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The downside of digital

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 07, 2015

Some days I would like to just unplug my computer, walk out into the sunshine and warmth of an autumn day, breathe in the clear air and pretend I was living in a time before the Internet. Find a close friend and chat face to face, rather than “like” his thoughts on Facebook.

Seeking redemption and peace

Joyce Gladwell
Editorial | By Joyce Gladwell | Sep 23, 2015

Canadian Mennonite received a copy of a letter sent to David Martin, executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, as a response to its releasing the story on the alleged sexual misconduct of the late Vernon Leis (Sept. 14, 2014, page 16). We have offered MC Eastern Canada space in our next issue to present its case.

What do you think?

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 09, 2015 | 6 comments

It’s been 14 years since Canadian Mennonite conducted an independent readership survey. In the next edition (Sept. 28), print and digital readers will find a list of questions that invite your feedback, solicit your opinion on content and attempt to ascertain your reading habits in both venues—print and digital.

Young people—our national treasure

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Aug 26, 2015 | 1 comment

Chris Brnjas, a young pastor from Ontario and a delegate to the Global Youth Summit held prior to Mennonite World Conference assembly last month, came back with a reminder that we are changing from an old, well-worn paradigm that “young adults are the future of the church” to the new and more encompassing “young adults are the present and the future of the church.”

A historic moment

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Aug 12, 2015 | 1 comment

The irony couldn’t have been more self-evident. Here were 7,500 modern-day Anabaptists celebrating the beliefs and convictions that hold them together in 65 countries around the world, following on the heels of a troubled assembly of Mennonite Church USA which appeared to be coming apart at the seams over sexuality.

My soul brother

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jul 22, 2015 | 1 comment

The sky was a deep blue, the sun shining brightly as we gathered in the Zion Memorial Gardens to bury the ashes of a beloved family friend, my brother-in-law Frank R. Keller, in the community of our birth—Souderton, Pennsylvania.  We all knew him as “Butch.”

Humility over hubris

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jun 30, 2015 | 1 comment

A modern-day wannabe prophet calling himself a “marginal Mennonite” audaciously predicts that this year’s Mennonite World Conference gathering will see a “mass exodus” from that body and maybe the end of the assembly, depending on the outcome of the polarizing sexuality debate at the Mennonite Church USA assembly this month in Kansas City.

What do we take away from the TRC?

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jun 17, 2015

The ripples from the final Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing and report held in Ottawa early this month after five years of hearings across Canada are far-reaching and damning. Almost no one in the religious and political establishment is left untouched.

During this process thousands of victims recounted stories of cruelty and abuse at the hands of those entrusted with their care. The heart-breaking accounts—almost all videotaped—will now form part of a lasting record of one of the darkest chapters in this country’s history.

Death of a cousin

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Jun 03, 2015 | 3 comments

As of the end of 2015, the Mennonite Brethren Herald, the 54-year-old periodical of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, will cease to exist. This untimely death calls for a eulogy and some lessons learned, some warnings implicit as it goes through its dying throes.

MWC: a respite in a troubled world

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | May 20, 2015

The Anabaptist/Mennonite worldwide communion has come a long way since the first Mennonite World Conference some 90 years ago.

Organized by Christian Neff, a German Mennonite pastor, only 100 persons attended that first gathering in 1925 in Basel, Switzerland.  Estimates of the worldwide communion numbered 516,300, according to Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.  Most of the participants were from Europe.

$3.33 a day does it

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | May 06, 2015

That’s right—the mere cost of a cappuccino at Starbucks by 33 of your friends every day for three months provides relief for 1,000 refugees or some 200 families in war-torn Syria.

The practical side of discernment

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Apr 22, 2015

“Discernment” has been a much-used word and concept in interpreting the Bible over the past number of years. Mainly we have defined it as a working tool to determine what God in the person of Jesus would have us do about difficult issues facing us in the 21st century.

Changes coming to CM

J. Neufeld

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Apr 08, 2015

Some significant changes are occurring at Canadian Mennonite.

The politicizing of CoSA

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 25, 2015

Disturbing and perplexing is the only way to describe the cut in federal funding for a proven program of ex-prisoner rehabilitation called Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA).

