[MCCN Recent News]

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.


News from the Creation Care Council

MCCN’s Creation Care Council held their annual face-to-face meeting March 13 to 14 in Goshen, Ind. Some of our work involved thinking about how to communicate about creation care. See examples for creation care teams or read the complete minutes.

Resource: Keep the Earth in Your Summer Travel Plans

Planning to attend Mennonite World Conference this year or the MCUSA convention in Kansas City? Or just thinking fondly about your own little jaunt?

Decide How to Travel
The Union of Concerned Scientists has prepared a publication called Getting There Greener: A Guide to Your Lower Carbon Vacation that can help you decide how to travel. Their report analyzes and compares the carbon emissions produced by cars of different gas mileage, train, plane and bus depending on length of trip and number of travelers. In short, a motor coach bus is your best carbon bet under any circumstances. 

Let Us Know You are Coming

We hope to have a meet-up for MCCN members or wanna-bes at both the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Kansas City, MO, (June 30 to July 5) and Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, PA, July 21 to 26. Knowing who to invite can help us get organized. If you are not coming, but someone from your congregation will be there who might be interested, let us know that too. Email mccn@goshen.edu.

Introducing Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship

[100 Shades of Green Congregations]

As the map at left illustrates, Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship is located in Winnipeg, MB, near the Red River. They are part of the Lake Winnipeg watershed. Peter Sawatzky is the creation care liaison at this Canadian congregation in our 100 Shades of Green network. 

David Neufeld of Home St. Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, reports that he tested out the Every Creature Singing curriculum with a group of 60 enthusiastic adults at Fort Garry. He writes:

Psalm 104, which speaks of God’s love for creation, anchored the morning session. We imagined the Psalmist living in our watershed rather than near the Dead Sea. Small groups worked together to infuse verses 16 to 23 with references to Lake Winnipeg watershed. 

Birds with a Gettysburg Address

Above, a Northern Harrier upstages a Red-tailed Hawk somewhere in the background at the Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pa.

MCCN member Bonita Portzline enjoys birding and nature photography near her home in Gettysburg, PA. She enjoys sharing her photographs in public settings where she focuses on natural history or the theology of ecology, depending on the setting. 

Discovering the Hidden Holy in Creation

Our Father's World: Discovering the Hidden Holy in Creation is the title of an upcoming conference at the Lincoln Road Chapel in Waterloo, ON, March 20-21. Details here. The event is sponsored by the Lincoln Road Chapel and Arocha Canada and the keynote speaker is Ed Brown, director of Care of Creation.

Not in the area? Scroll down the page to see what they are doing and get ideas for your own event.