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The power of imagination

Tim Froese
Viewpoints | By Tim Froese | Mar 22, 2017

When communicating about the ministries of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, my former colleague Al Rempel used to tell me, “Help your listeners imagine the work that is being done.”

Unveiling secrets

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

One day my normally cheerful, no-nonsense coworker surprised, or I should say shocked, me. She suddenly and briefly opened the door to her past, a dangerous time of war and famine.

“Those days were horrible,” she said fiercely in a low voice. “Things were so bad, they ate people. We never speak of them.”

Just as suddenly, the door swung shut, and she turned away from me and toward other tasks. I was young and curious, but I knew not to pursue her or the topic.

Giving as protest

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Mar 22, 2017 | 1 comment

Does the headline for this article pique your curiosity or does it irritate you? The word “protest” often evokes strong positive or negative emotions. Like it or not, we seem to be in a time marked by protests of one kind or another.

Beyond giving as duty, the Bible offers us an array of metaphors for giving that can move us to live more generously. The story of the widow’s offering told in the gospels of Mark and Luke offers us one of those metaphors.

Coaldale Nurses

Photo: MB Herald Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Mar 22, 2017

This photo of six nurses from Coaldale, Alta., and the surrounding area was taken in the 1950s. Pictured from left to right: M. Willms, H. Toews, M. Dick and H. Reimer of Coaldale, with M. Janzen of Pincher Creek and M. Dyck of Grassy Lake. Can anyone provide first names of the people pictured? The medical field was an area in which Mennonite women found public service careers. Aiding people in need fit well with Mennonite sensibilities for service.

archives.mhsc.ca/coaldale-nurses

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 6)

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

Fourteen years ago, I asked my handy friend, Carm, if I could hire him to do a flooring renovation. He said, “No. But I’ll teach you how to do it for free.”  

The past as prologue

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 08, 2017

“While Anabaptists affirm the inspiration and trustworthiness of Scripture, we are not strict literalists,” writes Palmer Becker in his just-released book, Anabaptist Essentials. This Canadian pastor, educator and missionary makes his point from no less than our Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, a document being held up as something of a Mennonite creed by some biblical literalists.

Readers write: March 13, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Mar 08, 2017

A holy challenge to become living bodies of Christ

Re: “A year of re-visioning” editorial, Jan. 2, page 2.

Thank you for challenging Mennonite Church Canada to give priority to re-visioning over re-structuring. You may be correct in suggesting that we are in danger of perishing for lack of vision (Proverbs 29:18).

A leadership lens on I Corinthians 13

Rick Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Rick Neufeld | Mar 08, 2017

What would the Apostle Paul say to leaders today? This was the question posed to participants at the recent Values-based Leadership Program that I attended. I offer one perspective of what Paul might be saying:

1. If I have the gift of wisdom and the ability to shape my words in eloquent sentences, but have not love, my words are just that: words.

2. If I have the gift of leadership and can implement all six thinking hats, if I’ve mastered all five leadership practices or eliminated all dysfunction from my team, but have not love, I am nothing.

What music rankles you?

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Mar 08, 2017 | 1 comment

Do you ever have a Sunday when the church music stinks? In your opinion, at least? Well, that’s the way it should be from time to time.

Even though I love singing old hymns, there have been Sundays when I’ve prayed to God that the friend I invited will come next week instead. I’m afraid that if he comes on this particular Sunday, when we’ll be singing out of the hymnal, he’ll think we’re stuck in 1952. I worry his suspicion will be confirmed that the church is out of touch with current reality. I know it’s foolish, but that’s how I feel at times.

Sharing food with my two families

Natasha Krahn, right, is pictured with members of the Jaber family. (Photo courtesy of Natasha Krahn)

Viewpoints | By Natasha Krahn | Mar 08, 2017

One of the privileges of living and travelling overseas is that you get to become a part of many different families. I’ve been fortunate to spend significant amounts of time with families in Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, just to name a few. But one of the most special families I have had the honour of being “adopted” by is the Jaber family in Palestine-Israel.

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.

In the cross-hairs of change

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 22, 2017

“The times, they are a-changin,” belted out singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in the mid 1960s.

While Dylan made the words a hum-them-all-day-long habit for many of his fans, those of us living more than a half-century later smile to ourselves and ask: “What’s new about that?” Change has been constantly a part of our lives if we are awake and taking nourishment every day. Get used to it, sister. Adjust your lenses regularly.

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.

Saint or sinner?

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Feb 22, 2017

“There’s a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in,” is often quoted by Christians as hope that God will “get in” to any situation. But the quote has a strange source, penned and sung as it was by Canada’s own beat poet, Leonard Cohen, that Jewish? Christian? Buddhist? lady’s man, from the song “Anthem” on his 1992 album The Future, which contains references to drug use and sex acts. Leonard Cohen: Is he a saint or sinner?

Thank You!

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 08, 2017

It is with heartfelt gratitude that we thank and recognize the generosity of the 835 donors, including 45 new ones, to our 2016 spring and fall fundraising drives that brought a record $119,403 into our coffers toward operating expenses and our endowment fund.

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:

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