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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.

Winnipeg coffee shop a training ground for youth

By on Jun 17, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Sam’s Place is “a business, a nonprofit, a ministry, a social enterprise that seeks to make a difference for youth,” says manager Alison Green­slade. — John Longhurst

WINNIPEG, Man. — It’s the morning lull at Sam’s Place, the time between the opening rush for coffee and the lunch crowd. There are about a half-dozen people in the coffee shop, café and used bookstore, owned and operated by Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba. Two women are having a meeting, a student is studying, one or two people are browsing the books, a mother and child are playing in the games area. At the counter is Rachel Braun, making a coffee for a customer. The 14-year-old isn’t an employee, though; she’s a volunteer. And...

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MDS stretches to keep up as severe weather strikes often

By and on Jun 17, 2019 in Featured, Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers clean up damage from an EF-1 tornado that hit Pendleton, Ind., May 27. About 75 homes were damaged by the storm, which sustained winds of about 100 mph and advanced into Ohio, where it and other storms caused 5 million people to lose power. — Darin Bontrager/MDS

From tornadoes and hurricanes to rain that seemed to fall for 40 days and 40 nights, many areas experienced severe weather in the first half of 2019. Mennonite Disaster Service is tracking it all and investigating how to help in both the short and long terms. MDS has been coordinating local responses to flooding in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma. “In these types of responses you don’t mobilize and set up a camp like a traditional project; it’s drive-in type things,” said Jeff Koller, a regional operations coordinator for the...

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MCC, MDS promote healing with indigenous Canadians

By , and on Jun 17, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

At the New Hamburg (Ont.) Mennonite Relief Sale, representatives of Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service and the Woodland Cultural Centre signed an agreement to work together on the Save the Evidence Project. From left are John Head, executive director of MCC Ontario, Nick Hamm, Ontario unit chair of MDS Canada, and Carley Gallant-Jenkins, outreach coordinator of the Woodland Cultural Centre. — Jesse Bergen/MCC

BRANTFORD, Ont. — How do you repair a disaster 142 years in the making? For Mennonite Disaster Service Canada and Mennonite Central Committee, it will happen one desk, one table and one bench at a time. This summer, the two organizations will work together with the Woodland Cultural Centre to help in the restoration of the former Mohawk Residential School in Brantford. “It’s not a typical MDS disaster response,” said Nick Hamm, chair of the Ontario unit. “But residential schools were a disaster for Canada’s indigenous...

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Pennsylvania church gets a charge out of creation care

By on Jun 17, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

A group from East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church celebrates the charging stations going live. In the foreground is Brandon Hol­linger’s 1968 Saab, converted to electric power. — East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church

LANCASTER, Pa. — About 15 years ago, a Sunday school class discussion at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church led to an initiative that is still reverberating today. In the church’s parking lot, two new electric vehicle charging stations are the latest outcomes of the brainstorming that created a committee and a formula for funding the congregation’s care for creation. The class was working its way through MennoMedia’s Second Mile: A Peace Journey for Congregations curriculum when the idea of moving beyond individual lifestyle...

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Book review: Captive

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Book Review, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Book review: Captive

Captive is a coming-of-age novel about friendship and self-discovery in the context of war, pacifism and the little-known story of German prisoners of war in the United States during World War II. About 425,000 German and Italian POWs were held in more than 500 camps across the United States. Some were interned at Fort Indiantown Gap and at the Reading airport in Pennsylvania. They provided valuable labor to farms in the surrounding region, including Lancaster County, where this story takes place. Set in the summer of 1944, some of the...

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Schools put to the test

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Pop quiz: How many Mennonite students does a Mennonite school need? Today’s answer: all of the above. As denominational identity erodes, institutional loyalty that defined religion in the 20th century goes with it, and schools — be they elementary or university — are not immune. Warwick River Christian School flirted with extinction this spring, ultimately sacrificing middle-school classes to save kindergarten through fifth grade. The school counted more than 340 students in 2008 but had only 70 students signed up for next fall. Only one...

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Bible: Hold fast to the body

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Bible: Hold fast to the body

What does it take to believe? Perhaps it is a body. The writer of the letter to Colossae is filled with longing. “I am struggling for you”; “I am with you in spirit.” His letter pours forth with the pathos of someone who wants to bridge the gap of human contact, to bring his body near to their bodies. The beloved who wait are the new believers of Colossae, struggling to make sense of the world turned upside down by Jesus, who live in the dangerous shadow of the Roman Empire and in an internal struggle to live out the new order of Jesus...

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Kraybill: Did Jesus help build Sepphoris?

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Columns, Kraybill: Holy Land Peace Pilgrim, Latest Issue | 0 comments

A 1931 photo shows the hill at Sepphoris/Saffurriya crowded with Palestinian houses, which all were destroyed after 1948. Extensive ruins of the biblical-era city are in the archaeological dig beyond the trees at the top of the hill. — J. Nelson Kraybill

Just four miles from Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, I pause among ruins of a Muslim cemetery next to a hill where historians say Jesus may have found employment as a youth. On this hill stood the ancient city of Sepphoris, which eventually became the modern Palestinian town of Saffurriya. Communities on this hill were destroyed multiple times, notably by Rome when Jesus was an infant and again by 20th-century Israel. Sepphoris suffered ruin shortly after the death of Herod the Great, while Jesus and parents still were in Egypt. By conventional...

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New law is better

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

In “Mountains Below the Surface,” Brad Roth says we “cannot dismiss the requirements of the Old Testament law.” Of course the old law is not abolished, but it is obsolete, and these two statements do not conflict with each other. Jesus Christ’s new-law way is unconditionally better than the old. To paraphrase the Book of Hebrews, why do we need the new law if the old law is OK? Jesus modified and added to the Ten Commandments. Jesus talks to the faithful personally and directly (see John 14), which did not happen in the Old...

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Pro-life peacemakers

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 1 comment

Years ago, a Mennonite man shared his experience of facing an awful question: Should his wife have an abortion? An ultrasound during the first trimester had revealed a fetal abnormality. Doctors said the risks to her health were substantial and the chances of a miscarriage or stillbirth were high. They advised the couple to take a few days to decide what to do. The man contemplated the possible death of his wife. He envisioned the demands of caring for a severely handicapped child. Would he be able to endure either of these outcomes? The...

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