News Briefs

Displaced by conflict, 400,000 Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries, and nearly 1.5 million Syrians are seeking refuge within their own country. MCC reports, in one Syrian town, a population of 35,000 has opened its doors to 90,000 newcomers, making the need for donations urgent. Since spring, MCC has shipped 4 relief containers to Jordan and 2 to Lebanon. They are working with Caritas Jordan to provide milk and diapers to 250 Syrian families, and with Syrian partners to distribute food and medicine to many more in Homs region, Syria. —MCC release
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Fifteen persecuted MB pastors were released from prison in Southeast Asia July 14. —ICOMB report
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Former Mennonite Disaster Service clients in Grand Bayou, La., report that Hurricane Isaac was the worse storm the region has seen. Elevated MDS-built homes survived with minimal shingle damage, but many non-elevated homes were flooded. MDS is investigated response efforts.—mds.mennonite.net
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Family Life Network, Winnipeg, welcomed Tannis Hogue as director of communication strategies. Hogue has 15 years of experience in marketing, communication, media, and events. —FLN Newsline

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The Foodgrains Bank has committed $9.7 million of assistance to 257,000 people in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, where 18.7 million people are suffering hunger and malnutrition. —CFGB release
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Some 35 people from 7 countries gathered at Goshen (Ind.) College, Aug. 5–8, for an international consultation on the theme, “Bearing Witness: A New Martyrs Mirror for the 21st Century?” Hosted by the college’s Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism, the assembly explored the possibility of a major story-gathering initiative, focused on “costly discipleship.” Participants shared experiences from Ethiopia, Colombia, and the former Soviet Union. No expansions of the Martyrs Mirror have appeared since 1685 to chronicle continuing Anabaptist witness and suffering. —TheMennonite.org

North Peace MB Church celebrated 50 years, Aug. 3–5, sharing memories, music, and fellowship. The Fort St. John, B.C., congregation began when BCMB’s successful West Coast Children’s Mission, a summer outreach in the late 1950s, created the need for ongoing ministry for all ages. —npmbchurch.com
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Evangelical Fellowship of Canada report Black Holes: Canada’s Missing Abortion Data explains how Jan. 1 amendments to Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) prevent individuals from successfully making access to information requests for records relating to the provision of abortion services. EFC vice-president and general legal counsel Don Hutchison asks whether the number of abortions is more intrusive than the number of mastectomies or prostate removals, pointing out that “abortion-related violence was exceedingly rare in Canada, even when abortion data was released to the public.” The EFC seeks access to information so Canadians may “fully participate in the democratic process” and hold politicians accountable, says EFC legal counsel Faye Sonier. —evangelicalfellowship.ca
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Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is sending blankets and providing locally purchased temporary shelter supplies to Iranian people affected by twin earthquakes that shook East Azerbaijan province Aug. 11. Five cities and hundreds of villages were stricken. More than 150,000 people felt the impact and more than 300 died. The MCC effort is being carried out with partner organization Iranian Red Crescent Society. “We are carrying out simple collaboration between organizations in countries that do not have diplomatic relations,” says Daryl Byler, MCC representative in the region. —MCC release
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Mennonite World Conference (MWC) appointedArli Klassen development manager Oct. 1. As Mennonite Central Committee executive director (2008–2012), Klassen represented MCC at MWC executive committee meetings, nurturing her passion for the global church. She begins half-time developing donor relations across North America; after spring 2013, her role may grow to full-time with fundraising efforts reaching other parts of the globe. —MWC release

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