Alumni Profiles – Christy Anderson (CMU ’11)

Christy Anderson graduated in 2011 with a 4-year Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Communications and Media from CMU.

Anderson, whose heritage is half First Nations, completed her practicum during the summer of 2011 at the Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN) under the Executive Director of APTN West, Naomi Clarke.

Anderson views her opportunity to work under Clarke as an incredible experience to pursue her passion for broadcast journalism and to learn more about the Aboriginal community.

“I’m excited to immerse myself in the Aboriginal community and to get the work experience that’s geared towards my interests and my degree.”

Anderson feels well prepared by her practicum work and by the support she has received from her program advisor and instructor at CMU, David Balzer, for the next steps in her life.

“My experience at CMU has empowered me. I feel like I can make a difference in the world,” Anderson says.

According to Balzer, “The chance to work with a national broadcaster provided an exceptional opportunity, and they clearly saw current capacity and potential for the future in her during the process,” he says.

Following her practicum, Christy enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Manitoba in the Native Studies Department.

Alumni Profiles Articles

Alumni Profiles – Bethany Paetkau (CMU ’11)

IDS grad planting urban gardens

If there’s one thing Bethany Paetkau learned at CMU, it’s that people are at heart of the solution to every major issue affecting the world. With that in mind, she’s taking on the issue of food security.

Paetkau, who graduated from CMU with a four-year BA in International Development Studies in April 2011, became employed after graduation with A Rocha, a Christian environmental organization that runs ecological conservation projects around the world. Paetkau spent her summer teaching low-income Winnipeggers how to plant urban gardens and how to cook and preserve the fresh produce.

It may seem like a low-key response to a global food crisis (food prices around the world increased by 25 per cent in 2010), but it fits with Paetkau’s grassroots, people-focused philosophy of development.

“We’re asking the question: How do we live sustainably? And one piece of that is to garden,” she says.

Working together with inner city residents and St. Margaret’s Anglican Church, Paetkau and her co-workers grew kale, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, green beans, dill, chives, strawberries, and other nutritious vegetables in public garden plots and next to the homes of people who volunteered their yards.

Small-scale, sustainable agriculture has been one of Paetkau’s interests ever since she took a class on creation care at CMU. Paetkau likes the fact that projects such as the urban garden empower people by giving them access to better, healthier food.

General News News Releases

CMU Launches Redekop School of Business

On October 19, 2011, CMU launched its new Redekop School of Business, made possible through the generosity of the Redekop family of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

“We are deeply gratified to announce a significant gift from the Redekop Family that enables CMU to establish its new School of Business,” says Canadian Mennonite University President Gerald Gerbrandt. “Redekop School of Business has been established as an expression of thanksgiving for God’s providential care for the family of Jacob and Maria Redekop, and their children Mary, Jacob, John, and Peter.”

The two brothers, John and Peter, their nephew James, and the extended family, have together pledged a minimum of $6.5-million and potentially up to $7.5-million to found the School. Twenty-four members of the family travelled to Winnipeg from Alberta and British Columbia for the announcement.

Jakob and Maria Redekop, together with their four children, fled to Canada from the Soviet Union following World War II. They spent four months in Manitoba, where they were welcomed by family and church, before settling in British Columbia.

“Our family has been inspired to establish a school of business at CMU,” says Peter Redekop on behalf of the Redekop family. “We see the need to educate the next generation in commerce, marketing, and finance, and to do this in a university that inspires and prepares future leaders with skills complimented by Christian ethics, integrity, and service.”

“The School will greatly enhance the university’s ability to prepare and educate a significant number of Christian business leaders who will provide a positive influence on society and the life of the church, and who will have the resources to fund the church’s institutions,” says Redekop.

CMU’s business programming will use an inter-disciplinary approach in preparation for a global business environment. The goal is to prepare students to become engaged in business and not-for-profit organizations, with a worldview and character shaped within a Christian university community.

Redekop School of Business will offer rewarding career opportunities for students through the following programs:

  • a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (4-year, with a 5-year Co-op option) with Majors in Business Management, Not-for-Profit Management, Accounting, and Human Resources Management, and
  • a Bachelor of Arts degree (3- and 4-year), Major in Business and Organizational Administration

Students will benefit from a generous awards program, excellent professors, a supportive student-to-faculty ratio, opportunities for a term of study in an international setting, and interaction with business and not-for-profit leaders. CMU also provides the option of extending learning through a business co-op experience.

