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Readers write: November 7, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Nov 02, 2016 | 1 comment

Philpott deserves better from us

Re: “Put not your trust in ‘princesses’ ” letter, Sept. 26, page 10.

I am irritated when the press and the public berate our government ministers for spending money on hotel rooms and taxis.

‘ReLearning’ community

Brian Bauman
Viewpoints | By Brian Bauman | Nov 02, 2016

As a Mennonite baby boomer, going to church was family reunion, Christian faith and social life all rolled up into one tight-knit package. Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church was my community.  

Our heritage is . . .

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Nov 02, 2016

Our family was invited to an Indo-Canadian family birthday celebration. A one-year milestone, particularly for a son, is a monumental occasion in our friend’s culture. The colourful dress, curried-sensations and dancing were a little overwhelming and invitingly beautiful for a white bloke like me who grew up in southwestern Ontario, where dancing was verboten and curry was “hurry” pronounced incorrectly.

Expressing love with food

Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church expressed love to long-time pastor Fred Redekop and his family with a farewell faspa, a traditional Russian Mennonite meal. (Photo by Roy Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Nov 02, 2016

Fred Redekop often reminded his congregation that preparing food for others who may be struggling with illness or a death in the family is a way of showing love and care.

So when it came time to say farewell to him after 25 years as our pastor, we wondered what food was appropriate for our farewell meal. Agreeing on a menu proved to be challenging, but after many conversations we finally decided to honour our out-going pastor with a faspa, a traditional “Russian” Mennonite Sunday meal.

‘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.

Church growth the result of actions, not words

Artbeat | By Lorne Brandt | Nov 02, 2016

Recently, I have become curious about the life of the early church. What did its members believe? What did they preach and what did they practise? More to the point, what did they do that made the church grow? We read of no great missionaries spreading the Word after the time of the apostles. Yet the church grew to the point where, as we know, its erstwhile nemesis, the Roman Empire, succumbed to it in AD 313.

Back the boycott

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 19, 2016 | 3 comments

Of all the current global conflicts, none seems as intractable as the Israeli-Palestinian one, pitting an occupier government against its occupied residents. The dire situation was recognized at Assembly 2016 in Saskatoon this past summer, when a resolution was passed to support the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement as a way of taking the “few remaining options to end the occupation and facilitate a just peace with the Palestinian people.”

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.

Honouring our founder

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 05, 2016

We are pleased to announce that the family of the late Ted Friesen, the first publisher of The Canadian Mennonite, has agreed to set up—and seed with a $50,000 gift—a fundraising initiative that we are calling the Ted Friesen Legacy Fund. We hope that it will serve as an incentive for others to follow suit in giving major gifts to financially stabilize the 63-year-old publication during an uncertain time of changing denominational structures.

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.

Farewell to a ‘budding activist’

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 21, 2016

We will miss her and her passion for justice as a young mother trying to make sense of the complexities of our world in the 21st century. Katie Doke Sawatzky wrote her last New Order Voice column in our September 12 issue as she embarks on full-time studies in journalism.

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.