Our neo-Anabaptists

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 11, 2015 | 4 comments

So how are we doing 490 years later?

We who anchor our faith expression in what has come to be called Anabaptism over nearly five centuries now number 1.7 million all over the globe and counting. What began in Zurich, Switzerland, during the Reformation in western Europe with the baptizing of break-away religious leaders George Blaurock and Conrad Grebel (see “The birth of Anabaptism in fire and water,” March 16, 2015 issue) has now blossomed into 83 countries around the globe.

Stewards of the conversation

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 25, 2015 | 3 comments

“Many members are not happy with the direction and general content of the magazine,” writes a Mennonite pastor, in a solicited follow-up note after one of his members cancelled his subscription. The member was unhappy because Canadian Mennonite has put “homosexuality as a priority,” rather than reflecting our church life.

The church will prevail

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 11, 2015

While personally rejuvenated from my four-month sabbatical, I am saddened to come back to a faith community that seems wounded and immobilized with what one of our interim editors, Barb Draper, called a “difficult debate” over sexuality.

As the conversation intensifies, we, the churches of Mennonite Church Canada/U.S.A., seem to have veered into a one-issue discussion that is taking up enormous amounts of spiritual and emotional energy, sucking the oxygen out of other important 21st-century issues the church should be addressing.

Repairing the peace

Editorial | By Henry Krause | Jan 28, 2015

Before things “broke badly” for the actor Bryan Cranston, he was in a great family TV show called Malcolm in the Middle. If you’ve seen it, you will remember the catchy theme song with the refrain, “You’re not the boss of me now . . . and you’re not so big.”

A difficult debate

Editorial | By Barb Draper | Jan 14, 2015 | 21 comments

Since the 1980s, the Mennonite church has been debating how it should relate to those who are same-sex attracted. It has been a long and difficult debate, and it isn’t over yet. Since 2009, Mennonite Church Canada has been working on how to deal with this contentious issue through the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) process. The BFC task force reported in July 2014 that Mennonites in Canada do not agree on how to interpret the Bible on this issue. All sides take the Bible seriously, but they interpret it differently.

I resolve to . . .

Editorial | By Aaron Epp | Dec 24, 2014

The dawn of a new year is always alluring to me because there is so much promise. You say goodbye to the year that was. If the previous year was a good one overall, you hope that the new year will be similar. If the previous year was not so great, the new year promises an opportunity to start afresh.

We’re a few days into 2015, and if you’re the sort of person who likes to make new year’s resolutions, you’re either well on your way or you’ve broken them already.

The power of words

Editorial | By Les Klassen Hamm | Dec 10, 2014 | 1 comment

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was toward God.”

New every year!

Editorial | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Nov 19, 2014

Several years ago, a fellow pastor sighed in resignation as we talked about the approach of Advent, a pastor’s workload equivalent to an accountant’s tax season. “I don’t like preaching through Christmas,” he said.

He struggled with finding anything new in the “too familiar” scriptures, stories and traditions. In addition to this difficulty, we commiserated about the increased time pressures of the season, with school, church, work events, family gatherings, shopping and travel all bundled up with the tendency for pastoral care crises to increase over the holidays.

When faith and politics intersect

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Nov 05, 2014

Among other shifting sands in the Mennonite world is how we view our relationship to the state, moving from a stance of a nonviolent witness but not participation, to one of entering its ranks to influence policies for its betterment in the areas of justice, creation care and peacemaking. We are becoming participants, not only witnesses.

Lower the pointing finger

Editorial | By Virginia Hostetler | Oct 22, 2014

Several months ago, our editor heard complaints from someone who wanted Canadian Mennonite to stop carrying letters to the editor because letters often cause too much friction.

Listening or doing?

Editorial | By Barb Draper | Oct 08, 2014

Mainstream Mennonites tend to be doers. We have been taught to work hard and take satisfaction from getting things done, whether that is fixing up houses through Mennonite Disaster Service or sending relief kits and food aid through Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to places where people are destitute. We like to feel that our hard work is getting results.