Feature

Error message

Deprecated function: Function create_function() is deprecated in eval() (line 1 of /home/canadianmenno/public_html/modules/php/php.module(80) : eval()'d code).

Encountering the living God

‘Kingdom spirituality’ is well suited to Mennonites. This is the ‘give me something to do for God’ spirituality that goes on peace marches, works with Mennonite Disaster Service, sits at the quilting frame or helps with building projects like the one at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, Ont., pictured.

God is a living God who encounters us in our daily lives.” So said Arnold Snyder, professor of history at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., during a Reformation Sunday sermon last fall at Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg.

Meet me at the Grand!

A 1797 Conestoga wagon, refitted with rubber tires, travels from Lancaster, Pa., to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., in 1952 to mark the centennial of Waterloo County. (File photo by David Hunsberger, Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

A cairn erected at The First Mennonite Church in Vineland in 1986 marks the bicentennial celebrations of the Mennonites’ arrival in Canada. (www.gameo.org photo)

The homestead of Daniel and Veronica (Schneider) Martin (married April 8, 1823) at Wagner's Corners (on the west side of Weber St.) in what is now the north end of Waterloo, Ont. (Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo)

Russian Mennonite immigrants walking up Erb St. in Waterloo, Ont., from the railway siding in downtown Waterloo toward Erb St. Mennonite Church, in 1924. (Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo)

It is 1786. The first Swiss Mennonites have just arrived in Ontario, having travelled from Pennsylvania in Conestoga wagons. They crossed the mighty Niagara River by taking the wheels off their wagons, sealing the wagon boxes to make boats, and then floating across. Cattle and horses swam.

For discussion

1. When did your congregation first have a woman preach a sermon or first have a woman pastor? How open was the congregation to this change? Were there surprises in who resisted? How has the attitude toward women pastors changed since the 1970s?

‘I don’t have to prove anything’

Martha Smith Good, left, talks with Johanna Wall, pastor of the now-closed Warden Woods Church, Scarborough, Ont., in June 2009.

Throughout her childhood and youth Martha Smith Good believed her conservative Swiss Markham-Waterloo Mennonite church north of Toronto was all about rules and regulations. “In my spirit/soul I knew there was something more, and I wanted to find that,” she says.

Not a stereotype

Donita and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld are ordained in May 2006 by Jim Shantz, Mennonite Church Alberta conference minister.

As far as I know, I’m the only one. I’m the only home-grown Alberta woman who left the province, studied in Mennonite institutions, and is a pastor back here. Friends in other provinces wondered, “Why go back?” They knew Alberta’s redneck reputation. Happily, stereotypes are never the whole truth and sometimes they are lies.

From a closed community to an open heart

Wilf Dueck, moderator of First Mennonite Church, Burns Lake, B.C., presents Pastor Eve Isaak with flowers and an education bursary from the congregation at her ordination service last June.

Growing up in a very conservative Old Colony Mennonite home in the 1950s and ’60s, I soon learned that education was not encouraged. Church was meant only to attend. I was to keep anything I heard or learned to myself; the men would sort out what needed to be sorted out. My place was to marry, have children and submit unconditionally to my husband, to leadership and to authority.

For discussion

1. Do you remember comments about physical appearance from when you were young? What attitude did your parents and family have about physical appearance? How did they communicate that attitude? How many mirrors do you have in your house today?

For discussion

1. What has your congregation done to help members dealing with personality disorders, addiction or family dysfunction? How effective has it been? How involved should the congregation or the pastor be in helping people cope with these types of issues?

When the pain doesn’t go away

Jane’s nightmares kept her from getting a good night’s sleep. “They are just terrifying,” she told her doctor. “I wake up almost every night. It’s like someone is suffocating me—like a body lying on top of me—I’m holding my breath—just shaking with fear!”

“I think we can help with that,” said Dr. Shenk. “Let’s try this new sleep medication to see if that helps.”

Choosing life

Every morning I look in the mirror and do not know who might be looking back at me. I wonder what the day will hold. Will it be a day of relative calm? Or will it be a day when my voice becomes higher-pitched, and my speech speeds up, gushing out of me in staccato fashion while my mind tries to keep up with the ideas that come rushing in?

Embarrassing gratitude

What if justice and care for the most vulnerable in our community and our world is not primarily a duty or even a mandate, but rather an act of gratitude and devotion to God?

Sue Steiner

A woman—a good family friend—pours perfume worth $25,000 on Jesus’ feet at a dinner party held at her house in his honour. She removes her head scarf, shakes her hair loose, bends over, and wipes Jesus’ perfumed feet with her hair. The fragrance fills the whole house. Surely that fragrance remains on Jesus’ feet—and in Mary’s hair—for days.

For discussion

1. The Christmas season is a time of giving. How does your congregation and/or community get involved in giving during this season? What are we saying when we give gifts? Do you agree with Aiden Enns’s comment in the “Alternatives” article that, “when we give, we acknowledge our dependence on others”?

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Feature