Grebel Now Fall 2015

Making a Community Impact

This issue of Grebel Now focuses on leadership. Grebel alumni play key leadership roles as staff and board members in many Mennonite institutions across Waterloo Region. Supporting Grebel is a way of providing human capital for the longevity and health of these organizations.
However, the Grebel influence goes beyond alumni in Mennonite organizations. Alumni serve in a variety of organizations. Our stories about current students in leadership illustrate that there are ample opportunities for our students to test their skills. The back cover includes highlights from our annual report and Mary Brubaker-Zehr, Director of Student Services, reported that there were 94 student leaders in a community of over 300 students. This number does not even include student leaders in our graduate programs or Music and PACS departments.
We hope you enjoy the stories, the photos and the glimpses of the myriad ways our students and our alumni make an impact as leaders in communities and organizations all over the world.

Jen Konkle, Communication Coordinator & Editor of Grebel Now
Fred W. Martin, Director of Development

Table of Contents

Grebel Now CoverGrebel Grows Leaders   
Compassion and Exclusion  
Part of the Grebel Stir-fry  
Mennonite Leaders with Grebel Roots  
Student Leadership Opportunities  
Fall Startup 
Distinguished Alumni Service Award 
The ’70s Era Returns 
Incubating Peace
Global Mennonite Peacebuilding
PACS on Fire 
Embracing Global Music  
Music Faculty Activities 
Development Director’s ‘to do’ List 
Estate Gift to Archives Endowment  
New Grebel Spaces in Action 
The Conrad Grebel Review 
In-kind Donations 
Social Enterprise: feedfive  
Ministry Inquiry Program 
Empowering Women
TMTC Award Winner
Ministry Training  
The Tape Measure 
Academic News 
Inaugural Research Fellow Named 
Grebel at a Glance  

From the President’s Desk : Grebel Grows Leaders to Serve Church and Society


I recently had the pleasure of interviewing five leaders of Mennonite agencies in Ontario—all of whom graduated from Grebel in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I asked them: “How did your Grebel experience impact your life’s path to lead a church-related institution?”

When I came to Grebel:
“I was a reluctant leader.”
“I was a dud.”
“I was just passing through.”
“I didn’t come to Grebel thinking I would ever be a
church leader.”
When I left Grebel and now look back, I can say:
“My time at Grebel was life-changing.”
“Grebel reinforces the model of servant leadership.”
“I have nothing but gratitude for Grebel.”
“This place was a beacon of light.”
“It was an oasis for me at a difficult time in my life.”

Their answers were inspiring, humbling, funny, and echoed a common theme: Leadership training at Grebel is organic, subtle, persistent, and part of everyday expectations built around community conversations that inspire and challenge. As one leader put it: “You just had to participate, it wasn’t an option, but first you had to listen!” Long before “servant leadership” was a common term, Grebelites have been modeling it.
Each year on move-in day, as our first-year students arrive excited but bewildered, ready for university but unsure of themselves, I fast-forward to imagining their sense of place and purpose just one year later—engaged, eager to assist first-years fit in and succeed. It’s really a remarkable and beautiful transition, and it continues through to graduation. Perhaps as legend has it, there is something in the water at Waterloo!

On a more serious note, Grebel grows student leaders not by focusing on individual achievement but on the common good. Two examples: (1) Take Grebel’s table traditions. As Mary Brubaker-Zehr, Director of Student Services, says: “Students who live with us know they are committing to eat together, to fill the first empty chair at the table, to linger in conversation, and to make our Wednesday Community Suppers a priority amongst the demands of their academics. They know cell phones should be turned off, and TVs do not adorn our dining room walls. Mealtimes are a time to be present with one another.”

(2) Take surviving and thriving amidst the disruption of co-op streams. Waterloo is Canada’s most innovative university because of our internationally recognized work-study program. If not managed creatively, these on and off again terms that affect a large portion of our student body at Grebel could lead to fractured or “drive-by” community encounters. We work intentionally and creatively at welcoming students, sending off large cohorts, welcoming them back, and most importantly—not losing track of them! It’s a trial run of the “real world”—only a softer version, we think. The Mennonite leaders I interviewed mentioned both of these Grebel traditions as keys to their success.

We are gratified that we grow leaders for the Mennonite church and its many agencies. We think that’s especially important, given research that suggests if students attend a Mennonite school they are more likely to remain in the church and provide leadership of all kinds (pastoral, financial, choral, youth, and outreach.)
In short, what these leaders tell us is that the Grebel experience provides this “hub” for people to converse and connect inside and outside the classroom. Leadership development is about creating a grounded, nurturing place for our students to shine and grow—be that conversations around the table with faculty, challenging material to digest in the classroom, a service trip during Reading Week, participating in a

Susan Huxman , president sitting at a table with students
Grebel theatre production, or chapel, or a MEDA or MCC sponsored contest, and the list could go on forever. Remember, as one leader I interviewed said: “Not participating is not an option at Grebel!” It’s not about forced participation; it’s about finding your fit.

I enjoyed interviewing these Mennonite leaders. I’m impressed with the way these Grebel alumni lead in their institutions. I’m pleased to call them colleagues. I’m thankful that Grebel alums continue to support us so we may inspire future leaders to “serve church and society.

Susan Schultz Huxman visits with leaders of tomorrow at the 2015 Scholarships and Awards reception.

Refugees in Canada Reflect Compassion and Exclusion


My friend Ellaha has not seen three of her eight children for almost seven years. As a former refugee claimant in Canada, now a permanent resident, she longs to reunite her family and is sad, worried, and frustrated with the obstacles that confront her in seeing that happen. Ellaha was a women’s rights activist and journalist in Afghanistan who fled to Canada in 2008 after she was threatened and lived in danger. She assumed they would soon be able to follow her. Two daughters studying outside of Afghanistan at the time have now joined her in Canada; she gave birth to a son in the spring of 2009.  Two children adopted during the war in the early 2000s were removed from her sponsorship application because their adoptions were not adequately documented, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Ellaha’s situation is extreme, but not uncommon. Refugee families are often separated during flight from their homes, many thinking they will soon reunite in places of safety, but the truth is that family reunification frequently takes a very long time—months, years. Mennonites with migration and refugee stories as part of their history should understand this well.  

I became acquainted with Ellaha through Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support (MCRS), a small organization that supports refugee claimants in Waterloo Region. I recently completed a four-year term as chair of the board of MCRS, though I was volunteering there before that and will continue to do so in different capacities. Ellaha has been a frequent lecturer in my Peace & Conflict Studies (PACS) class that deals with women and war, and has also talked about her refugee experience in my course on Canadian immigration history. Students are always amazed and inspired by her resilience but also saddened by her ongoing separation from half her family.

I was led to do research, writing, teaching, and advocacy on refugee issues because of my own academic work, my Mennonite family history, and because of meeting new Canadians like Ellaha.  During my doctoral work in the mid-1990s, when I was reading and hearing the narratives of Mennonites who fled their homes in the former Soviet Union during the Second World War and migrated to Canada and South America, I couldn’t help but see parallels between the past and present. At the time it was war-time refugee movements from the Balkans that reminded Mennonites of their fear-driven treks across Europe half a century earlier. Today it is images and stories of Syrians and others crossing dangerous seas and borders to seek asylum that elicit memories of Mennonite migrations.

Refugee issues, surprisingly, became an important issue in the recent federal election. While no one was happy about the reason for this—the photo of a dead Syrian child woke Canadians up to a human crisis that began four years ago—I was pleased that citizens and politicians were actually debating questions about Canada’s history and present response to refugees.  While we often point to Canada’s past welcome and generosity towards refugee newcomers, the record is mixed. I think it is important for students to understand this.

Examples of exclusion or compassion towards asylum-seeking people are historically not limited to one political party. Governments react in positive ways to refugee crises because of a number of factors—citizen lobbying and pressure to open the doors, the state of the economy and thus its capacity to incorporate newcomers, and the political nature of the conflict that produces refugees. For example, during the Cold War era, Canada more easily welcomed refugees from left-wing regimes than it did from right-wing dictatorships. Today, the political agenda underlying government responses to refugees is mainly driven by suspicions of terrorism.

Refugee painting

The co-existence of compassion and exclusion in Canada’s response to refugees goes way back. In 1847 40,000 refugees from the Irish famine arrived by ship in the harbour at Toronto, then a small city with a population of 30,000! There was hostility towards these newcomers—expressed in signs posted in business windows that said ‘no Irish allowed’—but Torontonians also demonstrated selfless compassion by erecting makeshift hospitals to care for the sick.

My own Mennonite grandparents, seeking to escape the new communist regime in the Soviet Union, might not have immigrated to Canada in 1924 had the gates remained closed to exclude them after the First World War.  In 1919, the coalition Unionist government of Robert Borden placed a ban on the admission of Mennonites and other religious groups that had “peculiar customs,” specifically their pacifist beliefs. After Mackenzie King and his Liberals won the 1921 election and overturned the ban, 20,000 Mennonites immigrated to Canada over the next decade, and many voted Liberal for years as a gesture of gratitude.

But it was the same Liberal government that, in 1939, turned away the S.S. St. Louis, a shipload of almost 1,000 Jewish refugees who were desperately trying to escape Nazi death camps in Europe. This stance occurred despite an outcry in favour of their admission on the part of Canadian Jews, Christians, and other compassionate people—similar to what we are witnessing today in support of Syrian refugees. At least a third of those Jewish refugees went to their deaths upon the ship’s return to Europe.

My parents-in-law were part of the Displaced Persons movement who, as German-speaking Mennonites born in the Soviet Union, fled their homes during World War II after nearly two decades of intensifying oppression under the communist regime. They found themselves, like many others who refused to return to their homelands after the war, in a tenuous situation. Fearing repatriation, which meant labour camps in Siberia, and with no future prospects on the war-devastated continent, they sought out relatives in Canada who could sponsor them. My mother-in-law was 17 years old when she arrived in Canada with her mother, three sisters and two brothers. Their father was arrested in the Soviet Union in 1938 by Stalin’s secret police and never heard from again. My father-in-law was separated from all of his family before and during the war.  

Like many other postwar refugees—and like my friend Ellaha—their families were fragmented, with parents and siblings left behind in unknown circumstances. They arrived in Canada, filled with relief over their personal safety and with hope for a better future, but nevertheless consumed with worry, uncertainty, and sadness over outcomes for family members they would never see again. Their stories are unique yet universal.

The ‘face’ of Canada changed dramatically in the decades after World War II when increasing numbers of immigrants, many of them refugees, arrived from Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Both welcome and hostility were part of the mix in attitudes towards refugees from Uganda, Chile, and southeast Asia in the 1970s, Central America in the 1980s, and Somalia and Lebanon in the 1990s. In the 21st century, refugee migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have made Canada their home.

When I think about how much immigrants contribute to and indeed constitute an evolving Canadian polity, I have only to look to the students in my classroom. Some years ago, I introduced an assignment in my third-year course in Canadian immigration history that required students to research their own ‘immigrant history.’ I am repeatedly surprised and impressed by the fascinating life stories that enter the classroom. Some examples: a Canadian-born student whose parents had never before told her their harrowing stories of escaping Vietnam and coming to Canada in 1979; a student whose Sri Lankan father, in a story that attracted much media attention at the time, was in a small boatload of asylum-seekers rescued off the coast of Newfoundland in 1986; a student whose present-day identity was profoundly shaped by grandparents who were Holocaust survivors.

