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‘Swiss Mennonite’ cherry platz

Fruit platz (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Nov 02, 2016

When Floradale Mennonite Church planned a farewell event for our pastor Fred Redekop, this is a recipe we prepared.
(For the story that goes with this recipe, see “Expressing love with food.”)

The recipe originated from Annie Redekop (Fred’s mother), and I adapted it for a 10’’x15” cookie sheet. I call it “Swiss Mennonite” platz because it calls for cooked filling rather than the raw fruit used in the traditional Russian Mennonite recipe.


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

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Nov 02, 2016

A 1978 car wash at Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg, Man. Pictured, Don Wiens, right, soaks Adrienne Wiebe, left. Car washes, bake sales, quilt raffles, pie auctions, coffee houses, work days, cookbooks, and chocolate and cookie drives are methods that churches and church-related institutions have used to raise funds. There are so many good causes to financially support.

Making diamonds out of us

Phyllis Ramer pictured with her husband Jim

Viewpoints | By Phyllis Ramer | Nov 02, 2016

Often in the morning as I awake, God gives me songs which become prayers. Usually, it’s just a phrase or tune that causes me to search out the rest of the song and leads to a time of worship in the shower, or as I wait for the kettle to boil. I praise God for this gift. It was not always so.

Readers write: Oct. 24, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Oct 19, 2016

‘Minister’s handbook to reproductive loss’ available online

re: “coping, grieving, remembering,” Sept. 12, page 4.

I’m writing to express my appreciation for Beth Downey Sawatzky’s thoughtfully written piece on pregnancy loss. I was particularly drawn to “Holly’s” natural inclination towards ritual when she asked her doula to bless one of her babies during his burial.

Stories: yours, mine, ours

Deborah Froese
Viewpoints | By Deborah Froese | Oct 19, 2016

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the late Harper Lee captures the complex reality of relationship: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Sounds messy and uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

Although we can’t literally climb inside someone else’s skin, we have the opportunity to capture other points of view if we share our stories.

Healthy truth

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Oct 19, 2016

“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

Jesus’ oft-repeated axiom from John 8 lifts up the value of truth-telling. The living out of it, though, is not simple. As one poster riffed: “The truth will make you free, if it doesn’t kill you first.” In the accompanying picture, a two-dimensional figure with a worried face is being squeezed through the wringer of an old-fashioned washing machine. Yep, the truth can be freeing. It can be transforming. Or it can be as devastating as death.

A lesson on sharing

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Oct 19, 2016

A father often took his five-year-old son to the local minor hockey league games. Each time they went, they saw the same homeless man in the parking lot asking for donations. The first time, the son asked his dad why the man was asking for money, providing an opportunity for the dad to explain homelessness. The second time, the son asked why everyone didn’t give the homeless man money, which gave the dad a chance to share a lesson on charities and generosity.


Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Oct 19, 2016

This is no ordinary 1960s family reunion photo. Thousands of Mennonites fleeing the Soviet Union after the Second World War were forcibly repatriated. With the doors closed on mass migration, Mennonite Central Committee focussed on making efforts to reunite families, one at a time. Some of these men, women and children had arrived in Canada soon after the war; others had arrived only recently. These families were adjusting to new lives together after decades of separation. My grandparents are in this photo! Are yours?

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 1)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Oct 19, 2016

One of the devil’s tactics in the temptation of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, intrigues me. In this story, Satan takes Jesus to the holy city of God, into the house of God, and uses the Word of God to distort the truth of God and oppose the will of God.

The devil essentially takes Jesus to “church” and recites Bible verses to tempt him. This should be a warning for us today. Just because we’re looking to the church and to the Bible for answers, doesn’t mean we aren’t being misled.

Readers write: October 10, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Oct 05, 2016

‘Affluenza’ should trump ‘gender’ issue for Mennonites

As community-oriented Anabaptists, we should be spending more time on “affluenza” than on the “gender” issue.

Learning to follow the Jesus way

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Oct 05, 2016

You obey every day. You obey the legislations of government—even those you don’t agree with. You obey an employer, school teacher or parent. Some have to heed all three on the same day. Much of life seems to be about some form of compliance, doesn’t it? And, as a general rule, we are more ready to obey an authority we trust, respect and love.

Becoming Mennonite

Patrick Kwame Kukanu
Viewpoints | By Patrick Kwame Kukanu | Oct 05, 2016

When I reflect on how I became a Mennonite, I find myself agreeing with what a peasant once told an Irish priest. The priest, who approached the peasant praying by the roadside, said, “You must be close to God!” The peasant replied in a way that points to the precedence of God’s love over our faith (I John 4:19), saying, “Yes, he is fond of me.”

Henry Neufeld

Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada Photo Collection /
Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Oct 05, 2016

Henry Neufeld, right, spent a lifetime building positive relationships among Mennonite and indigenous peoples. He is pictured standing beside Pastor Jeremiah Ross from Cross Lake, Man., at a Conference of Mennonites in Canada (now Mennonite Church Canada) conference in Vancouver in 1981. In 1968, Neufeld was given permission to build a house and to live with the people of Little Grand Rapids. A letter signed by 49 residents of the community demonstrating support for this relationship is preserved in the Heritage Centre archives.

Readers write: September 26, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 21, 2016

Braun criticized for using ‘the language of euthanasia proponents’

Re: “The right to die and the art of suffering,” Aug. 15, page 20.

