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COVID-19 global response fund helps more Global South churches

The Mennonite church in Venezuela celebrates Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

“I have seen entire families in the garbage dumps looking to quench their hunger. I have also watched with sadness as they return the elderly from the hospitals because there are no possibilities to attend them, nor medicines to supply them,” said Erwin Francisco Mirabal González, a Mennonite pastor in Venezuela.

Palestinian advocacy persists amid pandemic, Middle Eastern turmoil 

Bethlehem Bible College, which serves Arab speakers in Palestine-Israel and beyond, was founded in 1979. Its first president, Bishara Awad, worked with Mennonite Central Committee in Bethlehem and spent a year at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in the 1980s.

Carolyne Epp-Fransen, centre, speaks on behalf of the MC Manitoba working group at a September 2018 symposium on international law, hosted by several Winnipeg advocacy groups. To her left is Dean Peachey, a fellow working-group member. Featured speaker Michael Lynk, second from right, was the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian Territories. (Photo by Gordon Epp-Fransen)

Facing the camera, Chloe Hiebert Bergen, left, and Carolyne Epp-Fransen of the MC Manitoba working group tend a literature table at an April 2018 lecture at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, featuring Anglican Palestinian theologian Naim Ateek. (Photo by Gordon Epp-Fransen)

Jack Sara.

Like other educational institutions around the world, the West Bank’s Bethlehem Bible College has been broadsided by the COVID-19 pandemic. Campus lockdowns, infections among staff, a greater dependence on online instruction—all have been the new reality, in addition to the ongoing political uncertainties in the region.

MWC shifts Assembly 17 to 2022

A band leads worship at Assembly 16 in Harrisburg, Pa., in 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Charles)

In close consultation with the national advisory committee in Indonesia, the host country, the executive committee of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) has decided not to hold Assembly 17 in 2021, as originally announced. Instead, MWC has decided to postpone its next global assembly until July 5-10, 2022. 

Church seeks to boost ‘helping fund’ for people affected by pandemic

Fiona Brown, Leamington United Mennonite Church’s treasurer, and Hugo Tiessen, finance committee chair, have launched an initiative to boost the church’s Oak Street Helps Fund by $50,000 in light of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Linda Tiessen)

Windsor-Essex County in southwestern Ontario has drawn a plethora of attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to ongoing outbreaks and high occurrences of infections in specific sectors, the virus is still taking quite a toll in the region, despite the efforts of many.

MCC responding to explosion in Beirut

The city of Beirut, Lebanon, shown here in this panoramic view before the explosion, was damaged extensively Tuesday by an explosion thought to be caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate. (Photo by dasMaddin/iStock)

Mennonite Central Committee is responding to the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, that caused extensive damage throughout the capital city on Aug. 4. 

The blast is believed to have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate, used for fertilizer and explosives, stored unsafely in a warehouse at the city’s port.

Remembering the 1990 MWC assembly in Winnipeg

More than 20,000 Mennonites flocked to Winnipeg Stadium for the closing service of the 1990 Mennonite World Conference Assembly. (All photos courtesy of Mennonite Church USA Archives)

On this day 30 years ago, Manitoba Mennonites were playing host to a global assembly of Anabaptists.

The 12th Mennonite World Conference Assembly took place in Winnipeg, Man. from July 24-29, 1990. The once-every-six-years event drew more than 12,000 registrants, including 1,600 from nearly 70 countries outside of North America. The theme was, “Witnessing to Christ in today’s world.”

EU grant helps MCC support peacebuilding projects in Middle East

A presenter with Peace Organization, a Syrian non-profit organization, stands during a peace dialogue in Damascus, Syria. (Their name is withheld for security reasons.) At these sessions, held last fall, youth discussed the definition of peace, the role of young people in building peace, and how to start a peace initiative. (Photo courtesy of Peace Organization)

Representatives from 17 Middle Eastern non-profit organizations participated in an August 2019 conference in Broumana, Lebanon, hosted by MCC and its partner organization, Development for People and Nature Association. The conference kicked off a European Union-funded initiative intended to empower the organizations to promote peace. (MCC photo by Garry Mayhew)

With a 994,000-euro grant (C$1.5 million) from the European Union, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is empowering organizations to implement peacebuilding projects across four Middle Eastern countries.

MWC holds online prayer hour on Pentecost

A screen grab of the Mennonite World Conference’s online prayer hour Pentecost service.

