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Voices Together committee seeks input

The Central Practices Committee, a part of the Voices Together hymnal project, includes, from left to right: Irma Fast Dueck, Isaac Villegas, Heidi Miller, Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Adam Tice and Allan Rudy-Froese. (MennoMedia photo)

Six people who have been meeting virtually for the last two years via videoconference gathered together in person for the first and only time this summer to speak through and listen to the worship resources that will be part of Voices Together, a new hymnal to be published by MennoMedia in 2020 for Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church U.S.A.

‘I need to go to school’

Kanku Ngalamulume and Kapinga Ntumba are orphans living in Tshikapa, where they fled to after their parents were killed in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (MCC photo by Mulanda Juma)

Ten-year-old Kanku Ngalamulume fled from his home in the village of Senge after armed groups beheaded his mother and father and his siblings too.

He was among 1.4 million people in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who have been forced from their homes as violence among local militias and the Congolese military erupted in August 2016.

Young people key to resilient church

César García, Mennonite World Conference general secretary, second from right, is pictured with, from left to right: Abby Hershberger, program assistant; Thien Tran, IVEP Intern; Katie Garrison, program Associate; and MCC UN office director Doug Hostetter. (MCC United Nations Office photo)

Throughout its history, the people of the Vietnam Mennonite Church have never failed to demonstrate their resilience and their commitment to live out the peaceful way of Christ.

The Holy Spirit transforms prison

Inmates in Asuncion’s infamous Tacumbú Prison participate in La Libertad Church, a ministry of the Mennoniten Brüder Gemeinde Concordia in Paraguay. (Photo courtesy of Ignacio Chamorro Ramirez)

“My members are rapists, kidnappers, murders and fraudsters—all washed by the blood of Jesus our Lord,” says Pastor Ignacio Chamorro Ramírez.

Chamorro is director of an integrated transformation program and pastor of La Libertad (Freedom) Church in Paraguay’s overcrowded Tacumbú national penitentiary. But he was once a prisoner like the men he serves.

Teaching with Talking Books

MEDA distributes Talking Book devices to share information related to agriculture, gender, nutrition, finance, buyers and suppliers, and other matters that affect Ghanaian farmers. (Photo by Christian Kuder)

Talking Books can be used by MEDA clients regardless of their level of literacy. (Photo by Christian Kuder)

Ghanaian lead farmers Mariama Majeed and her husband Majeed Sohinwini listen to their Talking Book. (Photo by Christian Kuder)

Teaching technical information to people who are mostly not literate can pose serious challenges. But if use of books isn’t helpful, Talking Books can get the message across.

Transmission of love and peace at European Mennonite gathering

In a cooperative effort, Mennonites at the 2018 European Mennonite Conference packed relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Claude Nardin)

Indonesian pastor Danang Kristiawan (right), who participated in MERK as a guest of the Dutch Mennonites, meets Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns. (Photo courtesy of Danang Kristiawan.)

“We can’t keep our story. We must share.” That is the message Danang Kristiawan brought home after attending the European Mennonite Conference (known by its German acronym MERK), from May 10 to 13, 2018.

The gathering of European Mennonites that occurs every six years was bigger than ever, with a total of 2,300 people attending some part of the program.

Spiritual snapshots of the U.K. and Africa

Cheryl and Mike Nimz have been Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers in the United Kingdom for five years. After itinerating in Canada for two-and-a-half months, they have returned to Birmingham, England, to continue their assignment. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Norm and Lillian Nicolson and their children Kenneth and Nadine have returned to Canada after many years in Burkina Faso. A celebration of their ministry was held at Edmonton’s Holyrood Mennonite Church on July 22, 2018. Mennonite Church Alberta presented each family member with a quilt as a ‘warm welcome’ to Canada. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Mike and Cheryl Nimz: United Kingdom

MC Canada staffer sentenced to seven days in jail

Steve Heinrichs and supporters gather for prayer outside the courthouse in Vancouver during his two-day trial on Aug. 7 and 8, 2018. (Photo by Brad Leitch)

Steve Heinrichs works on a statement to the court explaining the motivations for his act of civil disobedience, and how, in his mind, it was not in contempt of court or ‘the rule of law,’ but in defence of fundamental Indigenous human rights. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

Steve Heinrichs was found guilty of criminal and civil contempt of court in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Aug. 8, 2018, and was sentenced to seven days in provincial jail. He was immediately taken into custody and transferred to the North Fraser Institute in Coquitlam to serve his sentence. (Aug.

