Newsbriefs

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) remains optimistic that a faithful constituency and diverse sources of income will lessen the impact of the economic downturn. MCC estimates it will see a 5 percent drop in donations in the U.S. At the same time, the substantial drop in the Canadian dollar (Canadian donations account for just under half of MCC’s total income) will affect the agency, which works in U.S. dollars. Though MCC expects to avoid new initiatives for 2009, it remains committed to helping people in need, says Arli Klassen, executive director.

—MCC, Intelligencer Journal
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Mennonite Disaster Service partnered with Samaritan’s Purse recently to respond to significant flooding, caused by heavy snow followed by torrential rain, in B.C.’s Greendale-Chilliwack area. The two organizations have a history of partnering together, such as recent relief work in response to Hurricane Ike.

—MDS
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Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada was elected secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance international council for the next 6 years. In his EFC post, Clemenger is in regular contact with Christian leaders and key policy makers from coast to coast. The WEA, established in 1846, seeks to strengthen local churches through national alliances, supporting and coordinating grassroots leadership, and seeking practical ways of showing the unity of the body of Christ.

—ChristianToday.com
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The student council at Canadian Mennonite University challenged students to take former prime minister Lester B. Pearson’s 1969 challenge to donate at least 0.7 percent of the money they spend on tuition to help children in Africa. The fundraising effort, called the Pearson Challenge, resulted in 66 students donating $2,226 to Hope Never Runs Dry, an MCC Global Family program in Uganda which assists AIDS orphans.

—CMU release
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In response to growing need in Zimbabwe, Canadian Foodgrains Bank is providing 9,109 metric tonnes of food. The $7-million project provides 5 months’ rations for approximately 120,000 people. The UN predicts 5.1 million people, nearly half the country’s population, will require emergency food aid in the first quarter of 2009, because of a recent drought, poor agricultural practice, and a rapidly declining economy, compounded by a cholera epidemic.

—Canadian Foodgrains Bank
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Eden Health Care Services received a best practice award from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation for Penfield Court, its 24-unit rental apartment building in Steinbach, Man., for low income earners needing ongoing mental health support. Eden was cited for its “innovative supportive housing model that provides a unique combination of support services and housing in a rural community.”

—The Bridge, Eden newsletter
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During the Islamic festival of sacrifice in Bangladesh in December, a crowd of 4,000 confronted Jhontu Biswas with accusations of converting poor people with offers of money. Biswas, a pastor near Dhaka, has faced more than a year of harassment and threats for his Christian faith. The president of the Assembly of God church in the region reports that more than 200 people have received Christ through Biswas’s witness in the predominately Muslim area since his baptism in February 2007.

—Compass Direct News
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Dr. Paul Thiessen, member of Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Church in Vancouver, was awarded the 2008 Clinical Practitioner Award by the Paediatric Chairs of Canada. The national award recognizes excellence in a pediatrician whose clinical practice has provided outstanding leadership in the education of trainees. Thiessen has also volunteered in medical teaching programs in Uganda, Ukraine, and in medical projects in India, Honduras, and Ecuador.

—Canadian Mennonite
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Anabaptist theology has become firmly entrenched alongside Reformed and Presbyterian theology at the multidenominational Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Cal. Since 2000, there have been 5 Mennonite faculty members and 4 others who identify themselves as Anabaptist, according to professor emeritus of mission history Wilbert Shenk. Shenk and Nancy Murphy, wife of James William McClendon Jr., are advocating for a chair in Anabaptist studies named after John Howard Yoder and McClendon, a strong proponent of the Anabaptist perspective on Christianity.

—Mennonite Weekly Review
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The Malaria Shoppe in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is the first store in the country to focus solely on malaria-related products, and the only outlet for non-wholesale clients to purchase insecticide-treated mosquito nets from the local manufacturer. Also selling World Health Organization-approved insecticide kits for indoor residual spraying, owner Antony Haji hopes the Malaria Shoppe will change the way people in Tanzania view malaria prevention.

—MEDA
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Clarification:
Re “First Austrian MB church celebrates milestone” (P & E, December 2008). The ministry of Linz church resulted in the formation of churches in Wels, Steyr, Salzburg, Gmunden, and one in Vienna. Eighteen evangelical Anabaptist churches now operating in Austria have grown out of the ministry of the Tulpengasse church in Vienna.

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