Newsbriefs

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U.S. Mennonite Brethren leaders, together with the presidents and board representatives of MB Biblical Seminary (MBBS), Tabor College, and Fresno Pacific University (FPU), met Apr. 14–15 in Denver, Co. to renew the national mission to train pastors through graduate-level theological education. MBBS announced Feb. 5 that it would transfer its Fresno, Ca. programs to FPU, the Mennonite Brethren-owned university in Fresno, by June 1. The sessions reviewed the transfer negotiation process, discussed new structures, addressed participants’ concerns, and discussed possible future collaborations. FPU confirmed that it will preserve MBBS’s faculty, curriculum, and evangelical-Anabaptist theological perspective. MBBS president Lynn Jost, charged with facilitating ongoing communication to foster cooperation, reports that the meetings strengthened MBBS’s mission.—USMB Conf. release

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Executive secretary Victor Wall will complete his service to the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB) at the annual meetings May 20–22 at Brake Bible School, Lemgo, Germany. Also, due to the establishment of several Thai churches since MBMSI’s Team 2000 project began nearly a decade ago, the agency will recommend ICOMB receive the MB church in Thailand as an official ICOMB conference.—CCMBC release
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The 2010 World Religions Summit will bring together approximately 80 international religious leaders in Winnipeg June 21–23 to call governments of G8/G20 nations to remain true to the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve global poverty by 2015. In 2000, G8 nations – including Canada – pledged assistance, but are well behind in meeting their promises. Faith leaders are challenged to “not remain silent.” Leading up to the G8 and G20 Summit June 25–27 in Huntsville, Ont., anti-poverty activists Bono and Bob Geldof will guest edit the Globe and Mail, exploring issues facing Africa and the implications for Canada.—2010 Interfaith Partnership release with info from CNA
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As Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) continues to monitor the oil spill off the Louisiana coast, they are calling for prayer for the affected community. MDS project director Mike Wilson says, “The air was so thick with the smoke from the burning oil that I couldn’t stay outside, and I was 100 miles from where it was burning. People aren’t sure what is happening and how it will affect their livelihoods.”—MDS
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Africa is the most religious place on earth, according to a report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released Apr. 15. More than 25,000 sub-Saharan Africans responded in face-to-face interviews in more than 60 languages.—Huffington Post
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Ont. premier Dalton McGuinty withdrew a new sex ed. curriculum Apr. 22, in part due to the vocal objections of religious communities. The curriculum included the mention of homosexuality in grade 3, self-stimulation in grade 6, and anal and oral sex in grade 7. What parent protestors may not have realized is that grade 7 lessons were warnings encouraging students to avoid, or at least postpone, these risky behaviours.—with info from EFC release and thestar.com
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For villagers in the developing world without access to banks, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) now offers savings accounts, a safe alternative to hiding money and a means to overcoming poverty. Even pennies a day can add up to an emergency fund for a child starting school or to cope with sudden illness.—MEDA release
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Two TV commercials for SoulChat.ca, a new Billy Graham Assoc. website, won awards at the annual Calgary Ad Rodeo Industry Gala in May. SoulChat.ca uses blogs, videos, and articles to engage Canadians in discussions about faith. “These commercials were designed to be relevant and appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds, and these awards tell us that we have hit the mark,” says BGEAC’s executive director Fred Weiss. The commercials, first aired Nov. 2009 in Saskatoon, may be viewed on SoulChat.ca.—BGEAC
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Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Canada has received more than $8.4 million in financial contributions in support of their response to the Haiti earthquake. By the end of April, MCC Canada received nearly 27,000 gifts, almost half of them from people who had not previously given to MCC. Donations were highest in Manitoba, followed by Ontario.—MCC release
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Tabor College’s steps toward becoming more environmentally sustainable were featured in Green Awakenings Campus Report, which documents the environmental initiatives of 52 Christian colleges across North America. Tabor’s efforts on its Hillsboro, Kan. campus include a Creation Care week, increased recycling efforts, the purchase of recycling equipment for the cafeteria, and upgraded light fixtures to save energy. Green Awakenings is a publication of the Christian environmental group “Renewal: Students Caring for Creation.”—The Tabor College Connection 
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On Jan. 14, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists adjusted their Doomsday Clock from 11:55 to 11:54. The clock is designed to indicate the level of global threat from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new developments in the life sciences and nanotechnology. “For the first time since atomic bombs were dropped in 1945, leaders of nuclear weapons states are cooperating to vastly reduce their arsenals,” the bulletin reports.—The Ploughshares Monitor

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