Events General News News Releases Uncategorized

Ryan Dueck Visits CMU as Pastor-in-Residence

‘I’m looking forward to hearing people’s stories,’ Lethbridge pastor says

Ryan Dueck, pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church in Lethbridge, AB, will visit Canadian Mennonite University as Pastor-in-Residence from Monday, November 3 to Friday, November 7.

Dueck is eager to connect with CMU students.

“Young adulthood is a really… interesting phase of life where so much is up for grabs,” he says. “It’s pretty cool to have even a small window into people’s lives.”

Now in its fifth year, CMU’s Pastor-in-Residence program is designed to encourage out-of-province pastors to live in residence, participate in the life of the CMU community, and share their faith experiences in a variety of settings including CMU chapel sessions.

“The goal has always been to have the pastor come and serve in our community so that our students, staff, and faculty are cared for by an outside person,” says Melanie Unger, Spiritual Life Facilitator at CMU, adding that hopefully, the week is refreshing for the visiting pastor as well. “It’s about building relationships with our church constituency.”

Ryan Dueck, pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church in Lethbridge, AB
CMU’s Ryan Dueck, pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church in Lethbridge, AB will be CMU’s pastor-in-residence from November 3-7.

Dueck has been the pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church since 2011. Prior to that, he served for three years as associate pastor at Neighbourhood Church, a Mennonite Brethren congregation in Nanaimo, BC.

Dueck grew up on a farm in southern Alberta and says he never imagined that he would become a pastor. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Philosophy at the University of Lethbridge and then a Master of Christian Studies from Regent College in Vancouver, he thought he might pursue further studies.

A handful of people close to Dueck encouraged him to work in the church. Dueck recalls a conversation with his thesis advisor at Regent during which he shared that he wasn’t impressed with some of the pastors he had encountered growing up.

“Maybe your job is to be the pastor you wish you had,” Dueck’s thesis advisor suggested.

Afterward, Dueck decided to pursue ministry. Given his passion for academia, he says he is naturally drawn to the cerebral aspects of being a minister, such as researching, writing, and preparing sermons.

Over the past six years, however, he has come to appreciate simply being able to hear and be a part of people’s stories.

“As a pastor, you’re invited into some of the most frightening and most holy moments of people’s lives, and that’s an honour I didn’t fully appreciate until I became a pastor,” he says.

Since 2007, Dueck has maintained a blog called “Rumblings.” The blog includes reflection and conversation about various topics related to the intersection of faith and culture.

Dueck is married to Naomi, and the couple has 13-year-old twins. When he isn’t working or spending time with his family, Dueck enjoys playing soccer, hockey, and riding his motorcycle in the mountains.

He is anticipating meaningful conversations during his week at CMU.

“As human beings, we learn and grow when we have an opportunity to have our stories rub off on each other a little bit,” Dueck says. “I’m looking forward to hearing people’s stories.”

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury Campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.

For information about CMU, visit:

For additional information, please contact:

Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

Face2Face: On Campus – Community in Conversation Uncategorized Video

The European Debt Crisis and Other Wonders Hiding in the Global Economy with Jeff Huebner

As the fifth feature in the 2013/14 Face2Face conversation series, CMU’s Redekop School of Business Professor Jeff Huebner leads an interactive discussion exploring everything from the financial crisis in the United States to the Eurozone debt crisis. Discussion panelists will include a value investor from Niverville and an international student from Germany who speaks about the Eurozone crisis from a citizen’s perspective.


Events News Releases Uncategorized

Conference Inspires Youth to Pursue Peace and Seek Justice

‘The great adventure we get to be on is following Jesus,’ speaker says

How do we practice peace and justice in our daily lives? That was the question acclaimed activist Shane Claiborne explored at Peace It Together (PIT) 2013, Canadian Mennonite University’s (CMU) conference for youth focusing on biblical and Anabaptist themes of peace.

Shane Claiborne at PIT 2013
Shane Claiborne at PIT 2013

Over the course of three worship sessions, Claiborne challenged the more than 100 youth, youth sponsors, and pastors from across Canada who gathered at PIT to see that being a Christian isn’t about what happens to us in the afterlife, but rather, it’s about the way we spend our time on Earth.

