Going green can save money. Goshen (Ind.) College hosted the Sustainable Business Roundtable in Michiana (Indiana-Michigan). Sustainability coordinator and utilities manager Glenn Gilbert explained the monitoring systems and environmental practices put in place over the last number of years. Despite a growing campus and increase in use of electronic devices, energy consumption is down to 1990s levels. A website (www.goshen.edu/gogreen) showcases the college’s green practices and environmental study programs.
In a case involving the Hutterite Brethren, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the existence of a collective dimension to religious freedom. In the words of one judge, religious freedom under the Charter “incorporates a right to establish and maintain a community of faith.” This sets a precedent for future cases that challenge the ability of churches and religious organizations to self define and maintain a distinctive Christian character and ethos.
—Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
This year’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), on the theme “Persecuted: not abandoned,” is scheduled for Nov. 8. IDOP Canada is a partnership formed in 1997 to encourage churches to observe a day of prayer for the more than 200 million Christians around the world who face violent opposition because of their beliefs. A free downloadable resource kit and DVD are available from www.idop.ca.
—Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Cyndi Fecher of Elgin, Ill., was named new managing editor of the Gather ’Round curriculum, a joint project of Mennonite conferences. Fecher previously worked on the project as assistant, and has writing, editing, and layout experience from her work as publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.
—Mennonite Church USA
Hard times are upon the publishing industry, and 2 Mennonite periodicals have been discontinued. With, a magazine targeted at youth, ran its last issue this summer, and Our Faith Digest, a free magazine published by The Mennonite, Inc., saw its last issue in print spring 2009 with a final ezine made available in June 2009.
—TMail, The Mennonite
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary launched the MennoPrank Society, May 13, inviting pranksters on all Mennonite higher education campuses to join the fun. AMBS president Nelson Kraybill, perpetrator of the school’s Prank of the Century, inducted Don Steider, the maintenance director who pulled a prank on Kraybill. The society’s charter “aims to raise the standard of high jinks in the Anabaptist tradition, explore the missional implications of pranksterism in a postmodern society, and affirm outstanding acts of buffoonery.”
Local authorities in Vietnam have balked at registering house churches, contributing to a recent increase in sometimes violent harassment of congregations. Four police officers and 2 government officials broke up the Sunday morning worship service of a house church in Tran Phu Commune in Hanoi July 26, announcing it was illegal to worship and teach religion. Officials had previously refused to grant the church’s application for registration, despite an appeal to the prime minister’s 2005 Special Directive Concerning Protestants.
Mennonite Central Committee is launching a program to help farmers in North Korea, which has experienced serious food shortages in recent years, produce more grain through environmentally sustainable practices. The conservation agriculture project aims to increase organic matter and nutrients in the soil, boost yields, and minimize expensive inputs such as fertilizer and fuel. MCC will provide equipment, supplies, and training to 3 cooperative farms where several thousand residents live and work together.
“Being prepared for times of crisis is both a ministry and a mission of the church,” says Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster Service. The cost of “not preparing is too high to contemplate.” To help churches prepare for crises both sudden and anticipated, MDS partnered with Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Publishing Network to create Beyond Our Fears, a 4-session study guide. The guide can help congregations learn the biblical basis for disaster preparation, how churches have responded in the past, and how to prepare a congregational disaster plan.
—Mennonite Publishing Network
Whatever you are doing to make the world a better and more sustainable place to live, the authors of Simply Sustainable, a new Mennonite Publishing Network book scheduled for release fall 2010, want to know. Like previous MPN books such as More with Less, the new book will draw on the wisdom of people around the globe. Categories include food; cleaning; energy conservation; fair trade; money and barter; recycling; physical, spiritual, and mental health; and more.