First established when the Yellowhead highway was a gravel road, Community Gospel Chapel, in New Hazelton, B.C. celebrated 50 years of “God’s goodness.” In a packed out log building, members were encouraged by stories from pastor emeritus George Braun. One of 107 churches in B.C., it has a shared history with Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en First Nations, and their Pentecostal neighbours. Pastor couples of Community Gospel Church: (l–r) George and Rose Braun 1952–1986, Bill and Anna Keyes 1986–1993, Don and Darlene Hannah 1995–1997, Don and Justina Watt, 1997–1998, Henry and Mary Hanna 1998–2006.
The annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will be held Nov. 11 in Canada. The effort is supported by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Open Doors (Canada), The Voice of the Martyrs (Canada), The Bible League (Canada), Intercede International, International Christian Response and Christian Aid Mission.
The Canadian Council of Churches issued an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper Aug. 16, endorsing the Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Action Plan for Afghanistan. “We encourage deeper Canadian assistance for human rights initiatives.” The Council represents a dozen mainstream denominations.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) are returning to Iraq following evacuation in February due to another kidnapping threat. Four CPT members were held hostage by Islamic militants and one executed, Mar. 2006. The team will train Kurdistani human rights groups and monitor northern border tensions among displaced ethnic and religious groups. “At times our presence can be a help, [and] sometimes we can be a real danger to others,” said CPT co-director Doug Pritchard. The group is based in Suleimaniya, where tensions are on the rise after the U.S. arrest of an Iranian diplomat.
—Mennonite Weekly Review
There has been recent progress towards an international treaty on cluster bombs, says Titus Peachey, director of peace education for Mennonite Central Committee U.S. This year, 81 nations agreed to sign a treaty restricting the use of cluster bombs by 2008. They include Canada, Mexico, Lebanon, and most of Europe, but not the United States or Israel.
The Amish chose not to remember by memorial the killing of five schoolgirls in Nickel Mines, Pa., October 2, 2006, saying it would intensify their loss. Following the tragedy last year, members of the Amish community publicly forgave the killer and sent representatives to attend his funeral. Financial support has also been provided for his widow.
—Mennonite Weekly Review
The annual MCC Festival Auction and Relief Sale in Abbotsford, B.C. raised nearly $700,000 for peace projects worldwide. $31,000 came in the form of pennies, and will be matched 4–1 by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for food projects in Bangladesh.
Beautiful Unique Girl (BUgirl), an event designed to show teen girls their “image of God”–worth, is going international, with events booked across the western U.S. This fall a team of speakers, volunteers, and musicians including Juno award-winner Amanda Falk will also visit major centres from Victoria to Toronto, challenging 250–500 teenage girls each night to make a difference in their community.
“The anti-Christian attacks are increasing at an alarming rate day by day,” said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, Sajan George. “There have been 70 reported cases of attacks against Christians in the last 18 months.” Christians held a rally in Bangalore, late September, protesting Hindu extremist violence. TransWorld Radio missionary Ajay Topno was shot dead in September for converting three tribal families to Christianity.
—Compass Direct News
Evangelical Anabaptist congregations in Honduras have “captured the imagination of young adults in unprecedented ways,” said Robert J. Suderman, general secretary for Mennonite Church Canada. Honduras church leader Javier Soler says many North Americans have accepted that their destiny is to give and many Latin Americans have accepted that their destiny is to receive. “Both sides [have] erroneous attitudes that we must try to correct and it seems that if we are able to give priority to relationships, these will help us in the process.” The August visit was part of the Mennonite World Conference Global Gift sharing initiative.
The 2006 Canadian census “paints a bit of a bleak picture” of Canadian families, according to Dave Quist of Focus on the Family’s Institute of Marriage and Family (IMF). Two-parent families are down to 68.8 percent and single parents up slightly to 15.7 percent, but the majority of these families are “at or below the poverty line.” The 2.1 million children in these families have less opportunity to receive a good education and get a good job and as a result enter “a downward spiral.”
Canadian Mennonite, a publication of the Mennonite Church of Canada, celebrated 10 years in August. Its forerunner, The Mennonite Reporter, ran for 26 years, and before that The Canadian Mennonite for 18 years.
| © 2008 Mennonite Brethren Herald
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