New faith-based entertainment and warmer weather brought smiles to Manitoban's faces this week.

PRAISE: Nigerian pastor released by Boko Haram

A pastor in Nigeria has been released by the extremist group holding him captive after more than two months of imprisonment.

Pastor Bulus Yakuru of the Chruch of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) was first captured on Dec. 24, 2020, CBN News reports.

Three videos have been released since Yakuru's abduction where the pastor appeared, identified himself, and begged for government officials and Christian leaders to work to negotiate his release.

Read more


VeggieTales co-creator bringing new Bible-based animated series to life

The Dead Sea Squirrels is a new animated series that will bring the story of Jesus' life to your living room.

The man behind the voice of Larry the Cucumber, also a co-creator of Veggie Tales, is working on a new Bible-based tv show, the Christian Post reports.

Mike Nawrocki's show will follow a 10-year-old boy named Michael who finds two preserved squirrels during an archaeological dig in the Dead Sea area. Michael decides to bring the squirrels home with him to show them to his friends.

Read more

Andrew Ripp's 'Jericho' reaches No. 1 on Christian music charts

A song about knocking down walls of fear, Andrew Ripp's 'Jericho' has reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Airplay.

"It’s wild how a two-year process of letting go of my dreams made room for new ones," says Andrew Ripp in an interview with The Christian Beat.

The song's lyrics are timely with many people battling fear during the worldwide pandemic. With Ripp's second try at a musical career, his fears are also falling away.

Read more

Vaccination Task Force leader optimistic about quick rollout

Dr. Joss Reimer says that next week the province may be changing its vaccination priority list.

By next week, the province will finish vaccinating Manitobans over the age of 80. This group was identified as being a high risk for adverse outcomes. She says once this group is vaccinated, the province might make changes to its general population plan.

"We have no intention of slowing down," Reimer says. "At that time we will take some further assessment about whether there are any other groups we want to add in."

Read more

Director of CMU's latest innitative shares how faith and work intersect

Canadian Mennonite University is opening a new career-minded centre to help students explore God's plans for them.

Dr. Christine Kampen Robinson is the director of Canadian Mennonite University's newest initiative, the Centre for Career and Vocation. She says the new centre will bring together things already being done at CMU like practicum work that she herself leads, and sharing practical job-searching skills.

Read more


Hope grows for Christians with increased Bible reading in pandemic: Report

A new survey shows that "Christians are tending to read the Bible more and for longer during the pandemic and for those who do it is having a positive impact on their mental health, well being, and hope in the future."

The findings come in a survey in the United Kingdom for Bible Society, carried out by Christian Research.

Over 1,000 Christians were polled on how their faith and devotional habits have been impacted throughout the last year. Participants are all practising Christians, attending a church service and reading the Bible at least monthly.

Read more

Blind dog and seeing-eye cat making home in Manitoba

Instead of "fighting like cats and dogs," a dependent animal duo who previously were living inside of an igloo has found a warm home.

Max and Spike are settling into their new home after the country closely followed their month of displacement.

"I knew the moment I laid eyes on their photo, in my gut and in my heart that we were meant to be together," the pair's new owner says. 

Read more


Bowman encouraging locals to support restaurants during patio season

Households will soon be able to enjoy a meal on a restaurant's patio.

As Winnipeg sees a glimpse of spring, the Mayor is announcing the second season of its summer patio permit program. 

"I am expecting patio season is going to pretty busy this year," Mayor Biran Bowman says. "People are anxious to get outside and enjoy the summer in a normal year. 

Read more

Over 30,000 COVID-19 recoveries in Manitoba

The province has hit a new milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic.

After an unsteady fall and slow recovery, there are 30,005 COVID-19 recoveries in Manitoba. There are currently 1,143 active cases of the virus. Winnipeg's ive-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 2.6 per cent, a new low for 2021, and Manitoba's is 3.2 per cent.

Read more

School for newcomers receiving funding faster than anticipated

Freedom International School (FIS) in Winnipeg is excited to be receiving government funding one year earlier than expected. 

The school started up in 2018. It is a Christ-centered independent school specifically geared towards newcomers to Canada. 

