God at work in the World

‘Kill the bill’

Shaun Loney, executive director of Building Urban Industries for Local Development, at the microphone, addresses a Nov. 8 rally in Winnipeg against the federal government’s crime omnibus bill.

The federal government’s Bill C-10—part of a wider crime omnibus bill—had already met opposition in Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia by the time Manitobans rallied in opposition.



People of faith must call for climate justice

Mennonite Church Canada executive director Willard Metzger, right, marches through the streets of Durban, South Africa, in support of climate justice with other people of faith at the UN climate change conference last month.

Especially in the colder areas of Canada, people will sometimes facetiously say they are thankful for climate change when they experience unseasonably warm temperatures.

Metzger’s address on climate justice warmly received

Willard Metzger, MC Canada’s executive director, spoke to federal MPs and senators about climate justice earlier this year before heading to the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.

Whether the scientists are right or wrong about climate change is no longer the issue, Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada’s executive director (formerly general secretary), told about a dozen senators and MPs in Ottawa at a breakfast meeting on Oct. 25



Ministries set to expand

Mennonite Savings and Credit Union gave Mennonite Central Committee Ontario a half-million dollars towards its new $12 million complex in Kitchener, Ont.

Mennonite Savings and Credit Union recently gave a half-million dollars towards the new $12 million building project of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario at the latter’s Kent Avenue location.



Foot washing ends climate change protest

New Order Voice columnist Aiden Enns washes the feet of Kenton Lobe in downtown Winnipeg, Man., on Sept. 24 during a protest against climate change brought about by the West’s reliance on oil.

As the sounds of hymns overpowered the hum of car engines revving at a red light, a city transit bus had passengers clamouring to open windows out of curiosity about the sights and sounds of worship on the sidewalk around them.

Feds fund Foodgrains Bank with $125 million

Jim Cornelius, executive director of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, thanks Beverly J. Oda, minister of international cooperation, for providing a further $125 million over the next five years to help feed the world’s hungry people.

More assistance for more people in the developing world—that’s what a new five-year $125-million funding agreement from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) means for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.



Wall of Remembrance to COs dedicated

Henry Sawatzky, a former conscientious objector, came from the Altona Hospital to attend the dedication service of the Wall of Remembrance in Winkler, Man.

Pictured at the Wall of Remembrance in Winkler, Man., are former conscientious objectors Art Toews, left, John W. Giesbrecht, John L. Friesen and Jake Friesen.

A Wall of Remembrance erected in Winkler’s Bethel Heritage Park honours more than 3,000 young men who served as conscientious objectors (COs) in Manitoba during World War II. A Sept. 11 dedication service marked the completion of the wall constructed with 3,021 bricks, one for each CO.



H•U•N•G•E•R

‘One in six: Hunger’ was one of two works by Hamilton, Ont., artist Karen Thiessen on display at Conrad Grebel University College’s ‘Just Food’ exhi-bition last month. Thiessen’s piece had viewers wondering, ‘What do tires and barcodes have to do with justice and food?’

‘Is food a human right?’ panellists Clare Schlegel, left, and Steffanie Scott continue discussing the topic after the event at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo.

All the members of a panel convened by Rick Cober Bauman, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario’s di-rector, on Sept. 21 agreed that food security is a human right. But they did not agree on how to go about achieving it.


Financial crisis looms

Ray Koop, CEO for Bethania Group, and Ferdinand Funk, chaplain at Bethania Personal Care Home, stand in front of the Bethania facility.

What makes a Mennonite personal care home Mennonite? This question is central to the critical financial situation that the Bethania Group faces in its two personal care homes.


‘Churches are too quiet’

A banner on the shore of JeJu Island reads, ‘Stop the naval weapons base! No more relocation [of the base] to the beautiful village of Gangjeong!’

“The sad thing is, the churches are too quiet,” says Kyong-Jung Kim, director of the Korea Anabaptist Center, in Seoul, South Korea. “Either they don’t pay attention to this or they don’t want to step on boundaries that are not welcome by government.”



