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‘How can I help?’

Chris Steingart, as Joseph, shows off his amazing Technicolor dreamcoat while his brothers look on with disgust from the background. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Narrator and musical director Stacey VanderMeer, far right, takes a selfie with the whole family of Jacob in Breslau Mennonite Church’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Joseph, played by Chris Steingart, accuses Benjamin, played by Jonathan Klassen, of stealing his cup. Narrator Stacey VanderMeer, in red, registers shock while the chorus joins in the blame. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Matthew Rappolt, left, Karl Braun, Brent Schmidt and Nick Martin, as some of Joseph’s brothers facing famine, long for ‘Those Canaan Days’ when they had plenty to eat. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Janice Klassen, left, Amanda Snyder and Karl Braun dance and sing, ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph,’ to assure him that he’s not beaten yet, and his fortunes will change. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Justin Martin, right, who played Issachar and served as production manager, explains to his father Jacob, played by Phil Martin, left, what happened to Joseph, and why there will be ‘one less place at the table, while one of the brothers look on. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Chris Steingart, Joseph and artistic director, and Stacey VanderMeer, narrator and musical director, begin to tell the children the story of Joseph and his dreams. (Photo by Christine Saunders)

Driving to the cottage while listening to a recording of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Justin Martin had an idea. Could Breslau Mennonite Church stage it? More than a year-and-a-half later, that dream came true. 

‘We really need each other a lot’

Werner and Joanne DeJong spent September to December of last year at Meserete Kristos College in Ethiopia. They are pictured with a couple of college staffers on New Year’s Eve. (Photo courtesy of the DeJongs)

Werner and Joanne DeJong visited an Ethiopian prison that had received donated sewing machines from Mennonites. Joanne also preached at this prison. (Photo courtesy of the DeJongs)

Werner and Joanne DeJong returned to Edmonton’s Holyrood Mennonite Church excited about the Anabaptist church in Africa and at home. They see possibilities for ongoing partnerships that benefit both the rapidly growing church in Ethiopia and the declining church in Canada. “We really need each other a lot,” Werner says.

‘Passing quilt’ gives dignity in death

The family of a recently deceased Menno Place resident watch as their loved one is escorted out under the ‘butterfly passing quilt’ made for this purpose. (Photo by Austen Holmquist)

Dolores Martens, left, and Lenora Zacharias, members of the Menopositives quilting group, view the ‘butterfly passing quilt’ they sewed for Menno Place care facility. (Photo courtesy of Menno Place)

Death is a frequent visitor at Menno Place, B.C.’s largest senior care facility.

MCC cuts Canadian programs to focus on advocacy

Labrador Innu elder Elizabeth Penashue, left, hosts an MCC learning tour. (2016 MCC Newfoundland and Labrador Facebook Page photo)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada is cutting about $350,000 from its Indigenous Neighbours, Restorative Justice and Low German programs. The changes are driven by a decrease in thrift store income, a shift to more international spending, and a decision to “go deeper” rather than wider. 

‘This is about us’

Emily Cohen, left, a workshop leader, chats with Matthew Bailey-Dick, coordinator of the Anabaptist Learning Workshop, at a ‘Caregiving in a #ChurchToo world’ seminar on Jan. 19, 2018, at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, Ont. Behind them on the wall, coloured heads represent people's stories and experiences of sexual abuse that are known to workshop participants. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

How do churches prevent sexual harassment and abuse in their midst? How do they respond when abuse happens? How do they shift the culture in their ranks so that victims feel safer to share their stories?

Church steps up to help local food bank

Pictured from left to right, Elaine Lepp, Pastor Karen Sheil, Margaret Wieler and Elma Lepp pack Christmas hampers for the local food bank in a Sunday school classroom at Harrow Mennonite Church. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

In December, Essex County was preparing to rest. The land had done its work, providing crops for farmers to harvest and get to market. The temperature dropped and the workload followed suit. Tractors were in the sheds and off the roads. Farmers and rural folk became shoppers and headed to urban centres to hunt down that perfect gift for Christmas.

