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MPN struggling to publish in a digital age


Artbeat | By By Deborah Froese | Apr 19, 2010

For Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), the ministry of publishing is growing ever more complex.

The mission for the publisher of Mennonite Church Canada and MC U.S.A. remains the same: providing materials to equip the church to experience and share the gospel of Jesus Christ from an Anabaptist perspective. But coping with the impact of the Internet and readily available free digital media is changing the face of business. The economic downturn of 2009 has compounded that challenge.

Celebrating women's stories

University student Melinda Goertz poses with her baking and the fair trade products she used to create them.

Focus On | By By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 19, 2010

Indian dancers from the Swastini Dance Group led by Swati and Nidhi Juthani swirled over the stage at Victoria Park Pavilion in Kitchener on March 27. Both traditional and “Bollywood” styles were showcased to welcome Roopa Mehta from India to “Women’s stories/Women’s hope: An international celebration” of fair trade hosted by Ten Thousand Villages (TTV) and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).

‘Bombs bursting in air’?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Apr 19, 2010

James Brenneman has dropped a bombshell.

At first blush, I decided not to join the fray over Goshen College’s decision to play the American national anthem at some sporting events, considering it something of a local theological/educational debate. Like the raging healthcare reform debate across the border, I thought Canadians might be at best amused or, at worst, detached from my homeland’s unique political complexities.

Words are powerful

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Apr 05, 2010

Speech seems to be on the public mind these days.

As I write this, much of the Canadian press and Ottawa University seem to be in a spat over the sanctity of free speech springing from the invitation, then the cancelling, of right-wing American pundit Ann Coulter, who was to speak to the students.

Making the Word in worship come alive

Worshippers at the Zion Church of the Messiah near Gabarone, Botswana, are asked to read Scripture “on the spot,” according to photographer Dan Dyck.

Feature | By By Christine Longhurst | Apr 05, 2010

How much of your worship service is spent reading and hearing Scripture? 10 percent? 15 percent? More? Less?

For discussion

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Apr 05, 2010

1. What have been some of the more effective and less effective ways that you have heard Scripture read during worship? What are the advantages and disadvantages of reading longer passages? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a wide variety of people in reading Scripture?

Putting the cat to sleep

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Apr 05, 2010

Recently I took my sick cat to the vet, who diagnosed him as having a significant tumour lodged in his intestines. That explained the odd behaviour we’d observed, like him using the breadbox for a bed and the bathtub for a toilet. There were other signs of distress, including loss of weight and difficulties walking. I had prepared myself for euthanizing my cat, but it was still a hard step to take. I gave my consent to the kind veterinarian, and soon my pet had “gone to sleep,” as the euphemism goes.

Counting the cost of retirement

Viewpoints | By Mike Strathdee | Apr 05, 2010

Are you somewhat jealous of your teacher friends, who, in their early 50s, are already counting the days, only a few years away, when they can say goodbye to their day job while enjoying a full pension? Do you wonder how your circumstances will ever make retiring possible?

It is pretty difficult to find any biblical support for the modern notion of retirement—turning our back on work at a certain age. God made us to be productive. But society has taught us all to look forward to retirement, if not how to plan for it properly.

Celebrating abilities

Bonnie Sawatzky, a member of Peace Mennonite Church, Richmond, B.C., was the first to carry the Paralympic torch upon its arrival in Vancouver. She is pictured with her supporters and Leon, her service dog.

God at work in Us | By By Amy Dueckman | Apr 05, 2010

When Bonnie Sawatzky rolled her wheelchair down the student union plaza hill just after lighting the Paralympic torch at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver last month, she remembers a crowd of people surrounding her. “Go, Bonnie, go!” they yelled.

“It was the most amazing experience and quite an honour,” recalls Sawatzky, a member of Peace Mennonite Church, Richmond, B.C., and associate professor of orthopaedics at UBC. “My friends, family, and students from my lab and class came out to celebrate with me. I felt so special.”

‘Little by little there will be change’

Gene Stoltzfus

God at work in Us | By From Christian Peacemaker Teams Releases | Apr 05, 2010

Gene Stoltzfus, the founding director of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), died of a heart attack in Fort Frances, Ont., while bicycling near his home on the first spring-like day of the year. He is survived by wife Dorothy Friesen and many peacemakers who stand on the broad shoulders of his 70 years of creative action.

New residence hall to be built at CBC

An artist’s rendering of the new Columbia Bible College residence, anticipated to cost $3.5 million.

God at work in the Church | By By Amy Dueckman | Apr 05, 2010

Fundraising for a new residence hall, estimated to cost $3.5 million, is underway at Columbia Bible College (CBC).

The four-storey residence for 134 students will be located on a section of campus that now contains several houses. This location was chosen to maximize campus life participation, being only a half-minute’s walk from the dining room, classrooms and library. The suites are planned in a modular style allowing several students to live in each suite.

Church may be ‘on to something’

God at work in the Church | By By Canadian Mennonite Staff | Apr 05, 2010

It’s been six months since Whitewater Mennonite Church in Boissevain, Man., laid aside its committee work, to rest, read Scripture, and engage in prayer and fellowship with one another as part of the congregation’s year-long “Sabbath rest.”

