Volume 22 Issue 07

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‘A neighbour to all who come’

‘We’re starting to build momentum here . . . to build relationships and have good conversations with people who wouldn’t otherwise come to our church building.’ —Pastor Lydia Crutwell, First United Mennonite Church, Vancouver (First United Mennonite Church photo)

‘Our vision is to be a community of authentic relationships in which we learn how to love God, love one another and love our neighbourhood.’ —Pastor Tim Kuepfer, Chinatown Peace Church, Vancouver (Chinatown Peace Church photo)

‘God is already working in the neighbourhood. How do we as churches follow?’ —Pastor Anna Marie Geddert, Jubilee Mennonite Church, Winnipeg (Jubilee Mennonite Church photo)

Mennonites have always been known as a migrant people, whether moving from Switzerland to North America, from the Netherlands to Prussia and Ukraine, and from Europe to South America and eventually to Canada.

‘Our missionaries’

More than a decade ago, my family and I were privileged to serve as church planters in southern Italy. We were Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers seconded to what is now Virginia Mennonite Mission, and were financially supported by many friends, family members and our home congregation, Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont.

Acting like adults

In a phone conversation with a friend, she reveals her struggle with an event she is planning. Given that the gathering will be held in a small space, there are a limited number of people she can invite. After telling me whom she thinks she will include, she speaks of others, those left off the guest list. “I feel badly because they might be hurt,” she sighs. “I’m not sure what to do.”

Buried treasure

Lately, I have had several conversations with people about downsizing or simplifying their estates. Some talk about rearranging their financial affairs to make life easier for their executors someday. Others face the physically and emotionally demanding task of moving from the homes they have lived in for many years to smaller, more manageable accommodations.

Steinbach windwill

Photo: Jake Peters Photo Collection / Mennonite Heritage Archives

Mennonites learned how to harness the wind while in the Netherlands, and used this knowledge in the 16th and 17th centuries in Prussia, where wind-powered mills were primarily used to pump water to drain land.  Between 1876 and ’78, four windmills were built in the Steinbach, Man., area by Mennonites.

What does ‘sorry’ mean?

During the Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy Academy on March 1, 2018, survivors were invited to paint their experiences onto canvas for others to see. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld )

During the Sixties Scoop Apology Engagement at Edmonton’s Amiskwaciy Academy on March 1, survivors were invited to paint their experiences onto canvas for others to see. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld )

“Sorry” is a very Canadian expression, but what does it mean?

To the more than 200 Sixties Scoop survivors gathered at the Amiskwaciy Academy in Edmonton on March 1, 2018, the word is problematic. The hearing is the last of six events held across Alberta by the NDP government in an effort to make an upcoming government apology meaningful.

‘Is God still messing with us?’

Donna Slobodzian of Springstein Mennonite Church was one of many delegates and attendees at this year’s Mennonite Church Manitoba annual delegate gathering in Winnipeg to rank the seven priorities for the regional church. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

During this year’s Mennonite Church Manitoba annual delegate gathering, held earlier this month at First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Dorothy Fontaine and Rick Neufeld remember those from the regional church who passed away in 2017. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Mennonite Church Manitoba)

“Is God still in the business of breaking into people’s lives? Is God still messing with us?” asked Brian Bauman during the opening worship service at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s annual general meeting. Bauman, MC Eastern Canada’s mission minister, called the people of MC Manitoba to discern where God is working in their church and what they are doing about it.

Giving the bucket list a ‘deeper’ meaning

Friends or foes? Visiting regional church executive ministers Tim Wiebe-Neufeld (MC Alberta) and David Martin (MC Eastern Canada) are part of a band of robbers attacking an innocent traveller, played by Ben Martens Bartel, during a dramatic reading of Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Ken Warkentin, outgoing MC Saskatchewan moderator, answers questions during a workshop at the regional church’s annual delegate sessions. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Victoria Neufeldt, right, of First Mennonite Church in Saskatoon, raises her hand to ask a question during a workshop on congregational partnerships at the MC Saskatchewan annual delegate sessions. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Deepening. The word resonated throughout Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s 2018 annual delegate sessions.

