Stories of Peace Archive

Strangers becoming Neighbours

June 1, 2018 Thirdway

Stories of Peace Strangers becoming Neighbours By Donna Schulz Music continues to be the catalyst for growth in the relationship between Mennonite Church Saskatchewan and its Indigenous neighbours. On Earth Day, April 22, 2018, Mennonites and members of the Muskeg Lake community gathered for An Afternoon of Song at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church in Marcelin on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. The program opened with a drum group and dancers from the Big River First Nation. Harry Lafond of Muskeg Lake welcomed guests and explained the meaning of the Cree songs and dances. Dolores Sand, also of […]

An Open Palm

April 13, 2018 Thirdway

An Open Palm by Thien Phuoc Quang Tran Growing up as a preacher’s son, I was immersed in Christian values. Every memory I have revolves around Vietnamese Mennonite Church (VMC) in Ho Chi Minh City. I learned the way of Christ — to love my neighbours, and to give to the poor. In Vietnam we have a philosophy called “the way of the open palm.” The palm facing up is a non-threatening gesture, reminiscent of the pleading gesture of a beggar. The person being addressed will not feel threatened by the gesture, and it is used universally as a way of […]

A messy journey from military service to pacifism

February 8, 2018 Third Way

By Austin Kocher I did not join the military out of a duty to America (whatever that means), or because military service ran in the family. I joined because I wanted out of Ohio, I wanted college money, and I wanted to challenge myself as much as I could. However, it is important to say that there was nothing in my social and religious world at the time that would have challenged my decision to enlist. In fact, enlisting is an easy way for working class people to earn instant social capital in the form of respect, admiration, and deference. […]

The day Paola taught her teacher a lesson in kindness

December 15, 2017 Third Way

By Trevor Scott Barton Nine out of ten students at my school in South Carolina come from families whose income level meets the federal guidelines for poverty. Paola, an immigrant kid from El Salvador, is one of them. She is a first-grader and she lives in a small apartment with her grandma, mom, sister and uncle. Her family’s low income means she is likely to suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate health care, an inferior education and a bad future. I’m struggling against her life-crushing poverty with all of the compassion, creativity and commitment that I can find inside of me. […]

Family’s work teaches restorative justice for the classroom, workplace and beyond

November 14, 2017 Thirdway

As tensions between nations rise and world leaders threaten war—even nuclear war—peacemakers all over the world continue to work to make peace on earth a reality. Jae Young Lee and Karen Spicher, Mennonite Mission Network mission associates in Namyangju, South Korea, are two of those peacemakers. “Peace on earth” is a term often spoken of during the Christmas season, and Lee sees it as a central tenet to their community and work. “Peace on earth does not end with Jesus’ birth and death,” he says. “It’s the ministry of reconciliation and of peace that should be at the center for […]

When coffee replaces swords

October 1, 2017 Thirdway

When coffee replaces swords By Ryan Jantzi Catholic, Lutheran and Mennonite are the three stripes of the Christian church in the small town where I pastor. While our journey certainly isn’t faultless, these three congregations have a history of working together. We have hosted celebration dinners at the opening of one another’s new church buildings. We team up annually for a village-wide Vacation Bible School program. We also try to get together for coffee as pastors. Five hundred years ago, our spiritual ancestors were on the cusp of an extended bloodbath of religious violence. In marked contrast, recently I enjoyed […]

Growing peace in the Philippines—with coffee!

August 7, 2017 Third Way

Growing peace in the Philippines—with coffee! By Joji Pantoja People from Mindanao, Philippines, have been yearning for peace. Peacebuilders Community started working with people who have been in conflict for almost 30 years. Conflict disrupts any development in the country; conflict has caused the people of Mindanao to experience death, displacement, and starvation. As Peacebuilders Community slowly became involved in the dialogue, it was clear all groups shared one commonality: a love of coffee. So coffee became the vehicle for the peace message Peacebulders wanted to promote. “Coffee for Peace” was born in 2007. The goal was to promote high-quality […]

Working for peace while exiled: Jean Claude Nkundwa

June 12, 2017 Third Way

Exiled peacemaker Jean Claude Nkundwa Adapted from news releases and article by Lauren Jefferson Jean Claude Nkundwa works for peace in his native country of Burundi from exile in Rwanda. When Jean graduated with a master of arts in conflict transformation at Eastern Mennonite University in 2014, he thought finding work in peacebuilding in his native Burundi after graduation could be difficult. He, his wife Francine Muhimpundu, and young son returned to Burundi, and Nkundwa renewed former contacts from working 12 years with partner organizations affiliated with Mennonite Central Committee and also Harvest of Peace Ministries. With Burundi International Community Church, he helped mobilize […]

Peacemaking: Learning about a new culture

May 5, 2017 Thirdway

Peacemaking: Learning about a new culture By Donna Schulz The best way to learn about a new culture is to experience it first-hand. Grade 10 students at Rosthern Junior College (RJC) recently had the opportunity to learn a little about Middle Eastern culture when two Syrian couples shared with the students about their culture and their Islamic faith. Dana Krushel and Evangeline Patkau of Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan’s migration and resettlement program, facilitated the April 5, 2017, culture-sharing workshop, entitled “Encountering new Canadians.” With the help of an interpreter, Mohamad Au Ibrahim and Mariam Al Mahmoud, and Yusuf Mlahefje and […]

Stories of Peace: A tradition of resistance

April 17, 2017 Thirdway

A tradition of resistance By Gordon Houser When Native people introduce themselves, says Erica Littlewolf, especially to other Natives, they speak of their tribe. They introduce themselves as individuals inside a larger community that involves a land base. In the same way, when I ask her about her passion and why she does what she does, Littlewolf says her work involves “continuing a tradition of resistance.” Her tribe, Northern Cheyenne, was held captive in Oklahoma over a century ago. “They knew they would be hunted by the U.S. government if they went to Montana,” she says, “but they did it […]