News

‘Who will answer the call?’

South Sudanese Mennonite Church women lead worship in the Gambela region in Ethiopia in January. (Photo by William Tut)

Pictured from left to right are the leaders from the South Sudanese Mennonite Church in Edmonton: Gatroup Mut, William Tut and Pastor Reuben Tut. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Mennonite children from South Sudanese refugee camps in Ethiopia smile for the camera after a church service. (Photo by William Tut)

South Sudanese Mennonites prepare to worship and beat their drums. (Photo by William Tut)

Leaders from Edmonton’s South Sudanese Mennonite Church are serving as connectors between refugees in Ethiopia and other Mennonites in Alberta.

Planting seeds in their community

Congregants walk a labyrinth set up in the church, a rich tradition at Seeds. (Photo by Ted Enns-Dyck)

Darlene Enns-Dyck, co-lead pastor of Seeds Church, reads a story at children's time. (Photo by Ted Enns-Dyck)

Seeds Church celebrates its 20th anniversary in a low-key way, with birthday cake. (Photo by Ted Enns-Dyck)

Seeds Church celebrated its 20th anniversary on the first Sunday of 2020. But instead of throwing on party hats and revelling in the past two decades, the congregation faced forward and asked the question, “What about the next 20 years?”

‘Jesus Christ: Our hope’

Local participants in the Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday service in St. Catharines, Ont., included, from left to right: Louise Wideman, Ben Falk, Bounnho Phommaseng, Herb Sawatzky, Jim Friesen, Rob Patterson, Michael VandenEnden, John Rempel, Ed Willms, Mike Sherbino and Kenol Bernard. (Photo by Rob Patterson)

César García, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference (MWC), preached the Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday sermon at Scott Street Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catharines to a diverse group of Anabaptist worshippers. Entitling his sermon, “Jesus Christ: Our Hope,” he said, “On this Sunday [Jan.

‘Mennonite’ ministry flourishes

The reception area at the new Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers location in downtown Edmonton. (Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers photo)

Newcomers learn English at the new Language Learning Centre in Edmonton. (Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers photo)

In May 1981, the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers opened its doors with 1.5 full-time-equivalent employees, one classroom and a little office. It was started by six Mennonite churches in Edmonton that saw settlement services for newcomers were inadequate and felt convicted that God called them to welcome the stranger.

Compelled by Christ to serve

An interior view of a refugee train with a family of Mennonites from Schoenwiese, southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). (MCC photo by A.W. Slagel)

Mennonite refugees leave the harbour at Bremerhaven, Germany, on the Volendam in 1947. The group, led by Peter and Elfrieda Dyck, was the first of three groups of Mennonite refugees transported by the Volendam to South America in 1947 and 1948. Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, MCC helped resettle thousands of Mennonite refugees from Europe. (MCC photo)

MCC U.S. executive director Ron Byler and MCC Canada executive director Rick Cober Bauman stand in front of the former Jakob Dyck lumber mill, the site of MCC’s first relief kitchen in Khortitsa, Ukraine. (MCC photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

“At the railroad stations, the sight was appalling. The moment the train halted it was besieged by living skeletons. From out of the rags were lifted bare arms, the wasted fingers extended toward the car windows in entreaty for food. 

“‘Bread, in God’s name, bread!’ ”

Sharing stories that spell MCC

Kathy Braun, left, tells the children at Osler Mennonite Church that it takes a lot of people to do the work of Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Adeline Cox)

Holding up letters that spell Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), members of Osler Mennonite Church demonstrate that the work of MCC is a group effort. (Photo by Adeline Cox)

During the Sunday school hour, Jake Buhler recalls the 20 years he and his wife Louise, spent under MCC in Vietnam and Thailand. (Photo by Adeline Cox)

Loretta Sawatzky reflects on her year of service under the Intermenno Trainee Program with her husband Lloyd in Switzerland. (Photo by Adeline Cox)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and one Saskatchewan congregation got off to an early start in celebrating it.

Osler Mennonite Church chose Jan. 26 as “MCC Sunday,” inviting MCC Saskatchewan executive director Eileen Klassen Hamm to be its guest speaker. 

