News Briefs

Sept. 1–30, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) was 1 of 300 global organizations taking part in GlobalGiving’s September Open Challenge: to raise $4,000 from at least 50 unique donors to earn a permanent place on the crowdfunding website. MEDA’s $4,485 from 63 donors will support the EDGET project (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade), helping 10,000 farmers and weavers toward sustainable livelihoods.—MEDA release

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In September, backlash to the internet video “Innocence of the Muslims” directed at Christians in the Muslim world included computer hacks and church burnings. But when a mob began vandalizing Kasr-el-Dobara Evangelical Church, Cairo, Egypt, a man from the crowd interjected, saying Christians from the church had tended his wounds during the 2011 Egyptian uprising. Another said the church had offered water to wash the feet of Muslims before prayer. The crowd disbursed.—Open Doors News

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The annual general meeting of B.C.’s Columbia Bible College unanimously affirmed Bryan Born as president. He takes office upon Ron Penner’s retirement in January. Part of CBC’s faculty for eight years after working in the mission field, Born is a person of action, said Penner, with a passion for Christian discipleship. He’s also familiar with both the Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church families that support CBC. God’s mission covers every aspect of our lives, Born said; CBC is “not only about personal spirituality, but about all of life.”

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Statistics Canada reports that from 2006 to 2011 the number of common-law couples rose 13.9 percent, 4 times the increase of married couples (3.1%). In the same 5-year period, the percentage of couples living without children increased from 42.7 to 44.5. Lone-parent families increased 8 percent. The 2006 census found 29 percent of single parent households live in poverty, compared to 8.2 percent of couple households with children. —Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

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Many Toronto churches may no longer be able to afford to meet in public schools. Effective Sept. 1, 2012, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) removed religious groups from the list of charitable organizations, discontinuing access to not-for-profit rental subsidies, and resulting in an immediate 140–800 percent increase in fees. TDSB says its goal is to fill a $110 million shortfall.—National Post

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Evangelical Fellowship of Canada president Bruce J. Clemenger joined other Canadian leaders in signing the Declaration of Support for Parliamentary Study of Canada’s Legal Definition of “Human Being,” calling for a study of Canada’s antiquated law that says a child becomes human only “when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.” Angus Reid, Ipsos Reid, Abacus Data, and Environics surveys suggest Canadians support “legislation that at minimum would prevent abortion when the child is old enough to survive outside the womb and address the matter of the increasing number of sex-selection abortions being performed in Canada,” says EFC vice-president and general legal counsel Don Hutchinson.—evangelicalfellowship.ca

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The new Somali president studied at the 2001 Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), Harrisonburg, Va. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, then an educator, was encouraged to attend by a Somali who completed her EMU masters in conflict transformation in 2001. With 182 people from 45 countries, Mohamud took 3 classes in trauma healing, mediation, and adult-centred education techniques. Mohamud’s Sept. 10 election was the final step of a U.N.-backed plan to bring a stable central government to Somalia. The last stable government collapsed in 1991.—themennonite.org

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The Canadian government will spend part of the $275 million budgeted to improve First Nations education on building 3 new schools this year in Pikangikum and Fort Severn, Ont., and Shamattawa, Man., and renovating 5 more reserve schools in years to come. Some of the funds will help native bands build the expertise to eventually take control of their education systems.—Canadian Press

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