Marlene Epp teaching a class
Our classrooms and communities are full of people whose lives were changed because they or their parents or their ancestors chose to, or were forced to, leave their homes to seek freedom and safety.

Entering into the unique stories of refugee newcomers has also been a privilege through my association with MCRS. When I speak about refugee issues and the work of MCRS to churches and community groups, I am often accompanied by a recently arrived refugee who is supported by MCRS.  I am humbled by their openness to tell their stories in unfamiliar settings, often while their resident status in Canada is still very uncertain.
It is these stories that I look forward to sharing with students when I teach a new class called ‘Refugees and Forced Migration’ in the PACS program in Winter 2016. The topic is timely, I think. Not only is the world experiencing its largest refugee crisis since World War Two, but the United Nations estimates that there are a record 51 million people in the world today who are refugees, stateless, or otherwise displaced from their homes.

Marlene Epp
Together, students and I will explore individual and universal experiences of departure from places of insecurity, and arrival, hopefully, to places of welcome and inclusion.

Marlene Epp is Professor of History and Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as Director of the Institute of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies at Grebel. She is also Board Chair for Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support.

Welcoming a new refugee student: Part of the Grebel Stir-fry


Like a stir-fry that mixes different foods and flavours together into one delightful meal, Conrad Grebel brings together students from all over the world to create a wonderful new home. When I arrived in the Fall 2014, I was the only student coming from Indonesia, but friendships blossomed after kicking around a soccer ball, sharing travel adventures, and discovering the many things I held in common with my peers.

This year, Liban Farah is one of the international students who is making a new home at Grebel. He arrived in September from Kenya after being selected for a very competitive program that supports students in refugee camps pursuing higher education. Even though we don’t come from the same place, or study the same subjects, we have connected over our shared love of soccer and experiences in Africa. Together we continue to learn together about connecting to our new Canadian friends.

Despite the warm connections waiting to be made, it takes time to actually make them. The transition from another country to Canada is one that can be uneventful in some ways (you also have cellphones, soccer, and soda). But at times the differences throw you into a tailspin, whether it is physical ones like sustained sub-zero temperatures, or cultural ones like the differences in the way one shows respect. Learning to navigate these changes is as easy and safe as driving a bus without a seatbelt, backwards, on the edge of a cliff. If you want to be truly safe, you need to be carrying a parachute. For myself, that parachute was made up of people like my roommate David who was in similar classes, invited me to his family’s home on numerous occasions, and even gave me the rundown on hockey.

Liban has also found his roommate to be one of the amazing people at Grebel who help ease the transition as they connect over school and create a friendship where they can learn more about each other’s culture, religion, and individual experiences. In Liban’s words, “My roommate is very good, he is doing chemistry, and I am doing chemistry and we will work together on it. And he helps with me with technology too.”

Grebel cares about everyone who steps through its doors, whether they come from a neighbouring house, or a country across the world. Liban, myself, and other students who grew up overseas have found a great mix of people who are both like us and very different, but all of whom contribute to the great stir-fry we are collectively cooking up here in Waterloo.


As part of their student fees, Grebel students each pay $10 a term to support a World University Service of Canada (WUSC) student refugee living in the Grebel residence. Similarly, UWaterloo students pay $1 per term to cover tuition for two refugee students a year at the University. Currently, Grebel has two students, including Liban, who have come through the WUSC program.

“It has been a pleasure to welcome Liban into our community life and for him to welcome us into his,” remarked Mary Brubaker-Zehr, student services director. “As the College extends the Grebel table, we are learning how hospitality contributes to physical and emotional well-being.”

Originally from Somolia, Liban and his family left their home in 1992 as a result of the civil war. His parents, two brothers, and two sisters moved to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya where Liban received his education and eventually became a teacher.

Liban’s sister is now studying at the University of Guelph, also as a WUSC student. Initially, Liban is taking English and Chemistry courses, as he becomes accustomed to the rigours of university life in Canada. He plans to pursue studies in public health or business. In the meantime, Mary says he is “using his talent as a skilled soccer player to connect with people and adapts to life in Canada.”


Brooklyn Lester, Jonathan Smith, Miraya Groot, Mark Whyte, and Michelle Poon
Brooklyn Lester, Jonathan Smith, Miraya Groot, Mark Whyte, and Michelle Poon participated in the MEDA Next competition at the annual Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) meeting in November. Team One focused on the role the Arts can play in expanding MEDA’s mission. Team Two examined the generational differences between digital natives and digital immigrants.  We are grateful to the local MEDA chapter, Murray and Yvonne Martin, the Roy Snyder estate, and the Annual Grebel Fund for providing funding for the students to attend the MEDA Convention in Richmond Virginia.  

Mennonite Leaders with Grebel Roots: Grebel Plays Vital Role in Preparing Leaders


It’s no secret that the Waterloo Region is home to numerous Mennonite organizations. Grebel’s Alumni Committee is pleased to note that the leaders of five of these institutions―Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC), Shalom Counselling Services, Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, and House of Friendship (HOF)—are all alumni of Conrad Grebel University College.

   David Martin of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada visits with President Susan Schultz Huxman

   David Martin of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada visits with President Susan Schultz Huxman

In August, these individuals sat down with Grebel president Susan Schultz Huxman to talk shop and offer insights into the College’s role in their personal development. What came out of these conversations is that Grebel, their common denominator, deeply impacted each person and shaped them in myriad ways for their current responsibilities.

What was it that these executives acquired, specifically in regard to leadership, from their time at Grebel?  From their reports, it’s clear what they didn’t get—quick tips on management style, superficial how-to manuals, simplistic checklists, novel devices for the executive toolbox. What they did receive was arguably much deeper, subtler, and infinitely more valuable.

For several, what they most memorably gained was personal inspiration from professors and staff—and even fellow students—who opened up startling new vistas or totally refocused their thinking. For others, it was something harder to pin down—ideals, attitudes, habits—that arose out of the College’s energizing environment and that they chose to make their own. For all, it was a full, rich, and multi-textured engagement of mind, heart, and spirit that still guides them today.

Inspiring Sources and Influences

Several leaders named faculty members who had inspired them. “In my second term at Grebel, I took an elective course, Introduction to New Testament, with John Rempel,” MCEC executive director David Martin says. “My imagination was captured, and I was hooked!” Rempel got him started, but Willard Swartley in Old Testament and Walter Klaassen in church history soon became equally important. “And Rod Sawatsky kept the fires burning for me, in terms of reinforcing my faith,” adds Martin.

  Rick Cober Bauman, Mennonite Central Committee Ontario
For Rick Cober Bauman, who heads MCC Ontario, a powerful influence was Old Testament professor John Miller. “He cracked open some ideas that I had never considered. He really challenged me and rattled my chains!” Sociology professor Cal Redekop, a “commonsense guy,” was another memorable influence. “Conrad Brunk made Peace and Conflict Studies live and breathe,” Cober Bauman adds. “Under his leadership PACS became a bona fide academic discipline. It holds up to scrutiny in the church and in the academy.”

Rockway principal Ann Schultz counts George Wiebe, who conducted the chapel choir and was her honours thesis advisor, and Len Enns as major inspirations. “Len Enns’ passion for 20th-century music was amazing,” she reports, “and he had great patience in working with many different kinds of students.”

   Rick Cober Bauman,Mennonite Central Committee Ontario

Schultz praises Gloria Eby, Grebel’s student services director at the time, for making her and her fellow transferees from Canadian Mennonite Bible College feel welcome from the outset. As well, she credits music professor Ken Hull and sessional instructors Marg Hull. and Elizabeth Neufeld for bringing out “soul and sensibility” in music and in students, and describes her Music in Vienna course trip led by Bill Maust as “life-changing.”

Shalom Counselling executive director Wanda Martin-Wagler has another take on the source of inspiration: “It was my fellow students!” They displayed extraordinary commitment in the classroom and in the college community, says the Waterloo-based leader, who transferred to Grebel from Goshen College and found herself thriving amidst dynamic younger classmates.

Atmosphere, Environment, Community

Inspiration was undoubtedly a major factor in shaping these leaders. But Grebel’s general atmosphere, its culture and environment—its “ecology” in today’s parlance—proved equally significant in forming them.

“What was inculcated at Grebel about celebrating diversity and bringing people together is a model for what we want at House of Friendship,” says John Neufeld, executive director of the downtown Kitchener organization. “There’s a place for everyone to belong and fit in.”

Neufeld, who would meet his future wife Andrea at the College, was one of seven students originally from Canadian Mennonite University who lived together in Waterloo. “We were full participants in chapel and community suppers,” he says, recalling heated moments after chapel services that pushed boundaries. “Grebel was not just asking us to be comfortable!”

MCC’s Rick Cober Bauman stayed in residence for his first year before heading to North Africa and France for seven months. “That was a soul-searching time, and it was lonely, but it toughened me up,” he reports. “I was an associate in my other years. Grebel was a stimulating environment, and I developed an appreciation for the broad range of the Anabaptist community.”

Wanda Wagler-Martin was also an associate. “I remember thinking when I transferred from Goshen, I’m home,” she recalls. She felt empowered by her new institution’s “culture of permission to question and culture of care.” While she had chosen neighbouring Renison College for its Social Development Studies academic program, she came to Grebel for grounding. “Grebel created the foundation for me,” she explains. “I interacted with Swiss, Amish, and Russian Mennonites, and with non-Mennonites.”

The Shalom leader credits Grebel’s strong sense of community for informing her perspective today. “I came out of the Western Ontario Mennonite Conference,” she explains. “Grebel encouraged me to think in new ways about my faith and my place in the world. What I learned is that in every encounter—at every lunch

  Ann Schultz visits with some of her students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate
time—community arises out of the collective experience.”

Echoing that sentiment, Rick Cober Bauman credits the college community for molding his central values—even in off-hours. “The Grebel residence with its late night discussions was an extension of the classroom,” says the MCC Ontario leader. “We rehashed all sorts of things that are now core to me.”

  Ann Schultz visits with some of her students at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate

Rockway’s Ann Schultz, who can trace her Grebel roots back to participating in children’s choirs led by Helen Martens, was an associate while at the college. Attending community suppers, and singing and touring with the chapel choir, built upon that early link.

“The music culture at Grebel was healthy and re-assuring,” she observes. “We shared God-given gifts thoughtfully, and there was a wholesome attitude about music-making.” Music can be sharply competitive, but Grebel impressed and shaped her with its collaborative, community-based and hierarchy-free ethos. “There was also a strong movement on peace and justice issues,” adds Schultz. “I remember vibrant conversations in the lounges, and there was always lots of energy in the dining hall!”

Students as Potential Leaders

John Neufeld, House of Friendship
Not only do the five leaders name unique sources of inspiration and describe diverse kinds of personal growth, they tell quite different stories about leadership opportunities they took up—or didn’t take up—as students. Not everyone shone brilliantly at the time, but they were nevertheless absorbing important lessons for the future.
“I was just passing through, really,” reports John Neufeld. “It was my year to focus on studies―and not to have to organize anything! Grebel was an oasis and it grounded me.” This gave the future HOF director ways to grow in his faith. Yet he was still learning about leadership, especially during lively mealtime discussions.

John Neufeld, House of Friendship

“There’s richness in grappling with different points of view,” Neufeld explains. Making positive change is complex, he observes, and benefits from opposing viewpoints and counter-intuitive ideas. “Good leaders bring out the gifts around the table, and Grebel was a place where that happened.” He praises Grebel for modeling “servant leadership with humility at the core.”   

