a better future.

That’s the opinion of Helen Funk, a Winnipeg-based Low German radio host for Family Life Network who spent two weeks on a ministry-related trip to listeners there earlier this year.

The Mariposa Women and Children’s Shelter at Pailon is now open and offering counsel and support for victims of abuse.

Divinity detectives listen for the soul

Viewpoints | By By Melissa Miller | Sep 29, 2010

These are golden days on the Prairies as summer melds into autumn. Everywhere the eye gazes, it touches on gold. Fields of grain, cut or standing, are pale gold. The dust of harvest glows rose-golden in the sun’s rays. The yellow-gold of changing leaves adds another hue. And in the ditches, yellow flowers contrast brightly with the dull gold grasses.

Forming pastors, together

Viewpoints | By By Karen Martens Zimmerly | Sep 29, 2010

A young adult in her last semester of college and considering pastoral ministry takes the initiative to invite each pastor in her community for coffee so that she can learn from their wisdom and experience.

A middle-aged man, well-established in his career, volunteers in a seniors home to test a new call to ministry.

Despite a continuing passion for her calling, an experienced pastor feels unfulfilled in her career and joins a network of other pastors.

Are they worth it?

Viewpoints | By By Kevin Davidson | Sep 29, 2010

Life insurance considers their jobs more dangerous than munitions workers. Their profession has the second-highest divorce rate. Fifteen hundred of them leave their jobs each month. Their work has a negative impact on their families. If they work less than 50 hours per week, their chances of termination increase by 35 percent. And the list goes on and on. Who are they? Pastors!

For discussion

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Sep 29, 2010

1. What types of web-based technology does your congregation use? In your experience, how has the Internet benefited your church? Are there ways in which it has harmed the sense of community?

2. Will Braun quotes Ralph Lebold as saying that “the heart of the life of the church” is in “the quality of relationships.” If this is true, how important is web-based technology for churches? Would you feel comfortable receiving pastoral care via Facebook? Does the use of technology change who we are?

The gospel according to Google

After more than a decade of living without a computer—he hauled his old one to the dump—Ralph Lebold of Waterloo North Mennonite Church, Waterloo, Ont., is back online. He now calls himself a ‘converted Luddite.’

Feature | By By Will Braun | Sep 29, 2010

Just over 50 percent of Mennonite Church Canada congregations have their own websites. Next year that number will be higher.

Discerning the ‘liturgical core’

Editorial | By By Dick Benner | Sep 29, 2010

With music being so much a part of the Mennonite DNA, is it any wonder that the spectre of a new hymnal brings some trepidation to the congregational scene?

Conversion: As Scales Falling from the Eyes

The late Jim Reimer, a member at Rockway Mennonite Church since 1975, was a regular preacher and was instrumental in starting a lay preaching team, according to Scott Brubaker-Zehr, pastor. Started as a church plant of First Mennonite 50 years ago, Rockway's active membership is 157.

Web First - Sermons | By Sermon by A. James Reimer, given March 28, 2010 | Sep 28, 2010 | 1 comment


I have chosen two texts to illustrate my sermon, which are not part of today’s lectionary selections: the conversion of Paul described in Acts 9 (vs. 10-19), and the healing of the man born blind in John 9 (vs. 1-12). In the first, we read of Saul travelling to Damascus, being struck down blind by a light from heaven and addressed by the risen Jesus, whose followers Saul has been persecuting.

Rabbi warns of 'new intifada'

A Palestinian man works at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yakir, south of the Palestinians town of Nablus.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Judith Sudilovsky | Sep 27, 2010

Hours after a freeze on West Bank Israeli settlement construction expired, bulldozers moved into an area close to Revava, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, with many residents mindful of an earlier reminder that settler activity can be volatile.

At a joint press conference in Paris with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on Monday, Sept. 27, expressed his regret that Israel had not extended the moratorium on new settlement building which had expired at the preceding midnight.