“All decisions or work that is deemed ‘nonessential’ has been deferred for the year and all other necessary issues and decisions are discussed at monthly congregational meetings,” explains pastor Judith Doell.

Introducing Muslims to Jesus


God at work in the World | By By Rachel Bergen | Apr 05, 2010

When Christians proclaim the unique claims of God to Muslims, it often goes awry when they bring Jesus into the equation, according to Emmanuel Ali El-Shariff, who says it is inconceivable—even sacrilegious—to Muslims to say that Jesus is the Son of God.

New book gives greater voice to minority Reformation traditions

André Gingerich Stoner, director of interchurch relations for Mennonite Church U.S.A., left, talks with Walter Sawatsky, who has recently edited a book of proceedings from consultations that brought together representatives of Reformation movements in Europe.

Artbeat | By By Mary E. Klassen | Apr 05, 2010

Walter Sawatsky, professor of church history and mission at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), has edited proceedings of two ecumenical consultations in a newly released book, Prophetic and Renewal Movements: The Prague Consultations, published by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC).

Combines called back to Winkler for another world-record harvest attempt

Focus On | By From a Children’s Camps International Release | Apr 05, 2010

Four years after Winkler hosted more than a hundred combines in an attempt to set a record for harvesting 65 hectares, the rural southern Manitoba community is at it again. On Aug. 7, World Harvest for Kids 2010 hopes to bring together more than twice as many combines to harvest 97 hectares and hopefully set a record this time.

CMU cyclists to pedal for foreign student aid

Focus On | By Canadian Mennonite University Release | Apr 05, 2010

A team of five cyclists, made up of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) faculty members and alumni will race from Vancouver to Winnipeg in pursuit of ultra-marathon cyclist Arvid Loewen, to raise money for international student financial assistance and international practicums. Hot Pursuit 2010 begins on July 17, when CMU’s team of five will try to overtake Arvid Loewen, who is racing for the Mully Children’s Family Charitable Foundation, which helps abandoned and orphaned children in South Africa.

Cherish this magazine

Editorial | By Larry Cornies | Mar 22, 2010

Over the past six years, I’ve had the great privilege of serving on the board of Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS), overseer of this magazine. It’s time now to say goodbye. By the time you read this, the annual meetings of CMPS will have been held in Abbotsford, B.C., and a new board chair will have been elected.

Victory through Christ

The late Peter J. Dyck

Feature | By By Peter J. Dyck | Mar 22, 2010

“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”

(Paul, in I Corinthians 15:57).

Easter is the most joyous holiday on our calendar. Nature decorates the landscape with colourful flowers, birds sing and women display their new dresses. The cynics say it is only an annual spring fashion show.

On the road to Emmaus

“Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio (1601). National Gallery of London, England.

Feature | By By Udo Woelke | Mar 22, 2010

On that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about 11 kilometres from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him.

For discussion

Feature | Mar 22, 2010

1. How does your congregation commemorate the pain of the cross and celebrate the joy of Easter? What do you find most meaningful? Peter J. Dyck describes a papier-maché drama that he experienced in Poland. How would that drama be received at your church?

2. What things discourage us as we walk along the road of life? What are the things we “just can’t understand”? What are some ways that the Easter story brings light and hope to this “dark” path?

New directions in Manitoba

Viewpoints | By Hans Werner | Mar 22, 2010

At the recent annual gathering of Mennonite Church Manitoba, the talk was about new directions. It seems the search for new ways of organizing ourselves is in the air everywhere. Our connections to each other as congregations seem to be fraying, we value our independence in ever greater measure, and see less and less need to support and depend on each other.

Pondering dissent from popular films

Viewpoints | By Aiden Enns | Mar 22, 2010

Warning: Part A below uses evangelical language. If you are sensitive to harsh judgments, please skip ahead to Part B for a gentle conclusion.

Part A: “Hate” is such a short, strong word, isn’t it? It’s so strong that I try to refrain from directing it at people and reserve it for more nebulous things. For example, I hate it that there are audiences for pornography, lotteries, and airports with shopping malls.

Convert . . . or die

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Mar 22, 2010

It’s quite unfashionable these days to think people should change their minds. This is a strange thought that, well, needs to change.

In some parts of the world—places some Canadians look at with disdain because of their backward “fundamentalism”—to change one’s mind is an act of high treason. Think of those strange bedfellows Iran and North Korea. One is a theistic state, the other atheistic, yet both systems are equally paranoid of people changing their minds.

Quake hits close to home

Arisnel and Syvelie Mesidor are together at last in their Winnipeg home after a frightening separation. She was a victim of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, while he was studying at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg.

God at work in Us | By By Rachel Bergen | Mar 22, 2010

Jan. 12 was a day like no other for Arisnel Mesidor. On this day, Haiti, his homeland—and the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere—was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

From ‘exhortation to incarnation’ in witness

Alan Kreider, keynote speaker at this year’s Mennonite Church Saskatchewan annual delegate sessions, helped participants overcome obstacles to witnessing to their faith in Christ in a multicultural and multi-faith world.

God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | Mar 22, 2010

Freed from some of the Mennonite ethnic restraints of the past, some 50 pastors from Mennonite Church Saskatchewan attending the annual delegate sessions last month conversed with Alan Kreider about how they could move from “exhortation to incarnation” in helping their members give testimony to their Christian experience in a postmodern world.