News Briefs - Mayby Compilled by Gordon Houser
Mennonite workers in Japan send stories
ELKHART, Ind.—In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and the ongoing nuclear contamination threats that have befallen Japan, Mennonite Mission Network workers and associates from North America have been sending stories of their experiences and the relief efforts of the local Japanese churches.
Mennonite Mission Network has launched a website, to highlight these dispatches. Mission Network has one supported worker in Obihiro and four families of mission associates in other areas in Japan.
Mission Network also partners with the Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference and the Tokyo Area Fellowship of Mennonite Churches. According to the Mennonite World Conference website, there are nearly 3,000 Mennonites in Japan.—Mennonite Mission Network
GAMEO appoints managing editor, releases DVD
AKRON, Pa.—The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online Management Board met Nov. 20, 2010, in Akron. One of its first actions was to appoint Richard Thiessen of Abbotsford, British Columbia, as managing editor of GAMEO, effective January 2012, following the retirement of current managing editor Sam Steiner, whose term ends this year. Thiessen, library director at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, has been serving as associate managing editor of GAMEO since November 2006.
The board also learned a DVD edition of GAMEO was in preparation. The edition of 250 copies was released in March and includes all the encyclopedia’s content through Jan. 19. Steiner, Waterloo, Ontario, said the target audience for the DVD edition was conservative Anabaptist groups who utilize computers but do not access the Internet. Some copies may also go to Mennonite groups outside North America, where Internet accessibility is limited. Steiner said the 2011 edition will be provided without cost, though donations will be accepted.
GAMEO is a project of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, the Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, the Historical Committee of Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite World Conference. It is available free at www.gameo.org and includes more than 1,800 contributors and 14,750 articles.—GAMEO
MennoMedia new name for integrated agency
HARRISONBURG, Va.—When Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media merge on July 1, the new agency will be called MennoMedia. That was the decision of the board that now governs MPN and will govern the new integrated agency.
The eight-member binational board voted unanimously to approve the name on April 8 during its quarterly meeting in Harrisonburg, where the main offices of MennoMedia will be located.
MPN is the publishing agency of both Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. Third Way Media is currently a program of Mennonite Mission Network and had programming and operations in Canada from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s. MennoMedia will be binational. The three brands, or imprints, are Herald Press books; Third Way Media productions in video, radio, the Internet and other media; and Faith & Life Resources, which are Sunday school and other resources for churches.
MennoMedia offices in Harrisonburg will be housed in what is now Third Way Media’s building. While the largest number of staff—about 20—will be in Harrisonburg, there will also be staff in Canada (Waterloo, Ont., and Winnipeg, Man.) and in Newton, Kan.; Elkhart, Ind.; and other locations.—MPN
ADNet announces transfer of CAN
GOSHEN, Ind.—The Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADNet) board has announced that it has transferred its Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) project to Paul Leichty, ADNet’s former executive director. CAN offers web-based tools that enable congregations to examine how accessible they are to people living with a wide range of disabilities. Leichty oversaw the creation of the CAN project during his time with ADNet and plans to continue developing its potential to serve congregations of all faiths.
H. James Smith, ADNet board chair, says: “CAN’s resources enable congregations to assess all congregational ministries—worship, education, leadership, facilities and more—for their accessibility to [people] with disabilities.”
ADNet and CAN both encourage faith communities to promote full participation of people with disabilities in congregational life.—ADNet
Mennonite Women USA increases scholarships
The International Women’s Fund (IWF) is a Mennonite Women USA (MW USA) global church ministry that provides scholarships for Anabaptist women’s leadership training across the globe. Fourteen women from Latin America and Africa received awards for 2011. The total amount for scholarships in 2011, $10,000, reflects an increase of $3,000 over 2010.