“Jesus didn’t come just to prepare us to die, but to show us how to live,” Claiborne said.

Claiborne, author of a number of books, including The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, told stories from his various ministry experiences, including working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India; a trip with a Christian Peacemaker Team to Iraq in 2003; and living with The Simple Way, a community he helped start in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighbourhood.

He told listeners that there are a variety of ways to pursue peace and seek justice in their daily lives, and that everyone is invited to do something with their gifts that contributes to the redemptive work God is doing in the world.

He added that ultimately, more important than what you do or accomplish in this life is who you are becoming as a child of God.

“In the end, the great adventure we get to be on is following Jesus,” Claiborne said.

On Saturday afternoon, youth participated in a variety of different workshops to put into action the things they learned from Claiborne.

Youth had the option to visit a L’Arche community; visit Cedar Lane Farm, an organic farm located in a house-barn in rural Manitoba; spend the afternoon at Neechi Commons, a supermarket, bakery, and fish market in Winnipeg’s North End that fosters neighbourhood revitalization; visit House Blend Ministries, an intentional community in downtown Winnipeg; build instruments; or create and distribute a broadsheet newspaper with recent news stories rewritten from the perspective of peace

PIT also included times for small group reflection; opportunities to play sports or create art; and social events like square dancing, karaoke, and a talent show.

Robbie Friesen, a Grade 12 student from Vineland, ON., said the conference gave him a new understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ

Shane Claiborne addresses youth at one of his three speaking sessions
Shane Claiborne addresses youth, youth leaders, and pastors at one of his three speaking sessions

“When Jesus said, ‘Give up everything and follow me,’ there are different ways you can look at that,” said Friesen, 17, who traveled to Winnipeg with his youth group from Vineland United Mennonite Church. “I’ll definitely remember Shane’s stories of active peace and following Jesus.”

Hannah Thiessen, a Grade 11 student from Cambridge, ON., agreed.

“Shane makes it easy to wrap your brain around actually doing these things,” said the 15-year-old, from Wanner Mennonite Church. “I hope that I can act on what I’ve learned and contribute to my community in some way.”

Lois Nickel, Director of Enrolment Services at CMU and one of PIT’s organizers, said that was the goal of the conference.

“We wanted to show youth that you can live out peace wherever you are,” Nickel said. “We hope youth pastors and leaders will be taking ideas and inspiration from this weekend to go and try new things with their youth groups.”

CMU will host the next Peace It Together youth conference in October 2015.


Prof. Sue Sorensen shares her summer booklist

As one might expect from an English professor, Sue Sorensen is someone who spends a lot of time with books. The following is a run-down of what’s on her summer reading list right now:

Right now I’m reading: Bobcat, and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee, a brand new award-winning book of fiction by a writer who grew up in Regina, where I lived for many years. Her short stories are wonderfully original and surprising, and perfect examples of the well-structured tale.Sue at grad 09

I Just finished: Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead, a beautiful and gentle book about a 1950s pastor in Iowa. Nearly every page shimmers with compassion and deep insight. (It’s part of my research on pastors, for a study of literary pastors I’m writing called The Collar, but it’s also just lovely to read.) Here’s my favourite humourous line from Gilead about being a pastor: “So often people tell me about some wickedness they’ve been up to, or they’ve suffered from, and I think, Oh, that again!”

Just for fun I’m reading: The 1960s mysteries of Florida writer John D. MacDonald. They are much smarter than your average thriller, and MacDonald always had a mad on about something – corporate greed, or the destruction of the environment. His detective, Travis McGee, is a great character. The Travis McGee novels all have a colour in the title; right now I’m reading Pale Gray for Guilt.

With my son: I’m reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels with my son Theo, who is 10, getting ready for the new movie Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters coming out on August 7. They are clever and funny books with lots of great material for kids about Greek myth.

Not so much: Earlier this summer on holiday I read a biography of the lead singer of the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl, called This is A Call by Paul Brannigan. I like Grohl a lot, but the book was only so-so.

