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Micah Challenge Canada launched the ACT:FAST campaign, which invites Christians to participate in three days of prayer, fasting, advocacy, and action leading up to the UN special review summit on the Millennium Development Goals in New York Sept 20−22 and the Micah Challenge global day of action Oct. 10. They hope to collect the signatures of 25 million Christians and a million churches in favour of seeing poverty halved by 2015.—micahchallenge.ca

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Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers responded promptly to overland flooding and sewer backups in Emerson, Brandon, and Winnipeg, Man. Record rainfalls (more than 4 inches) May 28–30 created a state of emergency in Emerson, where at least 80 percent of basements were flooded. Overland flooding is not covered by insurance, leaving many, particularly the elderly, looking for assistance.—MDS release

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At the end of May, the majority-Muslim country of Morocco expelled another 26 foreign Christians without due process. This second deportation brings the number of Christians forced to leave the country to 105 since early March.—Compass Direct

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The Forks in Winnipeg hosted the first of 7 Truth and Reconciliation Commission national events on the legacy of the Indian residential school system June 16–19, to educate the public and honour survivors. Activities included First Nations, Inuit, and Métis cultural and artistic presentations for adults and children.—trc.ca

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In a video project with Deaf Opportunities Outreach International (DOOR), Wycliffe Associates will translate the Bible into the 200 sign languages used by some 70 million people, the majority of them in developing nations. Sign languages are unique, not based on a country’s spoken language, and many who use them cannot read. To date, only American Sign Language has a New Testament in video form.—bcnn5.com

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A new U.S. Congress Act created to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from kidnapping and raping civilians will open the door for more U.S.-supported military involvement in Uganda. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has concerns that this will prioritize funding to Uganda’s military and incite attacks on civilians. MCC, a presence in Uganda since 1979, advocated for stronger peace-building initiatives in the Act.—canadianmennonite.org

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Canadian household debt reached $1.4 trillion in 2009. Canadians owe $1.44 for every dollar they earn, making ours the most overextended households among the top 20 developed nations.—Macleans

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Laotian refugee Chai Bouphaphanh’s photo of sunbeams on a bridal couple was selected for a National Geographic collection. In 1980, Drake Mennonite Church, through the newly formed Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada refugee assistance program, sponsored (then 11-year-old) Bouphaphanh’s family. There Bouphaphanh met the late Wally Ewert, who inspired him to photography by giving him his first National Geographic.—MCC release

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To answer his Korean-speaking congregation’s questions about Mennonites, pastor Bock Ki Kim of Vision Mennonite Church, London, Ont., translated Palmer Becker’s booklet  “What is an Anabaptist Christian?” into Korean − one of 7 languages in which the Mennonite Church USA booklet is now available. Kim wrote, “For me, Palmer’s book is a kind of revision of [Harold S. Bender’s 1944 essay] ‘The Anabaptist Vision’ in the 21st century.”—mennonitemission.net

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The Geneva-based World Council of Churches held their World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel May 29–June 4 to focus on the issue of Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas. The week coincided with Israel’s raid on a flotilla of nine vessels carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian and peace activists bearing supplies headed for Gaza, in which at least 9 activists were killed.—canadianmennonite.org with files from BBC news

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Statistics Canada says seniors will outnumber children under 15 for the first time in history between 2015 and 2021, with the median age ranging between 42–45. By 2036, the working-age population is expected to decline from 70 to 60 percent.—CBC News

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Fonkoze, Haiti’s largest microfinance organization with 42 branches, received a $4.5 million grant from The MasterCard Foundation to spur economic recovery in Haiti. Fonkoze lost 5 employees in the January earthquake and nearly 8,000 clients lost their homes, businesses, or both.—MEDA News Service

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In India, Hindu nationalist leaders pledged to “cleanse Mandla [district] of Christians” through a “reconversion” rally February 2011. After the April ground-breaking ceremony for the rally, 40 Hindu nationalists carrying knives and rods attacked a house church, pelting it with stones and forcing the pastor to sign a statement that he would not pray or lead services in his home.—Compass Direct

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This summer, Mennonite Disaster Service is building a winterized facility for teenage boys who struggle with addictions. Rock Solid Refuge in Saskatchewan has offered boys’ camps for 3 summers and recognizes a need for year-round programming.—www.mds.mennonite.net

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June 6, an F1 tornado damaged homes, farms, and vehicles in Leamington, Ont., a community of 30,000 people, and home to two MB churches. No injuries were reported. MDS volunteers are assisting local churches and civic leaders with cleanup.—MCC Canada release with files from CBC news

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Coverage of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly in Paraguay earned first-place honours for Canadian Mennonite at this year’s Canadian Church Press (CCP) convention in Toronto in May.—www.mwc-cmm.org

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Vietnam Mennonite Church (VCM) ordained 26 pastors and graduated 30 students from a 4-year in-service pastoral training class Mar. 20. The celebration drew more than 100 guests. VMC chairman Nguyen Quang Trung, who led a small Mennonite group through 3 decades when the church was not recognized, was moved by the congratulatory bouquets government leaders sent the newly credentialed leaders. The following week, VCM celebrated the opening of the Vietnam Mennonite Institute in Theology and Renewal, offering bachelor’s degrees in theology. VCM general secretary Nguyen Minh Sang reports that the VMC now has 90 churches with approximately 8,500 members and 140 pastors and evangelists.—MWC release

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