A New Year for Low German Mennonites
2022 has arrived, and with it, mixed emotions for many of us. Reflecting on the last year or two may bring some grief, even as we plan for the next year with cautious optimism. The same rings true for the Low German Mennonites served by the Services for Newcomers program in Taber, as well as for Susie Klassen, the Program Coordinator, and Judy Klassen, the program’s Administrative Assistant. Services for Newcomers works with those who have resettled in southern Alberta to help with settlement, employment, education and mental health.
We interviewed a few people in the community that Susie and Judy serve: a mother, an auto mechanic, and a business owner. The last two years have provided a lot of challenges for them. COVID-19 introduced a lot of challenges to work and home life. Barriers arose that made it hard for some to find work. As in many communities, mental health can be a concern, especially as the pandemic worsened issues that already existed.
However, as they reflected on 2021, our interviewees found much to be grateful for. Some feel a lot of relief that their loved ones stayed safe, and grateful that their situation remained as good as it did. Another was proud to say they started a landscaping company. That sense of optimism holds strong in the community, with interviewees sharing that they looked forward to continuing their lives as normally as possible, focusing on their work and quality time with their families. Susie and Judy share their optimism.
Susie shares that, despite the challenges the pandemic provided, she was still able to help clients through difficult times. She’s excited about finding new ways to help Low German Mennonites settle, such as communication through Whatsapp.
“2021 was a hard but good year,” says Judy. “I think everyone learnt a lot along the way, grew in themselves, and overcame a lot of challenges… A new year is always a blessing, a chance to start fresh and keep working at any goals one has set. I’m looking forward to doing so and seeing what this year has to bring, Lord willing.”
Peace and Justice Student Seminar
The MCC Peace & Justice Student Seminar is an opportunity for young adults to meet MCC staff, engage with parliamentarians and civil society actors, and hear from experts in a variety of contexts about how they are building bridges to create a more sustainable future for all.
The virtual seminar is on February 22-24, 2022, and costs $20 to attend.
For more information and to register, click here.
Consider CMU: Where my Faith and Community Matter! Sign up for our virtual open house February 23, 6 PM CST. Click here for more information.
Considering graduate studies in theology? CMU has full-tuition awards available and offers a Master of Divinity, an MA in Christian Ministry, an MA in Theological Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies. The application deadline for Fall 2022 is May 31. Click here.
Canadian School of Peacebuilding, June 6-10; 13-17 – Registration is now open for courses taught by local, national, and international peacebuilders to serve practitioners, professionals, activists, students, non-governmental organizations, and faith-based groups. Click here.
Discernment is a gift and an art by which we make both daily and major life-changing choices. Through prayer and practice we can better attune ourselves to the invitation and guidance of the Spirit. We can then not simply make more healthy decisions but find more grace-filled rhythms to live in relationship to others, ourselves, the world, and the Divine. This three-part workshop will offer ways to understand and enter more deeply into discernment as an intention, a process, and a way of life.
Register at www.providencerenewal.ca 780-701-1854
Faith Nostbakken, PhD, is an experienced spiritual director and retreat facilitator rostered at the Providence Renewal Centre. She is an ordained deacon and ecumenical officer of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and a graduate of Newman Theological College (MTS). She has previously guided individuals and groups through the understanding and practice of discernment. For more about Faith, click here.