“We are convinced that the Redekop School of Business will have a positive impact on our church, our community, and all those who will be served by our business graduates,” says Gerbrandt.

Released October 19, 2011

For AUDIO interview with Dr. Gerbrandt about this significant gift, click here

General News News Releases

CMU Recognizes Distinguished Alumni


September 30, 2011 – Canadian Mennonite University on September 30 recognized four Distinguished Alumni at a special presentation during its Fall Festival 2011.

“We are very proud of our Distinguished Alumni,” says CMU President Gerald Gerbrandt.  “It is gratifying to see how our alumni have been shaped by their education, and how, years later, they continue to demonstrate their understanding, creativity, leadership, and Christian faith in their everyday lives and professions.  Their achievements and contributions are outstanding. We congratulate this year’s CMU Blazer Distinguished Alumni Award winners – Lois Coleman Neufeld, Judith Klassen, David Loewen, and Robert Wedel.”

2011 Blazer Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Lois Coleman Neufeld (MBBC ’80) 

Lois Coleman Neufeld attended Mennonite Brethren Bible College (MBBC, a founding college of CMU) – which she describes as being “one of only a few Bible schools offering university credit at the time.” She graduated in 1980.

Coleman Neufeld and husband Robert served with Mennonite Brethren Mission/Services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). An initial three-year term ended up being a meaningful eleven years learning and serving together with the local churches and partner agencies.

Later, Coleman Neufeld served as Mennonite Central Committee’s Country Representative in Zambia for six years.

After serving in Africa for seventeen years, the family moved back to Canada. For eight years, Coleman Neufeld was the Director of National Programs for Mennonite Central Committee Canada. In her current role as executive director of Mediation Services, she enjoys the opportunity to explore perspectives of how people handle justice issues in the world beyond the church.

A self-proclaimed life-long learner, Coleman Neufeld continued to explore her interests in leadership, organizational change, and gender issues over the years. She recently earned a Master of Arts degree in Leadership from Trinity Western University.

 Coleman Neufeld worships with parishioners of River East MB Church.  Her passion for the church and love for community is also evident in her eight years of service on CMU’s board.  Coleman Neufeld and husband Robert Neufeld met at MBBC. They have three adult children and a granddaughter.

Judith Klassen (CMBC ’97)

The desire to study peace theology while also pursuing musical performance led Judith Klassen to study at Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC, a founding college of CMU). Klassen was impressed with how faculty and staff were “people who cared and took time for students. There was a holistic approach to education.”

Klassen completed a PhD at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2008, where she was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal in Graduate Studies. Her doctoral research explored faithful defiance in the musical practices of Mennonites in northern Mexico; other research interests include music and creative protest in sites of conflict.

An ethnomusicologist and violist, Klassen who recently took the post of Curator, Canadian Music at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, QC. She has worked as a freelance musician in chamber ensembles and orchestras across Canada, as a violin instructor in Canada, Mexico, and Paraguay, and as a lecturer in music at CMU and the University of Manitoba. More recently, she collaborated with the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, MB on the exhibit Singing in Time: Music and Mennonites.

Klassen is active in her community, providing leadership on a number of boards and collaborating with musicians on various projects. One such project includes the folk duo, The Land, which Klassen co-founded with her husband Simon Neufeld. Klassen and Neufeld are members of Covenant Mennonite Church.

David Loewen (MBBC ’61)

Dave Loewen graduated with a Bachelor of Theology from MBBC in 1961. The following summer Loewen began his career in camping ministries at Camp Arnes. With further studies at Manitoba Teachers College and Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University), Loewen juggled school in winter and camp in summer for a number of years.

With over twenty years of service, Loewen is well known for his leadership at Camp Arnes. During this period at Arnes, Loewen served terms as president of the Manitoba Camping Association, president of Christian Camping International/Canada, and secretary of Christian Camping International/Worldwide. In these undertakings, Loewen learned to know many leaders in the field with whom he shared and from whom he gleaned insights in camping ministry.

