Wider View Archive

The pursuit of lasting peace in Colombia

June 16, 2017 Charissa Zehr

The pursuit of lasting peace in Colombia By Charissa Zehr At this time last year Colombians were invigorated with hope for a lasting peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). There was palpable optimism about concluding negotiations, and people finally allowed themselves to believe change was on the horizon. A lot of things have changed in a year. First, there was the signing ceremony fanfare in June. Then the popular referendum on the peace accords was voted down by a narrow margin, revealing polarization across Colombia and leaving much uncertainty about the process. After […]

Doing more than just assisting

June 2, 2017 Charles Kwuelum

Doing more than just assisting By Charles Kwuelum Martina Talatu Garba was looking forward to becoming a mother, in a culture that highly values having children. Unfortunately, her hopes were dashed when she died at childbirth due to complications from malaria and a lack of adequate medical care. Since Refawa, her hometown in Nigeria, lacks a primary healthcare facility and is 15 miles away from the nearest public hospital, many women, newborn babies and children do not have access to skilled care and life-saving medicines. About 303,000 women worldwide die annually during childbirth, as a result of health conditions that […]

Riding the bus as spiritual discipline

May 25, 2017 Esther Epp-Tiessen

Riding the bus as spiritual discipline by Esther Epp-Tiessen I have always struggled with the traditional spiritual disciplines – contemplative prayer, disciplined scripture reading, meditation, fasting. I have tried them all many times, and fallen away every time. I have often felt like a failure. But I’ve come to realize that there are many more spiritual disciplines than the traditional ones. And for me, personally, what has become an important way of encountering the Spirit is through the very mundane act of riding the bus to work. Initially, my commitment to riding the bus was about reducing my carbon footprint. […]

Advocating together

May 19, 2017 Cherelle M. Dessus

Advocating together Cherelle M. Dessus “Black, White, Spanish. Doesn’t matter who you are, you’ll feel like you’re part of a family,” a church member said. Lee Heights is located in an urban area and the church aims to serve their community. Many times, they walk through the neighborhood to talk and pray with people. Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) helps the congregation connect these local concerns with federal policies. EAD is a national gathering held annually in Washington, D.C. The conference is organized by Christian organizations working in Washington, including the Mennonite Central Committee’s U.S. Washington Office. This year’s conference focused […]

Peace on Earth, peace with Earth

May 5, 2017 Tammy Alexander

Peace on Earth, peace with Earth Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office An estimated 200,000 people participated in the People’s Climate March on April 29 in Washington, D.C., and thousands more participated in more than 300 sister marches around the country. Coming from various walks of life and marching for different reasons, everyone shared a concern for protecting the Earth and those who live on it. In the “Keepers of faith” section of the march in D.C. there were individuals and groups from many different faith traditions, including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Unitarian. Christian groups included Mennonites, […]

Swords into Ploughshares

April 28, 2017 Jennifer Wiebe

Swords into Ploughshares by Jennifer Wiebe, Director of MCC Canada’s Ottawa Office When Ernie Regehr and Murray Thomson started Project Ploughshares in 1976, their initiative was only supposed to last six months. Just over forty years and many awards and accomplishments later, Ploughshares stands as one of the leading peace research organizations in Canada. How did it all begin? The seeds of Ploughshares were first sown four decades ago when two groups of people, each working separately on a common concern, came together. Ernie Regehr—witnessing the links between militarism and under-development while working in southern Africa—teamed up with Murray Thomson (then-Director of CUSO) in 1976 […]

Why oppose a popular airstrike?

Why oppose a popular airstrike? By Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach  On the night of April 6, the U.S. attacked a Syrian military installation with 59 missiles. President Trump said that the airstrike was in response to a chemical weapons attack a few days earlier in Idlib province. Many members of Congress immediately came out in support of the airstrike, saying it was a proportional response and what the U.S. should have done after a chemical weapons attack in 2013. This favorable response was echoed by many in the media as well. With so many eager to support this show of force, […]

Love in the midst of famine and suffering

April 7, 2017 Charles Kwuelum

Love in the midst of famine and suffering By Charles Kwuelum Conflicts around the world, particularly in Nigeria’s northeast, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, have exacerbated a growing humanitarian crisis. More than 20 million people are facing the threat of historic famine. There is a need for urgent action by the human family, especially wealthy nations. Unfortunately, so far the U.S. has not responded adequately. In March President Trump requested $54 billion more in overall military spending, while proposing deep cuts to international assistance and the State Department. If the cuts happen, humanitarian and development assistance, as well as […]

Actions speak louder . . . Canada in Iraq and Syria

March 28, 2017 Rebekah Sears

Actions speak louder . . . Canada in Iraq and Syria By Rebekah Sears, policy analyst, Ottawa Office “Our new policy in Iraq, Syria and the surrounding region reflects what Canada is all about: defending our interests alongside our allies, and working constructively with local partners to build real solutions that will last.”   These words were spoken by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 8, 2016. Flanked by the Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development, Trudeau sought to reshape Canada’s involvement in Syria and Iraq—or at least re-shape the messaging of Canadian foreign policy. Canada’s current involvement in […]

Hospitality in the midst of hostility

March 17, 2017 Charissa Zehr

Hospitality in the midst of hostility By Charissa Zehr I recently had the rare opportunity to visit Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) with several other Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff. I was eager to take part in the visit and see the country firsthand. But I also wondered how we would be received as U.S. citizens, given the tense history between our countries. Most news reports about DPRK remind us of the hostility that has frozen the relationship between our two countries. Talk to almost any North Korean and they will probably use the phrase “hostile policy” when […]