Viral theology

‘It was basically a joke at first,’ Micah Enns-Dyck says of his popular Facebook page. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

The Facebook page bills itself as ‘the ultimate destination for dank theological memes from a pacifist/Anabaptist/Radical Orthodox/post-liberal perspective.’

One of Micah Enns-Dyck’s Hauwerwasian memes.

When Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students Micah Enns-Dyck and Nathan Dueck created the Facebook page Hauerwasian Memes for Pacifist Teens last April, they thought its appeal would be limited to their classmates. Not so.

Introducing The Ferment

Musician Alana Levandoski and author Marcus Peter Rempel co-host the new podcast, The Ferment.

At his home on Ploughshares Community Farm in South St. Ouen’s, Man., Marcus Peter Rempel chops a lot of cabbage. But, instead of making a salad or throwing it in a soup, he squishes it in a giant bucket, covers it and lets it sit at room temperature for several weeks. He lets it ferment, a step required to make sauerkraut. 

MWC census shows increased numbers

‘Anabaptists around the world’: A 2018 map. (Mennonite World Conference)

Worship at a Uganda Mennonite Church congregation. ‘The Mennonite Church Uganda is quite happy and honoured to be member of the global family of the MWC,’ says Bishop Simon Okoth, national coordinator of Uganda Mennonite Church. (Uganda Mennonite Church photo)

“Uganda is ripe for evangelism and the church is growing,” says Bishop Simon Okoth, national coordinator of Uganda Mennonite Church. The new Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church, accepted by the Executive Committee in 2017, grew from 310 members in seven congregations in 2015 to 553 members in 18 congregations in 2018.

Pastors prepare to become climate leaders

Warmed by a campfire and the scent of wood smoke, pastors prepare for a forest church experience outdoors. (Photo by Jennifer Schrock)

Wendy Janzen, centre, leads the group’s worship services. Janzen pastors at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, Ont., and leads the Burning Bush Forest Church, which worships outdoors. (Photo by Jennifer Schrock)

Hopelessness. Denial. Grief. Guilt. Despair. Pastors face these emotions in their congregations as they walk with people suffering from personal losses.

Reaching out together

Family and friends gather together to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Alkhanous family’s arrival in Canada, at the home of Zakia Hamdani. (Photo by David Brubacher)

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Many people will remember seeing the picture in September 2015 of the three-year-old Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. And for a minute, or maybe two, many wondered what they could do.

Historical Society quietly contributes to national identity

Laureen Harder-Gissing, archivist at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., is the new president of the not-so-new Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. (Conrad Grebel university College photo)

Historian Laureen Harder-Gissing does not want to be heard saying, “You should know your history,” the way someone might say, “You should eat your vegetables.”

She does not want people to feel badly if they do not know their history; she just wants it to be available at those “points in our lives when the past will suddenly matter,” and we want to know the larger story we fit into.

Training peacemakers through ‘Tough talk’

Rosthern Junior College student body. (Rosthern Junior College photo)

Rosthern Junior College held its fall Deeper Life Days in late October and early November. The topic was ‘Tough talk: Conversations about the Bible, peace and violence.’ (Rosthern Junior College photo)

“It’s called Deeper Life Days for a reason,” says Grade 11 student Shaelyn Nordmarken. Deeper Life Days give Rosthern Junior College (RJC) students opportunity to engage with challenging topics.

The topic was “Tough talk: Conversations about the Bible, peace and violence.” The event was held over four days in late October and early November 2018.

Lament for those ‘suffering in silence’

A basket of cloth strips was used to symbolize the pain victims of John Howard Yoder’s sexual abuse at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. The note reads: ‘Beloved of God, may you go into the complicated places with courage, for darkness will be conquered by light. May you go with resolve, for God has gone before you. May you go with hope, claiming the promise that evil never has the last word. Amen.’ (Photo by Rich Preheim)

For 40 years, women who had been sexually violated by John Howard Yoder were left suffering in silence while the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) professor became one of the most influential theological voices of the 20th century. On March 22, 2015, AMBS publicly apologized for long ignoring their cries for justice.

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