‘We became family to each other’

The plaque accompanying the painting reads: ‘“Congregation” by Tom Neufeld, pastor of TUMC, 1976-1979. Presented to CMU by members of Thompson [Man.] United Mennonite Church.’

George Epp, Ted Redekop and Jack Crolly—members of Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church from the 1970s—ski together. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Members of Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church at the Ospawagen church retreat in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Thompson (Man.) United Mennonite Church in 1982. (Photo by Marilyn Redekop)

“The Thompson group,” as they sometimes call themselves, at the hanging of the painting ‘Congregation’ on May 24, 2018 at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. They followed the dedication with a barbecue together. (Photo by Marilyn Redekop)

What do you get when you start a Mennonite church in the middle of nowhere? A community that is still going strong more than 50 years later, even after the church itself has closed its doors.

Where he leads me I will follow

Anna Dyck, front row centre, was ordained on Sept. 6, 1953, at North Star Mennonite Church in Drake, Sask. Seated beside Dyck are her mother, Suzanna Dyck, and J. J. Thiessen. Standing, from left to right: H. S. Bartel; Paul Schroeder, North Star Mennonite pastor at the time; and Hans Dyck. (Photo courtesy of Grace MacDougall)

Anna Dyck helped establish this church in Miyakonojo, Japan. (Photo courtesy of Grace MacDougall)

At a time when a woman’s sphere of influence was limited to hearth and home, Anna Dyck was making a difference.

Dyck spent nearly 40 years of her life as a missionary in Japan. During those years she lived in three communities and worked as a nurse, Bible teacher, pastor and church planter. She helped establish four congregations that are still in existence today.

Words to the wise

Eight people respond to the question: “If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?”

At the age of 18, most young people are making the transition from high school to whatever comes next. It’s a formative time with many possibilities. So Canadian Mennonite asked eight people: “If you could give your 18-year-old self some advice, what would you say?” This is how they responded.

The end in mind

Etch Your Own Stone is the follow-up to Sparky and the Plugs’ 2016 eponymous debut album. (Photo by Judith Schulz)

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

The members of Sparky and the Plugs grew up in Mennonite Church Canada congregations. They have been friends since they were teenagers. (Photo by Judith Schulz)

Etch Your Own Stone takes its name from the song ‘Stone Cutter,’ in which the singer asks: ‘How will people remember you when you die?’ (Photo courtesy of Sparky and the Plugs)

How will people remember you when you die?

That’s the question at the heart of “Stone Cutter,” one of the key tracks on Etch Your Own Stone, the new album from Saskatoon bluegrass quartet Sparky and the Plugs.

In the song, written by banjo player Curtis Wiens, the singer contemplates how he will spend his time on Earth.

Broken glass angels provide hope and jobs

Women artists produce angels from shards of glass at the Art and Culture Centre in Bethlehem, West Bank. Thousands of angels have been produced and sold worldwide. (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Inger Jonasson explains, “The angels of peace are messengers of justice, peace and dignity. And they have become an important lifeline for many Palestinian families in an area where 70 percent of the adult population used to be unemployed.” (Photo by Albin Hillert/WCC)

Originally, they were made of pieces of broken glass from the rubble an Israeli tank left behind when it slammed into the gift shop at the International Centre of Bethlehem (ICB) in 2002. Today the glass angels of peace are made of used bottles and have emerged into a small business enterprise employing around 50 people in the Bethlehem area.

Bridging the rural-urban divide to help end world hunger

Larry and Marg Dyck participate in the Grow Hope Niagara project of Canadian Foodgrains Bank. They donate use of the land and farm it with the financial help of urban sponsors. The income generated goes to the hunger relief efforts of Mennonite Central Committee Canada. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Grow Hope Niagara farmer Larry Dyck hosts city-dwelling sponsors who visit the farm to see the crop and learn more about the project and farming. Their financial support helps cover the cost of seeds and fertilizer so that all proceeds of the crop can be donated to relieve world hunger. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank photo)

Grant Dyck is the main farmer of Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s Grow Hope Manitoba near Niverville, Man. At the annual harvest celebration, he tells urban sponsors about the canola crop he raised to help relieve world hunger. The funds raised in Manitoba go toward the hunger relief efforts of MCC Canada. (Photo by Bethany Daman)

Fifteen acres of wheat and a good cause—that’s what brought nearly 200 people together in Pembina Crossing, Man., in June 2018.

