News Briefs - March 2010
News from the Mennonite worldby MCC and more
MCC has challenges with relief deliveries to Haiti
AKRON, Pa.—As of Feb. 17, Mennonite Central Committee continued to ship relief supplies to Haiti despite obstacles that slowed delivery. The Port-au-Prince port was still only operating at about 10 percent of the capacity it had before the earthquake, said Darrin Yoder, material resources manager. Alternate ports were available, but delivery was hindered because of distance or because the ports are not equipped with cranes to facilitate easy unloading. Airlifts are prohibitively expensive, said Daryl Yoder-Bontrager, area director for Latin America and the Caribbean, so they are used sparingly. When MCC did use an airlift to bring 70,000 pounds of canned meat into Port-au-Prince on Jan. 24, the shipment had to be rerouted to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, reportedly because of airport traffic.
According to Yoder, relief kits, heavy comforters and other supplies also are on the way and will continue. Their estimated arrival dates were Feb. 20 and Feb. 28.—MCC
'Bridges to (the) Cross' Convention 2011 theme
NEWTON, Kan.—Planners for the Mennonite Church USA Convention 2011 met for the first time Jan. 14-16 in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa., site of the next national gathering. After 2½ days of discussion, "Bridges to (the) Cross," and 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 surfaced as the theme and Scripture text for the convention on July 4-9, 2011. Pittsburgh, known as the City of Three Rivers, is connected by many bridges. Rachel Swartzendruber Miller, director of convention planning for Executive Leadership, says: "The committee recognized that the theme is twofold. First, as instruments of Christ’s reconciliation, we too have many bridges to cross. Second, God calls us to shape our culture as ambassadors for Christ, instead of continuing to have our culture shape us. We are called to serve as bridges to Christ."—Mennonite Church USA
Teachers, students to 'step out of boat'
PITTSBURGH, Pa.—Wilma Bailey, professor at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, encouraged Mennonite educators to help their students “step out of the boat” during her keynote address at the Feb. 4-6 Mennonite Educators Conference in Pittsburgh. Mennonite Education Agency and Mennonite Schools Council partnered for the conference, which carried the theme "Stepping out of the Boat: Courageous Faith for a Messy World."
Bailey spoke about Peter’s courage to step out of the boat and onto the water to meet Jesus in Matthew 14. For the second address, Tom and Christine Sine of Mustard Seed Associates spoke about the future facing educators and students. Current college graduates face a different world from what their parents faced, said Christine, but educators should help students see these challenges of global poverty and the economic recession as opportunities. Doug Neufeld Yoder, professor at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., spoke about creation care and education. Due to a Feb. 6 blizzard, we were unable to cover the final session with Luke Hartman as the fourth keynote speaker.—Anna Groff
Mennonite Mutual Aid confronts executive pay
GOSHEN, Ind.—MMA Praxis Mutual Funds and Mennonite Education Agency, along with two Catholic organizations, cofiled a shareholder’s proposal with Goldman Sachs last November. The proposal asked Goldman Sachs to evaluate compensation trends at the firm. In January, the firm announced that its bonus pool was down 20 percent from 2007. But a Jan. 6 release from Mennonite Mutual Aid said the change "does not go far enough. … Goldman’s reduced compensation pool is a positive step,but bonuses still amount to over $16 billion, an average of $500,000 per employee." According to the release, the shareholder proposal asks the company to create an independent panel on executive compensation to evaluate its compensation practices in the context of industry trends.—Everett J. Thomas
Choice Books sales fall
HARRISONBURG, Va.—Sales of Choice Books, an Anabaptist-related book-selling ministry, declined last year for the first time since 1985. Choice Books purchased or sold 5.39 million books in 2009, a nearly 3 percent decrease in sales compared with 2008. In 2009, the number of Choice Books displays grew to more than 10,000 nationwide. The year’s best-seller was Comfort for Troubled Christians by J.C. Brumfield.—Choice Books
Schmidt completes 27 years at 722 offices
