Focus On Books & Resources

Social media is distracting and can be harmful

(Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/edcyzewski)

Indiscriminate use of social media is bad for us, warns Ed Cyzewski. While technology is convenient and promises to make us more efficient and keep us in touch with more people, it actually harms our mental health and does little to foster true relationships. Smartphones and other devices also hinder our spirituality, mostly by consuming our time.

COVID clean-up leads to inspiring discovery

Doris Daley, a western humorist and poet living in Black Diamond, Alta., is a member of Trinity Mennonite Church in DeWinton, Alta. (Photo courtesy of Doris Daley)

When COVID-19 hit in March, Doris Daley of Trinity Mennonite Church in De Winton, Alta., decided to clean the house. Many families, stuck at home, have taken this “unprecedented time” to throw out expired food, wash the windows and clean out junk drawers. She chose to do a deep dive into old boxes that had been packed away in her storage closet for years. 

Pastor channels love of stories into children’s books

Kevin Drudge, pastor of Covenant Mennonite Church in Winkler, Man., published his first two children’s books in August. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Drudge)

Kevin Drudge’s children’s books are fun, relatable stories with a simple yet meaningful biblical message. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Drudge)

When Kevin Drudge needed a children’s story for his church’s Sunday morning worship service, he decided to write one himself. But what began as a one-time occasion has become more than two dozen stories and a deal with a publisher.

A story that ‘wanted to be told’

Susanna Compton holds the recently published novel she wrote based on stories she heard during her gap year experience of living and volunteering in Botswana. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Susanna Compton holds a neighbourhood child in the village of Latlhakane, Botswana, where she spent part of her gap year in 2008, an experience that inspired her first published novel, A Grandmother Named Love. (Photo courtesy of Susanna Compton)

After high school, Susanna Compton took a gap year before heading off to university. She turned that experience into her first published book.

Updated history of Mennonites in Canada commissioned

Mennonites in Canada, Volumes 1-3, by FRank H. Epp and T.D. Regehr

The last time a history of Mennonites in Canada was published, it covered the period from 1920 to 1970—the year Pierre Trudeau was prime minister, Canada was converting to the metric system, the federal voting age was lowered to 18, and the October Crisis rocked Quebec.

It was a long time ago, in other words.

Conspicuous absences

"[T]he figure of the absent Christ is not invoked pessimistically with images of abandonment, but instead it is interpreted in continuity with the peaceful, non-possessive and uncoercive character of Jesus."

The Absent Christ is a clearly written and compelling exploration of Anabaptist-Mennonite theology that engages with both historical Anabaptist sources and contemporary political concerns, in order to advance a constructive argument centred on the figure of the empty tomb.

Book explores healthy masculinity

Once upon a time, living in splendid isolation, Mennonite men were moulded differently from the rest of society. Worshipping in a traditional peace church with a different set of values, they didn’t fit the western stereotype of a male. But today, Mennonite men are diverse; as much urban as rural, as much men of colour as white, and they have diverse views on politics, religion and lifestyle.

‘I realized I had been duped!’

Gordon Toombs, left, was deceived by the Canadian military when he tried to register as a conscientious objector during the Second World War. His recent book, "L74298: Recollections of a Conscientious Objector in World War II," is dedicated to Conrad Stoesz, right, archivist at Winnipeg’s Mennonite Heritage Archives, in gratitude for revealing the deception.

Gordon Toombs was deceived by the Canadian military when he tried to register as a conscientious objector (CO) during the Second World War. His recent book, L74298: Recollections of a Conscientious Objector in World War II, is dedicated to Conrad Stoesz, archivist at Winnipeg’s Mennonite Heritage Archives, in gratitude for revealing the deception.

CommonWord shares books by the dozen

Arlyn Friesen Epp is the director of CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre, located in Canadian Mennonite University’s Marpeck Commons. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

CommonWord’s ‘Cheaper by the dozen’ program sends 12 books to Mennonite Church Canada congregations anywhere in Canada, free of charge, on a six-week loan. (Photo courtesy of CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre)

Still a hidden gem for some, CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre is a well of resources for the Mennonite community and beyond. One of the ways it shares these materials and guidance is through its “Cheaper by the dozen” program. 

Readers ‘zoom’ to discuss Unsettling the Word

Congregants at a Toronto church did a six-week study of 'Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization' via video conference. (Photo courtesy of David Warkentin)

In a large city like Toronto, attending a church small group or Bible study may not be feasible for those with families or busy schedules. But Toronto United Mennonite Church has found a technological solution.

Translation valuable to Swahili-speaking pastors

Begin Anew, authored by Palmer Becker, and its Swahili translation, Anza Upya. (Photo by Joyce Maxwell)

Palmer Becker, centre, leads a workshop session in Tanzania in February. Also pictured are Debbi DiGennaro, Eastern Mennonite Missions’ regional representative, and translator Baraka Amolo Ouso. (Photo by Joyce Maxwell)

In mid-February, 50 Tanzanian Mennonite Church leaders, under the guidance of Palmer Becker, a Canadian Mennonite author and teacher, studied spiritual leadership, pastoral care and Anabaptist essentials using a translation of Becker’s book Begin Anew: Christian Discipleship Seminars.

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