Help your community expand its understanding of issues related to relief, development and peace.
The staff in Winnipeg from MCC Manitoba and MCC Canada have a wide range of passion and expertise, and they're eager to come share with your church, school or event.
Below you'll find a list of staff who are available to speak in Winnipeg and nearby communities. To book a speaker for your event, contact Simone Thiessen today at firstname.lastname@example.org or (204)261-6381.
Not sure who to invite? Contact Simone at email@example.com for more information.
|Viniece Blain - Director of Social Enterprise|
|Sophia Bezoplenko - Material Resources Coordinator|
Director of Social Enterprise, MCC Manitoba
Viniece is Director of Social Enterprise with MCC Manitoba. In her role, she supports Sam’s Place and MCC Thrift Shops within Manitoba at governance and operational levels. These social enterprises are active participants in their local communities, supporting the work and mission of MCC through volunteer engagement and effective business practices. Prior to joining MCC in 2014, Viniece led project and business development teams in New Zealand. She has an undergraduate degree in Business from Massey University and is undertaking Graduate Studies in Theology and Christian Ministry at Canadian Mennonite University. She also enjoys cross country skiing, painting and quilting.
Viniece is available to speak on topics related to: community program goals as the central focus of robust business practices, thrift shops, and organizational change management. She is comfortable presenting at board meetings, AGMs, schools, volunteer gatherings and Sunday school classes for children or adults.
Material Resources Coordinator, MCC Manitoba
Sophia has been the Winnipeg Material Resources Coordinator for MCC Manitoba since January 2015. She coordinates volunteer efforts to assemble and pack material aid kits, several annual volunteer fundraising efforts, and provides presentations to church, school, and volunteer groups on MCC's relief, development, and peace work around the world. Sophia's prior MCC experience includes co-managing the Village Green Thrift Shop in Saskatoon, SK. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies and Certificate in Christian Studies in Worship Leadership from Horizon College and Seminary.
Sophia is comfortable presenting to children or adults in Sunday school classes and providing group presentations at the Winnipeg Material Resources Centre or elsewhere. She is available to present on the following topics: an overview of MCC's mission and programs; comforter and material aid kit assembly; and disaster relief projects.
External Grants Coordinator, MCC Canada
Jason is the External Grants Coordinator in the Planning, Learning and Disaster Response department. He assists MCC offices and partners with project planning, proposal development, and project monitoring, evaluation and reporting. He works closely with back donors in this capacity, notably the Government of Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the Saskatchewan and Manitoba councils for international cooperation, and various private and family run foundations across Canada. Jason holds degrees in political science and development studies, including a Master of Arts in Globalization and International Development from the University of Ottawa. He is available to speak on topics related to project monitoring and evaluation, grant writing, and back donor engagement.
Migration & Resettlement Program Coordinator, MCC Canada
Brian has been the Migration and Resettlement Coordinator at MCC Canada since February 2015. Before that he was Refugee Assistance Program Coordinator at the MCC Manitoba office for seven and a half years. His primary work at MCC has been helping churches think about refugee sponsorship and the broader issues around forced displacement. Since May 2012 he has also been chair of the Canadian National Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holder Association, a national organization that meets with the Canadian government to help form Canadian policy on refugee resettlement. Brian was a missionary with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission in South Africa from 1999 to 2005 where he and his wife, Lynell Bergen did leadership development and HIV/AIDS education among the African Indigenous Churches in the Eastern Cape Province. Before that he and Lynell were co-pastors of the Arnaud (Manitoba) Mennonite Church. He has received degrees from Canadian Mennonite Bible College, University of Winnipeg and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
Brian is available to speak on the following topics: A Christian response to forced displacement; Refugees and the Bible; Canadian refugee resettlement policy; and "How can my church get involved in sponsoring refugees?"
Food Security & Livelihoods Coordinator, MCC Canada
Allison works as a Food Security and Livelihood Coordinator, supporting partners as they implement projects related to food assistance, agriculture, nutrition, and sustainable livelihoods. She holds a BA in International Development and Anthropology from the University of Winnipeg, and an MSc in Conflict, Violence, and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Allison has previous experience working in Uganda and Mozambique. She is available to speak on topics related to food security, and monitoring and evaluation.
Program Director, MCC Canada
Mark has lived and worked with MCC as co-Rep for Nicaragua and Costa Rica (1999-2005), Associate Area Director for Latin America (2006-2012) and co-Area Director for Central America and Haiti (2012-March 2015). His educational background is in Bible and Theology. Mark can speak about a variety of topics related to MCC's international programs including general overviews and can also focus on topics including working with the church and working with partners.
