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Remembering the saints

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Nov 15, 2017

Almost 13 years ago my family said our final goodbye to my mother. Grace Magdalene Bender Schwartzentruber lived a full life on two continents, always actively participating in her extended family, church and larger community. I once observed that she and my dad “collected” friends everywhere they went. Our family’s dining room table always had room for guests, planned for or unexpected. That also meant that my parents, siblings and I could travel to many locations and enjoy meals with friends and hospitality for the night.

Which Jesus are you waiting for?

The 1683 Gero Cross in the Cologne Cathedral in Germany

Feature | By Donna Schulz | Nov 15, 2017

Advent, according to one definition, is “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.” Yet along the way, we’ve come to associate Advent not with arrival, but with waiting.

In our homes, Advent is a time of preparation. We shop for presents, hang wreaths, display cherished nativity scenes and decorate trees. We bake cookies, buy turkeys, prepare stuffing and set the table. And we await the arrival of family and friends.

Readers write: November 20, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Nov 15, 2017 | 1 comment

More responses to Maple View’s paid supplement on sexuality

Re:Honour God with Your Bodies” insert, Sept. 25.

I find myself in the awkward position of defending my theological adversaries. I think the publication of the Maple View statement was appropriate. The authors of the statement have communicated their sincere concern to sister congregations in MC Canada through a rigorous and theologically articulate document. This represents an invitation to actual debate.

Hermeneutic of hope

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Nov 15, 2017 | 1 comment

Last weekend, I attended a wedding. The bride and groom asked their guests to register by highlighting their favourite verse in a Bible that they will carry into their new, shared life. A few days later, I sat beside my mother’s hospital bed and read to her from Psalm 121. Her long life has been lived in the shadow of mountains, and her faith has been shaped by the God who is more steadfast and enduring than mountains. At the wedding and the hospital, I marvelled at the power of Scripture to inspire, strengthen and guide. I give thanks for the Bible.

Are you grateful today?

Marlow Gingerich
Viewpoints | By Marlow Gingerich | Nov 15, 2017

Although it is only November, my community is starting to put up festive decorations and the blank spaces on my calendar are filling up quickly. A list of gifts for family and friends will soon land me in checkout lines where I will almost certainly be asked perfunctorily, “How are you today?” Most customers will respond innocuously and some will be too preoccupied to respond at all. However, I was recently challenged during a sermon by my local pastor, to reframe these interactions with a novel response: “I’m grateful.”

Moose Lake Dock

Mennonite Heritage Archives photo courtesy of Rudy Regehr

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Nov 15, 2017

Pondering on the dock at Camp Moose Lake. After years of soul searching, Mennonite Church Manitoba has sold its Camp Moose Lake property located in the southeastern corner of the province. Since 1957, the camp has been an integral part of the regional (formerly area) church, congregations, young people and children. For decades, the camp enjoyed vigorous support from many rural congregations. This special place that has nurtured thousands of campers will be sorely missed.

A memorable remembrance

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Nov 15, 2017

It took me a while to find my poppy and peace button this year. I couldn’t remember where I’d stored them last November. “I guess I don’t have very good ‘remembrance,’ ” I joked to myself.

“Remembrance” is an unusual word. There are only two occasions I hear it used. The first involves two minutes of silence on Nov. 11. The second is during communion (also called the Lord’s Supper or eucharist). When you think about it, these two events have more in common than the utilization of the word “remembrance”:

A leader of leaders

Ralph Lebold

God at work in Us | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 15, 2017

Born into a Western Ontario Mennonite Conference (WOM)—formerly the Amish Mennonite Conference of Ontario—family, Ralph Lebold grew up with strong leaders in a congregational polity. Each congregation had a bishop, minister and deacon working together, although with separate roles. While ordained, these leaders were unpaid and often untrained, although many Amish Mennonites attended the Ontario Mennonite Bible School and Institute held in Kitchener, Ont., for many years, with sponsorship from the Mennonite Conference of Ontario.

Where do we go from here?

Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board met for the final time just before the start of Special Assembly 2017 on Oct. 13 in Winnipeg. Now, the new regional churches are trying to understand the ramifications in the wake of decisions made there. (Mennonite Church Canada photo by Dan Dyck)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Nov 15, 2017

On Oct. 14, 2017, delegates at a special assembly in Winnipeg approved a restructuring plan to shift the centre of ministries from the nationwide church office to each of the five regional churches. A 94 percent vote gave a clear mandate for change, but how clear is the way forward for a new Mennonite Church Canada? (See more at “Overwhelming vote in favour of new MC Canada structure.”)

Focus groups hear of restructuring plans

Interested members of Mennonite Church B.C. listen as MC Canada executive minister Willard Metzger, left, explains how the new nationwide structure will affect giving and programs in the national church. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Nov 15, 2017

How the new structure of Mennonite Church Canada will affect congregations in B.C. was the topic for focus groups in Richmond and Abbotsford late last month. Donors who have been supporting both MC Canada and MC B.C. were invited to attend the meetings with Willard Metzger, the nationwide church’s executive minister, along with the regional church’s leadership and financial personnel.

In search of a collective narrative

MC Manitoba delegates who met for their fall gathering in Grunthal earlier this month express concern, wondering how they will be able to make the regional church budget when they can’t even make their own church budgets. (Photo by Katrina Woelk)

God at work in the Church | By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe | Nov 15, 2017

In October, congregants from across Canada gathered for Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg, where they voted to implement a new structure, ushering in a new era for the new nationwide church and regional churches. Less than a month later, Manitobans met to discuss the implications of this change for them.

‘Strike while the iron is hot’

Ly Vang and Toua Vang, both of First Hmong Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., and David Martin, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s executive minister, discuss the results and plans coming out of Special Assembly 2017 at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener on Oct. 17, the first of seven such regional meetings. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 15, 2017

The ink on the new covenant document between the five regional (formerly area) churches was scarcely dry before Mennonite Church Eastern Canada began to describe to its congregations what this new reality means now and could mean in the future.

Before MC Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 took place in Winnipeg in mid-October, MC Eastern Canada had arranged seven regional meetings to gather congregational representatives.

Staff changes at MC Eastern Canada

Norm Dyck, the newly appointed Mennonite Church Eastern Canada mission engagement minister, says, “The face of the church is rapidly changing! What appears to be emerging is the possibility of living into an intercultural witness as the church. In a time when racial tensions and violence often dominate the news, God has provided the church with an opportunity to model another way.”

Fort Garry Mennonite’s first five decades

Children enjoy their story at Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship’s 50th anniversary service on Oct. 15, 2017. (Fort Garry Mennonite Photo)

God at work in the Church | By John and Dorothy Friesen | Nov 15, 2017

On Oct. 15, 2017, more than 300 excited and exuberant members and guests gathered at Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship to celebrate the congregation’s 50th anniversary. Many had already enjoyed a delightful coffee house and artisan display the night before, celebrating the artistic gifts within the community.

Winding down

‘Realizing how far we’ve come is a highlight,’ Laura Carr-Pries, second from right, says of her involvement with EVI, a group that also included Alex Tiessen, Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Jonas Cornelsen and Tim Wenger. (Canadian Mennonite photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Nov 15, 2017

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.

Fifteen years after inspiration struck

Far Beyond Inspired album cover

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Nov 15, 2017

Attention, music fans: Next month marks the 15th anniversary of the release of an album you’ve likely never heard of. Let me tell you about it.

On Dec. 8, 2002, at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, we began selling copies of Far Beyond Inspired, a CD featuring original compositions by nine musical acts from the congregation. The 16 songs on the CD encompassed an eclectic range of genres, including rock, folk, praise and worship, rap, children’s, pop and punk music.

You might even know a few of the musicians involved.

New “Mennonite Game” card game creates connections

A new card game draws inspiration from real-life experience. 