Psalms of lament in times of violence

Don E. Saliers, right, discusses his 2018 Rodney and Lorna Sawatzky Visiting Scholar Lecture, ‘Psalms in a difficult time: Rhythms of lament and doxology,’ with Glenn Brubacher, a retired pastor and counsellor, on Feb. 15 at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

What do we do with Psalm 137? While “Sing us one of your songs of Zion” (verse 3) rings in Christian minds as a sign of deep grief, the accompanying “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!” (verse 9) strikes most as exceedingly difficult.

‘That’s the Spirit’

Paper bead and found materials walk across the table, or form birds that will talk. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Carolyn Good ‘lights up’ one of her sculptures of found materials and paper beads. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Not your grandmother’s apple doll, this one is doing yoga to stay supple. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Paper and rose petal beads form this walking sculpture. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Talking birds, paper and rose petal beads, walking jewellery, found-art sculptures. With these and other works, Carolyn Good’s recent show at the WalterFedy-Architecture, Engineering, Construction offices on Queen Street in Kitchener showed off her Mennonite roots of reusing and recycling.

The Anthrocene revisited

‘Death and Life.’ A stump rotting away at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp speaks of a life well lived and a death creating new life. (Photo by Canadian Mennonite)

Annemarie Rogalsky’s Waterloo ‘Hinterland’ paintings, a four-season cycle, at her solo show ‘The Anthrocene Revisited’ at the Minto Gallery in Harriston, Ont., in February. (Photo by Canadian Mennonite)

Annemarie Rogalsky presents her artist’s statement at the opening of her solo show ‘The Anthrocene Revisited’ at the Minto Gallery in Harriston, Ont., on Feb. 4. (Photo by Canadian Mennonite)

‘Hope Realized.’ This painting focusses on a swamp at Rondeau Provincial Park in southern Ontario. Of no intrinsic value, it harbours the only Canadian nesting site of the Prothonotary warbler. Reflecting on this scene begs the question about hierarchies of values. (Photo by Canadian Mennonite)

‘The Case for Persons.’ This painting commemorates the 1929 British Privy Council decision that, in spite of male wording in the British North America Act, women were indeed persons. (Photo by Canadian Mennonite)

Annemarie Rogalsky, a member of First Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., had a solo show of her landscapes at the Minto Gallery in Harriston during the month of February. Of her images, she says:

Gospel songs with an edge

Jeremy Hamm and Jess Reimer have been playing music together for more than 15 years. (YouTube photo)

Doug Reimer, left, Jeremy Hamm, Tim Osmond and Jess Reimer perform at Winnipeg’s Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club. (Photo courtesy of Jess Reimer)

Down the Valley album cover

Jess Reimer recalls the first time a friend told her about Jeremy Hamm, the man who would become her musical partner and husband.

“I remember being excited there was a guy who wasn’t a senior citizen who was into bluegrass like me,” she says.

A biblical call—to justice and peacebuilding

Jessica Reesor Rempel co-founded Pastors in Exile in 2015. (Photo by John Rempel)

Jessica Reesor Rempel leads a session at PiE’s recent Winter Camp for Grown-ups’ retreat. (Photo by Jacquie Reimer)

‘I don’t think anyone else has a job quite like this,’ says Jessica Reesor Rempel, right, pictured with PiE co-founder Chris Brnjas, left, and Tamara Shantz, centre, PiE’s current pastor. (Photo by Dave Klassen)

Jessica Reesor Rempel lives in Kitchener, Ont., with her husband Steven and their daughter Anna Julian. (Photo by John Rempel)

Participants worship in Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ont., at an Easter sunrise service organized by PiE. (Photo by Dave Klassen)

Jessica Reesor Rempel enjoys bringing people together and helping them find meaning.

Christian media production done right

Josh Heida first began editing films as a high school student in Kenora, Ont. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Jon Ted Wynne portrays C.S. Lewis in a scene from The Fantasy Makers. (Photo courtesy of Josh Heida)

The Fantasy Makers features an interview with English poet, priest and scholar Malcolm Guite. (Photo courtesy of Josh Heida)

When The Fantasy Makers, a new documentary, premiered at Winnipeg’s Real to Reel Film Festival last month, the credits included the name of a young Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) student: Josh Heida.

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