Focus On Books & Resources

Retired church workers archive MC Canada history

Thousands of files languish in the basement of Mennonite Church Canada’s Winnipeg office, holding decades of history but forgotten by many. Jack, left, and Irene Suderman are bringing these records to light, reviewing and organizing them to be stored in the Mennonite Heritage Archives. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Thousands of files languish in the basement of Mennonite Church Canada’s Winnipeg office, holding decades of history but forgotten by many. Irene and Jack Suderman are bringing these records to light, reviewing and organizing them to be stored in the Mennonite Heritage Archives (MHA).

Writer’s struggles offer reassurance to young mothers

The title of the book is never directly explained, but Zook finds herself licking peanut butter as a way of getting physical nourishment while rethinking the relationship between spirituality and the physical body.

When it comes to motherhood, Shari Zook asks, “Why don’t we get more training for the hardest job of our lives? Why do we feel that we have to do it alone?”

Because she is so open and honest about the challenges of raising young children, this book can provide comfort and reassurance for others who are feeling inadequate.

Podcast creator shares insights into his craft

Ken Ogasawara (facing camera), the producer and host of the podcast Undercurrents, interviews Ly Vang for Episode 10, which was just recently released. (Photo courtesy of Ken Ogasawara)

A screenshot of Ken Ogasawara’s timeline, in the middle of editing an episode of the podcast Undercurrents, which he hosts and produces as part of his communications role at MCC Ontario. (Screenshot by Ken Ogasawara)

Ken Ogasawara counts it a “sacred gift” when he is trusted with another person’s story. As he shapes that into a podcast episode, he is mindful of “doing justice to their story.”

Finding connection through communion cups

When Lois Siemens travelled to Ukraine, she took several communion cups with her. Pictured are two communion cups in a former Mennonite church in Petershagen. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

The first stop Lois Siemens made in her communion photo project was at Springfield Heights Mennonite in Winnipeg. Here the cups are photographed on a ledge overlooking the sanctuary. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

While photographing in Altona (Man.) Mennonite Church, Lois Siemens met a woman who told her she had kept her communion cup from the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly that was held in Winnipeg in 1990. This image shows the woman’s MWC cup framed by the MC Canada cups. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Peace Mennonite is a house church that meets at the home of Florence and Otto Driedger in Regina. Lois Siemens noticed that even in this house church there was a place for children. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Communion cups photographed in the pews at Eden Mennonite in Chilliwack, B.C. (Photo by Lois Siemens)

Communion cups nestle among candles at Hamilton (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Alissa Bender)

What does one do with a cracker box full of used communion cups? This was the dilemma facing Lois Siemens as she drove from Saskatoon to Winnipeg in July 2016.

Digital corner

(Graphic by Betty Avery)

To watch

“Who cares? The elderly among us... ” (length 1:27:30).
In the light of COVID-19, a panel explores how the pandemic has challenged systems that care for elders and offers insight into the experience of seniors. Part of the Face2Face series offered by Canadian Mennonite University at cmu.ca/face2face.

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.

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