Viewpoints

Heinrich Winter

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.

Preventing prodigals

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

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).

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 4)

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.”

Strengthen what remains

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

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

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.

What’s in a name?

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.

Going home

One of the sweetest phrases in the Bible, “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), is often heard at Christmas. With joy and gratitude, we celebrate the incarnation, God taking on human flesh in Jesus, and making a home with us. Similarly, the vision of Revelation 21:3 proclaims in The Message: “Look! Look!

CMBC choir

George Wiebe conducts the Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) choir in an impromptu song on a B.C. ferry while on tour in May 1966. The choir gave 24 performances in 17 days, and 39 of the 43 singers also spoke at these events. The tour was an important community-building event for the choir members, but also for the school and supporting congregations.

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