[MCCN Recent News]

EMU Wins Top Recycling Ranking in Virginia

For the last four years, Eastern Mennonite University has finished as runner-up in the state rankings of colleges and universities participating in the national Recyclemania contest.

But not in 2015. This year, EMU surged to the top of the Virginia recycling competitors – regaining the crown it has previously held in 2008.

A new climate for discipleship: How can Mennonites respond to climate change?

written by Sheri Hostetler, pastor of First Mennonite Church of San Francisco, and Katerina Friesen, a student at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. Both are members of Mennonite Creation Care Network. The article appears in the April 2015 issue of The Mennonite.

Carbon Capture: Has climate change made it harder for people to care about conservation?

Jonathan Franzen, a writer for The New Yorker, discusses the problem with seeing everything in a "climate change is the highest priority" framework. While small problems have solutions, large ones merely overwhelm. The last half of the article focuses on conservation stories in the Peruvian rainforest and the Costa Rican dry forest. Note parallels to watershed discipleship articles elsewhere on this website. Read the article here.

Reading Nature the Way Jesus Did

In an article entitled, "Why Care About the Environment?" in The Mennonite (May 6, 2015), Todd Wynward argues that we need to begin reading the earth as a sacred text as well as the Bible.

Crowdfunding Campaign Addresses Weather Damage

Barbara Dundas of Ottawa, Ontario, wrote to us to describe the extreme weather her city experienced last winter. She has begun a crowdfunding campaign to help friends who are struggling to make an expensive repair to their home caused by frost quakes and record low temperatures.

Dundas says:
"What happened to my friends' home highlights the terrible and pervasive effects of climate change. So many of us in North America don't realize how vulnerable our homes are."

Watershed Way Invites Commitment, Offers Accountability

Todd Wynward is a public school founder, wilderness educator and small-scale farmer who lives with his family in Taos, NM. Recently he was licensed by Albuquerque Mennonite for special ministry to be an educator and organizer of water discipleship in the Mountain States region. He will be present at this summer’s Mennonite Convention in Kansas City, and would love to meet with other individuals and congregations who seek to live out watershed discipleship in their own home places. His doings can be found at TaosTiLT.org and his new book, Rewilding the Way, is forthcoming from Herald Press in Fall 2015. Contact him at toddwynward@gmail.com. (Photo shows the Kaw River in Kansas City, Missouri.)

Is your community ready to walk the Watershed Way?
Join us as we start a ten-year adventure, exploring together.

Will your community walk into a new future with ours, walking the Watershed Way? We are a small but mighty network of covenanted faith communities seeking to re-invent the good life in America, starting with our own. Though we are far from perfect, we seek to cease our earth-destroying lifeways and instead transition into a better future together by altering habits, innovating systems, and living lighter on the earth. To this end, we are initiating in 2015 a decade-long period of shared exploration, initiating and observing significant change in our own lives and in our communities. Where will this adventure lead us? We’ll find out in 2025. 

Doctrine of Discovery Film Project Needs Your Help!

We have a project that needs your support right now. Below is a letter from the Mennonite Doctrine of Discovery Working Group, a number of whom are MCCN members. They are asking for donations (with a deadline of May 1) to put toward a film project that will be unveiled at this summer’s Kansas City convention. Check out this trailer of a short film they are preparing and then make a donation as you feel led to help complete the film.

Mennonite Creation Care Network members--
Last year, a gathering of Anabaptists came together to talk about how to help the world’s most vulnerable people — the women and men who suffer most from displacement and environmental contamination caused by mining, hydropower and other large-scale extractive projects. This meeting centered around a seemingly archaic term, the Doctrine of Discovery.  This Christian Doctrine historically dictated the laws and policies that rationalized the removal of Indigenous Peoples from their lands during colonial times.  The same laws and policies are active today and cause suffering for Indigenous and vulnerable peoples around the world, especially related to the metals, oil and power industries.

We came together to ask: What is our role as people of faith?  What is our call as people of the land, who have a special relationship with creation? Since many of us are the descendants of settlers, while others are the descendants of displaced peoples, what is our unique call to come together to accompany peoples who continue to be removed from their lands and displaced  today?  What is our call to accompany a world threatened by extractive industry?

This group of 20 people formed the Doctrine of Discovery working group.  We will host a number of workshops at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City in July. We want to explain what this Doctrine of Discovery is and what we can do as Anabaptists to confront it, together with Christians around the world.  In this spirit, we partnered with Eclectic Reel http://eclecticreel.org/ to create a community-produced short film.  This film is specifically for an Anabaptist audience.  It is a tool to help us understand together what this complex system of laws and policies is.

We hope to unveil this short film at convention in Kansas City.  But we need help to produce it.  It is completely community-based and will be created with the support of friends and colleagues, fellow Anabaptists of conscience.  Mennonite Creation Care Network has partnered with us as fiscal sponsor to receive donations, and, as you will see in the trailer, MCCN director Luke Gascho is actively engaged in this project. We need to raise $20,000 by May 1 to complete this film. Our steering committee has already pledged the first $5,000, as well as floating $5,000 in loans so that we can begin production. If we don’t receive the money by May 1, we will not be able to complete the short film in time for convention in July and will thus miss a crucial opportunity to begin the movement to confront the Doctrine of Discovery among Anabaptist people of faith.

We are reaching out to Mennonites across North America to help us produce this project!  Please help us to make this vision a reality. All donations are tax-deductible, charitable donations, and you can make your donation via the Mennonite Creation Care Network website.

In Peace,

The Steering Committee

Mennonite Doctrine of Discovery Working Group
Anita Amstutz, Sarah Augustine, Katerina Freisen, Sheri Hostetler

Watershed Discipleship in Kansas City: Floating the Kansas River

This event is a learning opportunity available Friday, July 3 at the Mennonite Church USA 2015 Convention. What does Watershed Discipleship look like in a city where two rivers--the Kaw (Kansas River) and the Missouri---meet? This  half-day (4.5 hour) active learning opportunity provides a way to get outside and explore Kansas City by canoe or kayak. 

The photo at left shows Kaw Point, where the Kansas River terminates in the Missouri River.