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Jacob Shantz

Mennonite Heritage Archives Photo

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Oct 04, 2017

Jacob Y. Shantz (1822-1909) of Berlin, Ont., (now Kitchener), with his family. Shantz was involved in fruit growing and maple-sugar production. He was a building contractor and industrialist, but is also remembered for his role in the establishment of Mennonite communities in Manitoba. The Manitoba village of Shantzenfeld is named in his honour. Shantz wondered if fruit could be grown in Manitoba. In 1877, he sent 424 apple, 313 pear, 300 plum and 300 cherry trees to Manitoba. Two years later, he was pleased to see a harvest of apples.

Making space for the Spirit

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Sep 20, 2017 | 4 comments

Fourteen months have gone by since the conclusion of the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) process and the decision congregational delegates made at Assembly 2016. At the end of that seven-year process, a large majority of the delegates voted in favour of “creating space” for congregations to differ from one another when it comes to committed same-sex relationships.

Readers Write: September 25, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 20, 2017 | 1 comment

Watson’s wisdom is ‘a pernicious fable’

Re: “Wisdom, where art thou?" (Pt. 10), July 24, page 13.

A huge challenge

Willard Metzger
Viewpoints | By Willard Metzger | Sep 20, 2017

It’s a big year for Lutherans—the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. So it struck me as significant that I was invited to present a sermon and serve communion alongside a synod bishop at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s national convention in July.

Paddling down the river

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Sep 20, 2017

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my husband and I canoed on our neighborhood river. Due to extremely low water levels, the first stretch was quite challenging, not unlike some stretches of marriage. This was abundantly clear when the stern yelled, “Draw!” and the bow replied, “What’s a draw?” Immediately after, the canoe lodged on a rock.

Getting stuck happens in marriages also. Sometimes we get stuck in sweet places, in a smooth rhythm, in a happy team. Sometimes we get stuck in rocky places, in barren patches and protracted conflicts.

A legacy of giving

Viewpoints | By Brad Friesen | Sep 20, 2017

A few weeks ago, we welcomed our first grandchild into the world. Amid my great joy, I have recently found myself reflecting on the incredible responsibility of raising children. Scripture advises that if we “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Mary Ann Cressman

 (Photo by James Reusser / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Sep 20, 2017

Do you recognize this “Mennonite centre”? Mary Ann Cressman, second from left, her husband Menno C., and others stand outside the family’s dry goods store at 82 King Street East, Kitchener, Ont., circa 1905. Mary Ann lost an arm in a buggy accident, but that did not deter her from becoming the “founding mother” of the Mennonite Women’s Missionary Society in Ontario during the First World War. Travelling to churches, she urged women to “take hold” of the tasks of supporting local needs, war relief and missionary efforts. Menno C.

Focussing our fear

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Sep 20, 2017

I have a nagging thought as I sit down to write this article. It’s this: I have no idea what state our world will be in when you read this in a few weeks. Who knows what will happen between now and then?

It’s unsettling to be aware of not only the possibility—but the probability—something catastrophic will happen in the near future. Another devastating natural disaster, explosion, school shooting, war, stock market crash . . . the possibilities are endless. Any or all of these could happen before this article goes to print.

‘The price for your glory is their suffering!’

A scene from Silence. (Paramount Pictures still)

Artbeat | By Vic Thiessen | Sep 20, 2017

Why is God so silent? Why doesn’t God hear the prayers and stop the endless suffering of believers? These are the questions that lie behind the title of Martin Scorsese’s epic film about Jesuit priests in Japan in 1640.

Spanish translation slated for Menno Simons biography

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 20, 2017

Despite Menno Simons’ significant influence in northern Europe during Anabaptism’s infancy in the 16th century, and his name living on by having the Mennonite church named after him, relatively little is known about his early life and his conversion from Catholicism to Anabaptism.

Syrian ‘souls’ at the Edmonton Fringe

Cast members of Souls at the Edmonton Fringe Festival pictured from left to right: Shawn Prasad (Eli), Amena Shehab (ghost), Ginin Alyousef (Ginin)  and playwright, Aksam Alyousef. Missing: Sarah Spicer (Hanna). (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Artbeat | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Sep 20, 2017

Sometimes bridges built between faith communities are quite literally dramatic.

Donna Entz, Mennonite Church Alberta’s community outreach worker who strives to build better relationships between Christians and other faiths, played the part of one of several background connectors helping to piece together the people and stories that brought a play telling of displaced Palestinians to the stage at the 2017 Edmonton Fringe Festival in August.

Dare to dream again

Willard Metzger
Editorial | By Willard Metzger | Sep 06, 2017

Many of the stories in the pages of this magazine reflect the dreams of the people in our church family. There are stories of successful ministries, families reunited, young voices full of energy and hope. We also read stories of broken relationships, unanticipated outcomes, and of God at work in miraculous, unplanned and unexpected ways.

These stories of personal achievement, defeat, hope and surprise are also the stories shared by the wider church.

A new song for Special Assembly 2017

Phil Campbell-Enns’s song ‘May Your Spirit Give Life’ will feature prominently at the assembly along with the selected theme song, ‘New Earth, Heavens New’ (Hymnal: A Worship Book, No. 299) by Harris J. Loewen. (Photo courtesy of Phil Campbell-Enns)

Artbeat | By Deborah Froese | Sep 06, 2017

Planning Special Assembly 2017 worship might be a daunting task, but with the right team—and the right music—the spirit of the event will follow people home.

