coronavirus

Prayer ‘keeps us going’

Hotel staff wear protective equipment to distribute lunches to hospital workers in quarantine. (Photo by Tris Suyitno)

As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mennonite community in Kudus, Central Java, Indonesia, joins hands and works with the local government to mitigate the risk and manage the spread of cases in the city of more than 800,000 residents.

COVID-19 outbreak in Bolivian colonies

Boys in a store on the Pinondi Colony in Bolivia in 2018. The first reported COVID-19 death on a Mennonite colony in Bolivia happened at Pinondi, when Isaak Wiebe, aged 45, died on June 5. (Die Mennonitische Post photo)

Although precise data does not exist, Die Mennonitische Post reports numerous presumed COVID-19-related deaths on several Mennonite colonies in Bolivia. Kennert Giesbrecht, the Post’s editor, who is highly regarded among colony Mennonites in Latin America, is in regular contact with people on many colonies. 

Keeping the arts alive during the pandemic

Cedric Martin, artistic producer and actor for Theatre of the Beat, records his part in Yellow Bellies the Audio Drama in his closet. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

Johnny Wideman, playwright, actor and co-founder of Theatre of the Beat, records his part in Yellow Bellies the Audio Drama from his home. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

The cast of Yellow Bellies the Audio Drama records altogether through a Zoom call. Pictured from left to right, top row: actor Johnny Wideman, actor Cedric Martin and musician Joe McLellan; and bottom row: actor Kimberlee Walker and director Sukhpreet Sangha. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

The historical photo, left, that inspired the visual, right, for Yellow Bellies, the original play produced as live theatre and now as an audio drama by Theatre of the Beat. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

A promotional poster for Yellow Bellies the Audio Drama. (Photo courtesy of Theatre of the Beat)

Cedric Martin, artistic producer of Theatre of the Beat, knows that live theatre “will be one of the last gatherings to be allowed again” as businesses reopen in the shadow of COVID-19. That reality forced the staff of the Canadian touring company to get creative.

 

Churches cautiously resume worship together

Members of Sherbrooke Mennonite in Vancouver met for an outdoor worship service on July 5. They followed provincial protocols by encouraging masks and discouraging strong singing, and with worship leaders behind plexiglass. The parking lot location allowed sensitive members to stay in cars. (Photo by Garry Janzen)

With most churches remaining closed four months into the pandemic, some in Mennonite Church British Columbia are finding innovative ways to worship together—with limitations.

On July 5, members of Sherbrooke Mennonite Church in Vancouver held an outdoor service in the church parking lot, their first physical gathering since March.

Menno leaders publish Holy Week letter

'This is a difficult time for many.' (Image by elizabethalliburton/Pixabay)

The executive directors of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) have published a letter of encouragement to constituents this week during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter—which you can read below—acknowledges the unusual circumstances and challenges surrounding this year’s Holy Week, while offering a message of hope and unity.

An open letter of gratitude

Robert and Irene Suderman. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/MennoniteChurchCanada)

I am—apparently—vulnerable. This for two reasons: I’m chronologically categorized (senior), and I’m locationally challenged (live in a senior’s community).

But I don’t feel vulnerable. My wife and I are both in excellent health, with robust energy, and significantly active in meaningful things. The social definition and my personal experience of who I am don’t match. 

MC Canada congregations offering online worship services

‘This is an unexpected opportunity to work at rebuilding our sense of peoplehood nationwide,’ says Doug Klassen, executive minister for MC Canada. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Mennonite Church Canada, in collaboration with its regional churches and their local congregations, will share worship services each week for congregations across our nationwide community of faith. 

MCC invites community to participate in day of prayer

Kitchener, Ont.—In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mennonite Central Committee is inviting supporters to join the organization in a day of prayer on Wednesday, March 25. “Times of uncertainty call us to reach out to the most vulnerable in our community: those locally and globally who will be most affected by this crisis,” MCC Ontario said in a statement. “We believe this is a time to recommit ourselves to caring for our neighbours and acting generously—whether in our own homes, across the street or around the world. We invite you to join us... as we come together for #MCCdaytopray.

Mennonite organizations cancelling events, making adjustments in response to COVID-19

(Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Mennonite churches and organizations across Canada are cancelling or postponing services and other events in response to COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus.

Here is a list (last updated at 12:45 p.m. EST on March 19), broken down by region. 

BRITISH COLUMBIA

MC Canada offers pandemic preparedness web resources for congregations

'Because the most common spread of the virus is through hand transmission, it is important to get into the habit of washing your hands often with soap and warm water.' (Image by JKerner/Pixabay)

As of March 11, the World Health Organization is now describing the global outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic. This move is not to incite fear but to motivate governments to ramp up their preparation efforts before the virus spreads more quickly in their own countries.

Mennonite World Conference cancels event, meetings in B.C.

César García, MWC general secretary (second from right), welcomes participants at the first Renewal 2027 event in Augsburg, Germany in 2017. (MWC photo by Harry Unger)

With the World Health Organization using the word “pandemic” to describe global infection from the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Mennonite World Conference leadership has cancelled the March Renewal 2027 public event and April executive committee meetings that were scheduled to take place in Abbotsford, B.C.

Subscribe to RSS - coronavirus