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Pan flutes from Palestine blow peace tunes

Flutes played in Hiroshima and Bethlehem

Web First - News from ENI | By By Hisashi Yukimoto | Sep 09, 2010

A Hiroshima-based group is holding peace concerts featuring  music with pan flutes made from Palestinian olive trees cut down by Israel to build a  separation wall that juts into Palestinian territories.

"I really would like to let the children in Hiroshima know that Palestine children see hope in a city that was rebuilt from destruction by the atomic bombing [in August 1945 during the Second World War]," the Rev. Yasuhiro Tateno, the originator of the group's "Hope for the children in Palestine" project, told ENInews.

U.S. churches asked to reach out to Muslims

Pastor Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Centre near Gainesville, Fl, has backed down from his plan to burn 200 Qurans on Saturday, Sept. 11, claiming he has worked out a deal with Muslims in New York City to move the proposed mosque to be built near Ground Zero.

Web First | By Open pastoral letter from Mennonite Central Committee U.S. | Sep 09, 2010 | 1 comment

In response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, many members of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ congregations reached out to Muslims in their communities to support and encourage them. In the face of ever-increasing anti-Islam sentiment, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. urges congregations to redouble those efforts.

Goshen Bible prof Shenk dead at 91

Stanley C. Shenk

Web First | By Goshen College news release | Sep 09, 2010

Goshen College Professor Emeritus of Bible Stanley C. Shenk passed away on Thursday, Sept. 2 at the Greencroft Healthcare Center in Goshen. Shenk, 91, taught Bible at the college from 1965 to 1985.

War Resisters now 'criminally inadmissable' in Canada

Web First | By By Esther Epp-Tiessen | Sep 09, 2010

OTTAWA--Over the summer months, there have been several new developments for war resisters seeking permanent residency in Canada.

Toews' message earns rebuke

Vic Towes, raised Mennonite, says the Tamil ship is run by criminal smugglers.

Web First | By By Carol Sanders | Sep 09, 2010

One of Canada’s leading church groups calls it “puzzling,” “unfortunate” and “disheartening,” that the pubic safety minister is stirring up fears the recent Tamil arrivals to Canadamay be linked to crime and terrorism.

Reimer dies two days after concert

James Reimer, left, visibly weak, is accompanied by Henry Schmidt, Ron Harder and Bob Janzen, as they perform the final concert of Five on The Floor.

Web First | By by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 09, 2010

A. James (Jim) Reimer died on August 28 just two days after the final concert of his beloved blue grass gospel quartet, Five on the Floor. The concert epitomized Reimer’s love for God, music and the church – it was a fundraiser for the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre which Reimer was instrumental in founding in 1991. He served as director of this institution which helps prepare teachers and theologians to train pastors and teachers in churches and educational institutions.  As Tom Yoder Neufeld said in the funeral sermon, “Jim loved the academy . .

Not a forecast of unseen things

Artbeat | By Reviewed by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 01, 2010

In his new book, Nelson Kraybill, most recently president of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart Ind., does not follow the Book of Revelation in a linear fashion, something that will be confusing for some. But it allows him to work on themes like emperor worship, the returning Nero myth, and the patronage system of client and patron.

Seeking higher ground

Floods have destroyed homes and livelihoods across much of Pakistan, including the Dera Ismail Khan District, pictured. Photo: Zafar Wazir, Church World Service

God at work in the World | By By Ross W. Muir | Sep 01, 2010

Pakistan’s worst floods in eight decades have killed more than 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of more than 14 million—about 8 percent of the population. With hundreds of thousands of homes already destroyed in what the National Management Authority is calling “the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history,” people there are in immediate need of basic necessities. About two million people are homeless and there are fears that outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera could create a health crisis.

Where will the children play?

Anne Driediger, a resident at Bethany Manor, speaks with a Saskatoon, Sask., city planner about the seniors complex expansion.

