Stories of Peace Archive

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 […]

How Restorative Justice Changes Lives

June 3, 2016 Thirdway

(If you received this via email on June 3 without a proper way to link to read this, our sincere apologies. This is being resent on June 4, 2016.) Stories of Peacemaking By James Souder Motorbike traffic zooms past a hardware store stationed along a busy road in Ouagadougou, where 23-year-old Joel Saaga spends his days selling household construction supplies. Saaga is grateful to have this job. While finding work in the capital city is difficult for any young adult, finding work can be nearly impossible for a young man, such as Saaga, who has spent time in prison. (His […]

Former German Army officer leaves legacy of Christian pacifism

April 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Amy Duekman, Canadian Mennonite correspondent in British Columbia. Siegfried Wilhelm Bartel was born in Prussia, now Poland, into a successful Mennonite farming family. Pacifism had ceased to become important to the Prussian Mennonites, and Bartel voluntarily enlisted in the German army in 1937, before the start of the Second World War. He moved up the ranks quickly. During the war, he was wounded twice and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. Bartel died recently at the age of 101; later in his life he would become an ardent advocate for peace and an influential Mennonite figure in Canada. […]

Pacifist and combat veteran together at footwashing basin

March 1, 2016 Thirdway

By Mia Kivlighan, EMU  Darin Busé, a United Methodist pastor, came to Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a distinct plan: in his studies, he would “seek healing so that I could learn to heal healers.” The pain and wounds he sought to heal are deep and old and shared by many who have seen war: Darin is a combat veteran who enlisted in the U.S. Army three weeks before his 19th birthday. He worked as a psychological operations specialist in several major combat operations, including Honduras, Panama and in Iraq during the First Gulf War. “I have confronted evil face to face,” […]

How One Church Faced a Gun Threat

February 11, 2016 Third Way

By Chuck McKnight Pastor Larry Wright was leading a New Year’s Eve prayer service in a downtown Fayetteville, N.C., church when a man entered the building armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle. We know how these stories end. People die. Loved ones grieve. Social media becomes outraged. And then nothing changes. We wait for the story to repeat. But this time, the story went a bit differently. The man walked in with his gun in one hand and an ammo clip in the other. Pastor Wright says he was unsure whether the man had a round chambered in the rifle. […]

From war survivor/refugee to Mennonite administrator

October 2, 2015 Thirdway

From war survivor/refugee to Mennonite administrator By Bonnie Price Lofton In her wildest dreams as a middle-class person in Yugoslavia, Amela Puljek-Shank never thought she would be in a war. Never thought she would be a penniless, hungry refugee. Never thought she would be married to an American. She crossed each of these thresholds, one at a time, before she turned 30. At last she came to Eastern Mennonite University where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees to prepare herself for returning to her home region to work for peace and justice. Randy Puljek-Shank came from Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  After high […]

Pedaling for Peace

August 7, 2015 Third Way

By Rachel Bergen , Young Voices Co-editor, Canadian Mennonite “In Canada, the picture we have of refugees is people from the other side of the planet coming here where it’s safe. Often [as refugees] they’re only 43 kilometres from their original home,” Rachel Regier says, who earlier this summer helped organize the first-ever Pedal for Peace in Saskatchewan. “That distance is keeping them from the life they would live if they could just be back home.” Before they ate their fill of rollkuchen, watermelon, farmer’s sausage and other traditional Mennonite food, a group of Saskatchewan Mennonites, inspired by this vision […]

Benedict and the Corn Thief

July 7, 2015 Third Way

Story as retold by Calvin Redekop This is a true story about a 19th century Amish-Mennonite farmer living with his family in Western Maryland. Benedict Miller had the reputation of a peacemaker. Some of his methods were both ingenious and humorous. The story of Benedict and a corn thief has been handed down seven generations in the Miller family. Benedict had a corn crib in his spring house loft with a ladder-stairway leading to it. One day he began to notice that corn was missing in his corn crib. Day after day, things grew worse, and finally Benedict decided to set […]

Peacebuilding on the Prairies

June 5, 2015 Thirdway

Last summer a four-day youth peace camp was held in Saskatoon. Community engagement coordinators, with the help of Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan (MCCS) summer staff Charis Miller & Rachel Bueckert set up a four day youth camp August 17-20, 2014. Charis and Rachel wrote the following reflections following the camp. As summer staff, part of our job was planning and implementing a peace camp titled “Raise the Peace” in the Meadowgreen area of Saskatoon.This area is home to many newcomer families from about 20 different nations. The focus of the camp was peacebuilding and restorative justice, with a specific emphasis on using spoken word (expressive […]

A Healing Bridge?

April 7, 2015 Melodie Davis

By Deborah Froese It may not look like much, but the abandoned 90-hectare site of Kapyong Barracks in Winnipeg, Manitoba is prime real estate. It could also be a healing bridge, according to Steve Heinrichs, Mennonite Church (MC) Canada’s director of indigenous relations, and compiler of the 2013 book, Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry: Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together (Herald Press). The former military base is currently at the centre of ongoing litigation between the federal government and seven first nation communities in Manitoba that want to transform it into an urban reserve. Heinrichs views the development as […]