MCC expands response for East Africa drought

Ahada Kusoco Hassan, 23, cooks breakfast for her family in the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has surpassed its initial target of raising $1 million for the East Africa drought and is now expanding its response to the continuing crisis in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. At press time, nearly $2 million had come in, $1.6 million of it from Canadian donors and a further $300,000 from U.S. donors.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank commits $7.8 million to East Africa drought response

A typical ration for one adult for one day—as outlined by the World Health Organization—includes 460 grams of cereal, 50 grams of pulses, 50 grams of oil and five grams of salt.

Two new projects supported by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee—Canadian Foodgrains Bank member agencies—have been added to the Foodgrains Bank response to the food crisis in East Africa.



MCC requests funds for East Africa drought response

To help people of Kenya affected by the drought and food crisis, MCC will support food-for-work programs similar to the one these Kenyan men and women are working on. Sand dams help to conserve water that can be used for irrigation during the dry season.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is appealing for donations in response to a critical drought and food crisis in East Africa, which has affected about 11 million people.

Challenging the politics of empire

Cobus van Wyngaard, a pastor from the Dutch Reformed Church, left, and Mpho Putu, a pastor at a Vineyard church in Soweto, participate in the inaugural theological forum put on by the Anabaptist Network in South Africa. Both are members of the network’s steering committee.

As a young Christian man actively involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, Mpho Putu knew that some of the movement’s protest songs included themes of revenge killing that posed challenges to what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus.

Moving forward

MCC Binational chair Herman Bontrager, left, praises executive director Arli Klassen for her role in the New Wine/New Wineskins process.

The last Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) annual meeting likely to be held in Canada addressed issues related to the implementation of the New Wineskins strategy, a three-year process nearing its end.



Evacuation

“Where have you been today?” the customs officer at the Edmonton International Airport asked.



My wife Winifred named the places: “Meridian, Miss.; Atlanta, Ga.; Minneapolis, Minn., and here.”



“What have you heard about Slave Lake?”



“We haven’t heard anything since we left home eight days ago.”



Slave Lake burns while Valaqua road is flooded

All that’s left of the home of Abe and Rita Dyck of Slave Lake, Alta., after last month’s wildfire wreaked havoc to the town of 7,000.

The Water Valley bridge over Little Red Deer River flooded this spring, blocking access to Camp Valaqua from the north.

In the past month, wildfires in northern Alberta devastated the community of Slave Lake, with the resulting losses coming to the attention of both Mennonite Mutual Insurance (MMI) and Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), while in the south the swelling Little Red Deer River cut off access to Camp Valaqua from the north.



Paying the price to keep Winnipeg dry

Tony Peters looks at his flooded farmland. The Manitoba farmer hopes this year’s flooding prompts the province to re-examine its entire flood-protection system to better balance the negative effects of flooding.

While Winnipeggers remained dry and free from the worry of flooding this spring, this is not the case for farmers living near the Portage Diversion, including Tony and Astrid Peters and their family. Up to 75 percent of the Peters’ 405-hectare potato farm is engulfed by water.

Speaking with one voice

German Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns, who first proposed the Decade to Overcome Violence, speaks at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, an event held to celebrate the decade’s conclusion.

Thomas Finger, a former professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va., leads a workshop on ‘Peace: The lens for re-visioning Christian theology and mission,’ at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica.

Participants at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC)—held last month in Kingston, Jamaica, to celebrate the end of the Decade to Overcome Violence—released a message expressing their unified experience of a week-long exploration of a just peace and ways to navigate a path forward as they return to their homes and churches around the world.

Inspired to alleviate suffering

Disaster recovery studies graduate David Barker, second from right, poses with, from left, CMU president Gerald Gerbrandt and instructors Lois Nickel and Kenton Lobe.

Three years ago, in the middle of reading Roméo Dallaire’s traumatic first-hand account of the Rwanda genocide, David Barker decided his future would be in disaster response.

“It was the first time I read something about the actual suffering going on in the world,” says Barker, recalling his profound emotional response to Dallaire’s book, Shake Hands with the Devil.

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