Volume 22 Issue 02

‘Serving the Lord with gladness’

Opening of the MCC Ontario building in 1964. Pictured from left to right: MCC executive secretary William Snyder, Fred Nighswander, Henry H. Epp and Abner Cressman. (Kitchener-Waterloo Record file photo / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

When Kathy Hildebrand attended the 1969 annual MCC meeting, she commented to executive secretary William Snyder, ‘I didn’t come to shop at Marshall Field! I came to hear what MCC is doing.’ (Burton Buller photo / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

William Snyder, MCC’s executive secretary, left, congratulates the retired Orie O. Miller, MCC executive secretary emeritus, at a dinner honouring him on his 75th birthday at the 1968 annual meeting of MCC in Chicago. (CM photograph collection / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

When the indomitable Orie O. Miller retired from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in 1958, there was a lot of speculation about who would fill his big shoes. In Miller’s mind, though, that question had been settled years earlier, when he chose, out of the rich Civilian Public Service (CPS) talent pool, the unpresumptuous William Thomas Snyder to be his associate.

Collective Kitchen involves all abilities

Nancy Kube and Krista Loewen co-edited the new cookbook, One Big Table: Recipes from Friends of L’Arche Collective Kitchen.

The act of eating and preparing food is my greatest joy. Creating the dance of different flavours upon my palate is a spiritual experience. Robert Farror Capon writes in The Supper of the Lamb, “Food and cooking are among the richest subjects in the world. Every day of our lives, they preoccupy, delight and refresh us . . . Both stop us dead in our tracks with wonder.

Singing off the wall

Photo courtesy of the United Church Publishing House / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

The phrase “singing off the wall,” referring to singing from projected words rather than a hymn book, first appeared in Canadian Mennonite in 2010. This image shows that the practice went back much further. Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., recently donated a collection of glass “lantern slides” probably in use circa 1924-45.

Creating a mission partnership web

Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers George and Tobia Veith, right, receive thanks for their training work from local partners (names withheld). (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Jeanette Hanson, left, and Yin Hongtao, with his back to the camera, interview potential Mennonite Central Committee International Volunteer Exchange Program candidates from China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Jeanette Hanson, left, Wang Jing, Sun Zili and Huang Gexin discuss the progress Sun Zili's granddaughter is making in the New Hope speech therapy kindergarten run by Wang Jing. Former Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker Huang Gexin remains committed to this school and provides support during his retirement. MCC provides grants for teacher training and support of students. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Dr. Wang Xuefu, second from left, and Sun Wen, second from right, directors of the Zhimian Institute counselling centre, talk with Yin Hongtao, left, and Jeanette Hanson of Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Zhang Wenli, left, a teacher and speech therapist from the New Hope speech therapy kindergarten, describes the training process for this preschool student (name withheld) to help prepare her for primary school, to Jeanette Hanson. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

What does mission look like in a country where the church is well established? From Jeanette Hanson’s point of view it’s a web of interconnected relationships.

Jesus isn’t talking to you

‘The Sermon on the Mount’ by Carl Bloch, 1877

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?

‘We need the peace theology’

Vi Phounsavath leads worship at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Sunday morning Bible Study at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church, led by Ongath Phounsavath, seated centre. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Worship display at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church. Note the towel and basin given to the congregation by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada on the congregation’s full membership last April. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

A potluck lunch at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church includes pad thai, red curry and other ‘comfort’ foods. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Chinda Kommala is a serious Mennonite Church Eastern Canada booster. From the beginning of the Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church’s life, he has been relating to the regional church and encouraging others to do the same. “We need the emphasis on peace theology,” he says, remembering the years of war back in Laos between various factions.

Ten years of being good news

Kingsfield-Clinton celebrated its 10th anniversary on Nov. 5, 2017, with cake. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)

Stephanie Hammar, Kelly Lubbers, Nancy Huber and Derek Huber visit as part of a weekly potluck, which, on Nov. 5, 2017, formed part of Kingsfield-Clinton’s 10th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)

Joel Siebert and Travis Lubbers play guitar for worship as part of Kingsfield-Clinton’s 10th anniversary celebration on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)

A decade ago, Zurich (Ont.) Mennonite Church, which was formed in 1908 by those who did not want to keep the restrictive dress code of the nearby Blake Amish Mennonite congregation, renamed itself Kingsfield-Zurich. Around the same time, it “multiplied” itself by spawning the nearby Kingsfield-Clinton congregation. Both congregations are in Huron County along Lake Huron.

