News Briefs

The MB Historical Commission announced two competitive awards made possible by the Katie Funk Wiebe Fund: a $1,500 research grant toward publication on the history and contributions of MB women and a 5-week summer 2013 archival internship (including travel, housing, and $2,000 stipend) with practical experience at each of the 4 MB archival institutions in North America (Winnipeg, Hillsboro, Fresno, and Abbotsford). Apply to Jon Isaak (jisaak@mbconf.ca). Go HERE for application instructions.—Historical Commission release
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Girls in secondary schools are one of the highest risk groups for new infections of HIV in Tanzania, says Salome Lally, a program coordinator at Mwangaza Education for Partnerships. In partnership with MCC, Mwangaza now trains and supports intergenerational teams of 12 to be advocates for healthy lifestyles in their schools, churches, and communities.

Read full story Here. —MCC release
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In October, a rally drew tens of thousands to Christian worship gatherings in the Egyptian desert. In a unique show of partnership, a Coptic Orthodox priest preached at the evangelical event. The call to follow Jesus at a time when persecution has increased (since the June election of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi) resulted in an estimated 25,000 new Jesus followers and 8,000 requests for follow-up visits by churches. An estimated 2–3 million viewers followed the rally live on 2 Christian satellite channels in North America, Australia, and the Middle East.—Open Doors release
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Building on Cambridge professor John Gurdon’s 1962 research, Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka published a 2006 paper demonstrating intact, mature cells can become immature stem cells, eliminating the need for the destruction of human embryos to obtain stem cells for disease research and treatment development. Yamanaka and Gurdon were recently awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine based on their discoveries.—B.C. Catholic News
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Canada cancelled contracts for its 49 part-time prison chaplains, effectively eliminating all but 2 non-Christian staff. Although Corrections Canada reports only 57 percent of inmates are Christian, public safety minister Vic Toews announced “chaplains employed must provide services to inmates of all faiths.” Many Christian chaplains spoke against the decision, feeling unequipped to teach other traditions, and having observed the value of connections between inmates and members of their own faith. Chaplains are a factor in rehabilitation: “People in our faith-based transformation programs have their reoffending rate drop to 10–20 percent,” says Eleanor Clitheroe, CEO, Prison Fellowship Canada, which sees 2,000 volunteers visit inmates and their families.—Globe and Mail, Sightings
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Following hurricane Sandy, Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers began clearing roads ahead of line repair trucks in Garrett County, Md., and cleaning up debris along a 10-mile-long stretch of devastation
in Staten Island, N.Y. Read more at
HERE.—MDS release
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The MAX Mutual Aid Ministries team is seeking prayer partners to receive prayer request emails and commit to pray daily.—MAX release
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A Chilliwack, B.C., parent complained to the school board that the glossy Gideon’s brochure his daughter brought home, which doubled as a parent consent form for receipt of a New Testament, was religious marketing. One trustee, Barry Neufeld, responded in support of Bible distribution in schools because it promotes biblical literacy, vital to understanding Western literature and civilization. Neufeld stated he wouldn’t oppose other faiths distributing their sacred texts: “If we aspire to a more tolerant, understanding society, then limiting freedom of speech does not seem to be the answer.”—chilliwacktimes.com
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Colombians are cautiously optimistic that peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which commenced Oct. 14, 2012, will build sustainable peace. After Colombian president Juan Manual Santos announced the talks, Colombian church councils, including 2 Anabaptist pastors, the Justapaz director, and MWC general secretary, issued a declaration supporting the talks.—MCC release

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