During the Olympic Games, churchgoers at Willingdon (MB) Church in Burnaby, B.C., recalled their early days of growth, when members were requested to “walk a block for the Lord,” by parking far from the church building to free up nearby parking spaces for newcomers. The church, which counts its membership in the thousands, has an agreement with nearby B.C. Institute of Technology to allow for weekend parking on BCIT lots. That agreement was revised for the Games to accommodate Olympic attendees’ parking and busing requirements. Willingdon leaders planned and widely publicized detailed alternatives and gave a general plea to members to carpool or come by transit.
Canadian Mennonite University appointed Kenneth Reddig as director of its Braintree Creation Care Centre in southeast Manitoba. The 800-acre property was gifted to CMU by Walter and Eleanor Loewen in 2008 to protect the diverse wildlands, and to serve as a Christian centre of learning and reflection around creation care and protection of the environment. Reddig, a self-described student of nature, is also half-time director of Eden Foundation, and has previously served as executive director for MCC Manitoba, and director of the Centre for MB Studies.
The annual RUSH conference for senior high youth has again proven to be a big draw from all over B.C., and even parts of Alberta. Hosted by Kelowna’s Willow Park (MB) Church, Feb. 19–21, the event – at press time – had drawn 1,700 registrants for worship, music, faith-building speakers, and fun. The only plaintive note from the 2010 organizers was a cry for more snow – to add more fun to the outdoor recreational elements that make up part of the RUSH tradition.
Culminating an eight-year leadership transition process, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is leaving the organization he founded in 1977. John Fuller will host the Focus radio broadcast, bringing in ministry experts on marriage, parenting, and culture. Dobson plans to continue on the airwaves with a new program co-hosted by his son Ryan.
The Conservative Bible Project is an online initiative of the religious right allowing laypersons to rewrite the Bible to remove “liberal bias” and “clarify the gospel basis of free-market economics.” The 10-point guideline for amateur translators includes suggestions they avoid gender inclusive language, not downplay or deny the existence of hell, and exclude latter-inserted liberal passages.
International Justice Mission Canada is calling on Haitian authorities, the international community, and Canadian military and aid workers in Haiti to be aware of the threat of kidnapping and trafficking of children. President and CEO Gary Haugen says a spike in human trafficking was averted in tsunami-ravaged Southeast Asia in 2005 by public justice systems and law enforcement agencies going on alert: “exactly what we don’t have in Haiti,” he adds. An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 children have been killed, orphaned, or separated from their parents in Haiti as a result of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
—International Justice Mission
There are no Mennonite World Conference member churches in Haiti but 5 small Anabaptist-related groups meet in the country. MWC’s deacons commission is following the situation in Haiti closely and seeking counsel from MWC member churches in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic on the best ways to respond.
Mennonite Economic Development Associates’ Haitian partner since 1984, Fonkoze is working hard through its 39 branch offices to enable those it serves to get small loans to begin rebuilding immediately, said Allen Sauder, MEDA president.
Mennonite Central Committee workers in Haiti report that compassion and collaboration were far more prevalent than incidents of violence in the aftermath of the earthquake. MCC marshalled 3 structural engineers to Haiti in late January to determine if houses and buildings are safe for occupation.
The board of governors of Tyndale University College and Seminary appointed Gary Nelson as president and CEO, effective July 1, 2010. Tyndale is a trans-denominational evangelical university college and seminary, situated in Toronto, founded in 1894, with one of the most multicultural student bodies in Canada. Nelson, general secretary of Canadian Baptist Ministries and CEO of national and global work for Canadian Baptists, holds doctoral and masters degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary.
—Tyndale University College
Mennonite Central Committee is providing an initial $17,390 to help meet needs of displaced people in Jos and Nigeria’s Plateau State. Tensions between Christians and Muslims erupted into violence Jan. 17, resulting in more than 400 deaths and thousands forced to flee. In 2005, MCC was instrumental in founding the Emergency Preparedness Response Team, an interfaith network of 10 Nigeria organizations to respond to and mediate conflicts in the region with a nearly equally divided Christian and Muslim population and deep-rooted political tensions.