People

From pew to pulpit

Valerie Alipova never imagined that one of the Bethel Mennonite Church offices would be hers when she first came to Canada with Mennonite Voluntary Service in 2015. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Valerie Alipova arrived in Canada for the first time five years ago, on a one-year Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) assignment. In September, she became an associate pastor of Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

An eye for beauty

One of the first photographs that Natalie Stevanus took more than 15 years ago. The early-season snow storm inspired her eye for beauty. She has been taking award-winning photographs ever since.` (Photo by Natalie Stevanus)

Natalie Stevanus loves taking landscape and nature photographs, including birds and flowers. (Photo by Natalie Stevanus)


Natalie Stevanus, 36, of
Bloomingdale, Ont., likes
how her photographs bring
joy to people, which inspires
her to take even more.
(Photo by Jane van Pelt)

‘I can see this church coming’

Fanosie Legesse, right, is pictured in Ethiopia with Norm Dyck, MC Eastern Canada mission minister, left, and Desalegn Abebe, president of Meserete Kristos Church. Their traditional Oromo clothing was a gift from the Waajjira Waldaa Meserete Kristos Regional Church. (Photo courtesy of Norm Dyck)

Fanosie Legesse, right, chats with Aaron Martin at Zion Mennonite Fellowship in Elmira, Ont., where Legesse formerly served as pastor. (Photo by Marilyn Brubacher)

Part educator, part listener, part mentor and part bridge-builder. The mandate for Fanosie Legesse, appointed as Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s intercultural mission minister in March 2020, is broad.

Jill’s Oven Omelette

When I serve omelettes to my bed and breakfast guests, I usually complete their plates with one slice of bacon, one piece of locally made “Mennonite sausage,” a small bowl of fresh fruit with yogurt and granola, and either a slice of whole grain toast or a small portion of homemade hash browned potatoes.

I developed this original recipe as part of a school nutrition program. Read the story behind the recipe here.

Ingredients

Echoes of history

Funeral picture of Reverend Johann Toews Sr. (1845-1898). Third from right is Johann Toews, the letter writer; far right is Wilhelm Toews, who received the letters. Second from left is John Braun’s great-grandfather Johann Braun (1869-1922), whose wife Katharina Toews Braun is not pictured because she had just given birth. (Photo courtesy of John Braun)

Johann Toews, the letter writer, left, and two of his sisters, Elisabeth Toews (1881-1922) and Helen Toews Letkemann (1879-1919). (Photo courtesy of John Braun)

Johann Toews, the letter writer, when he was sentenced to five years forced labour in exile. (Photo courtesy of John Braun)

John Braun, currently interim pastor of Bethel Mennonite Church, has always had a passion for stories and genealogy. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

The letters, written from 1899 to 1933, reveal the story of two brothers, Wilhelm and Johann Toews. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

When John Braun was contacted by a relative he didn’t know existed, it was the start of a long adventure into family history and an old language.

Russian connection comes full circle

Friends Bob Bartsch, left, and Dick Hildebrandt, members of Black Creek (B.C.) United Mennonite Church, both trace their ties to the original two Prussian Mennonite delegates selected to survey land that eventually led to the Mennonite migration to what became Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Bob Bartsch)

Two members of Black Creek United Mennonite Church in British Columbia have found a common heritage that goes back 234 years to the Russian Empire.

In the late 18th century, Empress Catherine the Great of Russia conquered land she called “New Russia”—now Ukraine—and invited Europeans, including Mennonite farmers from Prussia, to settle the southern plains.

‘He kept looking ahead’

From their home, David and Doris Martin watch the virtual celebrations in honour of David’s retirement as executive minister from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, after 15 years of service to the regional church and 25 years as a pastor in the regional church. (Photo courtesy of MC Eastern Canada)

David Martin is passionate about curling. He is competitive and once won Steinmann Mennonite Church’s version of The Amazing Race. He is a bit nerdy and techy, and he loves a great superhero movie now and then.

Manitoba’s Winter Hour releases debut album

Mike Wiebe is the musical mastermind behind Winter Hour. (Photo from Winter Hour’s Facebook account)

You Made a Shadow is about the people and experiences that have made an imprint on Mike Wiebe’s life. (Photo from Winter Hour’s Facebook account)

Manitoba musician Mike Wiebe released his debut album, You Made a Shadow, on May 31 under the name Winter Hour. He wrote the album’s 10 songs over a period of five years, starting in 2015.

The 'poet of ironwork'

Pickup truck bookends by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

John Wiebe, a ‘poet of ironwork’

The Wiebe-Neufeld family displays one of the iron doves made by John Wiebe while watching this year’s Inter-Mennonite Good Friday service and preparing for communion in Edmonton. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

Horseback bookend by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

Curling bookend by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

If you are Mennonite and live in Alberta, you may not know John Wiebe, but you’ll recognize his work. Kate Janzen calls him the “poet of ironwork.”

Legacy of the last great epidemic

A Mennonite quartet sings for polio patient Ted Braun, in an iron lung at the King George Hospital in Winnipeg in the mid-1950s. Ted watches the singers in the mirror positioned above his head. (Photo courtesy of Henry John Epp)

An iron lung, the iconic image of the polio epidemic of the 1950s, at the Riverview Heritage Museum in Winnipeg. (Photo by Will Braun)

Dave Penner recalls playing in the ditch with his brother in the summer of 1952. He was 5, his brother Henry was three years older. The freshly dug ditch on the expanded Highway 3 next to their yard near Morden, Man., had filled after a rain storm and Dave remembers having a grand time in the water with his brother. 