I’m re-reading: The novels of Graham Greene. I just finished Our Man in Havana (about Cuba before the revolution) and am starting The Comedians (set in Haiti in the 1960s). I read these years ago, but this summer my husband and I are both working our way through them again and then watching the movies based on them. Greene was a great writer – his books are both clever and entertaining, and he was so unassuming about his cleverness.

Professor Sorensen’s interests extend from 19th and 20th century British literature—her core area of specialization—to film adaptations of literature and the examination of popular song lyrics as poetry. Her doctoral dissertation was “Verbal and Visual Language and the Question of Faith in the Fiction of A. S. Byatt.” A member of the Henry James Society and the George Eliot Fellowship, she also has research interests in Guy Vanderhaeghe and children’s literature.

Prior to coming to CMU, Professor Sorensen taught English at University of Western Ontario and University of Winnipeg. She also worked in the field of publishing. Stay tuned for when her book on representations of the clergy in fiction and film will be published.

RSB News & Program Highlights Uncategorized

Rony Doerksen reflects on Latin America study tour

Rony Doerksen came to CMU to complete his BA degree from Paraguay. His previous work experience includes time at the Paraguayan development organization ASCIM, and he is studying for a BA in International Development Studies at CMU.

After final exams in April, Rony travelled to Latin America to take part in a travel study course  offered as a cross listed option between the Redekop School of Business at CMU and the International Development program.

The major focus of the study tour was learning how microfinance provides loans and credit for the economically poor.

The 6 students on the trip learned firsthand how real life experience differs from the classroom but also how it enhances the learning.

Here are some of Rony’s reflections from the trip:

In conversation with staff of MiCredito (one of the organizations in Latin America the group visited) I learned that the political situation of a country can have a big influence on how successful microfinance is. The people of MiCredito were saying that the group lending model did not function very well and was not well accepted in Nicaragua because of bad political experience in the past.


Rony Doerksen

It was interesting to see the cultural differences between  Western Culture and the Latin American people. As a Canadian from Paraguay it was interesting to recognize some general differences in cultural, social and spiritual aspects but also specifically the differences between the two Latin countries we visited.


The study tour has been very enriching to me. It was a good time to reflect about the consumption lifestyle we have and also about the importance of holistic/integral development.

The study tour has confirmed me once more that the rest of my life will consist in working in development work with people who are in need. I have seen the big potential for integral development projects in Latin America, but I have also seen that a good development project should have a holistic view for helping the poor.




CMU student athletes achieve academic excellence

When Danielle Klassen has a moment of free time to study, she uses every minute of it.

Klassen is one of 14 CMU students who achieved a 4.0 GPA in a full-time course load while also competing on a CMU athletics team.

“Balancing school and sports can definitely be a challenge,” says Klassen, a first-year student from Calgary who attends Foothills Mennonite Church.

“(This past semester) I had to make sure I was using my time efficiently. I also made an effort to try to get assignments done ahead of time instead of leaving them to the night before.”DanielleKlassen1

The time commitment needed for things like practices, games, and traveling for tournaments can be substantial.

But the time and dedication needed to excel at both academic and athletic pursuits points to more than just an ability to work hard.

According to Russell Willms, CMU’s Director of Athletics, such abilities tend to translate well outside the CMU world, pointing to strength of character and ability to succeed after a student has long since graduated.

“The time, energy and attention that we have witnessed this year is a testament to the dedication of these students,” says Willms.

Nick Czehryn just completed his first year at CMU with a 4.0 GPA, while playing for the CMU Blazers soccer team.

Although achieving the athletic-academic balance is challenging for Czehryn, the rewards outweigh the costs.

“There’s a high level of play, and good competition. Everyone’s excited to be there, and achieving a good balance isn’t as hard as I thought it might be. I enjoy being together with my team.”

Klassen also appreciates the time spent with her teammates.

“It is a priceless gift to be able to pay with girls who can be focused on the accomplishments of others as well as their own achievements,” she says.

Events General News News Releases Uncategorized

CMU Students Help in Minot, North Dakota

March 27, 2013 – In June, 2011, the Souris River—which divides the city of Minot, North Dakota in half—experienced record flooding. More than four thousand homes were destroyed in a disaster that displaced 12,000 people. On Saturday, February 17, eight Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students as well as two staff, Sandra Loeppky and Rick Unger, left for North Dakota. Instead of relaxing, catching up on classes, or spending time with their families, the volunteers were willing to spend their reading break working in the community.