I deeply sympathize with author Will Braun in the loss of his friend to suicide, and I appreciate his recognition of the need to include community in addressing the euthanasia issue. However, his treatment of this topic, which follows mainstream media patterns, suggests that he supports autonomy more than community.

Discovering humility

Steve Heinrichs
Viewpoints | By Steve Heinrichs | Sep 21, 2016 | 3 comments

It’s Sunday night, I’m in a coffee shop, and I’m soaking wet. Thirty minutes earlier I was at home reading about the Doctrine of Discovery and found the content so painful that I headed out to grab a decaf. Then the rain hit. Thank God. The water dripping from my hair hides the tears running down my cheeks.

Healthy leadership

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Sep 21, 2016

As his seven-year-old daughter gambolled away, my nephew reflected on the negotiation that I had just witnessed, where she asked repeatedly for something to which he had each time responded no.

“It’s frustrating when she or any of the kids keep asking,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t want to shut them down. I want to listen to their reasons, and take them seriously. And . . . sometimes they’re right,” he concluded.

Consider the possibilities

Darren Pries-Klassen
Viewpoints | By Darren Pries-Klassen | Sep 21, 2016

In our transformation from Mennonite Foundation of Canada to Abundance Canada, we have received several responses from our clients and constituency. While most of the feedback has been positive, there have been others who have expressed opposition to our rebranding. The most common concern is that by changing our name we are changing our values.

The pursuit of truth (Pt. 9)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Sep 21, 2016

Consider the possibility that truth is not a thing or group of things (e.g. ideas, facts, doctrines, etc.) but a Spirit. This seems to be the apostle John’s understanding. For instance, he repeatedly calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth (Jn. 14:17, Jn. 15:26, Jn. 16:13 1 Jn. 4:6) and in 1 Jn. 5:6 he says “the Spirit is the truth.”

Fenian defence

Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario


Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Sep 21, 2016

The Fenian Invasions, in which Irish American Civil War veterans used raids into pre-Confederation Canada to further the cause of Irish independence, were launched in 1866. Christian Eby (pictured), grandson of Mennonite Bishop Benjamin Eby of Berlin (now Kitchener), Ont., was purported to be among the thousands of young men in Canada West (now Ontario) to answer the call to arms. In the largest of the raids, the Battle of Ridgeway, Canadians experienced industrial-era battle conditions for the first time.

Readers write: September 12, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 07, 2016

Feature on seasonal workers ‘very timely’

Re: “The lucky struggle,” July 4, page 4.

Will Braun’s feature article is very timely for us at the farm where I work, in that we have hired a group of Mexican workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to help us in our harvesting and packing operations. Similar to the challenges facing the Kroeker Farm, we, too, find it difficult to employ local seasonal workers with experience to help with our harvest.

All must learn to discern

Dan Jack
Viewpoints | By Dan Jack | Sep 07, 2016 | 1 comment

Assembly 2016 was an excellent example of a very integral aspect of the life of our national church, our area churches and our congregations. The process of discernment was on display during the event. This is one of the gifts we have received which flows from our congregational discernment work to our work in peacemaking and mediation, and to Mennonite Central Committee and all its “children.”

Jesus loves his bride . . . to the point of death

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Sep 07, 2016

So, after 22-and-a-half years of marriage to an incredible woman and friend, I may finally be starting to get it. She is a treasure, but, truth be told, I don’t always treat her that way. I do, of course, in principle see her that way, but, in practice, when it’s about dishes and diapers and dandelions, well, all those sentimental realities are not always on the foremost part of my manly frontal lobe.

Going to J-school: my walk of protest

Katie Doke Sawatzky
Viewpoints | By Katie Doke Sawatzky | Sep 07, 2016

The time has come. At the beginning of September, I began full-time journalism studies at the University of Regina. Our family moved back to Regina for this reason, and after a year of staying at home with our two young kids, I’ll be off studying for the majority of the week.

I’ve gone through a roller-coaster of emotions over the past year, wondering if this is the right decision, but then get excited about learning new skills and making new friends. I wonder if I’ll have enough energy for homework in the evenings, and when Glenn and I will find time for ourselves.


Photo: MCC Canada Photo Collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Sep 07, 2016

Rad and Pat Houmphan, centre, have a long history of working in the Mennonite church. When they came to Canada as refugees in 1979, Otto and Florence Driedger of Regina, far left and far right, helped them settle in Regina. Pat attended Swift Current Bible Institute and Mennonite Brethren Bible College, and eventually graduated from Trinity Western University in B.C. He served as pastor and church planter at Grace Mennonite Church in Regina from 1982 to 1986 and from 1987 to 1992.

Embracing transition in our lives

Besides her other changes, Liz Koop right, will be spending more time with her 92-year-old mother, Catherine (Regier) Gortsen, formerly of Vineland, Ont., now of Niagara Falls, who is experiencing transitions of her own. ‘I am being challenged as I walk alongside her,’ Koop says. (Photo courtesy of Liz Koop)

Viewpoints | By Liz Koop | Sep 07, 2016

Transition is something that we all face! From the time we are born until we breathe our last breath, we are transitioning from one stage of life to another. Some of these transitions are almost imperceptible, and we adjust to them with ease, while others, such as events outside of our personal world, may throw us off-balance, as they often do. It is especially at such times that we need to remain connected to God in whom our identity rests.