Led by the student council, students at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, kicked off the annual Pearson Challenge Oct. 28, in partnership with MCC’s Global Family Project. The initiative asks students to be role models for the community by donating the equivalent of 0.7 percent of their tuition costs to foreign aid. In 1969, Lester B. Pearson promised the international community that Canada would contribute 0.7 percent of its gross domestic product to foreign aid.
Rebecca Bartel and Daryl Yoder-Bontrager of Latin America and Caribbean Department, MCC, echo the call of the Honduran church for dialogue and reconciliation in Honduras. “We are concerned about the June 28 military-led coup that deposed president Jose Manuel Zelaya and the subsequent actions of both the de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti and the ousted president,” they write. On Sept. 28, the government suspended all civil liberties, creating deep fear and concern in the general population. MCC asks the international community for a long-term response to bring sustainable justice and security to one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
—Mennonite Central Committee
A study released by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada revealed that parental actions influence teen sexual behaviour significantly. The study found parental behaviours like drinking and smoking can affect future teen sexual activity, and that family structure has an effect on teen sexual activity.
Out of the women theologians group meeting at July’s Mennonite World Conference assembly in Asuncion, Paraguay, has come a proposal for a series of devotionals. Persons from the 17 Mennonite Brethren conferences worldwide will write devotionals to be posted on the internet between Easter and Pentecost 2010. The daily readings, translated from original languages to the major languages used by MBs worldwide, will mark the 150th anniversary of the Mennonite Brethren church.
—ICOMB global education newsletter
Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, has launched an office of ministry inquiry, located in the biblical and theological studies department, to guide students through a discernment process around their calling, interests, and skills for future careers in ministry. Program co-chairs Gerry Ediger and Irma Fast Dueck work in consultation with the CMU community and interested congregations.
Some 1,000 students of Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) in Indonesia were evicted from two sites where they had taken refuge after Muslim protestors drove them from their campus last year. In response, the students demonstrated in West Jakarta, Oct. 27, clogging traffic, leading to altercations with police, and the arrest of 5 students. The school was occupying temporary quarters after students were driven from the SETIA campus in Kampung Pulo in July 2008 by protestors shouting “Allahu-Akbar” [God is greater] and brandishing machetes.
Mennonite Central Committee Kenya is launching a project that will provide used computers and computer training in 50 schools in 8 provinces with each school receiving 8–10 computers. The Lari Memorial Peace Museum in Kenya is MCC’s partner in the project, which will teach computer skills and promote inter-ethnic dialogue by connecting young people from different ethnic groups through email and social media. MCC Canada is collecting 500 used computers (contact your local MCC office for minimum requirements) and donations to cover shipping costs.
Colombian president Alvaro Uribe hopes to turn Colombia into the world’s main producer of palm oil by 2020, creating 6 million hectares of palm plantations to feed the demand of “green” consumerism from the Global North. Christian Peacemaker Teams reports that hundreds of small communities, particularly Afro-Colombia communities in the Magdalena Medio region, are being displaced by paramilitaries to make room for more plantations,. There are approximately 4 million internally displaced people in Colombia.
The Vatican has published details of a proposal to accept Anglican ministers, offering what amounts to their own dioceses within the Roman Catholic Church. Church of England priests who are married will be accepted on a case-by-case basis, although clergy will have to be re-ordained as Catholic priests, agreeing to Catholic views on contraception, Mary, and transubstantiation. The Vatican insists its invitation comes only in response to Anglicans pleading for a new spiritual home, who are unreconciled to their church’s acceptance of women bishops and homosexual clergy.
Correction: Re “Church prepares to blitz neighbourhood with evangelistic book” (P&E Nov. 2009). Well Side Community Church will be distributing 3,500 books in northeast Calgary.