Loewen founded Kingdom Ventures Inc. in 1990 and has served as director for more than 20 years. Kingdom Ventures is a faith-based organization focused on training Christian youth camp leaders in the former Soviet Union. In addition, Kingdom Ventures manages the Christian Camping International initiatives in Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia.

Loewen is married to Elfrieda (Epp). They have three children and six grandchildren. Loewen and Elfrieda are members at The Church at Pine Ridge.

Robert John Wedel (CMBC ’69)

Robert Wedel completed a degree at CMBC in 1969. From here, he went on to the University of Calgary to study medicine. After completing a two-year residency in Family Practice at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Wedel settled in Taber, Alberta.

A family physician for over 35 years, Wedel is past-president of the National College of Family Physicians of Canada, the recipient of the 2010 Alberta Rural Physician Award of Distinction, and the recipient of the 2010 W. Victor Johnson Award. Some recent involvements for Wedel include Medical Director for the Chinook Palliative Care Program, Associate Clinical Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine at the Universities of Calgary and Alberta, and Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Family Practice with the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Wedel has appreciated the opportunity, afforded by his profession, “to advance quality improvement initiatives within my practice as a family physician and as a palliative physician, “ he says, “as well as system-wide across the country.”

 Wedel met his wife Marilynn Harder while they studied at CMBC; they have two adult children: music teacher Gina Wedel (CMBC ’97) and Registered Nurse Nic Wedel (CMBC 1996-1997) and three grandchildren.  Robert and Marilynn Wedel are members at Coaldale Mennonite Church.

Also receiving an award on September 30 was artist and curator Ray Dirks (see news release of September 30, 2011). Dirks is the recipient of the 2011 CMU Blazer Distinguished Community Service Award.

Following the presentation of awards, the Festival program included a faculty lecture, “It’s not only about you:  Theology and human Rights,” by Dr. Paul Doerksen, with a response by Dr. John Derksen. Music from Quartet from the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen was woven into the presentation.

 As well, CMU sports fans had the opportunity on September 30 to enjoy exhibition volleyball games in CMU’s Loewen Athletic Centre.

Events News Releases

Plans for Fall Festival 2011 Announced

Exciting Weekend of Activities Slated for September 30 to October 1

CMU invites the public to experience two exciting days on campus and get a taste of university life during its Fall Festival 2011, being held September 30 and October 1 at 500 Shaftesbury Boulevard, Winnipeg.

“Fall Festival – replacing CMU’s traditional Homecoming – affords a wonderful opportunity to connect with our university community and participate in variety of exciting events.  Come, visit our campus, experience our faculty in action, glimpse the vibrant student life at CMU, and share in the program, vision, and potential of our university,” says Vice President External Terry Schellenberg.  “Everyone – students, alumni, friends, donors, community members – is welcome to be part of a renewed weekend that will connect and inspire.”

The weekend opens Friday with a celebration to honour CMU’s 2011 Blazer Distinguished Community Service Award winner Ray Dirks along with winners of the 2011 Blazer Distinguished Alumni awards, Lois Coleman Neufeld (MBBC ’80), Judith Klassen Neufeld (CMBC ’97), David Loewen (MBBC ’61), and Robert Wedel (CMBC ’69).

Following the award presentations, guests gather at 7:30 p.m. to explore the issue of human rights in an evening presentation of words and music.  CMU offers a thought-provoking lecture for the public, entitled “It’s Not Only about You” by faculty member Paul Doerksen, followed by a response from faculty member John Derksen. Woven into the presentation will be music of the Quartet for the End of Time, by Olivier Messiaen.

Visitors with an interest in athletics can watch the exhibition volleyball games in the Loewen Athletic Centre from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday.

Activities on Saturday get underway with the challenging MennoCross bike races, 11 to 5 pm. Racers ride a course that twists and turns around CMU’s north campus.  In addition to the competitive class, there are races for beginner and intermediate riders as well as kids. Registration details are available online.

Alumni reunions take place in the afternoon, as well as an alumni choir rehearsal for the evening performances.

Beginning at 3 p.m., a variety of activities get underway, with games, a children’s “bouncy house,” dunk tank, and a pie auction included in the festival’s offerings.  Visitors – and especially parents of students – may be interested in taking tours of CMU’s student residences and campus buildings and grounds.

