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Viewpoints

Upside-Down Company Platter

This traditional dish recalls the hospitality of Palestinian friends. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | Mar 08, 2017

In her story about hospitality, “Sharing food with my two families,” Natasha Krahn describes being served a traditional Palestinian dish turned upside down on a large platter. Here is the recipe as found in the Extending the Table cookbook.

In large, heavy saucepan, heat:

1-2 tablespoons / 15-30 ml oil (preferably olive)

Bethesda Home

Penner Photo / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Mar 08, 2017

Staff outside the Bethesda Home in 1965 in Campden, Ont. Bethesda, the first Mennonite mental health facility in North America, was begun in the early 1930s by Henry and Maria Wiebe to serve the Russian Mennonite immigrant community. The Wiebes had gained their experience working at Bethania in Russia, the first Mennonite mental health hospital in the world. Mennonite immigrants to Canada in the 1920s were required to pay hospital costs or risk deportation. Mennonite Brethren Church leaders recognized the need for care, and approached the Wiebes to start Bethesda.

A latecomer’s discovery of MW Canada

Viewpoints | By Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel | Mar 08, 2017

For the many years I worked as an educator in several Mennonite institutions, I did not participate in, nor identify with, organized activities of Mennonite Women Manitoba or the national MW Canada.

As a young mother who needed the fellowship of other women, I found great meaning in a congregational women’s fellowship group and appreciated the Bible study materials we received from our Mennonite women’s organization. But that was long ago.

Readers write: February 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Feb 22, 2017

Visit to the West Bank might enlighten letter writer

Re: MC Canada should retract BDS resolution and apologize to Israel letter, Jan. 2, page 10.

‘The darkness of the womb’?

Deborah Froese
Viewpoints | By Deborah Froese | Feb 22, 2017

“[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . . ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

In defence of masks

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Feb 22, 2017

The subject of masks came up in the adult Sunday school class. Not literal ones, but the invisible ones we wear in an attempt to hide that which we don’t want to be seen. I ventured that such masks are unhelpful barriers, interfering with connectedness and intimacy.

Quickly a woman responded, “We wear masks because other people don’t want to hear our troubles; they don’t want us burdening them with our whining.”

Journey of generosity

Marlow Gingerich
Viewpoints | By Marlow Gingerich | Feb 22, 2017

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. . . . [I]nstead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ ” (James 4:13-15)

Elmer Martens

Photo: Mennonite Brethren Bible College Photo Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Feb 22, 2017

Elmer Martens, kneeling bottom left, was born in 1930 in Main Centre, Sask. He went on to become a leading authority on the Old Testament. His career was based at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, but he also taught at numerous seminaries in North America and beyond. In addition to books, articles, preaching and pastoring, he was involved with the translation work for the New American Standard and the New King James versions of the Bible. Martens had a cooperative approach, as seen in this 1975 photo of the Mid-East Seminar, a two-week archeological dig near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 5)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Feb 22, 2017

The king was looking for someone possessing great wisdom to join his council of advisors. So he contacted the elders of the 12 regions of his kingdom and asked them to send their wisest man or woman to his palace to participate in a challenge. The winner would then be invited to join his council.

The elders selected and sent 12 people of great wisdom to the palace. When they arrived, the king summoned them to his royal court, where there were 12 desks in a row, each with a pen and stack of paper on it.

Readers write: February 13, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Feb 08, 2017

How much have funding losses affected Future Directions?

We have heard that the Future Directions process came primarily due to funding issues. We have also heard that it was not about funding, but about renewing vision. And we have heard that people have been laid off due to budgetary constraints. Although the messages about Future Directions may have been so confusing, there must be funding issues.

Making the heart stronger

Kirsten Hamm-Epp
Viewpoints | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Feb 08, 2017

For once, I know what I’m giving up for Lent early this year: social media.

Why aren’t we telling these stories?

Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Feb 08, 2017

It has been my experience that the church of Jesus Christ is chock-full of glorious stories of the power and presence of our Lord. It’s also my experience that many of these stories remain untold. The church is poorer for this silence. Why aren’t we telling these stories?

Lend me a moment to share a few that I’ve been able to unearth:

Heinrich Winter

Photo: Johann Wichert / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Feb 08, 2017

This photo tells the story of a congregation’s diaspora. The last ältester (ordained elder) of the Chortitza Mennonite Church in Ukraine was Heinrich Winter. The church was the first Mennonite congregation organized in Imperial Russia, and thrived up until the Soviet era, when the government made religious activities extremely difficult. In 1943, most of the congregation fled to Germany. Ältester Johann Wichert took this photo of Winter with the church’s last communion cup in 1948. The Winter family emigrated to Leamington, Ont., that same year. Where the cup is now is a mystery.