“During my time at Grebel I took a break from leadership roles,” Wanda Martin-Wagler confesses. Like John Neufeld, she enjoyed the freedom not to be plunged into leadership roles as a student. “That allowed me to come back into leadership later with renewed conviction,” says the Shalom executive.

MCEC’s David Martin lived in ‘the Grebel house,’ a homey off-campus student dwelling rented by the College. “It was an intentional living experiment for two years—twelve associates in the household, six men and six women,” he recalls. “We shared faith and household duties, and we learned about leadership and relating to others.” The group heightened their growing awareness by attending community suppers on campus that featured provocative speakers.  

As a student, Rick Cober Bauman played hockey, served on student council, and was a Peace Society member. “But I didn’t leave the College thinking I was a church leader,” the MCC Ontario head admits. It was Elmira pastor Ray Brubaker who helped him see the connection between his student experiences and offering leadership in the church. “I realized that there’s an unapologetic direction from the gospel on charity and peacebuilding,” says Cober Bauman.

If Not Us, Then Who?

“I’m enjoying watching Grebel grow,” says Rockway’s Ann Schultz, surveying the college in its sixth decade. “It’s a dynamic institution, always moving forward. It holds a unique place in the Mennonite education landscape.”

David Martin of MCEC sees the College as having come of age. “Grebel has maturity, it holds its own, and it’s well respected in the church,” he says. “I think student engagement will always keep it young in spirit. In a sense, not much has changed. The College still has a familiar feeling to it!”

For Shalom’s Wagler-Martin, the college is ever renewing. “One of the gifts of Grebel is that students help keep Grebel young.  And as people have retired over the past few years, there’s been significant change in the faculty too.

 Wanda Wagler-Martin, Shalom Counselling Services
All of this represents healthy change and renewal.”

“Looking at Grebel today, I’m excited about the ways we’ve partnered together, especially through students,” says John Neufeld of the House of Friendship-Grebel synergy. “Grebel is a beacon of light. It encourages and expects you to be different, to be yourself.”

Wanda Wagler-Martin, Shalom Counselling Services

“There’s bold vision and bold leadership at Grebel,” continues the HOF head, who cautions that the College—and the Mennonite organizations whose leaders it has nurtured—must not “sit quietly back when the world has so much lack of peace in it.” Paraphrasing Rabbi Hillel, he suggests that “If not us, then who?” should be the watchword as Grebel seeks to equip new generations of leaders.

Partners in Leadership Education

“Judging by what these Mennonite executives have shared with me, Grebel has played a vital role in preparing them for their responsibilities as leaders,” says President Huxman. “Mennonite organizations will continue to need strong leaders in future, and with the help of our supporters Grebel can meet that need. That’s our mission.”

“There’s a ripple effect here,” she adds. “When members of the Grebel constituency support our leadership education initiatives,they’re in effect supporting our sister entities as well. And that’s a very good investment strategy!”

John Neufeld
1996, BA Social Development Studies, Renison
Job title: Executive Director, 6 years at House of Friendship
Other work history: Supervisor with Bridgeway Family Homes (Foster Care) for 11 years

Wanda Wagler-Martin
1987, BA Social Development Studies and BSW, Renison
Job title: Executive Director, 17 years
at Shalom Counselling
Other work history: Grand River Hospital in a mental health/social work capacity

Rick Cober Bauman
1985, BA Religious Studies PACS Certificate
Job title: Executive Director,
8 years at Mennonite
Central Committee Ontario
Other work history: Old Order Mennonite school teacher and Rockway Mennonite Collegiate teacher. Associate Pastor at Floradale Mennonite, MCC Service Worker in Labrador, organic farmer

David Martin
1978, BA Religious Studies
Job title: Executive Director, 10 years
at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada
Other work history: Pastor at Hagerman Mennonite and Stirling Mennonite

Ann Schultz
1990, BA Music
Job title: Principal, 3 years at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate
Other work history: Rockway Mennonite Collegiate grade 7 and 8 teacher for 19 years, Music Department Head, Assistant Principal

Student Leadership: Opportunities Abound

Upper year students packaged cereal for Nutrition for Learning, bagging enough for 8,640 servings. Daniel Penner is pictured front middle.

Upper year students packaged cereal for Nutrition for Learning, bagging enough for 8,640 servings. Daniel Penner is pictured front middle.

Grebel is jam-packed with leaders. In fact, last year there were 94 leadership positions for Grebel residents, with numerous other possibilities in academic areas at Grebel and the University of Waterloo. These numbers mean that almost one third of residents are officially tasked to guiding, mentoring, and teaching their fellow students. When seen this way, it is obvious how traditions that started 30, 40, and 50 years ago have been successfully passed on through the generations. This tight-knit community is bound to each other—both current students and the alumni who have come before them.

Two of this year’s student leaders are Abby Neufeld Dick and Daniel Penner. In the roles of Student Council President and Co-op Rep respectively, they both do a remarkable job empowering other students to lead themselves. Abby sees this regularly in her job: “I love to see other people thrive and do incredible jobs in their positions.”

Likewise, Daniel finds it most rewarding “to hear success stories from the students who I’ve helped. I absolutely love hearing that my Grebel friends got an interview at their dream job or feel like they nailed an interview.”

“The nature of Grebel and its many leadership positions allows for Grebelites to get involved and help to make the year extraordinary,” reflected Abby. “While some of the positions are for fun and social events, other positions encourage and support us in volunteering and being good stewards of the earth and the communities within it.”

“The Grebel community is full of leaders in a wide range of areas,” explained Daniel. “There’s a huge number of leaders in both official and unofficial leadership positions, and even more people with leadership skills and other valuable talents in our community. It is the combination of these diverse talents and the peers who encourage these talents that make Grebel the supportive and amazing community that it is. Grebel students have the creativity, motivation, and confidence to facilitate really cool events and activities at Grebel. Having this diverse community of leaders allows for a huge variety of excellent events and initiatives to happen.”

In his second (2B) year of Systems Design Engineering, Daniel has provided invaluable help to his fellow students. In under two months in his role, he’s run four info sessions to help students with resumes, cover letters, networking skills, and interview skills, and he has individually critiqued at least 75 resumes. Amazingly, Daniel said that he doesn’t interpret his role on Student Council as an opportunity to give back to the community, but rather a way to continue to grow and develop his skills and relationships. “I’ve developed my presentation skills and my ability to mentor and coach others.”

Studying Knowledge Integration and Peace and Conflict Studies, Abby thrived as Student Council Social Convener last year. As a person who has always enjoyed planning and being actively involved in community, she wanted to remain connected to Grebel as she entered her third year of university. “I look forward to meeting new people and interacting with them. And because I love to be busy with ideas, helping to oversee the incredible network of Grebelites and activities as Student Council President seemed a perfect fit for me.”

Abby is excelling in her role. “Through planning and implementing meetings I’m becoming more comfortable and experienced in facilitation. A real highlight for me is being on the Grebel Board of Governors. It is an opportunity to see Grebel differently and to appreciate other aspects of the Grebel community.  There are opportunities to meet other professionals who also value Grebel, and I am grateful to be able to listen and to speak from a different aspect of this community.”

Interestingly, both Daniel and Abby are second generation Grebelites. “All my life I’ve heard Grebel stories from my mom,” noted Abby. “So I hope to assist in creating an atmosphere of fun and friendship so this year’s memories are carried forward in conversations for decades to come.”

“I hope Grebelites will be aware of the privilege we all have of being here,” Abby

Abby Neufeld Dick with her mother, Susan (’84) at the recent ’70s era Grebel reunion.
continued, “and somehow encourage the present students to give back in some way both now and in the future—whether that be here at Grebel or in another community.  Giving back helps to create not only a better world, but personal empowerment.”

“The other members of student council and all the residents here at Grebel have encouraged my leadership abilities and I’ve really appreciated their participation and advice,” added Daniel. “The Grebel staff are incredibly friendly and work alongside the students to enhance the community wherever possible. Grebel is an incredible place to grow as a leader, student, and as a person.”

Abby Neufeld Dick with her mother, Susan (’84) at the recent ’70s era Grebel reunion.

#fallFall Startup

group photo of Grebel students during orientation week

students sitting in a circle during orientaton week
Eager faces showing a little bit of nervousness arrived at Conrad Grebel University College on Labour Day for the new school year. Young adults from across Canada, as well as some international students, moved into the Grebel residence ready to study in a wide variety of programs, including music, engineering, applied health studies, peace and conflict studies, chemistry, religious studies, kinesiology, computer science, and many other diverse possibilities! Met by friendly student leaders who had already memorized every name and face of incoming students, this new cohort
team leaders clapping for the new students
quickly learned how much of Grebel life is centred on community.
students standing in a line

Building on Grebel’s new strategic plan, the theme for this year is “Extending the Grebel Table.” President Susan Schultz Huxman shared her ideas, with a focus on cutlery. “Setting the table with a diversity of utensils is critical to who we are as an affiliate liberal arts college of the University of Waterloo,” said

Student Leaders singing
Huxman. “Your special attributes, your
Students with a parent participating in Taste of Grebel activities
unique talents don’t count for much sometimes. And yet upon further reflection—in the company of others—you re-examine, re-boot and re-assess. You begin to see that your talents are important, valued, and even necessary. We should zealously value the diverse attributes of others if we want to succeed as citizens, as experts in our field, and as innovative entrepreneurs in society.”

As the “Act of Community” this year, several hanging sculptures made of cutlery were commissioned, and representatives of each Grebel group added a decorative piece of silverware during the service. Each student was then given a Grebel fork to take home with the instructions to “Keep your fork! The best is yet to come!

Grebel Fork

”In addition to an action-packed week of get-to-know-you games, exploring the University of Waterloo campus, an all-college retreat, and discovering the joy of the giant Grebel cookie, students participated in a commencement service. This service marked the official beginning of a new school year for the College. With faculty, staff, residents, associates, peace and conflict studies and music students, and grad students participating in this group gathering, the hour together was inspiring and energizing.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Johnny Wideman Makes Things Happen

The Alumni Committee of Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to announce the selection of John Wideman (BA 2009)

Alumni Rep. Katie Cowie-Reddekop, 2015 Distinguished Alumni Service Award Winner Johnny Wideman, President Susan Schultz Huxman
as the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Johnny came to Grebel in the fall of 2005 from Markham area with a desire to be immersed in community life. He quickly became a fixture at Grebel with involvements in many aspects of student life including sports, Orientation Week, and the “Shady Js,” a band including other Grebelites. Waterloo and Grebel provided an academic focus on drama and history along with discussions of faith and peace and justice issues.

Alumni Rep. Katie Cowie-Reddekop, 2015 Distinguished Alumni Service Award Winner Johnny Wideman, President Susan Schultz Huxman

After graduation, Johnny was involved in Willowgrove Day Camp near Markham and developed a peace curriculum for campers that incorporated drama.

Johnny Wideman plays Henry in “This Will Lead to Dancing”  performed at Grebel in September.
His passion for theatre continued to grow and in 2011, Johnny drove the vision to establish Theatre of the Beat. TOTB included other Grebel alumni Rebecca Steiner (BA 2012 Liberal Studies), Kim Walker (BA 2012 PACS and Drama) Leah Harder (BA 2009 Liberal Studies), Katie Cowie-Redekopp (BA 2011 PACS and Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies) and colleague Ben Wert from Toronto.