"We had a three-year waitlist that we had to follow, which is standard procedure in the province of Manitoba. We were told we had to wait three years for any grant funding from the government to run our school," says Francine Wiebe, the principal at FIS.

Read more


'The smoke detectors woke us up and saved our lives'

A couple from Ste. Anne believes the only reason they are still alive is that their smoke detector woke them up Tuesday morning mere, moments before their house was consumed by fire.

Sonja Loran says the memory is imprinted on her mind in great detail.

“We woke up at 1:40 AM to the sound of alarms. We went down the hallway to find out the source of what was happening and realized we could smell smoke and very quickly we started to see smoke. By the time we ran to the bedroom to grab clothes and get out the door, our entire house was filled with smoke to the point where we were not able to see.”

Read more


International recognition for grandpa singing with chickens

A local farmer started videotaping some songs in the chicken coop for his grandkids, but now he's being recognized all the way to Italy.

Russell Loewen and his wife run a vegetable farm just five miles outside of Winnipeg, and they also have a chicken coop that doubles as his music studio. 

Raising chickens for five years, Loewen has recently found that when he sings a certain tone or pitch, he can make the chickens cackle loudly. He calls the hens his Morning Jabber Cackle Choir.

Read more

Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls released days after abduction

Nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last week by terrorists have been released.

The governor of the state of Zamfara, Bello Matawalle, says that all the girls were released and that no ransom had been paid, the Associated Press reports.

“Today, we have received the children who were under captivity since Friday. I initiated a peace accord which yielded a positive result. No ransom was paid to anyone. I insisted that we were not going to give anything to any of them,” Matawalle told the news agency on Tuesday.

Read more

Mike Donehey releases solo project after fan support

Mike Donehey, the former lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, has put out his first solo project with an EP called, Work of Art

2020 was started out tough for Donehey as, during the final farewell tour of Tenth Avenue North, the tour was cut short due to COVID shutdowns. 

"This EP is full of songs about the beauty, the difficulty, the work, and the reward of relationships. It's about listening. It's about radical acceptance. It's about embracing the work it takes to accept each other. It's about believing it might not be easy, but it's going to get better. I love these songs so much, and I trust you will too," Donehey posted on Facebook on the day of the release, March 3. 

Read more


Aunt Sally's Farm opening in 3 weeks

The recreation of an iconic zoo attraction immersing children into the world of farm animals has an opening date.

On March 25, the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be welcoming visitors into its Aunt Sally's Farm. This exhibit is a recreation of the 1959 exhibit of the same name.

"The NEW Aunt Sally's Farm will encourage playful encounters between children and animals, reflect modern standards for animal welfare and care, and inspire the same awe and wonder as our childhood Aunt Sally's Farm."

Read more


Theologically conservative Methodists ready to launch new global family

The United Methodist Church is expected to split in the 2022 General Conference over the issue of sexuality and marriage. Conservatives are laying the foundations for the new Global Methodist Church.

An agreement expected to be approved in the next General Conference of the United Methodist Church will lead to schism in the denomination worldwide.

In August 2022, a majority of Methodists is expected to vote for a separation plan known as “Protocol for Reconciliation and Grace through Separation.” After that, several new groups will emerge to re-configure the Methodist panorama around the world.

Read more


Grade 11 student receives top place in international yearbook cover contest

A Calvin Christian School student is receiving international attention for her colourful representation of the 2020/2021 school year.

"Obviously I'm really excited. I'm glad I could be apart of it and the title could be named for Calvin Christian, so I'm really proud to be apart of that," says Ayda Ehler, a grade 11 student. 

The contest was put on by a printing company in Altona, called Friesens Printing. Tim Toews, Ayda's teacher, was the cartoon inspiration for the person in the drawing, going through the seasons.

Read more


Music is ministry for local missionary from Uganda

Music is a powerful tool for communicating and one local artist has made it his mission to spread the gospel through his songs. 

Nixon Katabira, born in Uganda, now lives in Winkler with his wife and their four children. 

"I was born and raised in Uganda in a small town, between two cities. I was raised by a single mom. My mom was Catholic but she allowed me to go to a Pentecostal church. My career in music started developing then," says Katabira.

