Volume 22 Issue 08

Ugly stories

Virginia Hostetler

I don’t like the cover of today’s issue. I don’t want to see it lying on my coffee table. You probably don’t either. At the top, a large uniformed man wields a whip, as armed soldiers ride toward a house below. Red and yellow flames shoot up in the background.

When will we say we need you?

“While I don’t want to give the impression that the West has no gifts to offer the global church, too often we assume that it is our wealth and our wisdom that will be the world’s greatest salvation.” (Art: ‘Christ and the Rich Young Ruler’ by Heinrich Hofmann)

“What could I—a white, wealthy evangelical Anglophone—say that would be meaningful or relevant to a congregation of poor Mexican Pentecostals?” (Photo courtesy of Michael Thomas)

‘Without understanding there is no basis for compassionate change or the possibility of partnership.’ —First Nations theologian Richard Twiss, 1954-2013 (2010 file photo by Gerry Sportak)

One Church, Many Faces, a book by Richard Twiss

Immediately after finishing with undergraduate school in 2008, I went down to Mexico to help translate for a mission trip that my mom and younger brother were taking with my church’s youth group.

Ordinary discipleship

How comfortable are you with change? Change seems to be the most consistent “unchanging” reality of our lives. We are always experiencing change. Thankfully many, or even most, of the changes we experience are small or gradual, like the steady change in my hair colour to ever-more grey!

Confession of a ‘road rage pastor’

I’ve had a bit of a road rage problem. It peeves me when I need to throw on the brakes because another vehicle pulled out in front of me. Sadly, too often my reaction has been to tailgate, eventually pass and possibly toot my horn. I tell myself that I’m helping the other motorist see his error so he might become a better driver—or she, as the case may be. My dear wife is not convinced.

Tending and befriending

Members of the Mennonite Women Manitoba working group, from left to right: Laura Funk, Elsie Rempel, Larissa Pahl, Elsie Wiebe and Kathy Giesbrecht. (Photo courtesy of Elsie Rempel)

From time immemorial—as the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi illustrates—developing friendships and tending relationships have often been a woman’s “go-to, our have-to, our live for,” especially during times of stress. In the current season of stressful change within Mennonite Church Canada, tending relationships may be especially important to the health of the church.

Bridging Borders in the ‘City of Bridges’

As depicted in Wavelength Entertainment’s series, Bridging Borders, a group of friends from Saskatoon’s Nutana neighbourhood sponsors a family from Sudan. Sponsors and newcomers quickly become friends. (Bridging Borders Facebook page)

In the third episode of Bridging Borders, Dana Krushel, left, MCC Saskatchewan’s migration and resettlement coordinator, connects a Syrian woman with a sponsorship group who help her family come to Canada. Kushel and the woman laugh together at the airport as they await the arrival of the woman’s family. (Bridging Borders Facebook page)

In each episode of Bridging Borders, Dana Krushel, left, MCC Saskatchewan’s migration and resettlement coordinator, welcomes sponsored families and tells them they are no longer refugees but permanent residents of Canada. (Bridging Borders Facebook page)

A new television documentary series featuring the work of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan is currently airing on City-Saskatchewan TV.

MC Alberta celebrates a ‘church born anew’

Ryan Siemens, left, and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive ministers for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan and Alberta, respectively, exchanged visits to each other’s annual assemblies to support and encourage the work of collaboration between regions in the new MC Canada structure. Siemens is wearing a Saskatchewan Roughrider jersey purchased for him by a spontaneous collection at a Saskatchewan gathering. Wiebe-Neufeld, not wanting to take any sides in a Calgary/Edmonton rivalry, diplomatically borrowed a Lethbridge Hurricanes uniform to represent Alberta in the photo op! (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada’s executive minister, helps himself to the Syrian feast at MC Alberta’s annual assembly last month. The food was prepared by Syrians welcomed to Canada over the last several years by Lethbridge Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Many members of the Bethel International Church Oromo Edmonton Congregation travelled to Lethbridge to be welcomed into membership of Mennonite Church Alberta. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

At the last minute, Lethbridge Mennonite Church had to scramble to host the 2018 Mennonite Church Alberta delegate assembly. Already working hard to finish entrance and meeting room renovations, a burst water pipe flooded the church basement just a week before the March 16-17 gathering.

Singing into the future

Paul Dueck and Darryl Neustaedter Barg lead singing at the new worship and song collection fundraiser held at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg earlier this year. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Marilyn Houser Hamm leads the congregation at Winnipeg’s Douglas Mennonite Church in singing ‘What is This Place.’ (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

More than 80 people gathered at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg on March 11 to sing together and raise funds for the new Mennonite worship and song collection. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Music is an integral part of Mennonite worship. Whether it’s in church, at camp, at school or in everyday activities, songs have been faithful companions to Mennonites for centuries.

Different stages

‘I understand God through inspiration,’ says writer Johnny Wideman of Stouffville, Ont. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

Writing short stories has been different than writing plays for Wideman, pictured here with one of his Theatre of the Beat colleagues, Rebecca Steiner. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

‘With Theatre of the Beat, I know who my audience is,’ says Johnny Wideman, pictured here performing in This Will Lead to Dancing. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

To Aid Digestion book cover (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

Most people know Johnny Wideman as a playwright and the artistic director for Theatre of the Beat, the social justice-oriented troupe behind plays like This Will Lead to Dancing and Yellow Bellies. Now Wideman has released To Aid Digestion, a collection of 26 original short stories and poems.

Converting to Catholicism

James DeGurse attends Holy Cross Roman Catholic Parish in Winnipeg. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘I’ve come to really like things like icons and crucifixes as ways to help me pray,’ James DeGurse says. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘At CMU, I’m surrounded by people who take faith seriously,’ says James DeGurse, centre, with fellow students Marnie Klassen and Kenny Wollmann. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

It’s not every day you meet a Mennonite whose faith journey has led him to the Catholic church, but that’s James DeGurse’s story.

Baptized as an infant in the Anglican church, DeGurse spent his formative years at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. After worshipping at an Anglican church for a year or two, he began attending a Catholic church at the age of 18.

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