News briefs

Entitled “Church and School: Compañeros (co-laborers) in Growing People of God,” the ICOMB Global Consultation on Higher Education will bring together 80 international delegates at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), Winnipeg, June 13–17. Some 30 MB institutions from 5 continents will report on school history, curriculum, achievements, and dreams. Speakers include Pascal Kulungu of DR Congo and E.D. Solomon of India. Planned workshops focus on how to grow Anabaptist research centres, teaching resources, and people of character. Organizers expect web-based instruction to top the list of discussion topics.—ICOMB.org
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In September, B.C.’s Kingcome River flooded, sending 12 feet of water rushing through the remote First Nation community of Kingcome, forcing residents to flee with only minutes’ notice and leaving most homes uninhabitable. Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers began assisting with cleanup and repairs in March. In June, their summer youth crews will work to rebuild the 8 homes that were neither insured nor eligible for financial assistance.—MDS release
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At its annual meeting in January, the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada approved two new multi-year projects: the writing of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada’s history and the creation of a genealogical website. The website will provide a standardized internet source for Mennonite-related genealogical data in Canada, displaying digitized primary source documents, along with any required transliterations/ translations. In honour of MCC Canada’s 50th anniversary, Esther Epp-Tiessen will write the story of its disparate Mennonite groups finding common ground – not a foregone conclusion in 1963.—MHSC release
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At an Ottawa summit Mar. 8, 80 faith leaders drafted an interfaith declaration entitled “a time for inspired leadership and action on poverty,” calling the government to partner with the faith community to address “unacceptable levels of poverty, inequity and homelessness” by developing a federal poverty reduction plan. Participants, including the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Canadian Council of Churches, urge every Canadian to consider how to live out the affirmation that “all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect” and “be part of a community.”—CCC release   

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The 48 Ten Thousand Villages stores across Canada will mark World Fair Trade Day May 14 with music, games, stories, and fair trade food. The national non-profit organization that spearheaded the fair trade movement in North America celebrates its 65th anniversary this October.—TenThousandVillages.ca 
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Hillcrest Mennonite Church (Mennonite Church Canada) is the first Anabaptist church in Ontario to invest in a solar energy system. In partnership with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario and Mennonite Initiative for Solar Energy, Hillcrest invested $80,000 to install the ground-mounted tracking solar array in their parking lot. Taking advantage of the Ontario government’s Feed-in Tariff program that offers green energy producers stable prices for energy generated from renewable sources, once the project is paid off, the church plans to donate a third of the earnings to MCC renewable energy projects in developing countries.—MCC release
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After a 7-year downward trend in donation revenue, Mennonite Church Canada has made the difficult decision to reduce programs and staff for the 2012–13 fiscal year. Unaudited figures show a $193,000 shortfall for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2011. Matters were complicated by a salary scale review indicating MC Canada wages were dropping behind comparable organizations, making it difficult to fill vacant positions; a 2009 general board decision to raise the salaries to an equitable range is expected to cost $340,000 over 3 years. General secretary Willard Metzger said as little as 1,000 people pledging an additional $1,000 per year for 10 years would mean MC Canada could “shortcut this process, begin replenishing reserves, and even begin to imagine growth.”—MC Canada release 
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Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., appointed Dr. Susan Schultz Huxman as its seventh president. Dr. Huxman completes her seventh year as director of Elliot School of Communication at Wichita (Kan.) State University, where she has filled various administrative roles since 1990. Grebel board chair Bert Lobe describes her as “a teacher at heart, a person of the church, a prolific scholar and a gifted leader who has demonstrated the capacity to both listen carefully and to be gently assertive.”—Grebel release

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