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Volume 21 Issue 18

Cover Date: September 25, 2017
Volume 21, Number 18 (PDF available in 1 days)

Making space for the Spirit

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Sep 20, 2017 | 4 comments

Fourteen months have gone by since the conclusion of the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) process and the decision congregational delegates made at Assembly 2016. At the end of that seven-year process, a large majority of the delegates voted in favour of “creating space” for congregations to differ from one another when it comes to committed same-sex relationships.

Jacob’s ‘imaginary’ struggle

‘Jacob wrestling with the angel’ by Gustave Doré, 1855

Feature | By Emma Pavey | Sep 20, 2017

“The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids and his 11 children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.

Readers Write: September 25, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 20, 2017 | 1 comment

Watson’s wisdom is ‘a pernicious fable’

Re: “Wisdom, where art thou?" (Pt. 10), July 24, page 13.

A huge challenge

Willard Metzger
Viewpoints | By Willard Metzger | Sep 20, 2017

It’s a big year for Lutherans—the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. So it struck me as significant that I was invited to present a sermon and serve communion alongside a synod bishop at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s national convention in July.

Paddling down the river

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Sep 20, 2017

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my husband and I canoed on our neighborhood river. Due to extremely low water levels, the first stretch was quite challenging, not unlike some stretches of marriage. This was abundantly clear when the stern yelled, “Draw!” and the bow replied, “What’s a draw?” Immediately after, the canoe lodged on a rock.

Getting stuck happens in marriages also. Sometimes we get stuck in sweet places, in a smooth rhythm, in a happy team. Sometimes we get stuck in rocky places, in barren patches and protracted conflicts.

Mary Ann Cressman

 (Photo by James Reusser / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Sep 20, 2017

Do you recognize this “Mennonite centre”? Mary Ann Cressman, second from left, her husband Menno C., and others stand outside the family’s dry goods store at 82 King Street East, Kitchener, Ont., circa 1905. Mary Ann lost an arm in a buggy accident, but that did not deter her from becoming the “founding mother” of the Mennonite Women’s Missionary Society in Ontario during the First World War. Travelling to churches, she urged women to “take hold” of the tasks of supporting local needs, war relief and missionary efforts. Menno C.

A legacy of giving

Viewpoints | By Brad Friesen | Sep 20, 2017

A few weeks ago, we welcomed our first grandchild into the world. Amid my great joy, I have recently found myself reflecting on the incredible responsibility of raising children. Scripture advises that if we “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Focussing our fear

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Sep 20, 2017

I have a nagging thought as I sit down to write this article. It’s this: I have no idea what state our world will be in when you read this in a few weeks. Who knows what will happen between now and then?

It’s unsettling to be aware of not only the possibility—but the probability—something catastrophic will happen in the near future. Another devastating natural disaster, explosion, school shooting, war, stock market crash . . . the possibilities are endless. Any or all of these could happen before this article goes to print.

Tears shed over the closing of Riverdale Mennonite

Troy Watson, former pastor of Riverdale Mennonite Church, points out into the congregation, naming congregants who had welcomed and discipled him when he began to ministry there 19 years ago. Watson was one of the guests speaking at the congregation’s closing service on Aug. 20, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 20, 2017

After 71 years of faithful service, Riverdale Mennonite Church closed its doors on Aug. 31, 2017. The building is being taken over by the Berean Community Church, which assumed ownership and took over the charter of the congregation on Sept. 1.

Meeting the Creator in creation

Wendy Janzen at one of the locations Burning Bush Forest Church has worshipped in Breithaupt Park in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 20, 2017

Imagine deciding on Saturday that you want to begin a new congregation the next day. Then add to that the plan to meet outdoors in Canada on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.

To Wendy Janzen’s surprise, an enthusiastic group of 15 was ready to do just that on Dec. 29, 2014. Janzen was finishing up a sabbatical from her half-time position at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church at the time and had become intrigued by the idea of worshipping in nature.

Fast for Indigenous human rights

Steve Heinrichs, director of MC Canada’s Indigenous relations, is fasting in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through Bill C-262. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | Sep 20, 2017

Bill C-262 is a big deal. So big, that some are taking up a fast in the days leading up to the bill’s debate in the House of Commons.