MC Alberta says farewell to communications coordinator, clown

Variety show host Jungle June, aka June Miller, entertains the women at the 2014 MC Alberta women’s retreat. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Sassafrass, aka June Miller, sells Tupperware in costume. (Photo by Mackenzie Miller)

June Miller keeps the children entertained at Foothills Mennonite Church’s Vacation Bible School in Calgary. (Photo by Michelle Copithorne)

Mennonite Church Alberta is sad to say goodbye this summer to June Miller. Not only has she served the regional church as its first communications coordinator, she has also used her clowning gifts to bring joy to her congregation, Foothills Mennonite Church, as well as to the MC Alberta community.

104-year-old reader likes to ‘keep in tune’ with the church

Lydia Ann (Horst) Bauman is pictured with her granddaughter’s dog at a celebration for her 104th birthday in the summer of 2019. CM wonders if she is our oldest reader. (Photo by Lucy Goshow)

Lydia Ann (nee Horst) Bauman may be Canadian Mennonite’s oldest reader. At 104 years of age she still reads the magazine in her assisted-living suite at Fairview Seniors Community in Cambridge, Ont. She gets the magazine through nearby Preston Mennonite Church, where she attended until the COVID-19 pandemic closed churches. 

To death’s door and back

Vic Winter is back at home with a new outlook and a new beard. He says he is keeping it. (Photo by Marilyn Winter)

Vic and Marilyn Winter wave as 130 cars filled with well-wishers pass by their house to welcome his return after a lengthy hospitalization for COVID-19. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Vic Winter was admitted to hospital in Leamington on March 20. In short order his wife Marilyn was sent home while he was sent to the intensive-care unit at the Windsor Regional Hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and placed unconscious on a ventilator to help him breathe as he fought for his life. He wouldn’t see his wife again for six weeks.

Let’s go on an adventure!

Columbia Bible College student Claire Dueck, right, and new best friend Sarah Trentalance. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Claire Dueck, 2019 recipient of a tuition bursary from Mennonite Church Alberta, given to any student attending a regional church congregation who has successfully enrolled in a Mennonite or Anabaptist post-secondary institution. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Claire Dueck, third from left, and new friends, from left to right, Sarah Trentalance, Julia Derksen, Trever Renshaw and Zach Kitchener from the Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Group photo of Columbia Bible College’s 2019 Christmas banquet-2019. Claire Dueck is pictured fourth from left in the back row. (Photo courtesy of Claire Dueck)

Every year Mennonite Church Alberta offers education bursaries to students who attend a regional-church congregation who have successfully enrolled in a Mennonite or Anabaptist post-secondary institution. In 2019, Claire Dueck, a member of Lethbridge Mennonite Church, was one of eight recipients.

The gift of giving time

After 46 years, Margie Steingart still works at the Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catharines, Ont. (MCC 100 stories for 100 years photo)

Many people have given their time to volunteering, but few have a record of volunteering for the same organization for 46 years. Margie Steingart has that distinction. She has volunteered for the Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St. Catharines, Ont., since it opened in January 1974, making her, at the age of 93, the oldest volunteer there.

Online paska contest a resounding success

Heather Driedger, shown here with her own paska, held a virtual paska bake-off via Instagram this Easter. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

This braided paska by Holly Brown of Germany tied for first place in Heather Driedger’s paska bake-off. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

Maria Krause of Vancouver tied for first place in Driedger’s paska bake-off with this COVID-19-inspired paska. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

Megan and Jesse Krause took second place in the paska bake-off with this entry. (Photo courtesy of Heather Driedger)

She couldn’t gather family and friends around her table to eat paska this Easter, so Heather Driedger decided to hold a virtual paska bake-off instead.

‘A well-nourished spirit’

Susan Clemmer Steiner

Sue Steiner left behind a huge legacy when she passed away on Aug. 26, 2019. As beloved wife to Sam Steiner for 50 years, treasured aunt to a number of nieces and nephews, and a cherished member of several circles of close friends, she left personal legacies. As a woman who served the church as pastor, clergy coach and trainer, writer and spiritual director, she influenced many. 

We need more Peters!

Kayel Truong, centre in white shirt, and crew cut hair for free every Saturday for homeless people living in downtown Calgary.

Peter Worsley

“We need more Peters! He’s only one man,” exclaims ex-offender Kayel Truong, when asked about the Bridges Ministries program run by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta to help prisoners of faith successfully reintegrate into the community.

Not so radical after all

While volunteering with Christian Peacemaker Teams, Steve Heinrichs documented the presence of the RCMP and Coastal GasLinks in Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia.

Steve Heinrichs volunteered with Christian Peacemaker Teams for two weeks in Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia. (Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

While people across Canada and around the world self-isolate from COVID-19, work continues on the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline in northern British Columbia, without the full consent of the Wet’suwet’en people. The 670-kilometre long pipeline plans to snake through Wet’suwet’en territory and export liquefied natural gas around the world.

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