This article was originally published by The Mennonite World Review

Great Winter Warm-up opens MCC centennial activities

Throughout 2020, Mennonite Central Committee is inviting supporters to celebrate its centennial with commemorative events, comforter making, giving opportunities, storytelling and more.

Betsy Kennel, left, Mennonite Central Committee sewing room coordinator of New Holland, Pa., Mary Ann Hershey, center, of Lititz, Pa., and Arlene Kreider, right, of Lititz, Pa., knot a comforter at the MCC East Coast Material Resources Center in Ephrata, Pa., in December. — Diana Voth/MCC
Betsy Kennel, left, Mennonite Central Committee sewing room coordinator of New Holland, Pa., Mary Ann Hershey, center, of Lititz, Pa., and Arlene Kreider, right, of Lititz, Pa., knot a comforter at the MCC East Coast Material Resources Center in Ephrata, Pa., in December. — Diana Voth/MCC

Activities begin Jan. 18 with the Great Winter Warm-up, a comforter-making event across the United States, Canada and Europe. Volunteers will attempt to complete 6,500 comforters in one day. Details are available at mcc.org/great-winter-warm.

“People who get these comforters realize they are getting something personal,” said J Ron Byler, executive director of MCC U.S. “Someone has chosen the fabric and crafted the comforter with their hands. They understand this is a gift of love.”

Every year, MCC distributes more than 50,000 comforters and blankets made or donated by volunteers.

National celebration

MCC will host Celebration 2020, the U.S. national celebration of MCC’s history and ministry, June 19-21 in Lancaster County, Pa. The weekend events will be a time of thanksgiving to God and for the supporters, partners and workers who have made MCC’s ministry possible.

In addition to a Saturday eve­ning celebration, participants can enjoy food, music, demonstrations, children’s activities and storytelling at Friday events in Akron and Saturday events in Ephrata and Mountville.

Registration for the Century for a Century bike tour, Pax Ultimate Frisbee tournament and an MCC thrift shops bus tour will open closer to the event. Cyclists can express interest now by email to ­centennial@mcc.org.

Leonard Dow, a stewardship and development specialist, former pastor and MCC board lead­er, will be the keynote speaker at the livestreamed Saturday eve­ning celebration at Manor Church in Mountville.

On Sunday, MCC representatives will worship and share in local churches. A children’s musical based on the book Swords to Plowshares will be performed.

More information is at mcc.org/celebration-2020.

100 stories for 100 years

MCC’s “100 Stories for 100 Years” online collection provides glimpses of the people and ministry of MCC over the years.

Fanus Premilus carries an MCC comforter she received as part of a distribution of relief items in Haiti’s Jean Rabel municipality after an earthquake struck the area on Oct. 6, 2018. — Annalee Giesbrecht/MCC
Fanus Premilus carries an MCC comforter she received as part of a distribution of relief items in Haiti’s Jean Rabel municipality after an earthquake struck the area on Oct. 6, 2018. — Annalee Giesbrecht/MCC

The collection shares stories about remarkable people, such as Lois Gunden, who protected Jewish children from death camps, and Issa Ebombolo, who started hundreds of peace clubs in schools all over Africa.

They describe how simple resources like canned meat and tarps give vital support to vulnerable people facing disaster and how MCC and partner organizations have developed new farming techniques, right up to today’s initiatives that help farmers cope with climate change. Stories will be added throughout the year at mcc.org/100-stories.

Stories and gifts

Thousands of people have served with MCC at home or in other countries. They have contributed to efforts such as meat canning, relief sales, thrift shops and material resource centers. They have supported MCC with gifts of money, kits and comforters and in other ways experienced MCC’s work firsthand.

Anyone who wants to share a photo, video or a short vignette about their MCC experience can do so on the “Share Your Story” web page at mcc.org/share-your-story.

Saulo Padilla, MCC U.S. immigration education coordinator, shares how he arrived in Calgary, Alta., in 1986 as an immigrant from Guatemala and the son of a political refugee. Later, he signed up for an MCC skills training, which he called “a window to self-awareness and a path to new life opportunities.”

“As I work with immigrant communities in the U.S, I am reminded of how new opportunities can heal past trauma and provide life-giving opportunities,” he said. “I am eternally grateful for the people at MCC who offer recent immigrants an opportunity to have a new hope.”

MCC is encouraging people to give an extra financial gift through the New Hope in the Name of Christ centennial fund­raising campaign at mcc.org/new-hope or 888-563-4676.

Sign up to our newsletter for important updates and news!