Making food stories meaningful

Paul Plett, right, whose documentary Seven Points on Earth was featured at this year’s Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel College, chats with Lester Bechtel, who funds the annual lecture series as a way to make the academic world accessible to a broader audience. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

As part of the 2020 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist-Mennonite Studies, Conrad Grebel University College hosted a farmers breakfast (pictured) and panel discussion, focusing on the way farming, food, family and faith come together in our various lives. The panelists sparked lively conversation as participants shared their stories and experiences. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

Mennonite farmers have a lot in common. They see themselves as stewards of the land, they live with uncertainties, and they take pride in what they produce, but they farm in dramatically different ways. 

At the annual Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College, on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Mennonite farmers shared their diverse stories of food production.

Who do you support when a community is divided?

‘As people who believe in nonviolence, we cannot stand silent as the RCMP uses force and threat of force against people,’ says Rachelle Friesen, CPT's Canada coordinator. (Photo courtesy of CPT)

“The province of British Columbia alongside Coastal GasLink are continuing their plans to build a pipeline through the unceded territories of the Wet’suwet’en.

Mennonite Women Canada disburses its final assets

Mennonite Women Canada executive members met for a final time at Gathering 2019 in Abbotsford, B.C. Pictured from left to right: Shirley Redekop, president; Elsie Rempel, secretary/treasurer; and Liz Koop, communications coordinator. (CM file photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

In spite of the sadness involved in bringing the Mennonite Women Canada (MW Canada) organization to a close, Shirley Redekop, the final president, expressed confidence that “God is still at work in our midst—bringing forth new shoots, new growth and renewed purpose among women of faith.”

Preacher calls mission and service workers to Jesus-centred discipleship

Bruxy Cavey addresses the Council of International Anabaptist Ministries at its annual conference, held from Jan. 14 to 16 at The Meeting House in Oakville, Ont., where he is the senior pastor. Cavey called for Jesus-centred, relational discipleship as the way to engage new missional church leaders. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Bruxy Cavey’s message to mission and service leaders in Anabaptist organizations was plain. “We have lost a younger generation of leaders because the church has been so divided,” he said. “To fight for unity will be one of the most powerful things this next generation of leaders, young and old, can do together.”

MCC celebrates 100 years of global ministry

This feeding centre in Trans-Volga, Russia, circa 1922, was one of 140 MCC-supported centres in southern Russia that distributed 38,600 rations daily at the peak of the relief effort in 1922. This kitchen excelled most other kitchens in cleanliness and orderliness. (MCC photo)

A Spanish child benefits from an MCC feeding program in Lyon, France, in 1941. MCC began work with Spanish refugees who had fled to France in the wake of the Spanish Civil War. This relief work continued into the early years of the Second World War. Throughout 2020 MCC is celebrating 100 years of global service. (Photo: Mennonite Central Committee)

Marlene Epp, left, Shirley Froese, Katie Harder and Betty Brown tie a comforter at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta. (Photo by Veronica Morales)

Comforter knotters at First Mennonite Church in Edmonton were joined by members of the Islamic Family and Social Services Agency. Pictured from left to right: Joan Perrott, left, Dolly Jeffares, Marah Rafih, and Sana Almotlak. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Sharlene Christie, Jeanette Thiessen and Barb Goosen work on a comforter at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary. Twenty-eight people worked together to complete eight comforters. Three men made lunch for the 25 women and one child who worked on the comforters. (Photo by Linda Dickinson.)

MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up in B.C. drew several generations of volunteers to work together on blanket-making at Ross Road Community Church in Abbotsford. The youngest were Brielle, 5, and Hannah Balzer, 8, who helped their parents and grandparents tie comforters . Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond held its own event the same day. Altogether, B.C. stitchers completed 615 blankets. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Many hands came together to pin, stitch and fold material into comforters and blankets for MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up Jan. 18 at Ross Road Community Church in Abbotsford, B.C. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Volunteers at the MCC Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catherines, Ont., show customers how to knot comforters. (Photo by John Himes)

Tim Albrecht, general manager of the Christian Benefit Thrift Store in St. Catharines, Ont., third from left, helps volunteers knotting comforters for MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up event. Over three days, 18 comforters were created with the help of 21 volunteers. (Photo by John Himes / Text by Maria H. Klassen)

Clockwise from left, Tracy Wright, Rebecca Janzen, Daniela Stahl, Isaac Wright and Lena Regier tie a comforter together at North Kildonan Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, where 350 participants and volunteers made 210 comforters. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Participants learned each step of the comforter making process, from cutting squares to sewing edges to proper knot-tying etiquette, with this sample comforter. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

During a break from the annual meeting of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada on Jan. 18 at Camp Peniel, north of Montreal, Alain Després and Richard Lougheed take time to tie a few knots in a comforter for Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Barb Wolfe ties a quilt at Rosthern (Sask.) Junior College during MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

One hundred years ago, calls for help came from Mennonites in southern Russia, where war, disease and famine had left them in desperate straits.

Life on the geographic fringes of MC Canada

Nordheim Mennonite Church in the village of Winnipegosis, Man., is a four-hour drive northwest of Winnipeg.

Mennonite Church Canada is characterized by various geographic concentrations of churches, some thicker than others. But a few congregations exist far from any other MC Canada sisters and brothers. What is church like in the farther flung reaches of our denomination? What do congregations do to stay connected? What are the advantages of remoteness?

‘A fantastic model at Springridge’

A 2019 Lenten service at Springridge Mennonite Church in Pincher Creek, Alta. Plants were grown at the front of the sanctuary and then compared to how congregants nurtured God-like growth in their own hearts and lives. Pastoral leader Tany Warkentin is pictured at right. (Photo by Del Willms)

Hugo Neufeld, left, a guest speaker from Trinity Mennonite Church in DeWinton, Alta., invites a variety of people from Springridge Mennonite to the front, representing the rich diversity of God's people in the Pincher Creek congregation. (Photo by Del Willms)

A small rural church had a 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) pastor. Now its pastor has retired and it decides to hire a 0.3 FTE pastor. Is this realistic? How will the new pastor spend her time?

In January 2019, Springridge Mennonite Church in Pincher Creek approached Tany Warkentin, a long-time member, and asked her if she would be willing to serve as its part-time pastor. 

Homeless find shelter in MCC building

Frigid, snowy days don’t occur often in B.C.’s Fraser Valley but, when they do, some homeless seniors have at least one warm place to spend the night. MCC B.C.’s Material Aid warehouse provides temporary sleeping space for street people, operated by a local ministry. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

By day, the material aid warehouse at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C.’s headquarters is used to store and process items such as school kits and blankets to be shipped overseas. But, in the colder fall and winter months, by night the space is converted into an extreme weather shelter hosting the city’s most vulnerable.

Three congregations leave MC Eastern Canada

The sign in front of Calvary Church in Ayr, Ont., hints at the significant shift taking place as the church merges with Calvary Pentecostal Assembly of nearby Cambridge. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

In September 2019, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada reported: “We announce with great sadness that River of Life, Calvary Church Ayr (Mennonite), and Milverton Mennonite Fellowship [all in Ontario] have left the MC Eastern Canada family.

Listening to those who have left

'He recently left a Mennonite Church Canada congregation that professes open-mindedness and inclusivity. I wanted to know why.' (Image by Arek Socha/Pixabay)

A Mennonite elder once told me, “We need to listen to people who leave the church.”

John Reimer (a pseudonym) is one such person. A soft-spoken grandpa, he recently left a Mennonite Church Canada congregation that professes open-mindedness and inclusivity. I wanted to know why.

Winnipeg church welcomes its neighbours

Home Street Mennonite Church is located in the heart of Winnipeg’s inner city. (Home Street Mennonite Church website photo)

A star blanket, sewn by an Indigenous women's collective in Winnipeg, hangs in the Coffee and Conversation space at Home Street Mennonite Church. It symbolizes the congregation’s commitment to be treaty people and strive for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. (Photo by Esther Epp-Tiessen)

Every Sunday morning at Home Street Mennonite Church, two ushers hand out bulletins and seat guests for the worship service. But an hour earlier, a group of “Third Ushers” is already busy, welcoming in the church’s inner-city neighbours.