Johnny Wideman plays Henry in “This Will Lead to Dancing”
performed at Grebel in September.

His troupe-mates describe him as “one of those rare and exceptional people who makes things happen. Johnny dreams big and then transforms those ideas into dynamic, innovative art that builds community.” As artistic director for the troupe, Johnny’s clever creativity and passion for peace provides vision and leadership to the collective.

Theatre of the Beat defines itself as a “traveling theatre troupe that aims to create thought-provoking theatre to educate, entertain, challenge, and inspire diverse audiences through socially-relevant topics.” TOTB has performed its several original plays across Canada and the United States in theatres, community centres, high schools, universities, churches, and prisons.

One of Johnny’s early productions was “This Prison Or: He Came through the Floor,” and is still being performed in their repertoire. In 2012 he played Grebel’s former Librarian/Archivist Sam Steiner in “Gadfly: Sam Steiner Dodges the Draft.” He also wrote “Selah’s Song,” a social justice folk musical that involved community members to discuss non-violent responses to war and how art can be used to create dialogue.

“This Will Lead to Dancing” with Johnny Wideman, Kimberlee Walker, Amy O’Grady, and Ellen Reesor.

As an artist and activist, Johnny sees theatre and drama as a venue to create dialogue and social change. After the final curtain call, Theatre of the Beat productions include a time for audiences to discuss the issues presented. Recently, Shalom Counselling Services commissioned “A Bicycle Built for Two,” a play about healthy relationships. Mennonite Central Committee has also commissioned a play on issues of restorative justice (“Forgiven/Forgotten”). Grebel has used Theatre of the Beat to resource “Peace Day” for high school students. Most recently, Johnny wrote “This Will Lead to Dancing,” a play on the topic of sexuality.

“This Will Lead to Dancing” with Johnny Wideman, Kimberlee Walker, Amy O’Grady, and Ellen Reesor.

Johnny’s writing is witty and brilliant, offering wisdom that has been described as ‘prophetic’ and TOTB has received critical acclaim across North America for its plays.

“Initially I chose Grebel because a friend told me they had cookies as big as your face. I’m not kidding, unfortunately,” remarked Johnny. “Little did I know there would be much more to sink my teeth into. I can honestly say that, without my time at Grebe—the people I met, the courses, the philosophies I was exposed to—I might be the antithesis of who I am today. It was that definitive.”

The Distinguished Alumni Service Award recognizes graduates who have made a significant and unique contribution to the church, community, nation, or world. Johnny is an outstanding example of a visionary alumnus who reflects Grebel’s mission through demonstrated creativity, active peace-making, Anabaptist values, generosity, and community building. He continues to create art that serves as a meaningful resource to both church and society.

Alumni Reunion: The ’70s Era Returns

70's reunion group photo of the Grebel Alumni

Tobi Neufeldt Thissen and Harold Thiessen (BA ’81) Susan Neufeld Dick (BA ’84) and Gary Leis ( BA ’74)
For Reunion Weekend this year, Grebel was pleased to welcome back at least 75 alumni for the ’70s era. Old roommates were reunited, long-lost friends greeted each other enthusiastically, photo albums were shared, and many beloved stories were rehashed.

Tobi Neufeldt Thissen and Harold Thiessen (BA ’81) Susan Neufeld Dick (BA ’84) and Gary Leis ( BA ’74)

This generation enjoyed an evening of musical entertainment by the Lorraine (Martin) Welsh worked in the kitchen in the ’70s

Lorraine (Martin) Welsh worked in the kitchen in the ’70s with her sister Ruth. Lorraine wooed Cecil Welsh (BA ’76) with her cooking and they were married and now farm near Arris.
with her sister Ruth. Lorraine wooed Cecil Welsh (BA ’76) with her cooking and they were married and now farm near Arris.Rouge River Connection, a group that included alumni Cate Falconer (’83), Andrew Reesor-McDowell (’76), Steve McDowell (’82) and others. Jim Buchanan (’79) hosted the evening, taking the crowd on a walk down memory lane with his top-10 list.

Lorraine (Martin) Welsh worked in the kitchen in the ’70s with her sister Ruth. Lorraine wooed Cecil Welsh (BA ’76) with her cooking and they were married and now farm near Arris.

Rouge River Connection, including alumni from the Markham area, provided the music.
TOP 10: Grebel in the ’70s
10.    Sheet Change
9.     The Gong Show
8.     The liberation of the stuffed animals
7.     The night John Unrau got thrown in the shower 8 times
6.     John Rempel
5.     The Food
4.     Big John’s Subs
3.     No cell phones or digital cameras
2.     The music
1.     The people

Rouge River Connection, including alumni from the Markham area, provided the music.


group photo of Grebel Alumni
Alumni photo from the 70's

Grebelites who used to live at the George Street Associate House recreated this photo taken in 1975-76. Present day photo includes (front) Wayne Carrick (’86), Marlene (Reesor) Clubine (’76) (back) Marie Burkholder (’76), Katie Stuart (’76), Shelley Bull (’76), David Crome (’76)

A New Face in K-W’s Innovation Ecosystem: Incubating Peace

MSCU CEO Brent Zorgdrager speaks at the  Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator opening
Waterloo is a thriving hotbed of innovation. With tech start-ups emerging daily, there is much focus on business, technology, and entrepreneurship. Adding to this concentration of ideas and change, the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) has joined Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem with the launch of the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator on September 22, 2015.

The Incubator is an open and collaborative space that acts as a homebase for peace-related initiatives at varying stages of development. It’s designed to be a validated learning community, and a beehive of entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary activity around peace advancement. Members have access to collaborative workspace, but more than that, the program offers mentorship and funding opportunities, as well as social innovation workshops.

MSCU CEO Brent Zorgdrager speaks at the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator opening

The Epp Peace Incubator welcomed the community to visit and learn more about this new face in Kitchener-Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem. More than 100 attendees got a glimpse into the exciting new peace-related initiatives taking root and had the chance to interact with other agents of change in Waterloo Region.

The Epp Peace Incubator Program launch took

Jonathan Ramzan and PACS grad Elle Crevits (’15) stand with Helen Epp at the open of the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator.
place as the CPA stepped boldly into its second year of operation. “Many people credit the collaborative, barn-raising spirit of this community for the vibrancy of its innovation ecosystem,” explained CPA Director Paul Heidebrecht. “We want to build on another important dimension of this tradition, focusing our creativity and energy on efforts to advance peace.”

Jonathan Ramzan and PACS grad Elle Crevits (’15) stand with Helen Epp at the open of the Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator. As a student in St. Pauls GreenHouse program, Elle co-founded Food Not Waste with Jon and she now has a desk in the Peace Incubator.

The Peace Incubator is named for Frank Epp, who was the second president of Conrad Grebel, and his wife Helen’ who was involved as a staff member and a volunteer in many local social service agencies. While president in the mid-’70s, Epp initiated the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Conrad Grebel and was instrumental in the creation of Project Ploughshares.

The MSCU CPA recognizes the value of collaborative, inter-disciplinary, and multi-sector approaches in the advancement of peace. For this reason, the Centre is home to a variety of participants involved in the work of advancing peace. The six thousand square foot space is occupied by a range of peace scholars from the University of Waterloo, as well as practitioners from local peace building organizations. Through forging opportunities for collaboration in the form of research, training and/or community engagement, the Centre works to advance peace along with academics and practitioners from the University and beyond.


   Panelists at “Making a Killing”
In celebration of the International Day of Peace, Grebel organized Peace Week—an entire week of events to acknowledge and raise awareness of peace related issues. With almost 600 participants over the course of the week, the events spanned all areas of Grebel’s programs. Events included the film screening of Resistencia: the fight for the Aguan Valley, an introduction of Susan Schultz Huxman’s book Landmark Speeches on U.S. Pacifism, a panel discussion on Making a Killing? Canada and the Global Arms Trade facilitated by Cesar Jaramillo, the launch of the Epp Peace Incubator, a Kecak vocal chant workshop, a production of This Will Lead to Dancing, a high school peace event, and an MCEC workshop called Pastoring People of Peace in a Country at War.

Panelists at “Making a Killing”

Global Mennonite Peace Building Conference and Festival

Global Mennonite Peace Buildings Festival, UNE 9-12, 2016 Conrad Grebel University College Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

“What have Mennonites learned in 500 years of working for peace? What has our own trauma, the trauma of others we have worked with, and the struggle for justice and peace taught us?” asks Dr. Lisa Schirch, who will be present a plenary keynote address at the Global Mennonite Peacebuilding Conference and Festival (GMP) to be held June 9-12, 2016 at Grebel. A Research Professor at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg Virginia, Lisa continues, “This conference is an opportunity for Mennonite self-reflection.”

The first of its kind, the GMP will bring together academics, church workers, practitioners, and artists from around the world. They will dialogue and reflect on Mennonite peacebuilding accomplishments, failures, challenges, and opportunities in varied international settings, past and present. Specific objectives of this event are:

  • to explore traditions and contemporary expressions of Anabaptist/Mennonite peacebuilding
  • to bring together academics and practitioners to learn from each other
  • to give expression to peacebuilding ideals through the arts
  • to assess and re-envision Mennonite peacebuilding practice

A significant feature of the GMP will be the inclusion of the creative arts—music, visual art, literature, theatre—which play an important role in peace and reconciliation processes. The inclusion of the arts will offer the local community an opportunity to participate in the peacebuilding conversation. There will be two public evening events in the University of Waterloo’s Theatre of the Arts. The first public event is a music concert with choral and instrumental artists performing global Mennonite music as well as a multi-media performance piece by Carol Ann Weaver. The second is an original play on conscientious objection during WWII in Canada by Theatre of the Beat. Grebel will host several special art and photography exhibits during the conference, and there will be featured sessions with poetry and creative writing. A community quilt will be set up for participants to work on.

The international advisory group invited to help plan the GMP reflects our intent to cross the boundaries and create cross-fertilization between academia and diverse sectors of society.

The international advisory group invited to help plan the GMP reflects an intent to cross boundaries and create exchange opportunities between academia and diverse sectors of society. The advisory group includes world-renowned scholars on peace theology and practice (Fernando Enns, John Paul Lederach, Lisa Schirch), denominational and NGO peace leaders (Jack Suderman, Paulus Widjaja, Christina Asheervadam, Alain Epp Weaver), peace practitioners (Sarah Thompson), and experts in the fine arts (Ray Dirks, Hildi Froese Tiessen).
The Conrad Grebel Organizing Committee includes Marlene Epp and Reina Neufeldt as co-chairs and Trevor Bechtel, Jeremy Bergen, Lowell Ewert, Paul Heidebrecht, Fred Martin, Maisie Sum, and Derek Suderman as members.

Conference in Brief

Plenary Speakers:

  • Dr. Fernando Enns, Germany
  • Dr. Lisa Schirch, USA
  • Dr. Paulus Widjaja, Indonesia
  • Up to 200 participants
  • 30 Sessions: workshops, panel presentations
  • Thursday Concert: Global Mennonite music; multi-media performance by Carol Ann Weaver
  • Friday Banquet: Speaker - Leah Gazan, well-known speaker from Manitoba discussing Mennonite Indigenous Relations
  • Saturday Theatre: Original play by Theatre of the Beat on Conscientious Objection in WWII
  • Photography. Artwork. Spoken Word.

