Feature

Just what is ‘postmodern’?

‘Bill’ and ‘Sue’ are on opposite sides of the modern/postmodern divide when it comes to Sunday school. Portraying the fictional Bill and Sue in this photo are Marco Funk and Marla Langelotz.

Dave Rogalsky is Canadian Mennonite's eastern Canada correspondent and pastor at Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg, Ontario

"Staying for Sunday School, Bill?”



“I’m staying, Sue, but not for Sunday school. I’m going to hang out with the ‘coffee drinkers’ in the kitchen. We have some really good conversations about religion and spirituality there, not dry discussions about traditional meanings of an ancient book.”



For discussion

1. What are the demographics of your congregation? What percentage is over 65? How many of those are frail elderly? What programs or ministries are designed specifically for seniors? Do the older members of your congregation feel involved and engaged?



“Your congregation knows how to care for seniors”

Gloria Dirks, parish nurse at Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, holds a plush “microbe” that she uses in children’s education in the congregation.

When Gloria Dirks was retiring from the joint position of Administrator and Director of Care at Parkwood Mennonite Home in Waterloo, Ont. in 2003, she knew she wanted to use her skills in some way. The call of her congregation, the Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, to research the potential of a parish nurse seemed like a good fit.

Caring for our seniors

Martha Brubacher, Florence Frey and Vera Martin work on a relief sale quilt at Floradale Mennonite Church.

Across the country, many MC Canada churches are staring at the numbers and scratching their heads. As young people drift away from the church and the baby boomers retire, church leadership is faced with increasing numbers of grey heads.

Is technology enriching our worship?

Youth worship at Charlotte 2005

Andy Brubacher Kaethler currently teaches and directs the !Explore program at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind.

Technology is the single most significant characteristic of modern western culture. Canadian philosopher George Grant contends it has long displaced democracy and capitalism as top identifiers. Technology directly shapes Christian belief and practice in ways we must at the very least question, if not actively resist.



Salvation comes to a rich house

“The Conversion of Zacchaeus” by Bernardo Strozzi, 1581 – 1644.

Bruno Dyck

Money, business, salvation and the kingdom of God. You won’t often find these words sharing the same sentence, but they do belong together in the Gospel of Luke. It turns out Luke has a lot to say about how we manage organizations that produce goods and services, and about how this is very closely related to salvation and God’s kingdom.



For discussion

1. According to Larry Miller, the last two decades have been a time of fundamental change for Anabaptists around the world. What changes have you seen in Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and in how Mennonites interact globally? Do you agree that the centre of gravity of the global church has shifted to the Global South?

Miller was a ‘migrant missionary’

Ecumenical dialogue was a passion of Larry Miller’s. Monsignor John A. Radano of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity leads a meeting of the Mennonite-Catholic Dialogue (1998-2003), of which he was co-chair. To his left are Bishop Joseph Martino and Miller.

“You were a new kind of ‘migrant missionary’ described in John Howard Yoder’s As You Go,” said Bert Lobe, in an evening of memories of Larry Miller at Rockway Mennonite Church, Kitchener, on Oct. 23, 2011.

‘A place that gives life’

Larry Miller’s tenure as MWC general secretary was marked by his gift of encouragement among other global leaders. In this 1991 photo, he stands behind his ‘big brothers’: Mesach Krisetya, left, of Indonesia, who was to become MWC president in 1997, and Reg Toews of Canada, then serving as treasurer.

The Millers and their children (now married) in Kolkata, India, in 1997, with the parents-in-law of Indian church leader Menno Joel, right. Pictured from left to right: Anne-Marie Miller Blaise; Elisabeth Miller Sommers, Menno’s parents-in-law, Larry Miller, Alexandre Miller, Eleanor Miller and Menno Joel.