St. Jacobs Mennonite stages 'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'

Imogine (Tina Cressman), Gladys (Lucy Derksen) and Ralph Herdman (Zach Cressman) react with surprise and confusion when they hear the Christmas story for the first time. (Photo by Heather Weber)

Charlie Bradley, played by Jaren Klassen, insists that he doesn’t want to be in the church Christmas pageant directed by his mother, in the St. Jacobs Mennonite Church production of ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,’ based on the story by Barbara Robinson. (Photo by Heather Weber)

Bob (Scott Morton Ninomiya), Charlie (Jaren Klassen) and Beth Bradley (Julia Schroeder Kipfer) discuss how the annual Christmas pageant is the same every year. (Photo by Heather Weber)

Grace Bradley (Melinda Metzger), left, who gets stuck directing the Christmas pageant full of the rough and tumble Herdman kids, reads the Christmas story to the Herdmans, who have never heard it before. Imogine (Tina Cressman), who plays Mary; Gladys (Lucy Derksen), who plays the angel of the Lord; and Ralph (Zach Cressman), who plays Joseph, react with ideas of their own about how the story ought to go. (Photo by Heather Weber)

From left to right, Imogine (Tina Cressman), Gladys (Lucy Derksen) and Ralph Herdman (Zach Cressman) catch the true meaning of Christmas as they play the roles of Mary, the angel of the Lord, and Joseph in the church Christmas pageant. (Photo by Heather Weber)

Some 80 people from all ages were part of staging The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at St. Jacobs (Ont.) Mennonite Church on Dec. 21 and 22. The 1950s era story tells how the rough and tumble Herdman kids end up with all the main roles in the annual Christmas pageant, much to the chagrin of the regular congregants.

Everything is under the authority of Christ

Harjo Suyitno designed the ‘Cosmic Christ’ cross artwork at Jepara GITJ church in Indonesian gunungan style. (Photo by Karla Braun)

“This wood carving expresses the mission and vision of the church,” (Photo by Karla Braun)

Gunungan is a figure from traditional Indonesian theatre that represents the world. The leaf-shaped art is used frequently around the country, including at the Mennonite church in seaside Jepara.

Life in a remote B.C. congregation

The Friday Night drop-in for kids has been popular with community kids in Black Creek. (Photo by Gerry Binnema)

The United Mennonite Church building in Black Creek is used for a community food bank. (Photo by Gerry Binnema)

Gerry Binnema was invited to share news about United Mennonite Church, the con­gregation he pastors in Black Creek, B.C. Here is his creative and tongue-in-cheek response.

‘Re-learning to swim in baptismal waters’

Irma Fast Dueck presented on baptism to more than 40 pastors and lay leaders at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Leadership Day in November. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

We are witnessing the first time in history when many young people in Mennonite Church Canada congregations are actively participating in the church but are choosing not to be baptized. Why is that? Irma Fast Dueck, associate professor of practical theology at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), is researching exactly that question.

Getting into the Christmas spirit across Canada

The Menno Simons Christian School Junior-high band, conducted by Christina Carpenter, performs at a seniors lunch at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary on Nov. 28. (Photo by Mackenzie Miller)

In keeping with the season, Canadian Mennonite has wrapped up four Christmas events—from Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia—into one package for your festive reading.

 

Gleaners host Christmas open house to thank supporters

Dylan Ricci Adams is pictured with a load of carrots on their way to the washing machine. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Todd Stahl shovels diced carrots into the auger that will deliver them to the Gleaners’ gigantic dehydrator. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Todd Stahl is pictured in the Gleaners’ warehouse. Each skid has 42,000 meals on it, and the whole room currently holds 800,000 servings. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

The work of farmers is difficult. They have to work with the land to bring about a decent crop in order to make a living. And even though they may successfully bring hundreds of hectares to fruition, there’s no guarantee that all of that crop can go to market.

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