Public Engagement Coordinator, MCC Canada
Esther is Public Engagement Coordinator for MCC Canada's Ottawa Office. Previously, she served as Peace Program Coordinator for MCC Canada, from 2000-2010. She has also worked with MCC in the Philippines and with MCC Ontario. She has masters degrees in Canadian history and theology and recently completed Mennonite Central Committee in Canada: A History (CMU Press, 2013).
Esther is available to speak two or three times a year in Manitoba on topics related to advocacy, peace and justice ministry, and MCC history.
She is comfortable preaching, doing presentations, or leading an adult Sunday school class.
Low German Mennonite Services Program Coordinator, MCC Manitoba
Tina has worked for MCC Manitoba as the Program Coordinator for Low German Mennonite Services in Winkler for about 8 years. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with an MA in Sociology in 2006 and continues to conduct research with Low German speaking Mennonites.
Tina is available to speak on the following topics: immigration and citizenship as it impacts communities; issues that immigrants face; Low German speaking Mennonites from Latin America.
Abuse Response & Prevention Coordinator, MCC Manitoba
As Abuse Response & Prevention Coordinator, Jaymie raises awareness and offers resources relating to healthy relationships and abuse, while supporting those impacted by abuse. Jaymie entered this role with experience as a sexual assault and healthy relationships educator, sexual assault crisis counsellor, mental health worker and volunteer supporting women exiting the sex trade in Cambodia. She holds a BA in Social Sciences and Counselling and a Certificate in Applied Counselling.
Jaymie welcomes opportunities to speak to adults and youth through workshops, Sunday school classes, and presentations in community, educational and church settings. She is available to speak on topics including: how to support and respond to individuals experiencing abuse; trauma awareness and creating safe space; healing from abuse; and power dynamics in relationships. Jaymie also offers the following presentations specifically for youth: how young men can help end gendered violence; media messages and gender roles; and bullying.
Co-director of Disaster Response, PLDR, MCC Canada
Bruce’s work involves supporting and directing MCC offices and partners in humanitarian and disaster response worldwide. Bruce has served as a pastor at Langley Mennonite Fellowship and as a MCC worker for a human rights organization in Jamaica. He has a Bachelor of Theology from Canadian Mennonite University, a BA in International Development from the University of Winnipeg, and a Masters of Philosophy in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.
Bruce is available to speak on the following topics: international development, climate change and disaster response (particularly the Haiti earthquake and East Africa food crisis).
Peacebuilding & Advocacy Program Coordinator, MCC Manitoba
In her role as Peacebuilding and Advocacy Program Coordinator, Joanna serves as a resource to those interested in engaging in active peace building and advocacy, locally and around the world. She has served with MCC internationally both as a service worker and as representative in Nigeria, as MCC's HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator and most recently as MCC representative in Palestine and Israel from 2012-2015. Joanna has a B.Ed degree and an MA in Theology: Peace and Justice.
Joanna is available to preach, speak or deliver workshops in a variety of venues on the topics: theological constructs of peace and justice, complexities of justice and peace in Palestine and Israel, non-violent peacemaking in conflict zones, trauma and healing, inter-faith bridge building, listening with compassion, faith formation and spiritual disciplines.
Canadian Material Resources Warehouse Manager / Manitoba Activities Coordinator
Gord has served as both the Canadian Material Resources Warehouse Manager and Manitoba Activities Coordinator since June of 2010. In these roles, Gord coordinates volunteer activities, oversees shipments, inventory of supplies, maintenance of the facility, and fulfills reporting requirements. Volunteer activities at the Canadian Material Resources Warehouse vary from assembling and packing kits, recycling books and quilting to inspecting meat cans for shipment.
Previously Gord worked in the grain industry following attainment of a Diploma in Agriculture. He has volunteered in leadership capacities on church committees and as a youth leader.
Gord is available to speak at churches and schools once per month and is more frequently able to accommodate church, youth, community, and school groups to participate in volunteer activities at the Warehouse. He is able to speak to the link between MCC's material resource activities and our relief work around the world.
Executive Director, MCC Manitoba
Darryl joined MCC Manitoba as Executive Director in 2016. Prior to this, Darryl served as an educator at Mennonite Collegiate Institute for 22 years, including 11 as principal. During that time he served as Treasurer and Chair of Canadian Association of Mennonite Schools. Additionally, he has served on Church Council of Gretna Bergthaler Mennonite Church, as well as various local and provincial boards including Gretna Athletic Association, various credit union boards and the Board of Credit Union Central of Manitoba.
Darryl welcomes opportunities to speak to adults and children in church, educational and organizational settings. He is available to present an overview of MCC’s mission and programs and/or share about a recent visit with MCC partners in Ethiopia.
Program Director, MCC Manitoba
MCC Manitoba Programs seek to engage the Mennonite constituency and the broader community in activities and issues that relate to MCC's priority themes of migration and resettlement, restorative justice, peace and conflict transformation and sustainable livelihoods. Deborah has been the Program Director of MCC Manitoba for nine (9) years. She has served with MCC in a variety of leadership roles in Canada and Europe for over 25 years with a particular focus on restorative justice and cross-cultural relations. She has also worked as a child care worker and as a pastor.
