Number 7

Connecting through God

Zachary Janzen, Jordan Moffatt and Olivia Siebert play a friendly game of crokinole with senior Corny Classen at Vineland United Mennonite Church, Ont.

Marty and Chelsea Misener run church youth groups at either end of the Niagara Peninsula, and have seen the impact of youths on the elderly, and vice versa.

As Bethany Mennonite Church’s associate pastor since March 2009, Marty oversees the church’s young people’s group in Virgil, where they annually go carolling at Heritage Place, the local nursing home.

‘The signs are clear’

Mennonite Church Canada leaders spent much of their spring leadership assembly last month preparing for a smaller national church structure in the near future.

“We have done all the tweaking we can do to provide sustainable programming within our current income level,” says general secretary Willard Metzger. “The signs are clear.”

‘The end belongs to God’

Jim Shantz, pictured with his wife Lorraine, received a Bateman print from Mennonite Church Alberta as a token of appreciation for eight and a half years as conference minister. Shantz completes his term on June 30.

Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada general secretary, inspired MC Alberta delegates with the reminder that no matter how difficult things are for the church, “this is not the end; the end belongs to God.” Basing his keynote presentations to the 82nd annual assembly of MC Alberta, held last month at Holyrood Mennonite Church, Edmonton, on Revelation 21, Metzger noted that trends across den

On the road to Emmaus

Elsie Rempel ponders the small opening to a first-century tomb that may be similar to the one Jesus was buried in.

In Luke 24, the disciples on the road to Emmaus were confused and discouraged. They had trouble recognizing Jesus.

In March of last year, I was a disciple on the road to Emmaus as part of a learning tour in the Holy Land. I was also confused and discouraged by the complexities of the deep fear, pain and suffering that is the story of this land and its peoples.

What could he mean?

‘Resurrection of the Christ and the Women at the Tomb’ by Fra Angelico, circa mid-15th century.

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8).

Fleeing death

Forty years ago this June, I fled from death. The day before the annual Sunday school picnic, my grandfather died of a heart attack. I was almost 10 years old.

Joyful generosity

In his book Will Our Children Have Faith?, John Westerhoff argues that for future generations of young people and adults to develop Christian faith they will need more than Sunday school. They’ll need a host of opportunities where faith is not only taught but experienced.

Keeping vigil

Our recent journey began in darkness, continued through a day and into more darkness—a winter drive of 28 hours on roads that were at first snowy, then drenched with rain. We had received the call the day before: “Fluid on her lungs . . . palliative care . . . keep her comfortable . . . morphine . . . just a few days left.” My husband’s mother was dying.

For discussion

1. How was your spirituality formed as you grew up? In what ways has Mennonite spirituality been changing?

2. Do you feel that you encounter God through your current spiritual practice? How important is it for our congregations to work at renewing spirituality? Is this best done individually or as communities? How can we best work at renewal?

We don’t need to be more Anabaptist

Ray Martin, left, and Scott Brubacher-Zehr, centre, listen to a presentation by Arnold Snyder, retiring Conrad Grebel University College history of theology professor, on the history of Anabaptist-Mennonite spiritual formation beliefs and practices.

Over thirty pastors and lay people gathered earlier this year to hear Arnold Snyder, retiring Conrad Grebel University College professor of history, give two two-hour long lectures on Anabaptist-Mennonite spiritual formation in a historical perspective.

A way of life

However difficult this book is to read, Dawn Ruth Nelson has done the church a significant service in her study. Her effort to both diagnose the malaise in North American Mennonite spirituality and propose remedial measures suffers from a poor choice of title and could have benefited from tighter editing.

Encountering the living God

‘Kingdom spirituality’ is well suited to Mennonites. This is the ‘give me something to do for God’ spirituality that goes on peace marches, works with Mennonite Disaster Service, sits at the quilting frame or helps with building projects like the one at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, Ont., pictured.

God is a living God who encounters us in our daily lives.” So said Arnold Snyder, professor of history at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., during a Reformation Sunday sermon last fall at Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg.

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