One of those people is Steve Heinrichs. As director of  Indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, Heinrichs began a fast on Sept. 13, 2017. Choosing Sept. 13 to start the fast is no accident. That’s the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the UN General Assembly.

Raising peacemakers

Children, along with their leaders Gabby Martin, far left, and Kerstyn Liddle, far right, participate in MCC Saskatchewan’s 2017 Raise the Peace 2017. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 20, 2017

Summer camp is a great experience for many children. For participants in Raise the Peace Camp, it is an opportunity to have fun while learning about peacebuilding.

Raise the Peace is a day camp for children between 9 and 13. It’s offered by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, and is primarily for children from Saskatoon’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood.

Principal hits mid-life, takes to pulpit

Cheryl Braun (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Braun)

God at work in Us | By Will Braun | Sep 20, 2017 | 2 comments

After 23 good years as a teacher and principal, Cheryl Braun asked herself a simple question: “What does the last part of my career look like?” Would she stay the course or risk change?

As Braun (no relation to the author) considered this over several months with a small support group, she eventually asked herself, “If I’m going to make a change, why not explore a big change?”

Last January, she resigned as principal of Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in Gretna, Man., effective in July. She was excited, nervous and committed. Possibilities and uncertainty lay ahead.

‘The price for your glory is their suffering!’

A scene from Silence. (Paramount Pictures still)

Artbeat | By Vic Thiessen | Sep 20, 2017

Why is God so silent? Why doesn’t God hear the prayers and stop the endless suffering of believers? These are the questions that lie behind the title of Martin Scorsese’s epic film about Jesuit priests in Japan in 1640.

Spanish translation slated for Menno Simons biography

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 20, 2017

Despite Menno Simons’ significant influence in northern Europe during Anabaptism’s infancy in the 16th century, and his name living on by having the Mennonite church named after him, relatively little is known about his early life and his conversion from Catholicism to Anabaptism.

Syrian ‘souls’ at the Edmonton Fringe

Cast members of Souls at the Edmonton Fringe Festival pictured from left to right: Shawn Prasad (Eli), Amena Shehab (ghost), Ginin Alyousef (Ginin)  and playwright, Aksam Alyousef. Missing: Sarah Spicer (Hanna). (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Artbeat | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Sep 20, 2017

Sometimes bridges built between faith communities are quite literally dramatic.

Donna Entz, Mennonite Church Alberta’s community outreach worker who strives to build better relationships between Christians and other faiths, played the part of one of several background connectors helping to piece together the people and stories that brought a play telling of displaced Palestinians to the stage at the 2017 Edmonton Fringe Festival in August.

Hard work pays off

Chloe Penner competed in mountain bike and road bike competitions at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo by Paul Reimer)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 20, 2017

One of the biggest events in Winnipeg in recent months was the 2017 Canada Summer Games. From July 28 to Aug. 13, 2017, 4,000 young athletes from across the country competed in a variety of sports. It was the 50th anniversary of the Games, and drew an estimated 20,000 visitors to the city. Canadian Mennonite spoke with three young people from Winnipeg about their involvement.

Chloe Penner
Chloe Penner represented Manitoba in both the mountain bike and road bike competitions at the Games.

‘Over and over again, day by day’

Sarah Moesker, front row right, and her fellow companions share the daily rhythm of the sisters’ life. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 20, 2017

When Sarah Moesker began asking herself how she could deepen her faith, living in an Anglican convent for almost a year was the answer.

Moesker, a student at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, spent September 2016 to the end of this past July in the Companions on the Way program, during which she and a group of other young women lived in residence alongside members of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in Toronto.

Imitating Jesus on the Migrant Trail

David Bonilla, a former Mennonite Brethren pastor from Colombia, walks the Migrant Trail in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, bearing a cross to bring attention to the deaths of migrants traversing the U.S.-Mexico border. See story on back cover. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Saulo Padilla)

Back Page | By Danielle Gonzales and Karla Braun | Sep 20, 2017

“Our Anabaptist history is intrinsically tied to migration, and so is our Christian story,” says Saulo Padilla, immigration education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. “We must keep challenging the narratives that separate us, build borders and invite us to dehumanize others.”