Read more


Daycares to get boost from province for inclusivity projects

Licenced child care businesses in the province can apply for a grant worth up to $25,000 to make improvements to their space.

Until March 30, people can apply to receive a grant from the new Child Care Sustainability Trust. This trust, worth $11.5 million,  is being established to aid with one-time improvement purchases.

“By providing grants that support a diverse variety of facility needs, this new trust will help ensure flexible and quality child-care services are available to Manitoba families as we continue to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic together," Families Minister Rochelle Squires says.

Read more


'Hooked' on crocheting dolls for children in emergency situations

A local retired nurse has now crocheted almost 2,000 Izzy dolls for children who've gone through war or natural disasters.

"My cousin was involved in a charity, Days for Girls Springfield, and she was sewing for them. She knows I crochet so she's always looking for something for me to do. She sent me this pattern and asked me if I wanted to make dolls for this charity," says Shelby Sturby. "I was hooked."

That was back in December of 2018 and she hasn't stopped since. 

Read more

Church gathering size restrictions loosening to 25% max capacity

Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer is explaining what the next steps for worship space reopenings are.

On Friday, places of worship will be able to reopen for regular services at 25 per cent capacity, matching the capacity limit percentage for most other places across the province. Places of worship will be limited to 100 people in the facility at one time.

This will be in effect for three weeks, until March 25.

Read more

World Evangelical Alliance inducts new leader

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) completed on February 27 the handover to the new Secretary General, Thomas Schirrmacher (Germany).

In an online event, the outgoing leader Efraim Tendero (Philippines) handed Thomas Schirrmacher a globe of the world and a Bible.

The ceremony included greetings and prayers of Evangelical Alliance representatives from different parts of the world. Schirrmacher was introduced with a biographic video, and gave a first speech responding to the question: “What is an evangelical?”

Read more

Life coaches helping the everyday woman 'emerge' into greatness

Two local friends, previously youth pastors together, are offering courses and events for women to "kick fear in the face". 

Wendy Yates is the co-founder of Emerge Coaching and a life coach. Erin Mohr is the other co-founder. She is a certified life coach on top of an ordained licenced minister. 

"Emerge Coaching was started in 2020 with the intention to help women overcome their struggles with fear. Providing a creative, innovative way that we could reach out to women, not only in a time of pandemic but in general because we know people are struggling with fear in ways that we don't see, beneath the surface," says Mohr.

Read more

Einarson wins 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

A Manitoba rink has successfully defended its title at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Kerri Einarson along with third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur have captured the Canadian Women's Curling Championship for the second straight year.

The Gimli Curling Club foursome defeated Ontario's Rachel Homan 9-7 Sunday night in the final of the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary and collected the top prize of $100,000.

Read more


Manitoba musician champions anti-bullying message

Fourteen years ago, Travis Price and David Shepherd stood up for a fellow high school student who was being bullied simply for wearing a pink shirt. That night, both young men bought pink shirts and wore them the next day to show support for their fellow student.

That simple act of kindness and sympathy in small-town Nova Scotia has inspired an entire movement dedicated to promoting healthy self-esteem, empathy, compassion and kindness. That is the spirit behind the final Wednesday of February being named Pink Shirt Day in Canada.

Read more

Manitoba couple thankful for Canada position on China atrocities

A Manitoba couple is applauding Canada's House of Commons for declaring what is going on in China as genocide.

Gary Dyck spent ten years living in northwest China prior to accepting the role as Executive Director at Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach in 2018.

Dyck says when he moved there, he immediately noticed the systemic racism that existed within the government towards the Uighurs, which are Turkic Muslims. Relations were hostile and by 2016 there was increased security and policing in the area he lived.

Read more

Canadians turning to nature to cope with pandemic

A recent poll shows Canadians have turned to nature to help cope with the impacts of COVID-19.

A new Ipsos poll conducted for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, reveals that 94 per cent of people credit time spent in nature with helping them relieve the stress and anxiety of the pandemic's second wave.

The trend is especially prevalent among women and young families. In fact, 96 per cent of women say this is true, compared to 92 per cent of men.

Read more