Of particular interest to guests, from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., will be the presentation of five short “Faculty Samplers” in two time slots.  The “samplers” will offer a taste of the passion and expertise of CMU’s faculty. Dietrich Bartel presents Music as Wellness; Gordon Zerbe’s sampler is Walking the Streets of Paul’s Philippi, Virtually; Candice Viddal offers A Hymn to God’s Glory:  Physics and the Spiritual Dimension; Tim Rogalsky presents Logic Unlocks Pauline Puzzles! Mathematics as a key to understanding the letters of Paul; and a workshop presentation by David Balzer explores The Art of Communicating in Church and Society or why I think our storytelling should be ‘pathetic.’

CMU invites guests to stay for a free BBQ supper followed by an evening celebration service at 7 p.m. featuring the wonderful voices of CMU Alumni and Student choirs conducted by faculty members Janet Brenneman and Rudy Schellenberg, along with student sharing and a short address by CMU’s President, Gerald Gerbrandt.

CMU’s full weekend schedule can be viewed online at  and on our Facebook Page Canadian Mennonite University, Fall Festival tab. You can also follow CMU_Alumni on Twitter.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, offering four Baccalaureate degrees with majors in a wide variety of areas. CMU offers programs in arts and sciences, as business, communications, peace and conflict transformation studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries.  CMU also offers Master of Arts degrees in Theological Studies and in Christian Ministry.

Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship program.

CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen,
Communications & Marketing Director
Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 621

For event information, contact:
Eleonore Braun, CMU Alumni Coordinator
Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 605
500 Shaftesbury Blvd.
Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Video – coffee with recent grad Mike Duerksen at Siloam Mission

Mid-afternoon I caught up with Mike Duerksen, Communications and Media grad (3-yr BA 2010), who is about 10 months into his position as Communications Coordinator for an incredible organization – Siloam Mission.

Here’s a bit of what it means to him.


Alumni interviews Audio Sunday@CMU Radio

Kevin Derksen – Reflections on Vocational Journey

Kevin Derksen
CMU Alumnus
Pastor Team, St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, St. Jacobs ON.
Interview Date: November 11th & 17th, 2010.

In this two-part interview, David Balzer-host of Sunday@CMU Radio, catches up with Kevin to talk about his journey to his present vocation.  Kevin also reflects on challenges and learning experiences in transitioning from CMU to the McMaster University environment.

Part 1
Play/Download Here 

Part 2
Play/Download Here  

Alumni interviews Audio Sunday@CMU Radio

Adam Klassen – Prison Visitation Practicum

Adam Klassen
CMU Alumnus (’09)
Interview Date: September 27, 2010

In this interview, David Balzer, host of Sunday@CMU, speaks with Adam about his Practicum with Open Circle, a prison visitation and community integration program of Mennonite Central Committee. Adam shares stories about the people he met and the impact they have on his life.

Play/Download Here 

Alumni interviews Audio Outtatown Sunday@CMU Radio

Janna Bryce-Wiebe – Outtatown Teaches Life Lesson

Janna Bryce-Wiebe
CMU Alumnus
Interview Date: September 5, 2010

This two-part interview originally aired on September 5, 2010 on the Sunday@CMU radio program. Janna shares with David Balzer – host of Sunday@CMU radio, the major ways in which the Outtatown program experience helped her learn to root her life entirely in God. She also shares how this has played into her work ministering to youth.

Part 1
Play/Download Here 

Part 2
Play/Download Here  

For more information about Outtatown, CMU’s one-year adventure discipleship program, click here.

Alumni interviews Audio Sunday@CMU Radio

Joanne Moyer – Faith and the Environment

Joanne Moyer
CMU Alumnus
Interview Date: October 17, 2010

At the time of this interview, Joanne was working on a PhD in natural resource and environment management at the University of Manitoba. She sat down with David Balzer -host of Sunday@CMU radio, to discuss her  research in Kenya with faith-based organizations doing environmental projects in East Africa.  She reflects on how CMBC/CMU is a significant part of  her journey into this field.

Part 1
Play/Download Here

Part 2
Play/Download Here