Online Registration opens January, 2016

Contact: Mary Lou Klassen
Global Mennonite Peacebuilding
Conference Coordinator
Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6
519-885-0220 x24266

Peace and Conflict Studies on Fire

The following are exerpts from presentations by members of Grebel’s Peace and Conflict Studies department at the recent Mennonite Education Conference held at Bluffton University in October 2015. These presentations reflected on the PACS program as we approach the 40th year of teaching peace at the University of Waterloo.

Susan Baker, Rachel Reist,  Kelly Brown
PACS at almost 40

BY LOWELL EWERT, Director of Peace and Conflict Studies

In about a year and a half, the Peace and Conflict Studies program will celebrate its 40th year of existence. “Mid-life” mile markers such as this often trigger reflection on the meaning of four decades of work, reviewing what has been successful and what has not, with a view towards refocusing to more effectively accomplish the mission of the program in this day and age. The bottom line is that the need for a peace studies program on the University of Waterloo campus remains as urgent today as it was in 1977 when it was established.

 Susan Baker, Rachel Reist, Kelly Brown

As the first Director of the PACS program, Conrad Brunk, has observed, the birth of the program was not easy. In the late 1970s, there was a lot of skepticism on campus about the nature of the proposed program, its confessional origin linked to Mennonite theology, and the kind of students it might attract. “It was a mess,” Brunk once said, and proposing a program at this time at Waterloo was much like “throwing gasoline on a fire.”                                                                              

These skeptics were right, but their concern was misplaced. The PACS program did catch fire, but this fire burned inside the students who have subsequently filled over 20,000 course enrollments since the program began. PACS now averages over 1,200 enrollments per year, with 200 students pursuing a Major or Minor. PACS has been able to maintain strong enrollments, even posting modest increases, despite the fact that the number of potential students of traditional university age has been declining in Ontario. Most of the PACS elective courses are almost always full, almost all of the time, with approximately 93 percent full enrollment.

The Certificate Program in Conflict Management, launched by PACS in 1998, has also contributed to accomplishing the mission and purpose of PACS by serving participants who already are in the work force. The Certificate Program regularly enrolls over 500 participants who are seeking to upgrade their skills to improve peace in the work environment.

The reason PACS has been so successful over the past 38 years is that it has remained true to its interdisciplinary focus of serving the entire university community, while simultaneously looking for ways to serve the broader local and global community. PACS does not see itself as a “silo” within an ivory tower. It is fully a part the university and our community. As we look forward, we hope to remain true to the extraordinary wisdom of the people who first imagined peace studies at the University of Waterloo almost 40 years ago.

Extending the PACS Table

BY SUSAN BAKER, Manager of Certificate Program in Conflict Management

The Certificate Program in Conflict Management (CPCM) has been offering credible, relevant, skills based workshops since 1998. What began as an initiative with minimal institutional support and a mandate for cost recovery, has developed into a financially viable program. It created the need for a dedicated community education training room, provides a sought after practical learning academic course for both undergraduate and graduate students in the Peace and Conflict Studies program, is a source of recruitment for Grebel’s graduate programs, and very clearly engages in extending the table to growing constituencies.

The success of the CPCM was, and is, based on core values determined at its formation. One key value was to highlight the need for personal transformation. It is not unusual to hear, as we did recently, a participant sharing that he had 35 years of experience as an engineer, but what they had taken away from their workshop experience was that “each person that they meet has a mountain that they are climbing,” and that contrary to their professional training “life is not black and white,” reflecting a major shift in their thinking.

Another core value is to engage trainers who are sensitive to and respectful of Grebel’s philosophy of teaching peace. As the program has grown, we have seen the roster of trainers grow to include many who are themselves graduates of the CPCM. In addition, we continue to develop strong partnerships with those who are already providing specialized skills training, as well as creating workshops that are birthed from conversations with current and former Grebel faculty as well as sessional instructors.

The impact of the training has been infused into a wide variety of places and affected many groups. These have included those working in family mediation, members of the Canadian Armed Forces that take the training into their work, social service providers developing their own in-house mediation services, and human relations personnel in major manufacturing companies. The Congregational Leadership stream has created a space for an ecumenical discussion and skill building that helps to create unity and understanding.

Contributing to the success of the program is perseverance and the quality of trainers who embody a personal commitment to principles of peacemaking and a desire to see all who come through their workshops succeed.

Visualizing Peace at the University of Waterloo

BY RACHEL REIST, PACS Undergraduate Advisor & Internship Coordinator

Ecosystem Diagram
The PACS program at Waterloo has always been fiercely interdisciplinary, with breadth that is almost unheard of in many academic programs. PACS aims to teach a uniquely holistic vision of peace that is in relationship with the broader university community. This is seen in the ecosystem image [to the right] which is a work in progress as we explore how to visually represent PACS. In this draft, the larger environment is the University of Waterloo, with each animal from the food chain diagram representing one of our six faculties. The animals depend on each other to maintain a vibrant landscape and functioning ecosystem, which is parallel to the way all the faculties at Waterloo need each other to create a vibrant learning environment and to produce a variety of graduates who are ready to engage with the world.

Each part of the ecosystem is diverse, lush, and dynamic. For example, when we look at the forest, it has a diverse population of trees, shrubs, flowers, fungus, moss, wildlife, insects, etc. which makes a strong forest, similar to how diversity in a faculty makes for strong programs. Within Arts, the PACS program offers a particularly diverse element, bringing in 139 different approved courses from other departments, as well as a strong and expansive group of 32 PACS core courses.

Throughout the whole landscape and ecosystem you see water, which represents peace. Water is infused in every aspect of the landscape and ecosystem, even when you don’t notice it. Peace, like water, is a nourishing and necessary part of the faculties, and one that is often taken for granted. Many of the faculties are looking at how they can improve lives or how to alleviate suffering through engineering, health, math, environmental studies, science, and the humanities, but they might not explicitly recognize that they are in the pursuit of peace.

PACS aims to cultivate an environment where this interdependency and connection is prominent and celebrated within our academic program. PACS began this way, and will continue to nurture relationships between faculties and build strong connections between diverse subjects and peace. Through this approach, we hope to continue increasing visibility and promoting the idea, now more than ever, that peace is everybody’s business.

Tracing Our Impact

BY KELLY BROWN, MPACS Graduate Studies Coordinator

Often we hear from parents of young adults who are interested in pursuing an undergraduate degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, “Sounds like an interesting program, but what kind of job will my child get after they graduate?” The truth is we do not know. It’s difficult to describe to a student and parents who are putting out four years of tuition and living expenses that there is no specific job waiting on the other side. However, what we often tell parents is that a PACS degree equips students with the skills that employers are looking for today.

When our students cross the stage at convocation they aren’t destined for one specific job but rather a multitude of possible fields—some of which are yet to be created. What we do know is that these possibilities will require adaptable minds that can think critically, possess strong interpersonal skills and thrive in challenging environments. A PACS degree isn’t necessarily about filling a role, but it lays the ground work for any vocational path students wish to pursue. Like many graduates of liberal arts degrees, they may face the fear of a daunting career search that makes it difficult to see the forest through the trees. PACS is different, as it taps into each student’s individual vocation and nurtures their social entrepreneurial spirit that will eventually lead them to find their tree in the forest.

While the job market will continue to go through ups and downs, and the news media will talk about the struggle young people face with finding employment and the lack of opportunity, PACS sees this as a welcome challenge that our graduates will rise to. The challenge is not about filling a prescribed job, but it is about

A vibrant, interdisciplinary academic program that seeks to empower students with knowledge and skills for nonviolent peacebuilding. Master of Peace and Conflict Studies. Apply Now:, photo of girl in a classroom
supporting our students to find and follow their vocations. PACS does this by facilitating the development of their ability to be critical thinkers, adaptable individuals, and creative problem solvers, which makes them desirable to employers and effective agents of change. Cumulatively, our PACS and MPACS alumni continue to exceed our expectations within the job market and in their scope of impact. So when parents ask us what their child’s job will be after completing a PACS or MPACS degree, we no longer put parameters around it; we simply show examples of what our alumni have done with their degree and leave students with the enthusiasm to dream big.

New Artist-in-Residence: Embracing Global Music

Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to welcome I Dewa Made Suparta as an Artist-in-Residence at the Music Department at the University of Waterloo. With specialties in Balinese gamelan music and composition, Dewa’s residency will increase the University of Waterloo’s reputation as a centre for Indonesian music in Southern Ontario, and strengthen the school’s global music program.

As artist-in-residence, Dewa will share his expertise as a musician, composer, and teacher with students and the community. He is already working with the World Music Ensemble: Balinese Gamelan as artistic director, and has initiated a new community gamelan ensemble. In another new initiative at Grebel, Dewa will direct a Balinese chamber percussion ensemble called gender (gen’de( )r) and offers private, semi-private, and group instruction for course credit or as an extra-curricular activity on the semara dana instruments in the Music program. Dewa will also collaborate with local artists, participate in Grebel and community events, and teach a new composition course called Bali, Community, and New Music Creations, that uses the gamelan as musical medium.

I Dewa Made Suparta Playing Balinese Instruments
Born to a family of artists in Pengosekan, Bali, Indonesia, Dewa was immersed in the Balinese gamelan at an early age and began performing with the children’s group of his village at age 10. He is a founding member of the internationally renowned group, Çudamani, one of Bali’s most innovative gamelan ensembles. He attained a S.Sen. from Institut Seni Indonesia (The Arts Institute of Indonesia).

Dewa has engaged in collaborations with international artists, and performed and given workshops worldwide. Since moving to Canada, he has held the positions of Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Music at l’Université de Montréal and Artistic Director of Gamelan Giri Kedaton, resident ensemble at UdM, and has been featured as a guest artist for numerous North American gamelan.

“The ultimate goal of a gamelan ensemble is to achieve a unified sound and feeling,” explained Dewa. “Tight coordination and a sense of community among players are necessary and cultivated by regularly rehearsing together. With this opportunity as artist-in-residence and artistic director of the gamelan, I will have regular contact with members which will strengthen community and enable new creative possibilities.”

Over the past two years, Dewa has been invited as a guest artist to play with the gamelan at Grebel in concerts and at worship services. “I am also excited about this opportunity,” he continued, “because it affirms the overwhelming support and enthusiasm that students, Grebel, and the larger Mennonite community have for Balinese gamelan.”

Professor Laura Gray, Chair of the Music Department, explained that “a dedicated position as Artist-in-Residence nicely brings together Dewa’s various threads of involvement under one umbrella. This incredible opportunity gives the Music Department flexibility to make the best use of Dewa’s expertise to Waterloo students, Grebel resident students, and the community.”

Professor Gray is especially excited to welcome a new ensemble to the music department—a community gamelan—initiated and directed by Dewa. “With support from Grebel’s new strategic plan, the community gamelan has strong potential for community building through innovative and collaborative goals that engage our growing constituencies and elevate our distinctive programs. We look forward to engaging students who are not able to participate in the usual ensemble rehearsal time, to involving members of the community in a distinctive musical ensemble, and also to participating in local church worship services.”

Gamelan concert

Participate in a satisfying group music-making experience, and learn about another culture and its music at the same time. Join Grebel’s Community Gamelan Ensemble! Rehearsals are Thursdays, 6:30-8:30pm. No experience necessary. Register at or email for more information.

Music Faculty Activities

LAURA GRAY spoke at the 2015 Sibelius Festival, Nov. 6-8 at Stanford University. She will also present: “The Tipping Point and the Rise of the Sibelius Cult in England” at the 6th International Jean Sibelius Conference in Hameenlinna, Finland, Dec 4-8.