Farmers, thinkers, eaters

Field day at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Harvesting grain as part of a long-term organic crop rotation study at the University of Manitoba's Glenlea research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Laura, the sheep, participating in an organic cover crop grazing study at the University of Manitoba's Carman research farm. (Photo courtesy of Natural Systems Agriculture, University of Manitoba)

Agriculture is changing. Perhaps it always has been. Markets realign. Tastes shift. Ideas evolve. Climatic conditions rearrange.

Mennonites are part of the change—as farmers, thinkers and eaters. 

Myanmar on the Move

Ashlyn Shantz of Heidelberg, Ont., right, shares a meal together with a local in the village of Win Poat, Myanmar. (Photo by Byron Shantz)

The Myanmar on the Move team stops for a water break and photo. The scenery throughout Kayin State is stunning. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)

The 20 cyclists on last fall’s Myanmar on the Move fundraising tour stop at a craft village along the way, meeting the artisans who build these products from teak wood. (Photo by Byron Shantz)

Two men at work in one of many rice paddies in Myanmar’s Kayin State that the MEDA group cycled past during its fundraising trip. Farmers and villagers often wave and shout ‘thank you’ even though they have no idea why we are there. The people in Myanmar are extremely friendly and welcoming. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)

On a cultural stop along the way, Peter Dueck, in the green vest, stands outside the Saddan Cave in front of a white ‘royal elephant’ waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Inside the cave are dozens of Buddha statues and pagodas. (Photo by Dean Shoemaker)

Ken Frey, from the Drayton, Ont., area, in the Canada shirt, and Dean Shoemaker, ahead of him in black, pedal past Buddhist monks during a MEDA-sponsored ‘Myanmar on the move’ fundraising tour last November. Read Byron Shantz’s reflection of the tour and see more photos beginning on page 16. (Photo by Byron Shantz)

When I originally told friends and family of my intention to travel with my family to Myanmar, I was challenged with the idea of a known global-crisis country as a travel destination. However, we were completely removed from any threat of the Rohingya genocide crisis in the northwest of the country.

‘More significant than my age’

Thomas Coldwell is the new executive director of MCC Alberta. (Photo by Angela Bennett)

Thomas Coldwell, pictured in Kampala, Uganda, this past July, learned about the Anabaptist faith as an undergraduate. (Photo by Leah Ettarh)

Thomas Coldwell replaced Abe Janzen as executive director of MCC Alberta last month. (Photo by Angela Bennett)

‘We want to be thoughtful in the way we do our work,’ says Thomas Coldwell, pictured talking with Cecile Sanou. Sanou volunteered with an MCC partner in Soroti, Uganda, during 2016-17. (Photo by Leah Ettarh)

MCC’s work is inspired by the greatest commandment, says Thomas Coldwell, pictured walking in Hebron this past November with MCC worker Seth Malone. (Photo by Don Klaassen)

Five years ago, Thomas Coldwell knew very little about Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Today, he’s the executive director of MCC Alberta.

More than a label

Steph Chandler Burns recently served as interim pastor at Bloomingdale (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘Sometimes I feel invisible in my journey as a queer person,’ says Steph Chandler Burns, pictured with Greg, her partner. (Photo courtesy of Steph Chandler Burns)

Steph Chandler Burns, front row second from left, graduated with a master of theological studies degree from Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., this past fall. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

‘We miss so much by putting a label on a person,’ Steph Chandler Burns says. ‘You can’t just limit one person to one piece of who they are.’ (Photo courtesy of Steph Chandler Burns)

For Steph Chandler Burns of Kitchener, Ont., talking about her faith journey means talking about coming out as a queer individual.

“I am a bisexual woman and I am a woman created in God’s image, and knowing those two things alongside each other has taught me a lot about who I am in God,” she says.

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