Some drove two hours from Winnipeg, others five minutes from their rural homes. Most came from Anglican church communities in Winnipeg.

Theological conference builds graduate student connections

Small group discussions helped emerging Mennonite theologians reflect on how their studies relate to the church and the world. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

What surprised me the most at the graduate student conference hosted by the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre (TMTC) on June 14-16 was the prayer gathering that happened each morning. I expected that only two or three people would appear, but I was wrong; more than 20 people came. Of course, not everyone attended but a large number of people joined. 

South Korea recognizes rights of COs

SangMin Lee is believed to be the only Korean Mennonite to choose jail over military service. He was released in July 2015, after serving 15 months of an 18-month sentence. In June 2018, the Constitutional Court of Korea ruled against the practice of imprisoning conscientious objectors. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

The Constitutional Court of Korea brought an end to 70 years of imprisoning conscientious objectors when it ruled June 28 that it is unconstitutional for South Korea not to offer alternative service options for COs.

It is estimated that about 20,000 males have been punished for refusing military service since the first draft laws were enacted in 1950.

Willems statue commissioned for Manitoba museum

A Jan Luyken engraving of Anabaptist Dirk Willems saving his captor from drowning, published in Martyrs Mirror, 1685.

A peace exhibit committee has commissioned Manitoba sculptor Peter Sawatzky to build a bronze statue of martyred Anabaptist Dirk Willems. 

Based on an engraving of Willems, by Jan Luyken in Martyrs Mirror, the monument is intended to recognize the Anabaptist ideals of peacemaking.

Supporting uprooted people around the world

Mushiya Christine, left, Kayaya Lulula Clementine and Veronique Lumba Misenga take part in a support group for refugee seniors in Durban, South Africa. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

A camp for refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy of World Renew)

Jean Pierre Mpiana and Yabu Miadi carry a sack of corn flour, oil and beans they received during a distribution by the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Congo, an MCC partner. They were among 180 households of displaced people who received a three-month supply of food. (MCC photo by Mulanda Jimmy Juma)

Reverend Riad Jarjour, president of the Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, holds some of the contents of monthly food packages for Syrian families. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

Wanda Waldner, left, Najwa Hussein Al Mohamad, Elaine Hofer, Reyad Alhamoud, Paul Waldner and one-year-old Lee Waldner meet together at Green Acres Colony. (Photo by Ava Waldner)

There are more than 65 million displaced people worldwide—nearly double the population of Canada. The United Nations says this number is unprecedented and the need for humanitarian assistance is only growing. 

MCC U.S. boosts its immigration work with churches

MCC holds regular tours of the border between Arizona and Mexico to raise awareness of increasing migrant deaths, militarization, environmental degradation and effects on habitat and sister communities across the border. In this 2015 photo, a Borderlands Learning Tour saw three Romanian migrant women and a baby processed as asylum seekers. (MCC photo by Jorge Vielman)

Cindy Cumberbatch, an attorney from College Hill Mennonite Church in Tampa, Florida, works part time with the church, providing legal advice to immigrants in the area. (MCC photo by Andrew Bodden)

These cards and pen distributed by MCC immigration staff are practical resources that help immigrants know their rights. (MCC photo by Brenda Burkholder)

Immigration professionals Luz Rueda, Deborah Lewis, Quinita McKinney, Helen Stolinas and Gerardo Castillo Jimenez consult with MCC's Immigration Legal Training presenter Ayodele Gansallo, senior staff attorney with Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Philadelphia. (MCC photo by Brenda Burkholder)

As the U.S. government increases immigration enforcement, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. has been expanding its legal training, resources and educational opportunities for immigrants and advocates.

Ending with hope

Henry Paetkau addresses the final Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training fundraising dinner on June 5, 2018, five days after his retirement from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

May 3, 2018, was Henry Paetkau’s last day in the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada office, but he wasn’t quite done yet.

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