As the 2011–12 fiscal year begins, MW USA has taken a step of faith by increasing IWF scholarships, believing the extra funds will be made available through careful stewardship and gifts. IWF scholarship recipients for 2011 are Blanca Richard, Paraguay; Valeria Alvarenga, Brazil; Mitzi Escorcia, Maria Palomares, Emilse Bobadilla and Laura Ruíz, Colombia; Elizabeth Vado, Fada Pérez and Maria Calderón, Nicaragua; Mimie Mukendi and Nathalie Kananga, Congo; Albania Molina, Honduras; Maricela Godinez, Guatemala; and Emila Amexo, Ghana. These will receive leadership training to help them work in their communities with the church.—MW USA
Bethel to break ground for Academic Center
NORTH NEWTON, Kan.—On March 15, Bethel College informed the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., that Bethel donors had met their latest Mabee challenge. The resulting funds are for the transformation of the old Science Hall, built in 1925, into a new, state-of-the-art Academic Center. Construction will begin this spring, with an official groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for May 21. The challenge, given by the Mabee Foundation in April 2010, was to raise $921,424 in gifts and commitments in one year in order to receive $725,000 from Mabee. Alumni and friends—more than 850—exceeded the goal, giving or pledging more than $1 million.—Bethel College
Mennonite Church Canada cuts staff
WINNIPEG, Manitoba— Difficult decisions about a smaller ministry and staff at Mennonite Church Canada were announced to staff here on April 11.
The reorganization will see a net budget reduction of $415,000 in hard and soft costs beginning Feb. 1, 2012. This includes a net loss of 3.4 full-time equivalent positions (FTE) of national church staff.
Two full-time positions at the executive staff level will be eliminated. Part-time direct ministry positions affected include the Multicultural Ministry director position, which will be eliminated, the Youth Ministries facilitator position, which will transition to contracted work on alternate years, when the youth assembly is convened, and the position of Christian Nurture director will end.
Some affected staff have been invited to alternate roles as the national church reorganizes some of its ministry activities. Some of these alternate roles will be at reduced FTE. Affected staff were given notice effective Aug. 1. Severance policies are in place to assist released staff in making transitions.
The net reduction of about $415,000 will require raising additional funds in fiscal year 2012-2013 to comprise the approximate $500,000 projected total needed to balance the 2012-2013 budget.—Mennonite Church Canada
Connecting Families holds annual gathering
REISTERSTOWN, Md.—The 22nd annual gathering of Connecting Families was held March 18-20 at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisterstown. The theme for this year’s event was “One in Christ: Dividing Walls Destroyed.” Connecting Families welcomes families and supporters of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who seek a welcoming atmosphere in which to connect with others facing similar barriers, especially those who wish to remain connected to their church. Connecting Families will next meet April 20-22, 2012, at the Pearlstone Retreat Center.—Tom Chamness
- Mother mourning
- Subversive women in the genealogy of Jesus
- Choosing to preach Christ
- Longed-for rain
- Honoring mother
- A letter to my daughter
- Wise men and subversive women
- Ironies and outrages: fasting to protest budget cuts to the poor
- Parenting as spiritual discipline
- All things new
- Early challenges to capital punishment
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- TMail readers want news
- Four priorities may expand to seven
- No disciplinary action for WDC pastor
- Alcohol: A gift from God
- Tanzanian president orders 1,000 books by Shenk
- César García appointed general secretary of MWC
- MDS director shocked by tornado damage in Alabama
- WEB EXCLUSIVE: Meditation on the killing of bin Laden
- Seven awards for The Mennonite
- Young adults and retirees connect in Tucson
- Why are gas prices so low?
- MDS begins tornado clean up in rural Oklahoma
- SALTer learns Arabic sign language and Braille
- Ministering to CEOs and those living in poverty
- Digital edition coming
- News Briefs - May
- First certified Anabaptist educator
- Director of transformative peacemaking named
- Investing in hope: The hope encouraged by Scripture
- Must wars be fought to bring about peace?
- Ministry and money
- Beware of Big Brother and bias
- Are you a smart phone?
- Unconventional conventions?
- Conflicts without violence
- May film and book reviews
- Help for Sudan's Christians
- Are song books tainted?
- Pacifism needs updating
- What about guns?
- Few resolutions
- Mennonites and alcohol