Three years ago, in the middle of reading Roméo Dallaire’s traumatic first-hand account of the Rwanda genocide, David Barker decided his future would be in disaster response.
“It was the first time I read something about the actual suffering going on in the world,” says Barker, recalling his profound emotional response to Dallaire’s book, Shake Hands with the Devil.
All indicators point to the old structures giving way to new ways of being the church, Willard Metzger told the nearly 400 delegates gathered for the 2011 annual church gathering of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Friday, April 29. “This is the new reality and we really don’t know what it is.”
Capitulation is tantalizing. Tucking our tails is tempting. This is why stories of the persevering human spirit are so inspirational. Those who overcome the black hole of capitulation surprise us by their tenacity. Mark Twain, with whimsical honesty, captures our capitulating nature: “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world.
1. What emotional responses have you experienced in the presence of creative art? Is something creative always good? When should art be evaluated? Does censorship abuse creativity?
Like many pastors, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld, who co-pastors First Mennonite Church in Edmonton with her husband Tim, enjoys creating space for creative gifts to flourish. “It’s totally selfish. I love working with people like that,” she says in a telephone interview. Her enthusiasm is evident in her voice.
The success of In the Spirit of Humanity, a series of art workshops encouraging acceptance of others across cultures and faith groups, prompted Mennonite Church Canada’s Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery curator Ray Dirks and fellow artists Manju Lodha and Isam Aboud to share the experience.
Sashira Gafic: Day 1. Acrylic on Canvas. This is the first of a series of seven pieces inspired by Genesis 1:1-5.
Painting by adult EAL student depicting the murder of her husband. The artist broke into song as she painted and was joined by others. Soon, singing became weeping as they mourned together.
While some creative arts like prose and hymnody have been accepted as natural forms of expression and worship in Mennonite churches, visual arts are often viewed with less certainty. For painters, sculptors and other artists who craft for the eye, this can be disheartening.