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Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) 4-year, $1 million restructuring process will result in the layoff of 32 MCC U.S. employees. Executive director Arli Klassen’s role will finish Mar. 31, and much of the work in Akron, Pa., will move to Canadian and international locations. MCC Binational will disappear, and programs will be directly owned by both partners. The new requirement that at least 2/3 of each board be appointed by their denomination will create “stronger accountability to the Anabaptist denominations,” says MCC U.S. executive director Ron Byler. MCC is also partnering with the emerging, independent relief program Global Anabaptist Service Network as it becomes established.—themennonite.org

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Portage Avenue Church, Winnipeg, celebrated its 75th anniversary in October, featuring a special choir performance led and accompanied by local music professionals Bill and Irmgard Baerg. This hearkened back to the glory days in the church’s history when it grew to more than 600 members in the 1970s–80s. Interim pastor Travis Reimer focused on God’s covenant promises for the future, and the importance of a responsive commitment to reverent worship, faithful obedience, and ongoing praise. Though the community is older and smaller than it once was, the congregation rejoiced that God’s faithfulness is still evident. The recent rejuvenation of children’s and youth programs, a burgeoning moms’ program, and opportunities for ministry with new members are signs of hope for what God may bring in the future.—Portage Avenue Church

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In response to the East Africa drought, Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) has committed to distributing 18,500 tonnes of food and other assistance totalling $13 million through 22 projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. With its fund reserve for emergencies, CFGB is in a more favourable position to respond than many agencies, but to address a crisis of this magnitude, additional donations are required.—CFGB release

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Ten Thousand Villages Canada appointed Ryan Jacobs
general manager, overseeing the overall operations and direction of Canada’s leading fair trade retailer. Jacobs joined the organization as director of finance and operations March 2011. He holds a master of theology and is completing his certified management accountant designation.—Ten Thousand Villages release

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Tyndale University College and Seminary, Toronto, and the Association of Canadian Chinese Theological Education signed a long-term agreement in January to provide theological education for Chinese-language church leaders. The partnership that began in 1988 with the establishment of Tyndale’s English-language master of divinity in pastoral Chinese ministry degree was furthered through the Canadian Chinese School of Theology, which since 2005 has served 65 students in Chinese. Also, in 2012, Stephanie Ling was appointed Tyndale chancellor.—Tyndale release

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Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) rejection of Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) 3-year, $2.9 million/year funding proposal may require MCC to scale back or temporarily delay programs until alternate funding options are identified. The proposal would have provided food, water, and income generation assistance for India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Haiti, Bolivia, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. MCC proposals to CIDA that received approval in past years included $2.1 million for Haiti reconstruction and $1.2 million for disaster assistance in China. Last year, MCC had personnel in 48 countries and income of $76 million.—MCC release

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Pope Benedict XVI approved the canonization of Canada’s first aboriginal saint Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. “The lily of the Mohawks” was born in 1656 to a Roman Catholic Algonquin mother and a Mohawk father in upstate New York, converted to Catholicism in her teens, was baptized at 20, fled to Canada at 21, and died 3 years later.—catholicregister.org

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The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and Mennonite Church Canada are offering a 2-session Creating Living Legacies workshop on “writing life stories with meaning.” Facilitated by Joanne Klassen and Eleanor Chornoboy of Heartspace Writing School, the $50 course takes place at the Centre for MB Studies Mar. 12 and the Mennonite Heritage Centre Mar. 19, 7:00–9:00 pm. Register by email to cstoesz@mbconf.ca.—www.write-away.net
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Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary and Middle School (WMEMS) students raised $1,667 for Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) “food for all” program. The Grade 2 class collected change, and filled 184 soup orders and 72 “cookies in a jar” orders in December, and presented a cheque at MCC’s national office January 27.—WMEMS release 

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