Young Voices

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From Goshen to Peru and back again

An accomplished singer, guitarist and fiddler, Sadie Gustafson-Zook is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz voice. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

Sadie Gustafson-Zook released her album I'm Not Here last summer. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

Sadie Gustafson-Zook released her album I’m Not Here last summer. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

I’m Not Here features artwork by Canadian artist Dona Park.

Born in Portland, Ore., and raised in Goshen, Ind., singer-songwriter Sadie Gustafson-Zook is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz voice at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass.

Accessing different realms of musical exploration

Luke Nickel recently completed a PhD in music composition at Bath Spa University in England. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Luke Nickel co-founded Winnipeg's Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival while studying at the University of Manitoba. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Pianist Everett Hopfner performs one of Luke Nickel's pieces at the 2017 edition of Cluster. (Photo by Leif Norman)

The Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival aims to bridge the gap between new music, dance and visual art. (Photo by Aaron Sivertson)

'We started thinking, how can we make a music festival that . . . gets everyone excited about experimental new work?' Luke Nickel says. (Photo courtesy of Cluster)

Since Luke Nickel was young, his parents instilled in him the value of thinking critically. He recalls one conversation—the exact topic escapes him—during which his father said to him and his siblings, “I don’t care what you think about it, as long as you think about it.”

‘The tensions of taking Scripture seriously’

James DeGurse, centre, a Roman Catholic, finds value in reading the Bible communally. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Braden Siemens’s take on Scripture is informed by attending both Pentecostal and Anglican churches. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Claire Hanson, Braden Siemens, James DeGurse, Marnie Klassen and Kenny Wollmann share their views of Scripture at CMU on Feb. 5, 2018. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

‘What actually does the Bible tell us?’ CMU professor Dan Epp-Tiessen, left, asks during his introductory remarks. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Scripture is a massive, ancient, messy archive of God’s relationship with humanity that many claim to interpret correctly.

But with such diverse understandings of the Bible, how can Christians approach it with humility while granting God’s words authority over their lives? How can young people take Scripture seriously in an increasingly secularized world?

An openness to learning is the first step

An ally holds a sign at the Winnipeg Women’s March in January 2018. ‘We need to acknowledge the fact that we are not presently equal,’ Kim Penner says. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Kim Penner holds a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Kim Penner)

Kim Penner with Marilyn Legge, her PhD advisor, at Penner’s graduation last November. (Photo courtesy of Kim Penner)

Participants make their way along Main Street as part of the Winnipeg Women’s March. ‘There is clearly a lot to learn right now, and it’s really being open to learning that is the first step,’ Kim Penner says. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Kim Penner graduated last November with a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Canadian Mennonite called Penner at her home in Waterloo, Ont., to ask her about her dissertation, “Discipleship as erotic peacemaking: Toward a feminist Mennonite theo-ethics of embodiment and sexuality,” and what her work has to offer the Mennonite church.

Unfiltered Falk

The Generational Gaps DVD features 70 minutes of material Matt Falk developed after the release of his first album, Apple Pie & Scars. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

Comedian Matt Falk’s first-ever DVD, Generational Gaps, is in stores on Feb. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

Matt Falk has performed across North America with veteran comics like Gilbert Gottfried and Dave Coulier. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

‘It feels amazing,’ Matt Falk says of the upcoming release of Generational Gaps on DVD. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

For most comedians, delivering unfiltered material means cursing a blue streak. For Matt Falk, it means something else entirely.

On the court and in the classroom

Growing up in Morris, Man., Jessica Edel played sports starting in elementary school. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

Jessica Edel is a first-year student at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

‘Your team starts to act as a second family,’ writes Jessica Edel (No. 9). ‘They always have your back.’ (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

Growing up just south of Winnipeg in Morris, Man., I was involved in sports starting in elementary school. I participated in many school sports but invested most of my time in basketball, playing competitively from Grade 5 until Grade 11.

Caught in the tension between belief and fear

‘Praying hands at sea’ by Tinus Badenhorst. ( photo)

Moses Falco is the pastor of Sterling Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Moses Falco)

Time is a significantly gracious yet controlling dynamic. It’s a dimension from which we cannot escape, but our experience of it varies depending on our context. We move from day to day, month to month, year to year, growing older and hopefully wiser, sometimes caught off guard by the realization that time doesn’t wait for our approval.

‘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.

A space odyssey

AlbertaSat members, including Taryn Haluza-Delay, second from right, met with former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, centre, this past October. (Photo courtesy of Taryn Haluza-Delay)

Taryn Haluza-Delay had a hand in building Ex-Alta 1, Alberta’s first orbiting satellite. ( photo)

Taryn Haluza-Delay is studying engineering physics at the University of Alberta. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

For most people who dream of exploring outer space, the dream dies before they reach adulthood. That’s not the case for Taryn Haluza-Delay.

The 20-year-old Edmonton resident, who attends First Mennonite Church and is currently a third-year engineering physics student at the University of Alberta, hopes to one day become an astronaut.

‘I’m aware of my sin and my need for a Saviour’

Matthew Kopperud, right, spent 2017 touring with his Close Talker bandmates Will Quiring and Chris Morien. (Photo courtesy of Close Talker)

Close Talker’s latest album, Lens, came out on Nevado Records last April. (Photo courtesy of Close Talker)

‘It’s the greatest investment you can make,’ Matthew Kopperud says of going to Bible school. (Photo courtesy of Close Talker)

2017 was a big year for Matthew Kopperud. The 25-year-old guitarist toured across North America and Europe with his band Close Talker in support of its most recent album, Lens

Finding shelter from the cold

What started as a simple book club has become a place of deep friendship and support for a group of Winnipeg women. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

‘The novels, essays, memoirs and graphic novels I’ve read this year have challenged me immeasurably, and I’ve grown as a result,’ Rachel Bergen writes. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

The Feminist Book Club took a trip to a friend’s cabin in May to rest, recharge, connect and talk about Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Some members of the Feminist Book Club took part in a women’s march in Winnipeg this past January to raise awareness about violence against women and to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Rachel Bergen never anticipated that the Feminist Book Club would become such an important part of her life. (Photo by James Souder)

I remember the day well. It was Nov. 8, 2016. Donald Trump, whose behaviour as a sexual predator has been widely reported, had just been elected as president of the United States. I felt the wind knocked out of me and, honestly, it felt like the world was ending. 

The time is now

Attiya meets with Steve, her abusive ex-boyfriend, in the documentary A Better Man. (National Film Board photo)

Steve and Attiya, pictured here in the early 1990s, show in A Better Man that all men can become better if they choose to. (National Film Board photo)

In the remarkable documentary, A Better Man, released earlier this year, filmmaker Attiya Khan documents her meeting with Steve (no last name), her ex-boyfriend who abused her daily more than 20 years ago.

Winding down

A group of young adults who formed in response to proposed changes to Mennonite Church Canada (now dubbed the nationwide church) has disbanded.

The Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) announced its closing in a statement posted to its website on Oct. 31, two-and-a-half weeks after MC Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg.

Hard work pays off

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.

Youth wanted

Members of the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) are hoping that financial assistance and special events aimed specifically at high school students will encourage youth to attend Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly next month.


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