Stories of Peace Archive

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 […]

Peacemaking as a way of life

March 8, 2017 Thirdway

By Katie Hurst, intern for The Mennonite For Jonathan Kuttab, a Palestinian Mennonite, peacemaking is more than a concept; it’s a way of life. As a human rights lawyer in Israel-Palestine and the United States, Jonathan Kuttab knows the value of finding alternatives to violence as a means of solving conflict. And as a Mennonite, Kuttab recognizes the legacy of activism and social justice work that many Mennonites have upheld. Kuttab attends Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “Mennonites were radical,” he said, “and not afraid to stand up for what they believed.” Born in West Jerusalem, Kuttab and his […]

Begin learning peace in elementary school

February 10, 2017 Thirdway

Katie Gingerich, 24, (Waterloo, Ont.), is using her passion for peace to positively impact young students. Katie is director of The Ripple Effect Education (TREE), a peace-education initiative that integrates conflict resolution and social-justice concepts into social studies curriculum in elementary school classrooms. During the course of six lessons that take place over six consecutive weeks, TREE facilitators teach students how to recognize conflict and resolve it peacefully. Facilitators use discussion, brainstorming sessions and hands-on activities, with the goal of having youth leave their classrooms with demonstrable conflict-resolution skills and an awareness of justice issues locally and globally. The program […]

What It’s Really Like to Be in the Military

January 13, 2017 Thirdway

Our peace story this month is from Evan Knappenberger, a young man who tells his own story of how and why he joined up with the military upon graduation from high school, and what he encountered in that life. This nine-minute video will speak more powerfully than just words. Also see the notes below about it’s production. Shared by permission of Evan Knappenberger and Charlottesville (Va.) Center for Peace and Justice and Veterans for Peace. We also appreciate the alternatives they point to for serving one’s country in other ways. Evan finished his degree at Eastern Mennonite University and has taken classes […]

Welcome Your Neighbor signs spread across the country

December 12, 2016 Thirdway

By Hannah Heinzekehr               Photo: The original Welcome Your Neighbor sign in the yard of Immanuel Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia. Photo provided.  Almost a year ago, Matthew Bucher was watching a presidential primary debate and lamenting the language candidates were using to refer to recent immigrants to the United States. Bucher is pastor at Immanuel Mennonite Fellowship in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The church is located in northeast Harrisonburg, in a neighborhood that is rapidly diversifying and includes people who speak many languages, most prominent among them English, Spanish and Arabic. As he thought about ways […]

The Journey of a Feather

November 17, 2016 Thirdway

The Journey of a Feather Among many aboriginal people the eagle feather communicates respect, humility, courage and wisdom.  Several years ago I received an eagle feather as a sign of appreciation for my ministry at the prison in Saskatoon.  I was honoured but troubled because the feather did not feel like it belonged to me.  I brought my concerns to Harry Lafond (Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and Executive Director at the Office of the Treaty Commissioner).  Harry received me graciously and heard my story.  He then explained, “You are the carrier of the feather.   One day you will meet the […]

When Mennonites were harassed for their beliefs

September 30, 2016 Third Way

By Burton Buller World War I proved a watershed era for Mennonites for two reasons. One, Secretary of War Newton Baker’s requirement that all conscientious objectors report to military camps where they were “encouraged” to enlist caused many Mennonites to put on the military uniform, mostly to serve as non-combatants but frequently as full military inductees. Doing so distanced these young men from the historic teachings of the church forbidding military service. Two, the Mennonite communities themselves came under attack, ramping up the rate of acculturation to unprecedented levels. From the time of their arrival in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1683, […]

Loving the enemy

July 15, 2016 Thirdway

By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen In a land that closely resembles the place Jesus lived more than 2,000 years ago, his words still prove true. The people of Sidi, Burkina Faso, plant their fields with the tools and methods described in the New Testament. They draw water from wells, and feed their families with crops they harvest. Some of them live by Jesus’ teaching, recorded in Matthew 5:44: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” In the planting season of June 2015, members of the Mennonite Church in Sidi discerned that God was calling them to renounce the time-honored […]