Readers write: July 11, 2011 issue

July 5, 2011 | Viewpoints

MC Canada applauded for unpopular cutbacks
Re: “‘The signs are clear,’” April 4, page 18, and, “‘With sadness and lament,’” May 2, page 15.

I applaud Willard Metzger and the Mennonite Church Canada board for the cutbacks they have announced recently. They did what was necessary, even though not popular with staff.

I will increase my giving now that I know that we have competent management in place. This move was necessary in view of years of good spiritual leadership, but a lack of financial knowledge. Metzger and his board realize they have a fiduciary duty to their supporters and took the proper action.

I like what I see in Metzger’s leadership, which is more than I can say for some of our other church organizations. They, too, will need to deal with bloated budgets sooner or later.  Let’s hope they learn from Metzger and his board.

Jake Rempel, Winnipeg, Man.


Article didn’t give full picture of seniors community
Re: “‘This is home,’” May 30, page 26.

We are residents of Toronto’s St. Clair O’Connor Community and are appreciative of its small footprint but large impact on the senior community in this part of the city.

Its story, as told by Emily Loewen, describes only a portion of its services to the community. The family townhouses are just one component. Within the three-storey building is a 25-bed long-term care unit. A day centre for seniors provides respite care and activation for those from the community.

Many seniors living in their own apartments are also assisted throughout the day with meals, cleaning and nursing care as requested.

A pleasant dining room provides 15 dinners a month for all and more for others.

Unique to the complex is an exchange library for seniors and a large Mennonite heritage library. In addition, an active Mennonite heritage club provides monthly programs of historical interest, which many non-Mennonite residents attend.

There’s a woodworking shop where skilled craftsmen make small tables and craft wooden toys and objects for the annual sale, repair chairs and sharpen knives.

A sizeable backyard patio and flower beds developed and maintained by resident gardeners contribute to this vibrant but diverse community.

Come and visit!

Nicholas and Harriet Dick, Toronto, Ont.


What’s there to rediscover about Mary?
Re: “Rediscovering Mary,” April 18, page 16.

I always thought the Bible was pretty clear on who Mary was: A God-fearing young woman whom God chose for his special purposes. She undoubtedly loved her husband and family and did the very best for them.

She was a mother, probably widowed for some time, who watched her son being executed even though he was innocent. How many thousands of mothers through the centuries have had to endure similar circumstances, mothers who loved their God, husbands and families, and, yes, even had to watch their own sons being put to death in the cruellest of ways, during the Reformation—the birth of our own Anabaptist church—and the Russian Revolution, just to give two examples?

In my own case, I had a God-fearing mother who passed on her faith to her children, even though she lost her husband in the war and my oldest brother through cruel disease because of the war. Through her willingness to take risks, she was able to escape from East Germany and offer her children a better life in Canada.

So what might the mother of Jesus mean for Mennonites today? The same as my mother meant to me.

Dick Hildebrandt,Campbell River, B.C.


How to afford a Mennonite education?
Re: “What’s to become of Mennonite schools?” May 30, page 4.

As the mother of a three-year-old girl who is about to enter the public school system, a part of me longs for the opportunity to enrol my daughter in a Mennonite school. However, the socio-economic reality of my family means that it is unlikely my daughter will ever be able to attend a Mennonite school.

One reason is the fact that, like many young adults, my husband and I have had to move to a large urban centre to pursue our own education and employment, meaning that  we are a long distance away from a Mennonite school for our child.

I wonder how the church can affirm the value of Christian formational experiences for our children in such a way that invites Mennonite families from all geographic and economic situations to participate.

Alicia Good, Toronto, Ont.


‘A double-edged sword’ leads to ‘silver lining’

Re: “A double-edged sword,” May 30, page 10.

There are myriad reasons for divorce, just as each marriage relationship is unique.  I have learned that no matter how much you love someone or how hard you work, it takes two people to want to be there and who are able to be there in the relationship. Couples can and have rebuilt their relationships even after a huge loss or losses.

When a couple can sort out the material things, the divorce impact can be minimized, albeit hard. When children are involved, it is a whole other level of needs. If both partners work together for the benefit of their children, it lessens the long-term pain and a family becomes two families.

However, when untreated alcoholism, addiction,  or emotional, psychological or mental illness is the reason for the divorce, it becomes much more complicated. Now, combine children to this volatile situation and it becomes excruciating. Divorce no longer is a one-time event but a long-term nightmare. This is where vindictiveness, hatred and control prevail, as the person with impaired perspective and judgment is reinforced by family law lawyers who only represent their client. In fact, family law is fuel for the fire.  Families in crisis do not belong in court.

It could be much better. Enact a law that gives couples a period of time to sort things out. If unable, then assign a mediator to assess the family situation, and create a plan that is legally binding, even if one partner fails to show.

And, as Miller states, the silver lining in divorce is “encountering the full scope of God’s abundant grace and unending love.”

Marg Reimer, Cambridge, Ont.


Women have a God-given role as ministers
Re: “Bible teaches against women in ministry” letter, April 4, page 12.

God created human beings in his image, not just men. The English translation “mankind” seems to give men the idea God only created men. Women are simply another expression of who God is.

If it is so important for women to keep quiet, why didn’t Jesus mention it? Why isn’t it one of the Ten Commandments? Why has God given women all these wonderful talents? Are women supposed to bury their gifts?

I suggest all the people worried about women not keeping quiet, should read Joel 2:28. My Bible says God will pour his spirit on everyone—sons, daughters, maidservants, menservants. That means women, too, and they will proclaim the message, which means to announce officially as the town crier did years ago in the streets, or in the pulpit today.

For further reading on this subject, Acts 2:14-18 supports the message of Joel.

It seems some people see only what supports their biases.

Esther Kennel, New Hamburg, Ont.


Invite people to feel included in God’s plans for sexuality
Re: “Sexual inclusivity motion to be presented at national assembly,” May 30, page 15.

I trust that a willingness to dialogue and an agreement to bring a motion to the assembly does not constitute a shift in values, but a willingness to include all people to have worth in the church. I trust that all dialogue will keep as central the Bible and the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective. I believe delegates to the Waterloo, Ont., assembly should adopt a substitute motion that we invite all people to feel included in God’s love and his plans for sexuality.

Alvin G. Ens, Abbotsford, B.C.

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