Community News

 February 25, 2022


Hello from Ryan Siemens!

Hello Alberta! My name is Ryan Siemens, and I am the new Executive Director here at MCC Alberta.

After serving as a pastor and executive minster in Saskatchewan over the last 15 years, my family and I made the move back to Alberta over the Christmas holidays and we are so excited to explore our new home and get reacquainted with this beautiful province. I’ve been here at the MCC office over the last couple of weeks, meeting the staff, getting acquainted with new people, and beginning plans for the future. I’m really glad to be here, and I’m excited to be in the saddle here in Alberta.

As I get started, I want to thank you for all of your commitment to the mission of MCC. Many of you have been a part of this story for decades, and that community spirit is so inspiring. Blessings to all of you as we continue to do the work of relief, development and peace in the name of Christ, together – As supporters, volunteers, and staff.

If you want to learn more, please visit our website at or get a hold of our office at (403) 275-6935.

Thank you, and we’ll see you soon.

Journey of a Comforter: Warehouse

When a comforter is ready for shipping, it’s sent to the Material Resources Warehouse in Calgary, where it’s met by Linda Dickinson, the Material Resources Coordinator, and her crack team of volunteers, such as Ruth.

Like many volunteers, Ruth grew up with MCC in her family. Her parents volunteered when they lived in the United States, and at one time her dad worked in an MCC Thrift Store. She feels that this gave her a sense of culture that sees giving as more satisfying than receiving – and now she’s passing it to her children and grandchildren, who help pack relief kits every fall.

Ruth volunteers in the Material Resources warehouse with one partner, taking on such tasks as taking inventory, managing storage, and quality assurance of the materials, including comforters. Making sure recipients get high quality goods is important to her – “It’s not only about the stuff; it’s about the intent behind the gift. We want people to know they are loved and cared for.” Sometimes materials are damaged in transit and need repairing. Ruth and her partner also ensure nothing has a trait that might prevent it being accepted or used, such as a political or religious symbol like a flag or an image of a weapon.

When comforters have been prepared, they’re folded into bales of six with a baling machine, then tied in bundles of eighteen for shipping on a pallet. The baling is a laborious process typically reserved for the more muscular volunteers. Moving six comforters at a time can be exhausting!

The past two years have seen pandemic-related challenges to warehouse logistics, including closures and added safety measures. That doesn’t change Ruth’s affection for the work. “I enjoy the company, the good conversations, the quality time. We have a lot of laughs. And it’s an in-person connection, which is so important these days.”

To learn more about Material Resources in Alberta and how to help, contact Linda Dickinson at or click here.

Relief, Development and Podcast

In the latest episode of MCC Canada’s podcast, Lynette Madrigal tells us her story of growing up with an undocumented parent, and how that experience of having a migrant narrative has shaped her path. Serving alongside migrants today in Guatemala, she finds compassion through listening to peoples stories and finds it expands her view of what it means to be a migrant.

Find “Relief, Development and Podcast” anywhere you get your podcasts, including the podcast’s own website.

The Winter newsletter from École de Théologie Évangelique du Québec (ETEQ) is now available! You can access it by clicking 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                                                  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.

“Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters in Time and Place” is now open for pre-registration: click here.

We are preparing to hold this conference as an in-person gathering at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ontario,  May 12-15, 2022. Most, but not all, sessions will be livestreamed. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

This academic conference and community education event will offer stories and analyses of encounters and relationships between Indigenous peoples and Mennonite settlers from point of contact to the present. The intent is to advance understanding on the part of Mennonites and other interested participants of their colonial histories, and to advance reconciliation and bring justice to Indigenous-settler relations. The event will comprise academic presentations, community storytelling, artistic offerings, and both Indigenous and Mennonite ceremony.