God at work in the World | By by Karin Fehderau | Sep 01, 2010

It’s a warm summer evening on the north side of Saskatoon and residents in this busy neighbourhood are enjoying the opportunity to cycle, walk, play tennis or rip up the tarmac at the nearby skateboard park.

The focal point for many of these activities is the park across the street from Bethany Manor, a large centre for retirees and seniors run by 12 different Mennonite churches. Tennis courts, a skateboard park and a grassy area are all sandwiched neatly into the park space and are widely used by the community.

A faith to die for

Jeffrey Bach (left), director of the Young Center at Elizabethtown College, Pa., checks out a copy of the Martyrs Mirror with Diane Windham Shaw of Lafayette College, Easton, Pa., (right).

God at work in the Church | By By Celeste Kennel-Shank | Sep 01, 2010

Martyrs Mirror is newer than the Bible and longer than some copies of it.

Like the Bible, though, the book has a powerful message for today, said James Lowry, a Mennonite historian from Hagerstown, Md. “Persecution, dungeons, shackles, chains are not something in our experience,” Lowry told an audience at the June 8-10, 2010, “Martyrs Mirror: Reflections Across Time” conference at Elizabethtown College.

MWC reports a good year

God at work in the Church | By By J. Lorne Peachey | Sep 01, 2010

“Mennonite World Conference is in good shape. There are no crisis areas. What we agreed to do, we have been able to do.”

With those words, general secretary Larry Miller, who will leave his post in 2012 after more than two decades of service, summarized the work of MWC to the Executive Committee when it gathered in Addis Ababa this summer for its annual meeting.

New commissions

Canadian environmental advocates profiled

God at work in Us | By Reprinted from July 2010 MCCN newsletter. | Sep 01, 2010

Sustainable communities require long-term planning

Joy and finances

Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Sep 01, 2010

Is it realistic to contemplate joy as a potential outcome of setting financial priorities? In our increasingly complex financial world this may seem naïve.

A fairly common metaphor for managing money that Mennonite Foundation of Canada staff use has three jars: one for share, one for save, one for spend. Nathan Dungan has developed this metaphor as part of his Financial Sanity program on This idea is not new in this column and has even generated some pointed response when potential percentages of income have been attached to the three-jar metaphor.

The grace of duty

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Sep 01, 2010

“Is it just about duty?” my friend wondered. “Is that the only reason to stay in the relationship? Duty seems so flat and colourless. What about joy and excitement and fun?”

It’s a good question. At the time, we were discussing marriages, and the times when it’s tough to hang in. When the appeal of personal fulfillment, self-actualization or “following one’s bliss” seems much more attractive than the dutiful plodding through the mundane terrain of keeping faith.

Time to prioritize

Viewpoints | By Lisa Carr-Pries | Sep 01, 2010

It’s September again. I’m sure I’m not alone when I acknowledge the variety of feelings that accompany fall’s arrival. We move from a season that is relatively free from structure into one where schedules and activities shape the rhythm of each day for the next eight to 10 months.

For discussion

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Sep 01, 2010

1. How homogeneous is your congregation? How long does it take for “outsiders” to feel welcome? What extra challenges does someone from a visible minority have to feel accepted? What should Mennonite congregations do so that people from other cultures can feel welcomed and included?

2. Do you think all Mennonite congregations should be intentionally multicultural? Why is it important? Can a denomination be called multicultural if it has congregations of different ethnicities, or does it require that most congregations have a good variety in the racial mix?

Who are our multicultural Mennonites?

The “What makes a Mennonite” brochure has been translated into Spanish, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Chin, while other language translations, such as Hmong and Laotian, are planned. These resources are available from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre, Winnipeg

Feature | By By Deborah Froese | Sep 01, 2010

Once upon a time, Mennonite congregations in Canada could largely define themselves by German or Swiss Mennonite heritage, but no more. Mennonite Church Canada congregations now represent an increasing variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds; currently, 49 of them worship in 19 languages other than English or German, including Amharic (Ethiopian and Eritrean), Cantonese, Chin, Hmong, Japanese, Karan, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Spanish, Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese.

