Newsbriefs

Canadian Mennonite University received funding from the federal and provincial governments to build a chemistry lab. A $302,000 investment from the Federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program, and a grant of $150,000 from the province of Manitoba, which CMU will match, will be used to develop a new chemistry teaching and research laboratory, with storage, preparation, and office space to accommodate 24 students. Also, upgrades to existing laboratory space will support upper-level biology courses.

CMU
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Economists Jeff Rubin, formerly with CIBC, and Peter Tertzakian of ARC Financial Corp., are warning North American their oil-dependent lifestyle is about to change. While Rubin predicts drastic changes to our way of life in Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, Tertzakian says small changes in behaviour to limit the amount of energy used and innovations in non-oil-dependent technologies will reduce the amount of oil needed and ease the transition to new methods, without undoing advances in standard of living.

Maclean’s
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A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders suggests regular churchgoers are less likely to attempt suicide. Daniel Rasic, psychiatrist at the University of Manitoba, based findings on analysis of data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey of almost 37,000 respondents. Church attendance reduced the likelihood of attempted suicides, even when the influence of social supports was factored out.

Christian Week
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The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada worked with leaders across Canada to develop a Code of Best Practice in Short-term Mission, second edition, revised February 2009. A downloadable PDF of the document is available free from the EFC website.

www.evangelicalfellowship.ca
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Amid vigorous debate in China on the status of house churches, scholar Yu Jianrong suggests the government offer more openness and legal standing to house church Christians. Yu, professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Institute, used interviews, field surveys, and policy reviews to gather information on house churches over one year. His government-commissioned study concluded that house churches are a positive influence on society, yet authorities reacted with more raids, arrests, and forced church closures.

—Compass Direct News
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The German Protestant website www.evangelisch.de organized German Christians to “tweet” the Bible from May 20–30, using social networking micro-blogging service Twitter. Theologians divided the Bible into 3,000 sections to be summarized and posted in 140-character tweets.

—Christian Courier
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Police raided Russian human rights organization Memorial’s office late in 2008, confiscating 11 hard drives, including the DVD, book, and duplicate letters of Ruth Derksen Siemens’ Remember Us. The letters were written by a Mennonite family in Russia to relatives in Canada between 1930 and 1937, during Stalin’s reign of terror. The incident is seen as part of a trend, worrisome to many Russia-watchers, toward a positive rehabilitation of Stalin’s memory.

www.gulagletters.com
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In an effort to dispel divisive rhetoric during Toronto’s Gay Pride week, New Direction Ministry created a synchro-blog, engaging 62 bloggers from multiple perspectives to have conversations on how Christ-followers “can reach across the divide and build bridges,” according to national director Wendy Gritter. Another tool from New Direction is a DVD, Bridging the Gap: Conversations on Befriending our Gay Neighbours, featuring Tony Campolo, Bruxy Cavey, Brian McLaren, and Greg Paul.

—Graf-Martin Communications
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Volunteers and supporters at the MCC Festival and Relief Sale in Winnipeg raised approximately $105,000 for people in Southern Sudan. An estimated 2,000 people attended the June 19–20 event, which included food vendors, a quilt auction, folk music performances, and an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. More than 200 volunteers donated time and energy, including Ruth Schroeder and Dorothy Friesen (pictured, l–r), who made and sold reusable cloth bags.

—MCC
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At The Word Guild awards gala 2009, MB elder statesman John H. Redekop of Abbotsford, B.C., was recognized for his review, “Is punishment all bad?” in the MB Herald, and tied for his short feature article, “Buying Two Farms,” in Stillwood, the first years 1958–2008. The gala was June 17 in Mississauga, Ont., followed by a 2-day writers’ conference.

www.thewordguild.com
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The town of Port Hope, Ont., will celebrate native son Joseph Scriven, author of the well-known hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” Sept 12–13. Originally written as a poem of comfort for Scriven’s mother, the text was set to music in 1868 by Charles Converse. Activities in Port Hope will include dedication of a refurbished Scriven memorial, bus tours, open houses and barbecues at local churches, an evening concert, and an outdoor worship service.

www.josephscriven.org

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