1. What have been your personal experiences or connections with Israel/Palestine? What are your sources for news or information of what is happening there? Do Canadians tend to see the conflict from the Israeli or Palestinian point of view? Do you think worldwide attitudes toward Israel/Palestine are changing?
The following is an excerpt from a recent prayer from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, calling on the world to pray for the people who live in Palestine and Israel, who face uncertainty, violence and injustice, and who yearn for the end of oppression.
What is God’s plan for Israel? It would be presumptuous for me to say that I have a definitive answer to that question. If I did, I would likely be appointed ambassador to Israel or special consultant to the United Nations!
From July 3 to 6, 2014, Mennonite Church Canada held its biennial assembly, in Winnipeg, Man. Focusing on the theme, “Wild Hope: faith for an unknown season,” the church delegates and their families, church-wide staff and volunteers, along with international guests, worshipped together, discussed issues, participated in seminars, and connected with friends and acquaintances.
A tornado warning was issued for southern Winnipeg just as Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada’s executive director, was giving the final announcements at Assembly 2014 on July 5. Should delegates proceed to their seminars or should they stay in the Loewen Athletic Centre on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), where the assembly was held?
With the future of the church and issues of sexuality being prominent issues up for discussion at Assembly 2014, Karl Koop, a Canadian Mennonite University professor, asked César García, Mennonite World Conference’s general secretary who spoke about the global Anabaptist mosaic, how these topics could affect the global church.
1. As Mennonite Church Canada ponders the future, it recognizes that the church is changing. What changes have been happening in your congregation? What fears do you have about the future of your congregation and the denomination? Is maintaining the status quo an option?
In the face of an uncertain future, trepidation of shrinking budgets and programs, tired and fewer volunteers, and changing realities, encouraging stories were shared over two days of Assembly 2014 of vibrant Mennonite churches that are responding in creative and varied ways.
Where in the Bible can Christians turn to for “wild hope” if they are to have faith in an unknown season?
The biggest obstacle to working with people of other faiths is to deconstruct all the stereotypes and myths that the media have created and perpetrated, especially about Islam, Donna Entz told her packed “Experiencing hope with people of other faiths” workshop.
“Last year, Mennonite Church U.S.A. passed a resolution on creation care at its Phoenix assembly. Is it time for [MC] Canada to have a resolution as well, and, if so, what should it look like?”
It’s hard to organize a trip to Mennonite Church Canada’s assembly, knowing what to pack, how many books to bring and how to plan visiting times. The who to travel with, however, is a no-brainer for Bonnie Sawatzky. Leon, a black lab service dog, is her constant companion.
Who gets the help when a pastor marries a psychiatrist? At the 2014 Mennonite Church Canada minister’s conference, the answer was no joke, yet everyone left feeling better.
Embodying the love that Jesus Christ modelled and treating people the way we want to be treated are the best ways to face an increasingly pluralistic society.
At a corner of Ellice Avenue and Marilyn Street in Winnipeg, the neighbourhood association erected four sheets of plywood and painted them with chalkboard paint. The phrase, “Before I die I want to _________” invited passersby to fill in the blank with their own wishes. Many responses expressed deep desires for meaning and purpose.
They walked together through a valley of shadows for two years, yet Assembly 2014 is the first time Elizabeth Wall and Lorraine Reimer have met face to face.
“It only takes a scrap of time to turn to God.” April Yamasaki shared this anonymous piece of 14th-century wisdom in her “Cultivating spiritual disciplines” workshop at Assembly 14.
Sometimes it feels like a scrap of time is all people have, but that can be turned into a sacred pause, she told a roomful of participants.
What are the needs of women, and how are they working to meet those needs?
Rhoda Keener, co-director of Mennonite Women U.S.A., led a presentation and discussion surrounding these needs at the assembly.
Keener explained that Sister Care seminars, which are given all over the world, are made up of four units:
The Cree word “kiciwamanawak” means “we are all cousins.” In Canada, however, this familial relationship between settler and host is fractured.
After seminar leader Chris Lenshyn began his post-Christian landscape session by reading chapter 1 of Daniel, he invited participants—48 adults and one baby—to gather in twos to converse about this story of young exiles living out their faith in a foreign land.
Unique timing and collaboration led to one of Manitoba Church Manitoba Camps with Meaning sites hosting two days of the children’s assembly—a first in Assembly gathering history. And they did so in the midst of flood conditions.
Probably the two most divisive issues in the church at the moment are women’s status and rights in the church, and the moral legitimacy of same-sex covenant relationships. The parallel passages of Matthew 19:3-22 and Mark 10:2-12 have implications for both of these questions.
During the 2013-14 academic year, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) was engaged in intense conversations on and off campus regarding its hiring policy concerning individuals in covenanted same-sex relationships. Research professor Lisa Schirch sent the following letter to the university’s student newspaper, The Weather Vane, representing some of that conversation.
1. Does your church give equal status and rights to women and men? How did earlier generations explain their assumption that powerful roles were reserved for men? How much does our culture affect our attitudes when it comes to what is right or wrong in the church?