Volume 21 Issue 7

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Farewell, my friends

It’s been a good eight-year ride, my friends, with a few bumps along the way. I will miss this biweekly meeting with you on the second page of Canadian Mennonite. While it’s been a monologue, I have felt it had the makings of a dialogue, of one friend sharing thoughts with another friend. I have tried to make it more of a conversation than a lecture.

Dependent on God’s mercy

‘The Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector’ (acrylic on canvas, detail), artwork by Rebecca Brogan, John the Baptist Artworks, Tasmania (jtbarts.com), used by permission.

‘Parable of the Pharisee and the publican,’ by Claes Jansz, 1643

When Dan Kehler is not actively leading the Altona Mennonite congregation, he can often be seen cycling the highways of southern Manitoba. (Mennonite Church Canada file photo)

A Pharisee and a tax collector
This parable of Jesus seems self-evident. It compares the attitude of two men’s prayers: a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee’s seems rather arrogant, while the tax collector’s only petition is of God’s mercy. The Pharisee’s self-centred prayer is all about his supposed place in God’s favour. The tax collector’s prayer is humbly centred on God. In the end, it is only the prayer of the humble one that God hears with favour. For only the tax collector goes home justified; that is, he is made right with God.

Unveiling secrets

One day my normally cheerful, no-nonsense coworker surprised, or I should say shocked, me. She suddenly and briefly opened the door to her past, a dangerous time of war and famine.

“Those days were horrible,” she said fiercely in a low voice. “Things were so bad, they ate people. We never speak of them.”

Just as suddenly, the door swung shut, and she turned away from me and toward other tasks. I was young and curious, but I knew not to pursue her or the topic.

Giving as protest

Does the headline for this article pique your curiosity or does it irritate you? The word “protest” often evokes strong positive or negative emotions. Like it or not, we seem to be in a time marked by protests of one kind or another.

Beyond giving as duty, the Bible offers us an array of metaphors for giving that can move us to live more generously. The story of the widow’s offering told in the gospels of Mark and Luke offers us one of those metaphors.

Coaldale Nurses

Photo: MB Herald Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

This photo of six nurses from Coaldale, Alta., and the surrounding area was taken in the 1950s. Pictured from left to right: M. Willms, H. Toews, M. Dick and H. Reimer of Coaldale, with M. Janzen of Pincher Creek and M. Dyck of Grassy Lake. Can anyone provide first names of the people pictured? The medical field was an area in which Mennonite women found public service careers. Aiding people in need fit well with Mennonite sensibilities for service.

archives.mhsc.ca/coaldale-nurses

It’s time to do ‘something constructive together’

Worship band members from Elmira’s Zion Mennonite Fellowship lead singing at the Evangelical Anabaptist Partners worship gathering at Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont., on Jan. 15, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Evangelical Anabaptist Partners (EAP) is a loosely affiliated group of pastors and lay people from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada who have been gathering regularly for worship, mutual encouragement, fellowship and discussion about their mission in the world.

At a recent monthly Sunday evening gathering at Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont., Craig Frere, the host pastor, challenged the 90 people present to have a faith that extended beyond Sundays into the whole week, “being good news to others” and “being the church on the way” through life.

MC Saskatchewan ‘extends the table’

The Gospel According to Food, a play written and performed by members of Pleasant Point Mennonite Church, encourages MC Saskatchewan delegates to re-examine their relationship with food. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The Saskatunes performed during MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The bread and the cup graced the communion table at Nutana Park Mennonite Church during MC Saskatchewan’s recent annual delegate sessions, along with jars of preserves and a basket of corn reflecting the event’s theme: ‘Extending the table: Enough for all.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Nutana Park Mennonite Church delegates, from left to right, Brent Gunther, Susanne Guenther Loewen, Mat Rouleau and Gordon Peters, discussed proposed changes to the structure of MC Canada. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Susanne Gunther Loewen reminded those at MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions that “’our God is generous, welcoming, always making room for more at the table.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Wilmer Froese, left, representing the Rosthern and District Food Bank, listens as Joe Munroe of Muskoday First Nation talks about how issues of food insecurity impact indigenous people. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

“Extending the table: Enough for all.” That was the theme chosen for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions this year, and as delegates and guests broke bread together, literally and metaphorically, they found there was indeed enough for all.

Held March 10 and 11, 2017, at Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon, the sessions were co-hosted by the Nutana Park and Pleasant Point Mennonite congregations.