Clockwise, from bottom left: Sean Göerzen, Desiree Penner, Glen Torrie (from Orillia, ON), and Sandra Loeppky
Clockwise, from bottom left: Sean Göerzen, Desiree Penner, Glen Torrie (from Orillia, ON), and Sandra Loeppky

The students are being sent to Minot to help with the large-scale, multi-year MDS response to the flood, which is currently in its second year. CMU students were also sent out last year, and it is clear that their efforts made a difference. “In an interesting twist, we slept in the church that we helped build last year, on beds and bunks that we helped move,” says Sandra Loeppky, Coordinator of Commuter, Disability, and International Programs who helped plan both trips.

This year marked the first time in a while that Witness Through Service, a CMU Student Council Committee, was involved with the planning. Both of the leaders of the group, Christie Bueckert and Arlana Muller, joined the team in Minot this year. The committee helped with the organizing as well as the promotion of the trip. Bueckert says that she really enjoyed the experience because of the people she met in the community as well as the change of pace from the more mental work of school.

Students this year were involved in the construction of multiple homes, and worked in various roles, from painting to insulating to helping finish up drywall. At the end of the week, they were involved in a house dedication at the end of the week, giving the house they helped build to a couple, their daughter, and the daughters’ three children who lived with them. “Our students were asked to lead the singing for the dedication,” Loeppky says, calling the experience very touching.

Desiree Penner is a first year student at CMU. Recounting her experience, she said that “the hands on time spent repairing the homes affected by the flood was very worthwhile, but on top of that, I made amazing new life-long friends.” She was working on the team that helped repair the basement in a home. Desiree emphasized that she would love to go on the trip again next year. “It was definitely an experience that everyone should put on their bucket list!”

General News News Releases Uncategorized

CMU Presents 2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards

September 19, 2012 – Canadian Mennonite University presents its CMU Blazer Distinguished Alumni Awards on September 28, 2012, at 7:00 pm in the Laudamus Auditorium, honouring alumni Bill Janzen (CMBC 1966-1967), Sarah Klassen (MBBC ’62), Patrice Nagant (CMU ’01), and Bonita Sawatzky (CMBC 1981-1982). The celebration is one of the key events of CMU’s annual Fall Festival taking place September 28 to 29.

“We are very proud of our Distinguished Alumni. We take pleasure in presenting awards to such fine individuals to help recognize their contributions to their communities and to the church,” says CMU Interim President Earl Davey. “It’s great as well to have this opportunity for current students to get to know our alumni, who were all shaped in important ways by their faith-based university education and experiences.”

William (Bill) Janzen, (CMBC 1966-67)Over a 33-year career as the founding director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Ottawa, Bill Janzen played a significant part in peace and justice initiatives in Canada and abroad. Opening the Ottawa office in 1976, Janzen took a lead role in advocating on issues of peace and justice to the Canadian government with a number of coalitions.

Two significant projects stand out for Janzen during his career.  In 1979, he played a key part in negotiating Canada’s first master agreement for the private sponsorship of refugees. That same year, he authored a report for the US Congress on undocumented Mennonite settlers in Texas and Oklahoma. The report led Congress to pass a special bill granting those individuals permanent resident status.  Janzen was also involved in helping to found the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

“I always found Bill to be a voice of calm, reflective reason in the Ottawa tempest,” commented Bill Blaikie, retired Manitoba Member of Parliament, upon Janzen’s retirement in 2008. “He is one of the best examples I can think of for Christian witness and advocacy in the political process.”

Janzen began his studies at Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC). “CMBC was very important in my formation and education,” he notes. In 1970, he earned his Master of Arts degree in International Development from Carlton University’s Norman Patterson School of International Affairs. He completed a second MA in Biblical Studies from the University of Ottawa, and received his PhD in Political Theory from Carlton University in 1981.

Janzen is married to Marlene and they have two adult children. He is an active member of Ottawa Mennonite Church.