Web-first | By Abby King | Nov 14, 2017

While plenty of Mennonites have played the “Mennonite game”—the Anabaptist version of six degrees of separation—only a select few have played Mark Eash Hershberger’s version. But that’s about to change.

Putting goals into practice

At the MC Saskatchewan Equipping Day Abby Heinrichs and her father Steve tell their personal stories in a workshop entitled ‘In your light, we see light: The church and Indigenous solidarity.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Web First | By Donna Schulz | Nov 14, 2017

Setting goals is a good practice, but how does a faith community translate those goals into reality? 

Ethiopian Meserete Kristos Church continues to grow

When Darrell Jantzi and John Peters visited a local Meserete Kristos congregation in Ethiopia, they were warmly welcomed by the children. (Photo courtesy of Darrell Jantzi)

Web-first | By Barb Draper | Nov 14, 2017

While visiting Ethiopia recently, Darrell Jantzi and John Peters heard that Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) has continued to grow and now numbers 310,877 baptized members, an increase of 4.5 percent over last year.

Jantzi and Peters, both from Ontario’s Waterloo Region, are members of an MKC Link Canada team that connects Mennonite Church Canada and Meserete Kristos College. They were invited by the general secretary of MKC to attend the church’s annual general meeting in August 2017.

Mennonites in Montreal aid refugees

Hochma’s worshipping space was repurposed as a donation centre for refugees. (Photo by Michel Monette)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 14, 2017

Not feeling safe in the United States, a young woman climbed on a plane and flew to Montreal with her children. But the U.S. is considered a safe country for refugees, so she was forced to return. Still afraid, she crossed the border into Quebec and ended up at Coalition d’aide aux réfugiés à Montréal (Coalition to aid refugees in Montreal), housed in the Hochma church building.

Dick Benner: A man who loved the church

Web First | By Barb Draper | Nov 06, 2017 | 1 comment

Richard (Dick) Benner, the recent editor/publisher of Canadian Mennonite, passed away on Nov. 4, 2017, at his home in Ruckersville, Va. Upon his retirement in March 2017, he moved from Ontario to his Virginia home near Charlottesville, where his wife Marlene was in long-term care. Dick began his final journey with cancer not long after that move and was undergoing cancer treatment when Marlene passed away on July 13, 2017.

Something old and new

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Nov 01, 2017

On the weekend of Oct. 13 to 15, Mennonite church delegates and others took part in Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg. More than 400 of us gathered from across the country to consider the direction we, as Mennonite Church Canada, should take in the years to come.

‘Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory’

Batik artwork by Nina Bailey-Dick, from a 2015 Eternity Sunday display at Erb Street Mennonite Church, Waterloo, Ont.

Feature | By John D. Rempel | Nov 01, 2017

Wherever Jesus goes, we see God’s kingdom descending from heaven to earth. Wherever Jesus appears, God’s loving power takes hold. A hemorrhaging woman is healed of her infirmity; a rich man gives away half his wealth. In Jesus’ healing, teaching, dying and rising, God is rescuing the world; the mending of creation has begun. Yet paradise has not yet been restored. Having had a foretaste of its healing makes it all the harder to live with the aftertaste of its brokenness.

Readers write: Nov. 6, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Nov 01, 2017

Manitoba church celebrates pastoral couple’s retirement
Carman Mennonite Church celebrated a retirement party on Aug. 27, in honour of Bob and Martha Pauls, who had served our church for 17 years.

The morning service was a more private event, during which we were encouraged to let our tears flow, and we did. The afternoon was more open, and many visitors attended from other churches, especially from Bob’s former congregation, Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

Relationships, screen free

Makai Barkman smiles for the camera on his first day of Kindergarten in Metro Manila, the Philippines. (Photo by Christina Bartel Barkman)

Viewpoints | By Christina Bartel Barkman | Nov 01, 2017

Last week, Makai started Kindergarten at the same school in Metro Manilla as his older brother, Cody, who is now in his second year. Although we are very happy with the school—and Cody loves it—a complaint arose for me within Makai’s first three days, after his teacher played a television show during the 30-minute recess as students ate their snacks.