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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.

Tears shed over the closing of Riverdale Mennonite

Troy Watson, former pastor of Riverdale Mennonite Church, points out into the congregation, naming congregants who had welcomed and discipled him when he began to ministry there 19 years ago. Watson was one of the guests speaking at the congregation’s closing service on Aug. 20, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 20, 2017

After 71 years of faithful service, Riverdale Mennonite Church closed its doors on Aug. 31, 2017. The building is being taken over by the Berean Community Church, which assumed ownership and took over the charter of the congregation on Sept. 1.

Meeting the Creator in creation

Wendy Janzen at one of the locations Burning Bush Forest Church has worshipped in Breithaupt Park in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 20, 2017

Imagine deciding on Saturday that you want to begin a new congregation the next day. Then add to that the plan to meet outdoors in Canada on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.

To Wendy Janzen’s surprise, an enthusiastic group of 15 was ready to do just that on Dec. 29, 2014. Janzen was finishing up a sabbatical from her half-time position at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church at the time and had become intrigued by the idea of worshipping in nature.

Fast for Indigenous human rights

Steve Heinrichs, director of MC Canada’s Indigenous relations, is fasting in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through Bill C-262. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | Sep 20, 2017

Bill C-262 is a big deal. So big, that some are taking up a fast in the days leading up to the bill’s debate in the House of Commons.

One of those people is Steve Heinrichs. As director of  Indigenous relations for Mennonite Church Canada, Heinrichs began a fast on Sept. 13, 2017. Choosing Sept. 13 to start the fast is no accident. That’s the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the UN General Assembly.

Raising peacemakers

Children, along with their leaders Gabby Martin, far left, and Kerstyn Liddle, far right, participate in MCC Saskatchewan’s 2017 Raise the Peace 2017. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 20, 2017

Summer camp is a great experience for many children. For participants in Raise the Peace Camp, it is an opportunity to have fun while learning about peacebuilding.

Raise the Peace is a day camp for children between 9 and 13. It’s offered by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, and is primarily for children from Saskatoon’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood.

Principal hits mid-life, takes to pulpit

Cheryl Braun (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Braun)

God at work in Us | By Will Braun | Sep 20, 2017 | 2 comments

After 23 good years as a teacher and principal, Cheryl Braun asked herself a simple question: “What does the last part of my career look like?” Would she stay the course or risk change?

As Braun (no relation to the author) considered this over several months with a small support group, she eventually asked herself, “If I’m going to make a change, why not explore a big change?”

Last January, she resigned as principal of Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) in Gretna, Man., effective in July. She was excited, nervous and committed. Possibilities and uncertainty lay ahead.

‘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.

Hard work pays off

Chloe Penner competed in mountain bike and road bike competitions at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo by Paul Reimer)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 20, 2017

One of the biggest events in Winnipeg in recent months was the 2017 Canada Summer Games. From July 28 to Aug. 13, 2017, 4,000 young athletes from across the country competed in a variety of sports. It was the 50th anniversary of the Games, and drew an estimated 20,000 visitors to the city. Canadian Mennonite spoke with three young people from Winnipeg about their involvement.

Chloe Penner
Chloe Penner represented Manitoba in both the mountain bike and road bike competitions at the Games.

‘Over and over again, day by day’

Sarah Moesker, front row right, and her fellow companions share the daily rhythm of the sisters’ life. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 20, 2017

When Sarah Moesker began asking herself how she could deepen her faith, living in an Anglican convent for almost a year was the answer.

Moesker, a student at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, spent September 2016 to the end of this past July in the Companions on the Way program, during which she and a group of other young women lived in residence alongside members of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine in Toronto.

Imitating Jesus on the Migrant Trail

David Bonilla, a former Mennonite Brethren pastor from Colombia, walks the Migrant Trail in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, bearing a cross to bring attention to the deaths of migrants traversing the U.S.-Mexico border. See story on back cover. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Saulo Padilla)

Back Page | By Danielle Gonzales and Karla Braun | Sep 20, 2017

“Our Anabaptist history is intrinsically tied to migration, and so is our Christian story,” says Saulo Padilla, immigration education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. “We must keep challenging the narratives that separate us, build borders and invite us to dehumanize others.”

Great Day of Singing planned for October 22

Mennonite congregations are invited to plan a worship service on Oct. 22, 2017, using sample resources from the new Resonate project.  (Photo courtesy of MennoMedia)

Web First | Sep 19, 2017

A 16-page sampler of the new Mennonite worship and song collection is available for free congregational download. Called the “Great Day of Singing,” the sampler is designed as a resource to plan worship for October 22, 2017.