Kenneth Hull and others at t the joint meeting of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada
Music  and Culture in London  and Leipzig, June 3-20,2016, Join Ken Hull and experience the music and cultural life of London and Leipzig through concerts, museums, galleries and historical sites.This trip may be audted  or taken for credit  as MUSIC 355.  Open to  alumni &
KEN HULL delivered the plenary address: “Do We Become What We Sing” at the joint meeting of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland and the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Hymnologie, July 26 at Robinson College in Cambridge University, UK.  He also led worship at eight services in July at Sorrento Centre in British Columbia, where courses were offered on food security and indigenous people’s issues.

MAISIE SUM published “Inspiration, Imitation, and Creation in the Music of Bali, Indonesia,” in Sound in the Land—Music and the Environment, edited by Carol Ann Weaver, Doreen Helen Klassen, and Judith Klassen, special issue, The Conrad Grebel Review 33(2): 251-260. She travelled extensively in Indonesia and then coordinated performances by the Grebel Gamelan at Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Professor Emeritus LEONARD ENNS, attended the premiere of his commissioned work, Aperi, Domine, os meum at the Philharmony in Warsaw, Poland.

MARK VUORINEN was Artistic Associate Conductor at Stratford Summer Music, where he conducted three dawn concerts and an evening concert of R. Murray Schafer’s music, and was guest speaker at the Stratford Rotary Club. He was a panelist for round-table discussion at the Elora Festival of Bach’s Mass in B-minor.


More than twenty choristers with ties, past and present, to Grebel’s Music program joined a cast of nearly 1,000 for the Luminato Festival’s epic production of R. Murray Schafer’s Apocalypsis at Toronto’s Sony Centre on June 26-28.  Grebel professor emeritus Leonard Enns and assistant professor Mark Vuorinen conducted members of the DaCapo Chamber Choir and Grand Philharmonic Chamber Singers in this massive work. (Photo below)

Based in large part on texts from the Old Testament books of Isaiah and Joel and the New Testament book of Revelation, Apocalypsis is, quite literally, Biblical in scope: part one depicts the destruction of the world; part two, the birth of a new universe. “This production is an example of theatre as a civic action—the coming together of different groups, of 1,000 performers to be part of a ritual,” said Schafer in a media release.

people sitting in a theatre

photo: Luminato/David Leyes

Development Director’s ‘to do’ List

BY FRED W. MARTIN, Director of Development

“So, what’s next at Grebel?” I’m often asked this question as alumni and donors comment on the recent building project.

Many see the focus for development as facilities enhancement and buildings. This is important, and it is gratifying to work on a concrete project like the academic expansion and the Next Chapter Campaign that made our newest building such a success. The photos across the page show useful and beautiful spaces created to enhance our academic capacity at Grebel for years to come.

However, building campaigns are the result of previous groundwork laid by program development and with talented faculty and students. Fundraising must be done in this priority: people, programs, and then facilities.

Our recent Scholarship and Bursaries reception (page 24) illustrates the first priority clearly. We need to have scholarship support for students to attend university. In 2014-15 Grebel gave $380,000 to 181 students. Given the modest size of our college, this is an incredible number. All of our Theological Studies students receive support, as do most of our MPACS students. Student Services has 24 awards that are distributed to over 115 students. Our Music department has nine awards to offer students.

Program funding is also critical, and this is where our annual Grebel Fund comes into play. Each of our departments has core funding from tuition or residence revenue. However, this does not include resources for a chaplain, funds for noon hour concerts or extra administrative time required for PACS internships. Our Archives and Library are also dependent on donations to operate. Our Mennonite Studies program hosts a variety of public events. The MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement requires donations for its various initiatives in training and community outreach. And our budget includes almost $200,000 for student support in scholarship awards. (75% of this is for graduate students.)

Each fall we ask for support from our alumni and friends for the Grebel Fund. You may have received a letter in the mail asking for a donation. You can designate your gift to the program area that resonates with you, or you can support Grebel’s overall mission. We also have worked with the University of Waterloo to make our online donation form much easier to find and use. Give it a try!

Our budget requires $357,000 in donations by April 30, 2016. As of October 15 we are 35% toward this goal.

Please join other alumni and friends of Grebel and include the annual Grebel Fund in your charitable giving. It makes a difference!

Watch for a fundraising brochure in your mailbox or visit grebel/ to use our new online donation page.
Questions or comments? Contact me at 519-885-0220 x24381,

Estate Gift to the Archives Endowment

Mary Ann Horst was an avid writer and promoter of Pennsylvania German culture and her Old Order Mennonite heritage. She and her sister Sarah lived on Park Street in Kitchener for decades and attended First Mennonite Church.

Laureen Harder- Gissing with Harvey and Arlene Kehl
Mary Ann, who passed away on July 30, 2014, was remembered for her keen interest in local history, food, and folkways, and authored many editions of My Old Order Mennonite Heritage which is in use at The Mennonite Story, a visitors centre for tourists in St. Jacobs. She also wrote a history of the Kitchener Farmers’ Market in 1985. She was a vendor there and also operated a Pennsylvania Dutch gift and book shop on King Street near King Edward Public School. Her final book, Reminiscings of Mennonite Life in Waterloo County, reflected on her personal journey from an Old Order Mennonite childhood to “modern times.”   

Mary Ann was not able to attend secondary school with her peers but later enrolled at Rockway Mennonite School in 1957 when she was in her 20s.

Laureen Harder-Gissing with Harvey and Arlene Kehl

In her last years she returned to Elmira to Martin’s Rest Home. She and her sister Sarah, who died in 2009, did not marry or have any children. Mennonite Foundation of Canada facilitated their charitable legacy plan with the assistance of Harvey and Arlene Kehl, who served in leadership at First Mennonite.

“Mary Ann had a keen interest in history, and we wanted to pass some of her writings on to the library at Conrad Grebel and records to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario,” said Arlene. “We felt it made sense to honour her intentions and interests with a major gift to support the work of the Archives,” said Harvey.

In the early ’70s the Bowman endowment for the Archives was established with a gift from Joseph Stauffer’s estate. “Our goal for this endowment is $500,000,” noted Fred W. Martin, Grebel’s director of development. Adding the gift from the Horst sisters’ estate brings us to 26% of this goal.”

Each year the college draws on endowment earnings for programs and scholarships. This endowment will now generate approximately $5,000 annually for operating the archives.

“We feel privileged to accept this gift from the Horst sisters, who lived and breathed Waterloo County history and culture,” said archivist Laureen Harder-Gissing. “Contributions like theirs help us process and preserve archival records in order to tell Ontario Mennonite stories for generations to come.”

New Grebel Spaces in Action

Aerial view of the Conrad Grebel University College Building

  Henry Paetkau Seminar Room
Henry Paetkau Seminar Room

Laureen  Harder-Gissing at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Grebel Gallery
Grebel Gallery

Students Playing music at Ensemble Rehearsal Studio
Ensemble Rehearsal Studio

   Ronald and Barbara Schlegel Community Education Room
Ronald and Barbara Schlegel Community Education Room

Students studying at the Grebel Library
Milton Good Library

Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator
Frank and Helen Epp Peace Incubator

The Conrad Grebel Review

A Community of Scholars


The Fall 2015 issue of The Conrad Grebel Review (CGR), to be published in November, has a noticeably international flavour. It offers many insights into the work of distinguished Mennonite scholar Hans-Jürgen Goertz provided by Jonathan R. Seiling (MTS ’03), who is currently a research associate at the University of Hamburg.  

The Conrad Grebel Review cover

As well, the issue presents articles that discuss the (non)violent reign of God; ask if God is a pacifist; ruminate on doubt, defiance, and desire; and survey Anabaptism and the history of North American evangelicalism.
The Spring 2015 issue collected essays, interviews, and poetry from Sound in the Land 2014 – Music and the Environment, an international and interdisciplinary festival/conference held at Grebel and other sites in Waterloo Region. More than twenty contributors came from such disciplines as ecomusicology (the study of music and the environment), soundscape aesthetics, ethnomusicology, music theory, theology, ritual practices, and hymnology.

“We have much to learn about the environment and how to address issues plaguing our beleaguered, beautiful planet, and I hope this publication will help us find ways to work together for the good of this sacred earth,” said Grebel emerita professor Carol Ann Weaver, coordinator of the 2014 gathering. Weaver was co-editor of the special CGR issue, together with Doreen Helen Klassen of Memorial University and Judith Klassen of the Canadian Museum of History.

With each issue CGR strives to build up the global community of scholars. CGR is available online at

CGR has bid farewell to Arthur Boers, our colleague at Tyndale Seminary who was our indefatigable book review editor for 14 years. We welcome Troy Osborne, a Grebel faculty member, who is now serving in that position. We also thank Carol Lichti, our circulation manager since 2001, for her many contributions, and welcome Katie Gingerich into that role.

In-kind Donations

Susan Schultz Huxman, David Peter Hunsberger,  Fred W. Martin, Laureen Harder-Gissing
Donations come in many shapes and sizes. While money is always welcome, as a purveyor of Mennonite culture, the College is equally interested in cultural gifts-in-kind.

Don, Lester, and Elva (Shantz) Zehr (photo below) brought in the Zehr family Bible (dated 1856) which was given to Lester by his father Emory, and his father Dr. Joseph Zehr and his father Dr. Preacher Peter Zehr. Family Bibles document important genealogy and provide wonderful examples of Mennonitica for the Mennonite Archives of Ontario.

Susan Schultz Huxman, David Peter Hunsberger, Fred W. Martin, Laureen Harder-Gissing

The Mennonite Archives of Ontario will consider Bibles for the collection if: 1) They have an intrinsic Mennonite connection;  2) They have significant genealogical information entered into the Bible; 3) They do not duplicate current holdings.
David Peter Hunsberger, a 1976 graduate from the University of Waterloo’s Fine Arts program, donated five serigraphs to the College’s art collection. The technique used in Hunsberger’s original prints involves handpainting stencils with a liquid stencil filler into a silkscreen.  Ink is then squeegeed by hand through the stencil onto paper in small editions of about 40 prints. The donations to Grebel are of landscapes of the Waterloo area including “Schneider’s Woods” pictured above.

The Mennonite Archives of Ontario will consider Bibles for the collection if: 1) They have an intrinsic Mennonite connection;
2) They have significant genealogical information entered into the Bible; 3) They do not duplicate current holdings.

Four of these serigraphs now grace the walls of the Toews Atrium.

winter landscape painting
green plants painting
green landscape painting
green woods painting

Student Initiative Turns into Social Enterprise

Students participants in the feedfive initiative
It all started with a small request five years ago. Could first year Grebel resident Ian Reed get a group together to cook and serve a meal at Ray of Hope’s community centre? Ian rose to the challenge and a good-sized group of Grebelites cooked a meal in Ian’s church kitchen. The next day, they brought the meal to Ray of Hope to serve it. The team enjoyed the experience so much that Ian committed them to cooking and serving a meal once a month. They were also given permission to cook the meals in the Grebel kitchen.

Rebecca Eerkes (’15), Ian Reed (’16), Emily Shuh (’15)

While it was easy to find volunteers, it proved challenging to gather enough money to buy ingredients for the meal. Ian’s roommate, Danny Aguizi (BA ’15) came up with the idea to sell something to fund the project, and selling t-shirts made the most sense.