Bonita Sawatzky (CMBC 1981-82)
Leaving the mountains in her home province of British Columbia to come to Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) on the prairies was a significant move for Bonita Sawatzky.  She wondered what she would do with her life, what she believed about God, and how she would fit in. “CMBC was a great place,” says Sawatzky. “It gave me the ability to think critically as to what I read and heard in the world and in the church.”

Always having a love for learning, she wrestled from infancy with her other love, being active. Born with a spinal cord disorder that affected her arms and feet, she decided to attend University of British Columbia (UBC) and study Physical Education with the idea of developing methodologies and technologies that would enable people with disabilities to participate in physical activities. She went on to complete a Master of Arts degree at UBC and her PhD at Simon Fraser University. Her scholarly work focuses on understanding the biomechanics of human movement in children and adults with spinal cord injuries.

Passionate about her work, Sawatzky began her career as a research assistant in surgery and orthopaedics at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital. Today, she leads research work in her field of expertise as Principal Investigator with ICORD (International Collaboration of Repair Discoveries), an inter-disciplinary spinal cord injury research centre. Her role is to develop a rehabilitation laboratory that assesses movement strategies in those with spinal cord injuries.

Sawatzky is married to Brian Wixted ;  they worship at Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, BC where she has served in church leadership and worship leading.

Patrice Nagant (CMU ’01)
Patrice Nagant is passionate about evangelism and church planting. Patrice and his wife Cindy Bucci gave their lives to Christ in 1980 and joined a church north of Montreal, where they grew in faith and served the Lord.  Busy with their interior landscape business, theological education was pursued part time and at various schools including:  Emmaüs Bible school in Switzerland; Acadia University, Montreal; and at École de théologie évangélique de Montréal (ETEM).

In 1999, they sold their 20-year-old business and moved to Winnipeg to study at CMU. Nagant graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology.

After CMU, Nagant returned to Montreal to direct Rendez vous Montreal, a Key City initiative of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (CCMBC). Rendez vous Montreal was a partnership to plant new churches. Through Nagant’s work, church planters were identified, coached, and locations determined. In total, six churches have been planted since Rendez vous Montreal began

While Nagant continued to oversee the development of other new churches, in 2006, together with his wife and another couple, David and Patricia Miller, he became directly involved in L’Intersection, a church plant in the French-speaking city of Terrebonne, QC.

In 2011, CCMBC began C2C Network for church planters to promote, train, coach, and equip the planters and support new initiatives. This year, Nagant accepted the invitation to oversee the C2C network Québec.

Patrice and Cindy worship at L’Intersection. They have three married children.

Sarah Klassen (MBBC ’62)
Sarah Klassen is an award-winning poet, born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. She is the author of nine books, including Monstrance (Turnstone Press, 2012) and A Feast of Longing (Coteau Books, 2007) for which she received the High Plains Award for fiction. Her debut poetry book, Journey to Yalta (Turnstone Press, 1988), received the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.

Klassen has contributed to eleven anthologies including Pith & Wry (Scrivener Press, 2010) and Poetry as Liturgy: An Anthology of Canadian Poets (St. Thomas Press, 2007). Klassen is a former poetry instructor at the CMU School of Writing.

“If your notion of a poet is someone who is awash in sentiment and woozy with emotion, reading the work of Sarah Klassen is a useful corrective… Her observations have unusual clarity and her language is generous and precise,” says Sue Sorenson, Assistant Professor of English at CMU.

Klassen graduated in 1962 from Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC) with a Bachelor of Arts degree earned a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Manitoba in 1971. She then taught in various elementary schools and later taught high school English.

While she retired from teaching in 1990, Klassen continued to teach English as an additional language at Lithuania Christian College. Teaching English took her to Karkhiv, Ukraine allowing her to visit Barvenkovo, Ukraine from where both her maternal and paternal grandparents departed from for Canada in the 1920’s.

Currently, Klassen is the poetry editor for Prairie Fire and reviews editor for Rhubarb magazine. She attends River East Mennonite Brethren Church.

CMU’s Distinguished Community Service Blazer Award will also be presented on September 28, honouring Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company.  (See news release on this award.)