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The Canadian MB Conference is encouraging MB churches to join the Advent Conspiracy − to celebrate Christmas by spending less, giving more, worshipping fully, and loving all. Advent Conspiracy is a grassroots movement with more than 1,000 churches in 17 countries participating in projects from drilling wells for those without access to clean water, to replacing traditional gifts with acts of kindness.—adventconspiracy.org

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School kits are Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) most-requested item − 130,000 each year. Many are sent to refugees and survivors of natural disasters. MCC is seeking kits for schools in the southern hemisphere, where the school year begins in February. Visit mcc.org/kits for supply lists and drop-off locations.—MCC release

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In September, the University of Winnipeg became the first public university to offer a Mennonite Studies major. In addition to studying the history of Anabaptists, Mennonites, and peace and nonviolence, students may apply any humanities course in which they choose a Mennonite topic for a major research paper. Collaboration with Menno Simons College allows Mennonite Studies majors to cross-register courses in Conflict Resolution and International Development.—Chair in Mennonite Studies release

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For the first time in history, there are more unmarried people than legally married people over age 15 in Canada, according to the 2006 census. Quebec had the lowest proportion of married couples – 37.5 percent. More than 18 percent of children live with only one parent, and one in 10 Canadians live common-law.—CBC.ca

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Mennonite Publishing Network, the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Canada, and Third Way Media, a department of Mennonite Mission Network, plan to consolidate into a new innovative multi-media organization under a new name in a single location, likely Harrisonburg, Va. Dreams for the integrated organization include the development of a clearing house of Anabaptist content, collaboration with Mennonite colleges and universities, and partnerships with other denominations, all to equip the church to engage the world from an Anabaptist perspective.—MPN/MMN release

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In partnership with other NGOs and government agencies, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) is conducting damage assessments in Atlantic Canada after Hurricane Igor. Damage to roads and bridges in isolated Newfoundland communities has hampered the relief and cleanup efforts of citizens and the military.—mds.mennonite.net

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Russian president Dmitry Medvedev announced in 2009 that all Russian schools should offer biblical moral education. After communism, government officer Dr. Olga, charged with identifying the best system for morally educating Russia’s children, found the Bible and personal faith in Jesus. After immigrating to Canada in 1995, she established the Canadian Kindness Society – the only government-sanctioned organization mandated with providing biblical education to elementary and secondary schools across Russia and Ukraine. The Chinese government has also expressed interest.—christianity.ca  

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On the 300th anniversary of the European settler’s arrival, Pennsylvania government officials and representatives from Lancaster County’s Amish, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and Quaker communities honoured Native American cultures and recognized the historic wrongs committed against local native people. When settlers broke the treaties William Penn made with aboriginals, and massacred the last Conestoga tribe in 1763, Christians were complicit, the formal statement acknowledged.—Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society release

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Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel struck down the Criminal Code provisions on prostitution. Justice Himel placed a 30-day suspension on the ruling, giving the federal government time to appeal. Evangelical Fellowship of Canada vice-president Don Hutchinson stated, “This is an opportunity for the Government of Canada to take strong action that will affirm the value and dignity of all Canadian women…to affirm that, as a nation, we will not condone the exploitation of some for the gratification of others.”—EFC release

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Some 160 church members, B.C. MB conference officers, childhood friends, former students, and family held a surprise 65th birthday party for Ross Road MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C., interim pastor Bob Friesen.—BMc 

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A new paving material removes 35–60 percent of car exhaust pollutants from the atmosphere. A titanium dioxide concrete coating reacts with sunlight and turns smog-causing chemicals into nitrates that wash away in the rain. After two years of testing in the Netherlands, the new material, which costs 50 percent more than regular concrete, is already being installed in the U.S., France, and Italy.—Macleans

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Nov. 3, the B.C. Conference of MB Churches (BCMB) will host a one-day “Deep Spirited Friends Study – The Cross of Christ – a regional theological discussion on Atonement” at Gracepoint Community Church, Surrey, B.C. All BCMB pastors, leaders, and lay people are welcome to attend.—mbconf.ca

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