Readers write: January 30, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Jan 25, 2017

Reader lauds ‘brilliant’ Christmas feature

Re: “Spirit-heat to thaw your freezing blood” feature, Dec. 12, 2016, page 4.

As my dental hygienist would say: “brilliant!” Thank you, Layton Friesen. May you enjoy a long and fruitful ministry.

Wayne Nafziger, Alliston, Ont.

 

Church goes nowhere when mired in talk of sexuality and abuse of power

Unexpected consequences

Dan Dyck
Viewpoints | By Dan Dyck | Jan 25, 2017 | 2 comments

When we as a church agree to help those in need and place our trust in God, we should anticipate unexpected consequences. As we serve, we might make new friends, learn a new skill or enrich our spiritual lives.

God has unexpectedly blessed us by arranging us into congregations, area churches, a national church, schools, and organizations like Mennonite Central Committee and Abundance, among others, so that we can more effectively and efficiently use our resources to follow Jesus.

Healthy humility lightens the journey

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Jan 25, 2017

I am in my 60s, as are many of my friends. Our parents, if they are living, are in their 80s and 90s, with the accompanying challenges and rewards of that season of life. The experiences of the parents impact their children significantly. Now, when I gather with my peers, we often talk about our parents. The stories we tell may be distressing or inspiring, funny or heartbreaking. Mostly I am thankful for companions who listen and commiserate.

Preventing prodigals

Mike Strathdee
Viewpoints | By Mike Strathdee | Jan 25, 2017

Many of us are familiar with the the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. There are great lessons in this story about grace and forgiveness, but I’ve never heard it used in the context of warning about giving children gifts before they are emotionally or spiritually mature enough to handle them properly.

Peter Toews

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jan 25, 2017 | 1 comment

For much of Mennonite history, leaders were called from within the group to serve. This was in addition to working on their own farm or business to pay the bills. One of the longest-serving bishops of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church, centred in Manitoba, was Peter A. Toews (1877-1961), pictured with his wife Maria Toews (1880-1970). He was elected minister in 1929 and served as bishop from 1931 to 1951. This non-salaried leadership model continues in the more traditional Mennonite groups.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 4)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Jan 25, 2017

How does one define wisdom? It’s difficult to put into words.

Herman Hesse, in his classic novel, Siddhartha, writes: “Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish. . . . Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

Readers write: January 16, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Jan 11, 2017

Being pro-Palestinian is not being anti-Jewish

Re: “A better way than BDS?” letter, Nov. 21, 2016, page 10.

All aboard for the future

David Martin
Viewpoints | By David Martin | Jan 11, 2017

The timing was tight. I had made it to the airport parking lot and was then shuttled to Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to catch my flight to Winnipeg for yet another round of meetings with executive staff and moderators from each of the five area churches and Mennonite Church Canada. Security went smoothly and I just had enough time to grab a coffee and get to the gate in time for boarding.

Strengthen what remains

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Jan 11, 2017 | 2 comments

I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of those seven letters to the churches named in Revelation 2 and 3. The words of Jesus to fellowships in present-day western Turkey were both encouraging and at points sharp with direct challenge. Jesus is serious about the health and vitality of his body, no matter where they are or what they are staring down.

Sharing baked goods by the dozen

Although Frieda Woelk didn’t spend much time in the kitchen when she was young, she quickly learned to cook and bake when her children came along. (Photo by Ruth Boehm)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Jan 11, 2017

Frieda Woelk loves to bake. When she gets up in the morning, she thinks, “What can I bake today?” Although she is in her mid-80s and lives in a seniors apartment in the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home complex, she keeps very busy with cooking, baking and socializing. She is so busy that when her children want to spend time with her they ask, “When can we pencil you in?”

Funk crop

Photo: Samuel McRoberts photo collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jan 11, 2017

Cornelius R. Funk shows plant growth in his new home in Menno Colony, Paraguay. In 1926, Funk and 1,785 other Mennonites from Saskatchewan and Manitoba left for Paraguay because they did not trust the Canadian government. New York banker Samuel McRoberts helped them sell their land and acquire new land. McRoberts saw successive waves of immigration as a financial opportunity. A series of 252 photos were taken from 1926 to 1929, showing the progressive and successful farms of the new immigrants. Conflict arose over the use of the photos.

What’s in a name?

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jan 11, 2017

We eyed each other’s books and wondered who would ask the “Mennonite” question first. Our names, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld and K.V. Doerksen, were emblazoned across our books (Thirty Bucks and Blessed are the Dead, respectively), and since book sales were slow at the library, we had time to talk.

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