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These stories appeared in the latest issue of MWR. Stories can be found sorted by issue here. To see more subscribe online or to the print edition here.

New Mexico church calls first openly LGBTQ lead pastor in MC USA

By and on Sep 19, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 6 comments

Erica Lea

Albuquerque (N.M.) Mennonite Church has called an openly LGBTQ person to be their lead pastor, becoming the first congregation to do so in Mennonite Church USA. The church of about 150 attenders announced Sept. 18 that it has called Erica Lea to the role. Albuquerque Mennonite became a “welcoming community” in 2007 but did not join the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests until more recently. In a news release, the congregation stated it welcomes Lea and her “strong call to connect with and...

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Relief and gratefulness after Hurricane Irma

By and on Sep 18, 2017 in Featured, Latest Issue, News | 1 comment

Students from Academia Menonita Betania (Bethany Mennonite Academy) in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, collect relief supplies for Hurricane Irma victims in the Virgin Islands and surrounding areas. The school was spared and is operating after losing power for five days. — Alex Gonzales

Unlike the 40-day flood Noah prepared for, members of Iglesia Menonita Arca de Salvacion (Ark of Salvation Mennonite Church) in Fort Myers, Fla., took refuge from Hurricane Irma in their church building for only two days. Charlene Domingo, whose husband, Marcial Domingo, is the pastor, said 177 people sheltered Sept. 9-10 in the church building, which only had minor roof leaks. They went home the morning of Sept. 11. “The day we were able to go to our homes, all the brothers and sisters got together and cleaned up the church,” she said....

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Potentially disputed land in Colombia attracts Low German Mennonites

By and on Sep 18, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

David Fehr, left, and Klaas Wall in the middle of a rice field not too far from Puerto Gaitán, Colombia. — Kennert Giesbrecht/DMP

Despite warnings from Mennonite Central Committee, Low German Mennonites from drought-prone regions of northern Mexico have bought more than 49,000 acres of land in Colombia. Kennert Giesbrecht, editor of Die Mennonitische Post — a newspaper for Low German Mennonites throughout the Americas — notes the Liviney Colony and another roughly 30,000-acre parcel as two examples of land acquisitions. Another group is considering a 25,000-acre plot. The lands are all in the eastern plains of Colombia, about 125 miles east of Bogotá. Giesbrecht...

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Tons of clothes await fun-loving volunteers

By and on Sep 18, 2017 in Feature, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Rod Franz of Manhattan, Kan., holds a pair of donated shoes at the MCC Central States Material Resource Center. — Carol Duerksen for MWR

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — The payoff for a four-hour weekly round-trip to volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee comes in the joy of service, fun and fellowship. Every Wednesday, some of the volunteers get up at 5 a.m. to drive a couple of hours from Manhattan to spend the day at MCC Central States, working hard and playing with just as much intensity. Others live closer and volunteer on Wednesdays just to be a part of the group. Their lively banter leaves no doubt they’re having fun: “He who speaks the loudest gets the gaudiest stuff...

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Muted voices in World War I, and today

By and on Sep 12, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Kauffman Museum curator of exhibits Chuck Regier works on a display component of the “Voices of Conscience” traveling exhibit. The exhibit, which centers around a recreation of an Alcatraz jail cell that held Hutterite men who refused to wear a military uniform, will be featured at a symposium on conscientious objection Oct. 19-22 at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. — Tim Huber/MWR

An unsuccessful effort to locate artifacts related to World War I conscientious objection was an unexpected blessing for developers of an exhibit that will be featured at a symposium on the topic this October at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. A year ago, Kauffman Museum in North Newton, Kan., put out a call for artifacts in hopes of displaying something more than letters, diaries and newspaper accounts. Kauffman director Annette LeZotte said her staff hoped to at least get a yellow paint-splattered piece of...

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MCC responds to Hurricane Irma devastation in Cuba, Haiti

By on Sep 12, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Community health organizer Osa Jonmarits received a comforter, a Mennonite Central Committee relief bucket and water purification tablets after his home and property were damaged by flooding from Hurricane Irma. — Annalee Giesbrecht/MCC

Osa Jonmarits and his family were awakened in the middle of the night as water rushed into their mud and stone house on the mountains of La Chapelle, Haiti, and covered them in their beds. The flash flooding came from Hurricane Irma, a category 5 hurricane that passed to the north of Haiti on Sept. 7. It caused flash floods and heavy winds from the country’s northern shores to its deep interior, where La Chapelle is located. Placing their two smallest children on their shoulders, Jonmarits and his wife waded with their other two children...

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Franconia Conference might stretch coast to coast

By and on Sep 11, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Leaders of Franconia Mennonite Conference eat with pastors from Indonesian Mennonite congregations in Southern California who are seeking membership in Franconia. — Virgo Handojo

Franconia Mennonite Conference may receive three Indonesian congregations from the other side of the country at its assembly this November. It would be a coast-to-coast relationship. The Indonesian congregations are in the Los Angeles region, and the majority of Franconia’s congregations are in Pennsylvania. Now that they’re no longer part of Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference, the churches are seeking membership in Franconia in order to remain part of Mennonite Church USA. Franconia, which has three Indonesian congregations in...

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Kraybill: Confronting a narcissistic ruler

By on Sep 11, 2017 in Columns, Kraybill: Holy Land Peace Pilgrim, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Archaeologists have reconstructed the central courtyard of the Herodian palace at Machaerus — perhaps the place where Salome danced. Also reconstucted is one pillar that was part of the porch around the courtyard and an adjacent small section of the original pavement stones. — J. Nelson Kraybill

The moral character of a ruler can reach such low ebb that prophets arise to name and condemn the scoundrel’s behavior, even if the ruler strikes back. In totalitarian states, immoral rulers imprison or murder adversaries. In democracies, they discredit and counter-accuse. John the Baptist saw and condemned the immorality of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, and paid for it with his life. Having been educated in Rome, this Herod was a son of Herod the Great. He schmoozed Rome and named his new regional capital in Galilee “Tiberias”...

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Book review: ‘The Radical Muslim and Mennonite’

By on Sep 11, 2017 in Book Review, Columns, Latest Issue | 1 comment

'The Radical Muslim and Mennonite'

During a Muslim-Christian peacemaking meeting in Indonesia in 2003, Mesach Krisetya, president of Mennonite World Conference, made a speech. Seeking to dismantle negative stereotypes of Christians — especially concerning U.S. military intervention in Muslim-majority countries — he observed that Mennonites in the United States had collected more than 10,000 signatures urging President Bush not to invade Iraq. Muslims in the crowd were shocked to hear U.S. Christians would oppose their nation’s war. This story comes from a remarkable book,...

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Bible: High-stakes Sabbath

By on Sep 11, 2017 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 7 comments

Brad Roth

At my ordination interview, I didn’t give the best answer when the committee asked me about my practices of self-care. “One day each week I take a sabbath rest,” I said brightly. And then for good measure I added, “I don’t pray or read the Bible or anything on that day.” At the time, I thought it made sense: If my work was to traffic in the things of God, then surely my rest would mean taking a break from those things — maybe even from God. No doubt that room full of elders was less than impressed with my answer, though in the...

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