MEI student dies on ski trip

Julian Osis

A school outing turned to tragedy on March 3, 2017, when a student from Mennonite Educational Institute (MEI) in Abbotsford died during a ski trip to Whistler Blackcomb ski resort.

Reports said an unresponsive male was found at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain after he was reported missing in the afternoon. The student’s name was not officially released to news media, but links on the MEI website identified him as Julian Osis, 14.

‘Being like a family’

Byron Rempel-Burkholder, centre, leads a workshop at the MC Manitoba annual general meeting in early March in Winkler focussing on the Israel-Palestine resolution passed at last summer’s national church assembly. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

Mennonite Church Manitoba gave its final comments on the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 process, which has dominated public attention since last summer, at the area church’s annual general meeting held the first weekend in March 2017, at Winkler Mennonite Church.

In an official statement, “Responding to BFC 7,” the area church “recognizes and endorses the recommendations” of the BFC Task Force, commending local congregations to continue in prayer, study and humble mutual respect:

A ‘manufactured narrative’?

“Moral selectivity is worse than immorality,” insisted Omar Ramahi, a Muslim Canadian invited to address an adult Sunday school class at Waterloo (Ont.) North Mennonite Church recently, to give his perspective on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He was referring to the biblical narrative that justifies occupation and injustice as a “manufactured narrative.”

A voice from ‘outside the gate’

Victor and Rebecca Fast, left, and Martha and Paul Snyder meet to share the story of the Parents Group (of LGBTQ children), which they had been members of for 30 years before disbanding it last fall. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

“We are exhausted.”

So say members of a group of Mennonite parents of LGBTQ children, who met together for 30 years to worship, pray, exchange stories and support each other and their children, of their decision to call it quits last fall, as age and changing times have taken their toll.

Evangelistic work still paying dividends today

Bible study in the Martins’ basement apartment in 1958. Pictured from left to right: Pauline Reesor, Marc Reesor, Christian Chano, Deborah Martin, Harold Reesor and Mr. Chano from France, their first contact. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Tilman Martin in October 2016, at age 89. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Tilman Martin knocks on doors as he begins to plant a church in Montreal Nord in 1958. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

House in Ville Lemoyne on Montreal’s South Shore, where the Martins lived while studying French. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Harold Reesor and Tilman Martin in the chapel at 11123 L’Archeveque, Montreal, in 1960. Reesor built the pulpit. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Pictured from left to right: Harold and Pauline Reesor, with Janet and Tilman Martin, holding their daughter Deborah, at the front entrance of the Institute Biblique de Montreal in Longueuil, where they studied French from 1956 to 1957. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Pauline and Harold Reesor and Tilman Martin in their basement apartment on Avenue Lamoureux, Montreal, in 1957. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Picture taken after a morning English service at the chapel entrance in 1962; there was also an evening French service. The Martins, including daughter Deborah, are in the back row. Harold Reesor is at left in the front row. (Photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Tilman Martin turned 90 on Jan. 3, 2017. He is the last of the four original church planters sent from Ontario to Quebec in 1956 whose work continues to pay dividends to this day. The other original planters were the late Harold (d. March 12, 2017) and Pauline (d. April 6, 1980) Reesor from Wideman Mennonite Church in Markham; and Janet (Mills) Martin (d. July 29, 2002) from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church.

Step back in history

Brubacher House was built in 1850 in a style typical of Pennsylvania German architecture. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

Joshua and Laura Enns took over as hosts of Brubacher House in Waterloo, Ont., on Feb. 1, 2017. (Photo by Aurrey Drake)

Laura and Joshua Enns were inspired to work at Brubacher House after volunteering with the Iona Community in Scotland.(Photo by Aurrey Drake)

Joshua Enns goes through less than two kilograms of flour each week baking bread for himself and his wife Laura. By comparison, the original inhabitants of the house they live in went through 45 kilos.

Playing for fun and credit

Anna Lysack has played the violin for 15 years. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Originally a rock drummer, Matt Schellenberg is one of two percussionists in the Mennonite Community Orchestra. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Dayna Wiebe had never played in an orchestra prior to joining the Mennonite Community Orchestra. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Legendary rock ‘n’ roll drummers Keith Moon and Neil Peart inspired Matt Schellenberg to get into percussion, but it’s Bach and Beethoven that he will be playing when he performs next month.

Schellenberg is one of a handful of young adults who are members of the Mennonite Community Orchestra (MCO) in Winnipeg. The MCO is the orchestra-in-residence at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and consists of more than 50 professional and amateur musicians; it will perform its annual spring concert on April 9, 2017, in the chapel at CMU.

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