“The twist was that I wanted the person buying the shirt to know exactly what they were contributing to the cause,” explained Danny. They discovered that from one shirt, they could cook and serve five full meals. And so, feedfive was born.

The main organizers of this initiative have been Grebel students (some of whom are now alumni.) Ian Reed, Emma Carroll, and Kassia Kooy are in charge of recruiting, training and leading the volunteers. Danny is in charge of the fundraising side.

Feedfive t-shirt
So far, feedfive has sold over 300 shirts, resulting in more than 1,500 meals donated. The Ray of Hope group has cooked and served most of those meals. They hope to be able to do extra meals in the new year and are investigating other groups to subsidize that may have the time and energy to cook and serve but not the resources to purchase the supplies.

“After every meal we serve, we feel empowered to keep going,” noted Danny. “We quickly realized that what we do does make a difference, however big or small.

As university students, we tend to live in our own little bubble, with little to no interaction with the outside world. So we see how beneficial it is to connect with the people in our community and try to have an impact on the very city that we live in.”

With the initiative gaining momentum, feedfive has even been featured in the Good News section of Yahoo News.

“It’s been wonderful being able to work with great people who are passionate about working hard to give back,” said Danny.

“In the future, we’re hoping to expand to different cities and partner with similar shelters. Hopefully, we’ll be able to sell enough shirts to start funding more non-profit organizations that help those who are less fortunate get back on their feet.”

Grebel students and staff: Justine, Whitley, Sue, Christian, Danny, Ian, Luke, and Mary take a break from serving a meal at Ray of Hope.

Grebel students and staff: Justine, Whitley, Sue, Christian, Danny, Ian, Luke, and Mary take a break from serving a meal at Ray of Hope.

Scholarships and Awards Reception

students sitting at dinner table

Scholarships and Awards reception attendees

Alumni Panel at the Scholarships and Awards Reception

attendees at the Scholarships and Awards reception

 On October 18, Grebel invited all of this year’s scholarship and award winners to a dessert reception. Donors to all of the awards were invited to join these students - to visit with them and learn in a tangible way, who they are helping. In a special invitation, any alumni who had received scholarships in the past were also invited to the reception. The afternoon was relaxing and celebratory! Three alumni formed a panel to share about students that awards were named after, as well as how scholarships impacted their lives. Many thanks to Mary-Catherine McNinch-Pazzano (BA ‘10 in Music), Morgan Grainger (BSC ’09 Computer Science) and Megan MacDonald (BSC ‘98 in AHS and MSC ‘00 in Gerontology) for sharing.

Ministry Inquiry

Female student speaking at the Grebel Chapel
Young adults typically search for meaning, ask big questions, and stretch their wings during their undergrad years. Some may feel called towards ministry. Some might not have considered it until they were shoulder-tapped. Regardless, the Ministry Inquiry Program (MIP) at Grebel assists youth and young adults in exploring and testing their gifts for ministry through placement in a ministry settings. This year, Jesse Yantzi and Michelle Koop took up the call.

Jesse worked as a student intern pastor at East Zorra Mennonite Church in Tavistock. There he led Sunday morning worship, visited with seniors, and was the grade 7/8 leader during Vacation Bible School. The highlight of his internship was when he got to preach on the spirit of hope. As a third year psychology major with minors in Mennonite studies and peace and conflict studies, Jesse found himself enjoying the planning side of ministry and would like to do more of that in the future.

Grebel Chaplain, Ed Janzen, encouraged Jesse to take this opportunity. It would be a chance to explore a wider range of ministry opportunities after he has spent a number of years leading worship for Grebel Chapels. “Ministry inquiry is part of leadership development,” explained Ed. “It grows out of faith formation in our congregations, schools and camp programs. It bears fruit in both vocational direction and involvement of young adults in various leadership roles in congregations. Invariably, both congregation and inquirer are blessed through the experience of service and support.”

Ed also encouraged 5th year Gerontology student, Michelle to do a MIP at Tabor Manor in St. Catharines, where, under the supervision of Chaplain Waldo Pauls, she led Bible studies, preached a few sermons, visited with many of the seniors, and performed

Jesse Yantzi leading a Sunday morning worhsip
hospital visits.  Although it took some years to convince her to do the MIP, Michelle felt like God was leading her.

“In my program we learn how health is more than just the absence of illness and is about health on many different levels - social, emotional, physical, psychological, spiritual,” she explained. “On my co-op terms I had worked in settings that dealt with each of these, but not the spiritual aspect to health. While at Tabor, I learned how faith and spirituality play a role in helping people get through difficult times and spirituality’s connection to health.”

Scholarship Empowers Women in Areas of Conflict

Thanks to a partnership with Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Global Peace Centre Canada (GPCC), and the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), Conrad Grebel University College is pleased to offer a $10,000 scholarship to a female Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (MPACS) student.

“Each year we are challenged to find funds to accept international students into our Master of PACS program,” explained Lowell Ewert, director of PACS at Grebel and the University of Waterloo. “This award, generously established by our good friend Ziauddin Yousafzai and our new partners at WXN will help us respond to this need by bringing into our program a female student from a region of the world experiencing conflict. This gift is a concrete way to empower

Ziauddin Yousafzai speaking to Susan Huxman
women in peace education in the spirit of Malala.”

The University of Waterloo recently accepted an invitation from the United Nations Women’s HeForShe campaign. Waterloo has committed to achieve comprehensive, long-term and sustainable gender equity by developing innovative programming aimed at a full spectrum of women from young girls, right through to the University’s senior leadership.

Susan Schultz Huxman speaks with Ziauddin Yousafzai as Mohan Kendall and Ahmad Shah look on.

The WXN and Yousafzai Award furthers the University’s HeForShe campaign by creating opportunity and transformation for a female student from a conflict-affected area. The award highlights a culture of empowering female students to achieve—not just in science and technology areas, but in civil society and social entrepreneurship.

“We at Conrad Grebel are thrilled by the WXN and Yousafzai Award. We are extremely grateful to the Women’s Executive Network, Global Peace Centre Canada, and Ziauddin Yousafzai for establishing this innovative and life-changing award,” said President Susan Schultz Huxman. “Women experience the need for peace in special ways. The major conditions for the absence of peace—poverty, lack of education, and insufficient health care—affect women and girls disproportionately. This scholarship will inspire smart women to achieve and lead, to gain expertise on peace-building and women’s empowerment.”

In the inspirational words of Malala, Huxman continued, “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. Education is the only solution.”

Susan Schultz Huxman and Women’s Executive Network  Founder Pamela Jeffery sign papers for the new MPACS award.
Grebel is home to the oldest peace studies program in Canada. Our Master in Peace and Conflict Studies program (MPACS) enrols students from around the world. Grebel is also home to the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) Centre for Peace Advancement which helps to incubate peace organizations. The Global Peace Centre Canada is one such organization. An MPACS graduate, Jahan Zeb, is a key player in GPCC and works in close collaboration with Ziauddin Yousafzai.

Susan Schultz Huxman and Women’s Executive Network Founder Pamela Jeffery sign papers for the new MPACS award.

Incorporated in June 2015, the GPCC has been

Chinenye Chukwuma-Nwuba who is  the 2015 winner  of the WXN Yousafzai Award
working to create opportunities for designing and developing structures and processes to advance peace and education in areas of conflict internationally. The GPPC’s work is guided by an accomplished and volunteer board of directors and is supported by philanthropists, senior academics, and civil society leaders. Ziauddin Yousafzai serves as Honorary Chair, Dr. Neil Arya works as Director and Chair, and Jahan Zeb was Founding Director of GPCC.

Created in 2008, the Women’s Executive Network  and the WXN Foundation supports the advancement and empowerment of women by contributing to charitable endeavours that align with WXN’s mission and values of equality, community, passion, and integrity.

 Chinenye Chukwuma-Nwuba is the 2015 winner of the WXN Yousafzai Award

TMTC Award Winner


Allison Murray with Alan Armstrong, donor to the A. James Reimer Award at TMTC.
Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre is pleased to announce that Allison Murray (MTS ’12) is the 2015 winner of the A. James Reimer Award at TMTC. Allison is a PhD student currently in her third year of studies at Emmanuel College at the Toronto School of Theology, studying in the area of Christian History. Her research looks in particular at the history of Christian responses to the women’s movement in the twentieth century and the development of the theology behind notions of gender known as complementarianism.

For Allison, the TMTC community is an important part of her success at the Toronto School of Theology because it provides important points of connection with other graduate students and with TMTC alumni who are active in ministry.

Allison Murray with Alan Armstrong, donor to the A. James Reimer Award at TMTC.

Thanks to the financial support of the A. James Reimer award, Allison will be able to pursue her passion for academia and focus primarily on her studies rather than on seeking additional employment to help fund her degree. This opportunity for focus will make it possible for her to progress more quickly through her degree and to participate in the extra-curricular programs which enrich the graduate school experience.    

The Reimer Award is awarded annually to a student completing an advanced degree program at the Toronto School of Theology. Other criteria include academic excellence, active involvement in TMTC, and demonstrated commitment to the life of the Mennonite Church and its institutions. The award was established to recognize the work of A. James Reimer in establishing TMTC.

Training for a Variety of Ministry Settings

Preparing students to serve the church in a variety of settings has been at the core of Grebel’s graduate Theological Studies program since its inception in 1987. The program offers several study options—one for students to focus on thesis research, one that includes more course work, and an Applied Studies stream. In this stream, students are often involved in or preparing for the practice of ministry. However, ‘ministry’ is broadly defined.

Marianne Mellinger has led the ministry training stream for 10 years. She notes that “students have the opportunity to practice ministry in settings such as congregations, hospitals, Continuing Care residences, homeless shelters and other community sites.” She observes that the Supervised Experience in Ministry (SEM) is an essential component their ministry education and is a highlight for many students, as it provides opportunities to deepen their identity as a ministering person and to further develop, test, and evaluate their skills and relational abilities for ministry. Good placements in a variety of settings

Master of Theological Studies: Study Christianity from an  Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective in an ecumenical setting. Full-time Canadian TS students are eligible for full-time tuition scholarships. APPLY NOW,
are key to the success of the SEM. Well-trained and experienced supervisors as well as a safe and supportive environment where students can receive feedback on their strengths and growth areas for ministry provide experiential learning.

Last summer, Julie Eby completed her SEM with Daystar Native Outreach on Wikwemikong First Nation, where she developed and ran a children’s day camp. “The SEM was extremely important to my Master of Theological Studies degree as it allowed me to integrate my theological learning, with practical application, in a field I am passionate about.”

Elijah Tracy came to Grebel from Bluffton, Ohio and is doing a unique SEM placement at the Hacienda Farm, which is part of the Working Centre in Kitchener. “This SEM gives me the opportunity to directly engage a thriving urban farm community, while also allowing me to study and reflect on the spiritual significance of such work. This experience will critically inform the work we do on my own farm and in my faith community back home.”

Alvis Pettker was supervised by Scott Brubaker-Zehr in a congregational setting, preaching, leading worship, and doing pastoral care at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener.