“There is lockdown and physical distancing, but even so, we can meet in prayer,” said Hanna Soren, a member of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Deacons Commission, who offered a prayer at the close of the organization’s first online prayer meeting on May 31. “From different countries, we can come together and pray together in this way.

MC Eastern Canada terminates retired pastor’s ministerial credentials

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada has terminated Waterloo resident Wilmer Martin’s ministerial credentials, citing ministerial misconduct and ministerial sexual misconduct. (Facebook photo)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada has terminated a retired pastor’s ministerial credential after investigating him for ministerial misconduct and ministerial sexual misconduct. The regional church made the announcement about Wilmer Martin, 75, of Waterloo, Ont., on June 16.

Still friends after all these years

The 2018-19 Manitoba-Germany Exchange students from Manitoba head off to Germany for three months of living in their exchange partners’ homes. (Photos courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)

For the first time in the Manitoba-Germany Exchange’s 40 years of existence, Canadian students will not be able to reunite with their exchange partners in Germany this spring, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Embodying God’s mission with authenticity

The team planning the 2020 Mennonite Church Canada study conference is, clockwise from top left: Gerald Gerbrandt; Kim Penner (right, pictured with her partner); Doug Klassen; Ryan Siemens; and Marilyn Rudy-Froese. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

“Table talk: Does the church still have legs,” the 2020 Mennonite Church Canada study conference, is a virtual event happening on Oct. 24. Plenary speakers from MC Canada-affiliated schools will share on themes of ecclesiology, worship and mission.

Providing a place to call home

This building in Markham, Ont., will provide 32 much-needed affordable housing units thanks to the efforts of volunteers with MICAH, who persevered with the construction through the pandemic. MICAH is supported by 13 area churches, including three Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Mike Clare)

Affordable housing “changes lives.” It is a “human right that enables individuals and families to flourish.”

These convictions motivated Anne Nicholson and other members of the Markham Inter-church Committee for Affordable Housing (MICAH) to persevere with a recent building project despite the “unique challenges” presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Regional churches of Mennonite Church Canada call for prayer

(Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter/Pixabay)

As rallies and protests continue across the United States and Canada in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, the five regional churches of Mennonite Church Canada released a statement yesterday asking congregations to set a specific time of prayer this coming Sunday, June 7.

Remembering Helen Martens

Helen Martens, the first music professor at Conrad Grebel University College, plays the piano and leads a Grebel choir in 1969. (Photo by David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Helen Martens, Conrad Grebel University College’s first music faculty member, passed away on April 9 at the age of 92, surrounded by family in Winnipeg. She last visited Grebel in 2013 during the college’s 50th anniversary.

French Anabaptists gather online to worship, celebrate

Michel Monette, catalyzer minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, back row centre, is pictured with the Centre Bethésda Mennonite de Quebec, a French-speaking church plant. (Photo by Charles Tebena)

Serge Gravel describes meeting with other French Anabaptists online like getting a dose of Vitamin C fortified with Vitamin D and zinc, in order to gain spiritual victory and encouragement, enthusing about how good it was to see the radiant faces and shining eyes of everyone.

MennoMedia: Do not sing together if you are gathering physically for worship

(Image by 微博/微信:愚木混株/Pixabay)

With stay-at-home orders being lifted across much of the U.S. and Canada, churches are thinking about what it will look like to open their doors again. Yet because the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us, it is up to churches to consider how to do so safely. 

Watch: Quarantine viewing ideas

"Everyone has their own needs, their own ways of engaging with film..." (Image by Jan Vašek/Pixabay)

Looking for a movie to watch? Sue Sorensen has some suggestions for you.

Sorensen, an English professor at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, is featured in a series of five short videos CMU posted to its YouTube channel earlier this month. 

Each video features a film that Sorensen recommends watching, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MCC announces program cuts, changes due to COVID-19

Tha Thi Ke stands in her family’s first cornfield in Vietnam’s Phu Tho Province. In 2001, MCC encouraged farmers to grow winter corn crops and find other ways to supplement income from their rice yields, helping them remain on their land rather than being forced to migrate. (MCC photo by Jack Leonard)

Mushiya Christine, Kayaya Lulula and Veronigue Lumba Misenga took part in a support group for older refugees in 2017, run by MCC partner Refugee Social Services in Durban, South Africa. These elders can feel isolated and stressed, but home visits and support groups help them feel connected. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has scaled up its work to respond to the global crisis, increasing projects related to water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH), local health initiatives and food relief.

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