Muslims call for religion in school

Bulgarian clergymen and Orthodox believers marched on Sept. 24 to voice their support for the introduction of a mandatory religion course in schools, submitting a petition to that end in Parliament and to the Government.--Photo by Georgi Kozhouharov

Web First - News from ENI | By By Ivan Andreev | Sep 27, 2010

The head of Bulgaria's Muslim community has announced his backing for a campaign by the country's Orthodox Church to make religious education compulsory in schools. 

The church held a mass march in Bulgaria's capital of Sofia on Sept. 24 in support of its aim as protestors shouted against "60 years of atheism", introduced during the communist era.

UN summit gets mixed grades

Robert J. (Jack) Suderman, recently retired general secretary for Mennonite Church Canada, urged world religious leaders to "stop teaching and justifying violence" in our faith communities, as part of a World Religious Summit this past June. His appeal got into the language of the 8 goals.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Chris Herlinger and Peter Kenny | Sep 24, 2010

Political leaders at the summit acknowledged that progress towards achieving the eight MDGs by 2015 is not where it should be

Publishing/Third Way merge

Ron Rempel, who retires next summer as executive director of MPN after seven years, eliminated a legacy debt of almost $5 million; created a major new Sunday school curriculum, called Gather ‘Round; and brought costs under control through consolidation and downsizing.

Web First | By By John Longhurst | Sep 24, 2010 | 1 comment

Dynamic, innovative, fully-integrated and multi-media—that’s the goal of a new organization to be formed out of an integration of Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, and Third Way Media, a department of Mennonite Mission Network.

Prayers for peace in Africa

During “21 days of Peace Activism” Africa Youth Ministries in northern Uganda invited 900 churches to pray, sing, march, and debate together for peace.

Web First | By World Council of Churches release | Sep 22, 2010

 “We pray for Africa, especially for Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo where violence and suffering are a tragic reality,” was the prayer from Nairobi at an International Day of Prayer for Peace event sponsored by the All-Africa Conference of Churches.

In Jos, Nigeria, prayers for peace included Muslims and Christians praying together in the wake of community and church burnings, looting and killings.

Stop devastation of Jordan River

Friends of the Earth Middle East do a big jump into the Jordan River.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Judith Sudilovsky | Sep 22, 2010

The European Parliament has expressed concern at devastation to the Jordan River and has called on Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to "cooperate and rehabilitate" it.

The river holds special importance for Christians due to the Bible saying Jesus was baptised in it.

Still Speedy after all these years

Phil Helmuth, executive director of development at EMU, accepts the keys and title to Margaret Martin Gehman's 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Photo by Jim Bishop

Web First | By By Jim Bishop | Sep 20, 2010

At age 88, Margaret Martin Gehman of Harrisonburg has lost a little of her trademark drive, largely because she has parted company with a faithful friend.

Dr. Gehman and her trusty, albeit a bit rusty, mechanical steed, a blue 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, are almost synonymous to many observers. For years she motored the streets of the greater Harrisonburg area even though she preferred walking to as many destinations as possible. She has been a
resident of Park Place at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community since

Church burns near site of Russian tsar's remains

The monastery was founded in 2000 at the old mine where the bodies were dumped during the Revolution. --BBC photo

Web First - News from ENI | By By Sophia Kishkovsky | Sep 20, 2010

Fire has destroyed one of the main churches at a monastery near where the remains of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II and his family were dumped after they were murdered by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918. 

Indonesian church leaders call attack on Christians 'barbaric'

Police officers stand guard as Pondok Timur Indah Christians worship in a field in Bekasi. --AP photo in the Jakarta Globe

Web First - News from ENI | By By Hisashi Yukimoto | Sep 17, 2010

Leaders of the Protestant Christian Batak Church, a Lutheran church in Indonesia, have condemned the beatings and stabbings of its pastor and church members in Bekasi, outside the capital Jakarta in West Java, on Sept. 12.

"Rev. Mother Luspida Simanjuntak, Mr Sintua Hasian and several other church members were suddenly attacked by some unidentified men riding a motorcycle," said Bishop Bonar Napitupulu and the general secretary, the Rev. Ramlan Hutahaean, on Sept. 15. 