Essentials for building a multicultural church

Feature | By By Joon-hyoung Park | Sep 01, 2010

According to research conducted by sociologists Curtiss Paul Deyoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey and Karen Chai Kim, 92.5 percent of Catholic and Protestant churches throughout the U.S. can be classified as “monoracial.” This term describes a church in which 80 percent or more of the individuals who attend are of the same ethnicity or race. The remaining churches—just 7.5 percent—can be described as multiracial.

One church, many peoples

Feature | By By Samson Lo | Sep 01, 2010

I travelled throughout Europe in the early 1980s. I had the opportunity to come across some Mennonites and learn something about Anabaptist history and teaching, preparing me for God’s leading to Vancouver, B.C., in the late ’90s, where I began serving with Chinese Grace Mennonite Church. In this capacity I was then elected to serve for six years on the Committee of Church Ministries for Mennonite Church British Columbia.

Becoming a multicultural church

Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C., is an intentional multicultural congregation. Pictured from left to right: John Cheny, Shigali Dembede, Alayne Cheny holding Naomi Cheny, pastor April Yamasaki, Janice Redekop holding Callahan Redekop, and Masako Moriyama.

Feature | By By April Yamasaki | Sep 01, 2010

In 1981, the newly formed Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew on Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 to express its purpose as a congregation: “To make disciples of all nations.” At the time, the intention was simply to begin an English-speaking church, but, in the years since, it seems to me that those words have proven to be more prophetic than anyone might have realized at the time.

How green is Canadian Mennonite?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 01, 2010

In a letter to Canadian Mennonite on June 28, Angelika Dawson of Abbotsford, B.C., charged that when we challenged Mennonite Central Committee and congregations to be more environmentally responsible in a previous issue, we “failed to point the finger back at [ourselves].”

Here’s an attempt to answer her specific questions:

Is your magazine printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks? No. When doing informal bids recently on printing with recycled paper and soy-based ink, I discovered we would likely double our paper costs.

Russian Patriarch unveils Kremlin icon hidden since 1917

Web First - News from ENI | By By Sophia Kishkovsky | Aug 31, 2010

A fresco of Christ on the Kremlin Wall in Moscow rediscovered after being plastered over during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution has been presented in a ceremony attended by Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

"The history of these icons is a symbol of what happened with our people in the 20th century," said Kirill at the 28 August ceremony. "It was claimed that true goals and values and genuine shrines were destroyed, and that faith had disappeared from the lives of our people."

Italian Protestant denominations approve same-sex blessings

Web First - News from ENI | By By Luigi Sandri | Aug 31, 2010

The joint synod of Italy's Waldensian and Methodist Protestant churches has, as the denominations' highest governing body, agreed to authorise the blessing of same-sex couples in church under certain conditions.

Synod president Marco Bouchard described the Aug. 26 decision as "a clear and firm step forward that needs to be placed into a context that will be better defined, especially the relationship between churches and homosexual couples".

US Presbyterian cleric to appeal same-sex marriage ruling

Web First - News from ENI | By By Chris Herlinger | Aug 31, 2010

A retired California Presbyterian minister, rebuked on charges that she violated her ordination vows by marrying same-sex couples, plans to appeal against a ruling that she said sent contradictory messages about the church's support of gay rights.

"Who does the Presbyterian Church think we are?" said the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, who is a lesbian. "We are they, they are us."

Kenyan church leaders say prayers for controversial law

Web First - News from ENI | By By Fredrick Nzwili | Aug 31, 2010

Kenyan Christian leaders said prayers at a national ceremony for the promulgation of a new constitution, although they strongly opposed the law in the referendum campaign that led to its adoption.

Church leaders campaigned against the acceptance of the new constitution, saying it permitted abortion, entrenched Muslim courts and limited religious freedom. They are now calling for the disputed clauses to be amended.