Love, Peace, Non-violence, and Justice: Nurturing Faith

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

“University is a place where new struggles and challenges arise, and it is easy to get lost and distracted,” Merveille Mwankin reflected at the end of her first year attending the University of Waterloo. “As a Christian community, Grebel has helped and continues to help me nurture my faith by surrounding me with other believers and providing Anabaptist-Mennonite values such as love, peace, non-violence, and justice.”

Merveille Mwankin is a first-year virtual resident and Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) student at Conrad Grebel University College. She initially heard of the College from past resident students from her congregation of Hagerman Mennonite Church in Markham. Through deep conversation, Merveille learned about the many ways to connect and grow within the Grebel community, especially through Community Suppers, Chapel, and the plentiful student-run events. “As a Christian Mennonite, I decided to connect with Grebel because I wanted to be in a community where my belief is rooted and where it would allow me to grow spiritually in my faith.”

Despite being a virtual resident living at home, Grebel made Merveille feel welcome and included as a part of the family. Staff and student leaders frequently checked up on her through phone calls and Zoom meetings. By connecting with the PACS Living-Learning Community, she comfortably expressed her thoughts and formed friendships with like-minded PACS students. Merveille enjoyed that the PACS Living-Learning Community consisted of a small group of students who got together online to share their interests in exploring the impact of peace on their own life and the world around them.

In addition, Merveille found other ways to connect with members of the community through Grebel’s Weekly Waves and fun online get-to-know-you and Peace-related events with the PACS Living-Learning Community. “In these unpredictable times, people are going through a lot of difficult challenges, so staying connected through these events can allow people to get their minds off of the happenings of the outside world and focus our attention more on social bonding and building friendships,” Merveille said. “Although it is not safe to physically meet in person and connect, the pandemic has taught us other alternative ways to get involved and stay connected with one another through several technological platforms.”

Next year, Merveille plans to live at Grebel in person. If intramural sports restart, she is excited to join teams such as soccer and volleyball, which are her favourite sports. Merveille also cannot wait to attend and get involved in live, in-person Chapel services to share her faith and spirituality with the community. Most of all, “I am looking forward to meeting my virtual friends physically in-person, strengthening friendships, and building new long-lasting relationships.”

Written by Jace Jaeden Ellis