GOSHEN, Ind.—When Doris Schmidt logged off her computer Dec. 31 at Mennonite Church USA, she concluded 21 consecutive and 27 total years of work at 722 North Main in Newton, Kan. For most of 50 years she filled office positions at the denominational offices and at other places in Newton and North Newton, welcoming some changes and adjusting to others in office technology. Her most recent appointment for the denomination began in 1988 as a secretary in the Women in Mission office. For nine years she edited the denomination’s Handbook of Information and, from 1999 until the end of 2009, served as receptionist, finance assistant and associate editor for the Mennonite Church USA Directory. —Mennonite Church USA
Becker 'brought computers' to the denomination
ELKHART, Ind.—Larry Becker recently heard a phrase: “When you’re on the last page, it’s time to close the book.” On Jan. 29, Becker closed a volume 50 years in the writing—the length of his service to the church. But the local systems administrator does not plan to stop adding pages. His departure is a change, not a retirement. For the last half-century at the Newton, Kan., office, Becker, 69, helped first the General Conference Mennonite Church and now Mennonite Church USA advance technologically, leading the shift from type- writers to computers in the 1970s and staying on top of the rapid technological evolutions of recent decades, despite having no official training in electronics. "He's the one who brought the computers to us," says Chris Graber, information technology helpdesk manager and systems trainer. "He's brought us into a technological age."—Mennonite Mission Network
New coordinator for Mennonite Men
NEWTON, Kan.—Mennonite Men announces the appointment of Don A. Yoder, Harrisonburg, Va., as the new coordinator of Mennonite Men. He will begin June 1. Yoder joins the organization from Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., where he has served as director of seminary and graduate admissions since 1995 and director of seminary vocational services since 2008. Yoder succeeds Jim Gingerich, who has been the coordinator for Mennonite Men since 1998 and plans to retire.—Mennonite Church USA
MLK speech recovered
NORTH NEWTON, Kan.—In 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. told an audience at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., they needed to be "maladjusted." Fifty years later, King’s friend and co-worker, Vincent Harding, stood behind the same podium on the same stage to say that the message remains the same. This year's celebration at Bethel included marking the 50th anniversary of King's speech as part of the now discontinued Memorial Hall Series. Earlier that day an overflow crowd listened to the speech played in its entirety.
Sondra Bandy Koontz, vice president of advancement, introduced the speech. Koontz said she went to get a recording or transcript of the speech, only to find that none existed. So she had an email appeal sent to alumni asking for any memories of the speech. That prompted Randy Harmison, a Bethel graduate, to call Koontz and say he had taped that speech on his reel-to-reel recorder. "I didn't know whether to shout, 'That's impossible' or, 'That's incredible,' " Koontz said.—Bethel College
- Whispers of resurrection
- Up, out, down
- A paracosmic Millennium
- The Word in worship
- God's realm in and among us
- In March
- The cost of medicines
- My testimony
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- MC USA receives $3 million surprise
- Web exclusive: John Howard Yoder's 'irresponsibility'?
- MMA to change name
- MCC leaders respond to MC USA moderator
- Review: Avatar lays groundwork for peaceful solutions
- Franconia's plan to dismiss staff on hold
- Moderator questions MCC
- CPT founding director Gene Stoltzfus dies
- Goshen College announces plans for national anthem's implementation
- Mennonite providers get update on health-care legislation
- Mennonite artist creates icons
- A nurse describes her two weeks in Haiti
- News Briefs - March 2010
- Festival celebrates 300 years in Lancaster
- Burkholder's dissertation 'all but banned'
- Brenneman calls for new 'school of thought'
- Survey: more women in leadership but still not enough
- MDS trailer stolen Jan. 5, worth over $10,000
- Resources - March, 2010
- Births and Marriages - 2010
- Inattention blindness
- Living the in-between
- Tenderly name others
- God's avatar
- Developing leadership for the church
- 'They seek a city'
- Ceaseless generosity
- First things first: Seek God's wisdom
- Lent reorients us
- How could they do such a thing?
- How justify special privileges?
- Ethnicity should be celebrated
- Jesus did not know everything
- Saddened by national anthem
- Be careful about our beliefs
- Latent dynamics gone
- Lacks spirit of unity
- Time to get behind Stutzman
- Richly blessed by every article