Pope's visit to address skepticism

Pope Benedict arrives in Edinburgh today, Sept. 16, where secularism is growing and Christianity is declining.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Trevor Grundy | Sep 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is likely to focus on religious freedom during the first official State visit by a pontiff to Britain, where secularism is growing and Christianity declining.

The Pope is also likely to face scrutiny at a time of global questioning of secrecy in the Roman Catholic Church and the attitudes of its hierarchy on social issues that are seen as out of step with the norms of many people.

Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite to dedicate new facility

Chinda Kommala, pastor of the Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite, shows members of the Mennonite Men (now Joint Hands) the new worship centre in Toronto toward which the MM donated $40,000. The presentation was made at a “Join Hands” luncheon meeting held at Assembly this summer in Calgary.

Web First | By Dick Benner | Sep 15, 2010 | 1 comment

When Chinda Kommala opens the doors next Sunday, Sept. 26, to a newly-renovated 2,000-square foot worship centre, known as Unit 23 in the 70-unit commercial/professional mall on the corner of Westin and Finch, it will be a celebration of mammoth proportions, but not without struggle.

Heaven trumps hell in Canadian poll

Web First - News from ENI | By By Ron Csillag | Sep 15, 2010

-"Hell is a half-filled auditorium," wrote the U.S. poet Robert Frost.

In Canada, it's slightly less full.

According to new poll, a bit more than half of Canadians believe in heaven, but less than a third believe in hell, Religion News Service reports.

About 53 percent said they believe in life after death; about 27 percent said they believe in reincarnation and half expressed belief in religious miracles.

350 reasons to care for the Earth

Christine Penner participates in Hope Mennonite Church’s YouTube video that presents 350 biblical reasons for Christians to care for the Earth.

God at work in the World | By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Sep 15, 2010

Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg produced a video for YouTube expressing its belief that God calls Christians to look after creation.

The idea was conceived on Peace Sunday, November 2009. On that Sunday, the congregation divided into small groups to discuss how they could make a public declaration for peace.

“One group focused on the issue of creation care, as this was the passion of one particular member of that group,” recalls Pastor Lynell Bergen. “And somehow the idea of doing a video for YouTube came up.”

Recovering a tradition of preserving food

Artbeat | By By John Longhurst | Sep 14, 2010 | 1 comment

Not that long ago, many people knew how to preserve food. Information about canning, freezing and drying was passed down from generation to generation. But that’s not the case today, say Susanna Meyer and Mary Clemens Meyer, co-authors of Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze or Dry Almost Anything, a new book from Herald Press.

“Many younger people today want to preserve food, but don’t know how to do it,” says Susanna. “Maybe their grandmother canned, or their mother used to, but that generational knowledge hasn’t been passed down.”

Caring about how we deal with our money

Like most CEOs, Brent Zorgdrager finds his desk at the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union head office in Kitchener, Ont., filled with work.

God at work in Us | By by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 14, 2010

Brent Zorgdrager’s surname translates from Dutch to English as “sorrow carrier or caregiver,” an apt description of the new chief executive officer of Mennonite and Savings Credit Union.

Zorgdrager had been an assistant vice-president and CFO of group retirement savings in the Canadian division of a large insurance company before coming to the credit union as its chief financial officer in 2006.

25 years of silence

Gene and Mary Herr opened the Hermitage in 1985. This photograph was taken in 1996.

God at work in the Church | By By Will Braun | Sep 14, 2010

Technically, there is no such thing as a Mennonite monk. But if you travel to a remodelled century-old barn in the rolling countryside of southern Michigan, you will find some decidedly monk-like Mennonites. At the Hermitage—a Mennonite-run spiritual retreat centre—directors David and Naomi Wenger welcome pilgrims to a setting of quiet, stillness and prayer.

Hi, my name is Imvu

Imvu enjoyed the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament held in South Africa this summer.

God at work in the World | By By Deborah Froese | Sep 14, 2010

A passion for writing children’s stories and a desire to engage children in church life gave birth to Imvu, a small knitted sheep who connects Mennonite Church Canada ministry in South Africa with children around the world.