With that idea in mind, the worship committee for Mennonite Church Canada’s special assembly in Winnipeg, to be held from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, is bringing to the event a new song written by Phil Campbell-Enns.

“May Your Spirit Give Life” will feature prominently at the assembly along with the selected theme song, “New Earth, Heavens New” (Hymnal: A Worship Book, No. 299) by Harris J. Loewen.

Readers write: September 11, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 06, 2017

Why aren’t Mennonites holding federal Liberal government to account?
I have been waiting for the deluge of reader letters and opinion columns expressing shock and disappointment that the current federal Liberal government has announced massive increases in military spending, but the silence is deafening.

Pay attention to each other

Viewpoints | By Abe Janzen | Sep 06, 2017 | 2 comments

I am soon transitioning out of a leadership role with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta. Before this, I was a country rep in Bolivia, and before that a director with Fairview College. I was asked to write an Alberta piece for this space and was told it doesn’t need to be about leadership. Maybe it isn’t. I think it’s about community.  

When coffee replaces swords

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Sep 06, 2017

Five hundred years ago, our spiritual ancestors were on the cusp of an extended bloodbath of religious violence. In marked contrast, I just enjoyed a three-hour conversation over coffee. Our time was filled with laughter, joy and mutual sharpening. We parted ways with warm hugs. What a difference half a millennium has made. Thanks be to God!

Midwestern recipe has surprising origin

Willa and Ken Reddig (Photo courtesy of Ken Reddig)

Viewpoints | By Ken Reddig | Sep 06, 2017

The intercultural migration of foods is very interesting. My mother-in-law, Helen (Faul) Fadenrecht, who lived in North Dakota, regularly made a recipe she called Bean Sprouts, because that was the primary ingredient. Helen was a good cook, considered one of the best in the community, and her Bean Sprouts dish was unusual and delicious. It became one of her specialties.

Bill Koop

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Sep 06, 2017

Bill Koop sits on a stack of Mennonite history books, leaning against the Fort Garry (Man.) Mennonite Brethren Church sign. Recently deceased Canadian storyteller and broadcaster Stuart McLean wrote in Vinyl Café Turns the Page: “Choosing a hero is a delicate business, one that shouldn’t be undertaken frivolously. For the heroes we choose, whether real or imagined, whether from the world of fact or from the pages of fiction, will determine, to a greater or lesser degree, the things that we do, and if we allow them the privilege, the lives that we lead.” Who are your heroes?

Embracing traditions

Mel Harms takes a selfie on Vancouver Island this summer. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Viewpoints | By Mel Harms | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

Have you ever wondered about your family traditions? What are they and when did they come to be? That’s been me this summer. Every summer we have our “must do” plans, and my girls go along without question because it’s tradition. This year, it became clear that some of our habits have become family traditions.

Spiritual lessons learned from wood

Ken Roth with some of the many dishes he has made in his retirement. The Trinity bowl, front row right, is prominent. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 06, 2017

When Ken Roth retired, he was looking for a hobby that would be creative, be a blessing to himself and others, and needn’t be profitable.

A member of East Zorra Mennonite Church near Tavistock, where he lives, Roth has served on the pastoral care team there for many years. Having worked in construction and as a cabinet maker and carpenter, he struck on woodworking, mostly lathe-turned bowls and platters, with some wooden serving dishes carved with an angle grinder when the piece doesn’t suit the lathe.

Review: Refugees grow faith from seeds of hope

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 06, 2017

Episcopalian priest Michael Spurlock has a problem. His diocese has ordered him to oversee the closing of the dying All Saints Church in Tennessee, but then a group of Karen refugees from Southeast Asia start attending. Michael senses God’s call and sees an opportunity for both the congregation and the immigrants to prosper through farming a small plot of land adjoining the church. The crops grown can both feed the congregants and be sold to pay the bills.

Readers write: August 28, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Aug 23, 2017

National church needs to continue leading the way to reconciliation
The following letter was originally written to Mennonite Church Canada’s Interim Council and is reprinted at the authors’ request.

As walkers on the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, we write to share our gratitude for the leadership and vision offered through MC Canada that made this walk possible. However, we also express our hope and concern for the future as the church continues to work towards reconciliation and just relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

Happy birthday, CM!

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Aug 23, 2017

On my bookshelf sit 19 bound volumes of Canadian Mennonite. I’m looking at Vol. 1, No. 1, published on Sept. 15, 1997. Yes, that means that, come Sept. 15, we will celebrate 20 years of this magazine in its current form.

Relational trust

Ryan Siemens
Viewpoints | By Ryan Siemens | Aug 23, 2017

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight” (Proverbs 3:5).
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).

God’s heartbreak

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Aug 23, 2017

While training as a family therapist, I learned the term “emotional cut-off.” It was not a dynamic I was personally familiar with; my particular family tends to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. We are often so closely entwined in each other’s lives that a little more breathing space would be desirable, healthy even. As it suggests, emotional cut-off refers to ruptures in families. Relationships become so heated and painful that one or more persons cut off contact with others. A realistic metaphor is that of amputation.

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