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 or (204)261-6381.

Not sure who to invite? Contact Simone at for more information. 

 Click on a speaker's name for more info.

Viniece Blain - Director of Social Enterprise

Joanna Hiebert Bergen - Peacebuilding & Advocacy Coordinator

Sophia Bezoplenko - Material Resources Coordinator

Gord Letkeman - Canadian Material Resources Warehouse Manager

Jason Carkner - External Grants Coordinator (on parental leave until Oct 2019)

Darryl Loewen - Executive Director - MCC Manitoba

Brian Dyck - National Migration & Resettlement Program Coordinator

Allison Enns - Food Security & Livelihoods Coordinator

Mark Epp - Program Director - MCC Canada

Vurayayi Pugeni - Humanitarian Relief & Disaster Recovery Coordinator

Jaymie Friesen - Abuse Response & Prevention Program Coordinator

Brad Reimer - Director of Donor Advisement and Special Projects

Bruce Guenther - Director of Disaster Response

Kerry Saner Harvey - Indigenous Neighbours Program Coordinator

Dan Wiens - Food Security & Livelihoods Coordinator



MCC Manitoba supports restorative justice work through Initiatives for Just Communities. If you are interested in a presentation on restorative justice, find out more here

Viniece Blain

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.

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Sophia Bezoplenko

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.

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Jason Carkner

External Grants Coordinator, MCC Canada

On parental leave until October 2019.

​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.

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Brian Dyck 

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?"

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Allison Enns

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.

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Mark Epp

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.

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Jaymie Friesen

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.

Learn more about the Abuse Response & Prevention Program in Manitoba!

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Bruce Guenther

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).

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Joanna Hiebert Bergen

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. 

Learn more about the Peacebuilding & Advocacy Program in Manitoba!

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Gord Letkeman

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.

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Darryl Loewen

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, community and organizational settings. He is available to present an overview of MCC’s mission and programs and/or share about his recent international program visits.

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Vurayayi Pugeni

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.

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Brad Reimer

Director of Donor Advisement and Special Projects, MCC Manitoba

Brad Reimer has been with MCC Manitoba for over 10 years, previously as the Director of Communications & Donor Relations and now Director of Donor Advisement and Special Projects. 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.

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Kerry Saner Harvey

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. 

Learn more about the Indigenous Neighbours Program in Manitoba!

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Dan Wiens

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.

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