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Niagara Falls
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Letter: Mennonites have experienced suffering
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

Thank you for publishing Kit Andre’s Letter to the editor, “Mennonites want ceasefire in Israel-Palestine conflict,” (March 14).

I am both a Methodist (by tradition) and a Mennonite (on confession of faith) and I am a “red-letter Christian” in that I take the teachings of Jesus seriously.

I agree that Mennos have a history that ought to make them particularly attuned to people who are suffering.

Two of my Menno friends are in their 90s and fled from Ukraine in the 1940s. One woman can remember wrapping her arms around her father as he was being abducted by the Russian NKVD.

He went to a gulag and she never saw him again.

Another recalls fleeing to Germany and — en route — her mother would hide her sister and her in haystacks while she went to look for food. Some family members died on the journey.

And even arriving in Canada, these women and so many other Mennos were not welcomed, at least initially.

They were poor, they were seen as German or Russian, which was not popular, to say the least. And Mennonites were seen by some as being part of a cult.

Mennos — and indeed all Christians — should have a commitment to upholding the people who are referred to Jesus as “the least of these” and “blessed.”

I agree with any movement in any country torn apart by war — including Palestine — for ceasefire (peace), humanitarian aid (relief) and rebuilding (development.) The Mennonite Central Committee has as its maxim: relief, development and peace in the name of Christ.

Most Mennonite Christians are not white or of European descent, and they don’t have horse-driven buggies. About 84 per cent of Mennos are African, Asian or Latin American and of this group, the majority are Ethiopian.

Jan Carrie Steven
St. Catharines

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