At the 2011 Executive Committee meetings in Taiwan, Cisca Mawangu Ibanda of Congo, centre, presents carved animals to Larry Miller, left, now former MWC general secretary, and César García, who assumed the general secretary’s role on Jan. 1. More than curios, said Ibanda, the animals represent qualities important for their service to MWC: Miller ho

Larry Miller remembers one moment clearly when, as a 38-year-old, he was weighing whether or not to accept the nomination to lead Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The year was 1988 and he was sitting in a university library in Strasbourg, France, where he lived.



A Bible meant to be read with your ears

Superlatives for the KJV, as it’s known, abound: ‘The greatest work of prose ever written in English,’ ‘The most beautiful book in the world,’ ‘The most important book in English religion and culture,’ one of the ‘books of the millennium.’

Given a choice between the absolute accuracy of the translation or the elegance and beauty of the language, the translators unfailingly chose elegance and beauty.

Have you heard the Bible recently? Not read it, but listened to it—heard the words of Scripture, not just seen them on the page. 

Singing ‘Silent Night’ in German

Joani Neufeldt is currently a member of First Mennonite Church, Edmonton, Alta., where she chairs the Christian Education and Worship Branch.

Sometimes a Christmas experience stands out in memory simply because it is so different from any other.

When Joani Neufeldt, nee Goerzen, thinks of a memorable Christmas, it is one of these unique experiences: “The one that came to mind was when, I think I was late teens, we did a kind of live nativity at Bergthal.”

Christmas in Nazareth

Hinke Loewen-Rudgers, second from left, poses with the Arab Christian family that took her in as their daughter. From left to right: Rajaa, Andera and Eman.

“I felt a very intense homesickness and wanted to go home [to Manitoba] for Christmas. Christmas is a very important holiday to me.”

It was Christmas 2010 and Hinke Loewen-Rudgers had been in Nazareth since October 2008, working through the Witness program of Mennonite Church Canada.

Thirty years of A Christmas Carol

'We began reading it out loud to each other in 1981, and have done so every year since, finding more gems to think about each time.' (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Annemarie Rogalsky prepares to read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol again from the now ragged paperback bought in 1981. (Photo courtesy of Dave Rogalsky)

Thirty years ago this Christmas, my wife Annemarie and I began a Christmas tradition we’ve continued year after year, with variations.

For discussion

1. Why might the idea of learning from other faiths make us uncomfortable or fearful? What are the risks and benefits of honest dialogue with other faiths? What are the faith groups in your community with whom you could build relationships?



Learning from diverse faiths

A group of Muslim men gather for prayer at a mosque in Israel/Palestine. Palmer Becker wonders if Mennonites, through their example and witness, might eventually help both male and female Muslim believers to pray and worship side by side.

An instructor at the Kitchener, Ont., LDS church explains the consequences of trying to follow both the way of the world and the way of the Lord to a group of high school students who meet each weekday morning for 45 minutes of ‘seminary’ instruction over the course of four years. Do Mennonites have church communities where we might convene our you

Palmer Becker

In our increasingly multicultural and multi-faith society, can we learn from belief systems other than our own? I believe so, and offer what I have learned from two faiths—Mormonism and Islam—that have very diverse beliefs from each other and also from my own Mennonite faith. This has called for risk-taking, relationship-building and honest self-reflection.

The alternative method of God

Andrew Suderman, right, preaches at Harvest Time Ministries, a church located in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, with Pastor Ntapo handling translation duties. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Suderman)

Throughout the Bible, God embodies--and challenges us to embody--a method that challenges the assumption that success, power and influence are gained by focusing on us. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Suderman)

Andrew Suderman

One thing that I find so inspiring in South Africa is the countless people who participate in miraculous activities as they strive to make their communities better.

For discussion

1. Professional hockey is known for fighting and violence. Should this deter Mennonites from being avid hockey fans? Is hard hitting and fighting an essential part of the game? Is violence okay if it’s allowed in the rules of the game? Is this what David Driedger means by structured violence?



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