Seventh Biennial TMTC Mennonite Graduate Student Conference

will take place in June 2-4 2016 at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary focusing on the theme of power from the diverse perspectives of Anabaptist-Mennonite graduate students. The primary purpose is to provide Mennonite graduate students an opportunity to present their academic research in an interdisciplinary context and interact with each other as colleagues. For more information, including the call for papers due January 15, 2016, visit

Anabaptist Learning Workshop: The Tape Measure


Matthew Bailey-dick
As part of a recent welcome event for new Grebel staff, Jeremy Bergen gave me a tape measure—a very appropriate gift, given all the “workshop” language that accompanies the launch of the new Anabaptist Learning Workshop (ALW).

Now it’s one thing for a theologian to give you a deep question to ponder, but what if a theologian gives you a tape measure? Those  who sign up for one of the upcoming ALW workshops will discover one possible answer to this question.

First, think of a physical workshop. Here you can use a tape measure to measure a specified length, or you can pull the tape very tightly against a board and use its length as a straight edge to mark a long line to be cut. Or if your pencil is at the other end of the workbench, you can extend the tape measure and pull the pencil toward you with the hook on the end of the tape.

Next, think of an Anabaptist workshop. Aha! Let me introduce you to the Anabaptist Learning Workshop that features participatory workshops on how to read the Bible as a community, who God is, why Anabaptists believe certain things, what Christian faith looks like in a multicultural society, and so on. These workshops are open to laypeople and pastors, and offered in various locations. As an option, participants can choose to take enough workshops to earn a Certificate.

With the tape measure, should ALW participants start determining whether or not we as Christians “measure up” to an objective standard? Or should we use it as a straight edge to demarcate the lines that separate us from others? I’m thinking not.

Here’s a little piece of scripture that speaks of a very big truth: “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

At its core, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop is about getting together to learn about this love that surpasses knowledge—the breadth of love within our complex church history, the length of love in our peace theology, the heights of love as we figure out how to be faithful in the midst of diversity. Those of us who spend a lot of time in the university might find this challenging, because the scholar’s task is to keep adding more and more knowledge, but here we are learning together about something that surpasses knowledge. Learning about love is challenging, but it is a gift.

Whether you are curious about theology or you want to learn about Mennonite history, whether you need resources for Bible study or for intercultural ministry, whether you have never been in a leadership position in a church or you are a long-time pastor, you are very welcome to sign up.

After your first ALW workshop, perhaps you will have some new insights about how to measure the length and height of something that goes beyond knowledge. Can the tape measure be flipped upside down or turned inside out, so that we can use it for measuring uncharted territory?

Matthew Bailey-Dick teaching a classroom

Anabaptist Learning Workshop

Check out the ALW website for workshops in Hamilton, Niagara, Toronto, Waterloo, and Ottawa locations. Workshops are open to laypeople and church leaders. Contact Matthew Bailey-Dick for more information:

January 9, 2016 (Toronto)
Exploring Anabaptist Theology
Instructor: Roberson Mbayamvula

January 16, 2016 (Baden)
Mental Illness and Addictions: Another Necessary Conversation
Pastors, Chaplains, and Congregational Leaders Event

February 13, 2016 (Hamilton)
Figuring out Leadership Transitions
Instructor: Fanosie Legesse

February 17 to February 19, 2016 (Waterloo)
The Relationship between Culture and Worship
School for Ministers

April 16, 2016 (Niagara)
Praying and Cultivating Spiritual Practices
Instructor: Alicia Buhler

April 23, 2016 (Baden)
Reading the Bible as a Community
Instructor: Bryan Moyer Suderman     

May 7, 2016 (Ottawa)
Doing Church within Canada’s Cultural Mosaic
Instructor: Michele Rizoli   

Academic News

Grebel faculty are active in the community and the wider world, speaking at churches, facilitating workshops, and attending and presenting at conferences. Listed below are some of our recent faculty publications and activities. Complete listings are available at

DEREK SUDERMAN presented the keynote address “Suffering, Biblical Lament, and Empathy” at the National Conference of the Canadian Mennonite Health Assembly in in October. He will present “Hearing Voices of Lament as Cries for Shalom” at the War, Peace and Struggle for Shalom Symposium at Trinity Western University in Abbotsford, BC.

JENNIFER BALL co-authored a book entitled, Better Decisions Together: A Facilitation Guide for Community Engagement with Wayne Caldwell and Kate Proctor. She is co-leading Waterloo Region’s Restorative Justice Circle.

ED JANZEN traveled to Israel/Palestine with an international group from the UK, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and the US for “The Olive Tree Campaign” sponsored by the Jerusalem and Palestine YMCA and YWCA. His group planted 1,500 olive tree saplings.

TROY OSBORNE received a LITE Seed Grant from the Centre for Teaching Excellence at Waterloo to travel to Barnard College in New York to learn more about the Reacting to the Past role-playing pedagogy. He is using the role-playing scenario “Henry VIII and the Reformation of Parliament” in his Early Modern Europe course. At a 16th-Century Studies Conference in Vancouver, BC, he presented a paper on “Shunning among the Dutch Mennonites.” He is writing a new textbook on Anabaptist Mennonite History: Global Anabaptist and Mennonite Histories for MennoMedia.

LAUREEN HARDER-GISSING presented “Are You in This? Ontario Mennonites and the First World War,” at the Archives of Ontario World War I Speaker Series.

REINA NEUFELDT represented Grebel at the inaugural Canadian Peace Studies Association Conference in Winnipeg, June 18-19. She led several workshops on ethics and peacebuilding at the Global Youth Summit and Mennonite World Conference this past summer.

ALICIA BATTEN published “The Galilean Fishing Economy” on the peer-reviewed Bible Odyssey website. She gave a public lecture called “Fish for Thought in the Gospels.”

PAUL HEIDEBRECHT had an op-ed published in The Record: “Shine a Spotlight on Region’s Social Innovation” with Karla Boluk and Tania Del Matto.

MARLENE EPP published “Eating Across Borders: Reading Immigrant Cookbooks” in Histoire Sociale/Social History 96. Her Mennonite World Conference workshop on “Global Mennonite Women Building Peace” was featured in Mennonite World Review. She published an op-ed in The Record, “Show Inclusion, Compassion for Refugees.” As part of her sabbatical this spring, she traveled to Kolkata to research Mennonite women—their roles and responsibilities—in India.

LOWELL EWERT co-authored “Humanizing Global Trade: The Fair Trade Solution” with Jennifer Wiebe in Peace Studies: Between Tradition and Innovation, edited by Randall Amster, Laura Finley, Edmund Pries and Richard McCutcheon. He also led a workshop, “Integrating Theory and Practice,” on June 21 at the Washington, DC International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, and presented two papers at the Mennonite Education Conference in Bluffton, Ohio.

NATHAN FUNK hosted a colloquium at Harvard Divinity School on “Religions and the Practice of Peace.” His presentation was entitled: “Islam and the Practice of Peace.” He also presented a paper, “Sacred Sites and Peacemaking,” at the International Studies Association annual convention in Atlanta, GA.

JEREMY BERGEN has been elected Vice-President of the Canadian Theological Society, 2015-2016. He has been appointed Interim Director of Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre.

TREVOR BECHTEL preached at Wanner Mennonite and Stirling Mennonite in August and presented a talk on “The Da Vinci Code, The Council of Nicea and the Canonization of the Bible” at the Erin Extended Learning Opportunities Fall Lecture Series.

C. Henry Smith Lecture Poster, Dr. Rebecca Janzen,Jan 20, 2016 7:30PM

The Bechtel Lectures poster, Dr. Janneken Smucker

Sir James  MacMillan  March 1, 2016, 7:30PM  Sawatsky Lecture  March 6, 2016, 3:00PM The Music of  James MacMillan

Dr. Troy  Osborne March 31, 2016, 7:30PM Eby Lecture “The Bottle, the Dagger, and The Ring: Church Discipline and Dutch Mennonite Identity in the Seventeenth Century”

Ten Grebel faculty and staff participated in and led sessions at Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, PA over a two-week period in July.

The Institute

group picture of mennonite authors at the
of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies hosted an October book launch for Sons and Mothers: Stories from Mennonite Men edited by Mary Ann Loewen. Contributers (pictured left)include Paul Tiessen, Howard Dyck, Andrew C. Martin (MTS ’08), and John Rempel (BA ’66). The collection includes stories of migration and its ripple effect on the next generation, of mothers whose idealistic notions of faith cause rifts, of aging mothers who resist moves to care homes, and of mothers who live their dreams vicariously through their sons.

In Spring 2015 we

John Rempel receives congratulations
honoured the work of John Rempel and celebrated with him on his retirement as TMTC Director. John served for three years, and made significant connections with faculty members and students at the Toronto School of Theology (TST). He was the driving force behind a key TST-wide event examining whether the Reformation ought to be commemorated with celebration or mourning. He instituted a fellows program which includes visiting, research, and postdoctoral fellows.

John Rempel receives congratulations

Susan Schultz Human and Paul Heidebrecht visit with Shannon Moroney in the Grebel Gallery

For Fall 2015 the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement curated an exhibit called Exploring Resilience through the Artwork of Shannon Moroney. This exhibit was an invitation to think about the role of resilience in advancing peace, as well as ways in which we can build resilience as individuals and communities. Shannon Moroney spoke at a reception in the Grebel Gallery, along with Executive Director of Community Justice Initiatives, Chris Cowie.

Susan Schultz Human and Paul Heidebrecht visit with Shannon Moroney in the Grebel Gallery

Collections of important speeches tend to focus on and are organized

Susan Huxman holding her new book
around nationalistic “flashpoints”—violent interventions, diplomatic crises, battles, and wars—that shape the nation’s identity. Words about war—including scholarly literature on war—vastly outweigh words about peace. In Grebel president Susan Schultz Huxman’s new book, Landmark Speeches in US Pacifism, she addresses that imbalance by highlighting the rhetoric of peace movements, nonviolent resistance, and anti-war discourse. Eighteen speeches are featured, from Robert La Follette and Jane Addams in the Progressive Era to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Muhammad Ali on the Vietnam War. Each speech in this collection disarms or disrupts common sensibilities about America’s role in the world. They challenge fundamental positions regarding safety, security, sovereignty, or patriotism, and substitute internationalism, respect for individual conscience, or unconditional love.

Inaugural Research Fellow Named

Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield. book cover
On Thursday, October 29, seventy people gathered in the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) to join Project Ploughshares (an affiliate member of the CPA) in celebrating the launch of Ernie Regehr’s (BA ’68) book entitled, Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield.

Regehr, the co-founder of Project Ploughshares and recipient of numerous honours including the Order of Canada and Pearson Peace Medal gave a brief overview of his book’s origins. It emphasizes that the overwhelming majority of wars fought over the past quarter-century ended in military stalemate; thus the international community’s response to conflict should focus on the one place where success has consistently been achieved: the negotiating table.

Branka Marijan, a new program officer at Ploughshares, provided a response to Regehr’s remarks. She noted that, in addition to its scholarly rigor, the book “captures the lived and everyday experiences of peace” and “offers very real ways to address contemporary conflicts.”

CPA Director Paul Heidebrecht then announced that Regehr has been appointed the inaugural CPA Research Fellow.

Cesar Jaramillo, Earnie Regehr, Paul Heidebrecht
This appointment recognizes Regehr’s past many contributions to advancing peace, and, more importantly, signals a shared commitment to pursuing new opportunities for collaboration through research.

Cesar Jaramillo, Earnie Regehr, Paul Heidebrecht

In addition to Disarming Conflict, Regehr regularly publishes briefing papers and reports that explore the roles and limits of military forces in supporting human security, in his capacity as Senior Fellow in Arctic Security at the Simons Foundation.