Deborah is available to speak in the context of a worship service or small group/Sunday School setting about MCC programs in Manitoba and its connections to MCC's international work.
Migration & Resettlement Program Coordinator, MCC Manitoba
Arisnel has been Migration and Resettlement Program Coordinator since February 2015. His primary work is helping churches sponsor refugees and think about what a Christian response to refugee situations around the world should be. Before working at MCC Manitoba, Arisnel was the Director of SOUL (School of Urban Leadership) and Pastor of Église communautaire de la Rivière Rouge, the Mennonite Brethren French-speaking church in Winnipeg. Arisnel holds a Master of Arts in Theology from Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS).
Arisnel is available to speak on the following topics: A Christian response to forced migration; Refugees and the Bible; Private sponsorship of refugees; How can my church get involve in sponsoring refugees; How can I help a newcomer family resettle in Canada; etc.
Associate Program Director, MCC Canada
Pam’s been with MCC Canada as Associate Program Director since June 2011. Prior to that she was self-employed in organizational consulting and administration for several years, and before that Pam was with Mennonite Church Canada as Executive Secretary of Support Services for almost 8 years.
Pam has undergrad degrees in Theology and Philosophy, and an MBA. She lives on a small farm near Blumenort with her husband Albert. They have 2 adult sons - Benjamin and Matthew. Pam also likes to knit, cook, bake, and go camping!
Pam can speak about MCC’s Canadian programs, as well as give a general overview of MCC work.
Humanitarian Relief & Disaster Response Coordinator, MCC Canada
Vurayayi Pugeni is a Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee. While in Zimbabwe, Pugeni worked with local and international NGOs where his major role was to implement and manage food assistance and agriculture and livelihoods projects. With MCC, Pugeni assists MCC country offices and partners mostly in Africa with project planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting. Pugeni holds a degree in Social Work from the University of Zimbabwe and is finalizing his post graduate studies in Disaster Management with the Free States University in South Africa.
Communications & Donor Relations Director, MCC Manitoba
Brad Reimer has been with MCC for 10 years as the Director of Communications & Donor Relations. Before joining MCC Brad was Associate Director for Mennonite Voluntary Service for 10 years. Brad has travelled extensively to learn about MCC projects around the world.
Brad can speak on a variety of MCC topics as well as give general overviews of MCC work.
Indigenous Neighbours Program Coordinator, MCC Manitoba
Kerry has served with MCC for the last 9 years, including working with First Nations youth in Cranberry Portage, Manitoba, and doing restorative justice, community building and advocacy work in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. More recently Kerry worked as a peacebuilding advisor in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a team developing an adult peacebuilding education initiative for local organizations.
Kerry is able to speak on topics such as Settler identity, colonization, indigenous relations, reconciliation, trauma awareness, peacebuilding and Islam & comparative theologies.
Kerry completed graduate work at Harvard Divinity School and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Kerry also studied in Amman, Jordan, spent time in various Middle East and Asian countries and has worked as a youth pastor and mental health worker.
Low German Program Coordinator, MCC Canada
My current position with MCC is the coordinator for MCC Canada of programs with Low German Mennonites. Prior to this role, I was a public school teacher (mostly middle years) for 29 years, and a pastor for 12 years. I have also worked for a number of years in Germany, first with MCC, and later, with Mennonite Church Canada Witness. I am certainly prepared to speak about Low German Mennonites, some overview and background, and a look at the issues in this community. More broadly, I would be prepared to speak about building bridges of understanding between people, particularly also about our relationship with conservative people, and others whose approach to faith is very different from ours.
I have most experience, understandably I guess, with sermons. But I have spoken in many different contexts over the years, and am prepared to speak or lead a discussion in many different settings. I can also speak in German or Low German.
Food Security & Livelihoods Coordinator, MCC Canada
Dan has been a farmer and food activist for more than 25 years, gaining a degree in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba. Dan and his wife, Wilma, spent three years working with MCC in Swaziland that changed his life. Desiring a more relational style of farming like the one they experienced in Africa, Dan and Wilma pioneered Community Shared Agriculture on a 40 acre piece of land in the Red River flood plain south of Winnipeg. Since then “Wiens Shared Farm” has been a place of constant social and agronomic experimentation. From 1995 to 1999 Dan and Wilma served as MCC country representatives in Haiti, and from 1999 to 2007, he worked for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, designing initiatives to educate people about world hunger. Dan and Wilma continue to live on their farm with two of their four children, an assortment of food activists, two dogs, a cat and a few feathered farm animals.
Dan is available to speak on the following topics: water and agriculture project development in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America and the Caribbean.