This one-day event is planned by the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee as a way for individuals and congregations to sample some new music and worship resources, and to provide feedback to the committee.

New award brings diversity to Grebel campus

The Mennonite Diversity Award is designed to make an educational experience at Grebel accessible to Mennonite students from culturally diverse backgrounds. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Grebel University College)

Web First | Sep 19, 2017

Living in Toronto for 46 years, Mary Groh was increasingly surrounded by a multicultural society. As an active member of Danforth Mennonite Church there, following the closure of Warden Woods Mennonite Church, she witnessed the growth of various Mennonite congregations in the east end of Toronto.

A cry for home

Reverend Ashraf Tannous, pastor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beit Sahour, in Palestine’s West Bank, is working for peace in the Middle East. (MCC photo by Emily Loewen)

Web First | By Laura Kalmar | Sep 19, 2017

Everyone needs a home where families are safe and secure, where their basic needs are met, where they can come and go freely, and where they can imagine a future. 

But that is not the reality for most Palestinians, or even for some Israelis.

In September 2017, Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) is releasing its first collection in a series of videos featuring stories of people who make their home in Palestine and Israel. Some may be surprising. Some may prompt questions. And some may compel you to action.

Overdue dictionary

The online Dictionary of African Christian Biography aims to collect, preserve, and make accessible biographical accounts and church histories to foster an understanding of African Christianity.

Web First | By John Longhurst | Sep 18, 2017

He was known as southern Africa’s Billy Graham.

His name was Nicholas Bhengu, and he was an evangelist with the Assemblies of God in South Africa from the 1940s until his death in 1985.

During his ministry, tens of thousands of people attended his crusades, and thousands were converted. He started more than 50 churches. More than 20,000 people attended his funeral. And yet, Bhengu is almost completely unknown to Christians outside Africa.

Jonathan Bonk, a member of Fort Garry Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Man., is on a mission to change that.

Relief efforts underway to address flooding, displacement in South Asia

Women collect dry rations from the government relief camp in Naihati, West Bengal, India. Millions of people in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have been impacted by the recent monsoon flooding. In West Bengal, Mennonite Central Committee’s partner Nabarun Seva Niketan is providing food assistance to 1,500 flood-affected families. MCC is also partnering with Economic Rural Development Society to provide a food basket for 1,520 families in Malda district, West Bengal. (MCC photo)

Web First | By Hannah Heinzekehr | Sep 08, 2017

At the same time that Tropical Storm Harvey was making landfall in Texas, people in Bangladesh, India and Nepal were experiencing devastating floods that have left millions of people displaced and killed over 1,200 people.

South Asia is prone to flooding during monsoon season, from June to September each year, but authorities have said “this year’s floods have been much worse,” according to reporting by The Guardian. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is joining partners in all three countries to help with relief efforts.

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.

What is the Spirit saying to our churches today?

Westview Christian Fellowship, a Mennonite Church Eastern Canada ‘emerging congregation’ in St. Catharines, Ont., operates during the week as the Westview Centre4Women, offering a place of respect, dignity and safety for women in the neighbourhood. Erika Klassen, the centre’s executive director, left, is pictured with Engie, who heard of the centre when she was feeling suicidal because of chronic pain. After receiving love, acceptance and support there, Engie offered her photographic talents to the neighbourhood women, taking portrait pictures of each of them. The event has become so popular it is now held annually. (Photo courtesy of Centre4Women)

Feature | By David Martin | Sep 06, 2017

“Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Revelation 3:22).

These words of John from the Island of Patmos are as relevant for us today as they were to the seven churches in the province of Asia who were struggling to adapt to the ever-changing realities of living under the rule of Roman emperors.

‘We need to learn to dream as a church’

Sharing their hopes and dreams for the church, left to right: Lisa Carr-Pries, Gabby Martin, Colin Reimer, Claire Hanson, Melanie Kampen, Rebecca Janzen, Annika Krause.

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Next month, those gathered at Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly will make major decisions about the structure of the church based on proposals from the Future Directions Task Force.
With that in mind, Canadian Mennonite asked young adults from across Canada: What are your hopes and dreams for MC Canada in the next 10 years?

Youth wanted

There will be room at the table for youth at next month’s Assembly 2017. (Photo courtesy of MC Canada)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Members of the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) are hoping that financial assistance and special events aimed specifically at high school students will encourage youth to attend Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly next month.

EVI members will lead special discussions and debriefing sessions for youth at the assembly, which takes place from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Youth will also have the opportunity to integrate with adult delegates during table discussions.

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.

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