Unlike the directors of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Jennifer Henry can speak freely. She’s the head of Kairos, a social justice organization representing seven of Canada’s largest denominations, including Mennonites.
“Interesting!” “Informative!” “Inspiring!” were immediate responses to the question, “What did you think of the day?” Well over 100 participants, most of them over 60, participated in the annual Alberta Heritage Retreat held at Camp Valaqua on June 6, an exceptionally strong turnout.
I have been fortunate not to have to wear glasses to correct my vision for most of my life. But like many others who have reached a certain age, I now need glasses in order to read or see anything up close. For a time, I was managing to get by with a few pairs of inexpensive reading glasses kept in strategic locations for me to pick up and use when needed.
On a lovely summer day 36 years ago, my husband and I were married in an outdoor service at our church camp. Standing beside him and facing our family and friends, I was overcome with a joyful surprise. “All of these people have come just because of us!” I thought, as tears came to my eyes. I was awed and delighted by the sight of these people and the love they extended towards us.
A healthy alternative to no meat or factory-farm meat
Mennonite women in Canada have sown seeds of peace while they sewed blankets for relief, and they celebrated 60 years of service on July 14 when 130 women gathered for the women’s luncheon at Mennonite Church Canada’s annual Assembly.
“Never in Canada’s 150 year history has an emerging generation been exposed to such an explosion of change and choice,” Tim Froese said in his “Scripture in Exile” workshop Saturday afternoon.
Many people remark that it’s difficult to get young adults interested and involved in church. But that wasn’t the case for the 44 registered young adults at the 2012 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly.
Kristina Toews, a youth leader from Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church in Abbotsford and a delegate, is very involved in the local, national, and global church.
Film has become the most important entertainment medium of this time and can shed light on scripture, said Vic Thiessen, Chief Administrative Officer at Mennonite Church Canada, in his workshop, “From the Prince of Egypt to Batman: Can Film Illuminate Scripture.” Thiessen said film can allow us to see biblical stories and themes in new ways and showed clips from The Prince of Egypt and The Las
The Bible was primarily written for the damned, proclaimed Gareth Brandt provocatively during a roving workshop called, “Word on the Street” on Friday afternoon. The nine participants went on an urban hiking and public transportation adventure around Vancouver to read Bible verses and tour around the city.
She wept as she told her gripping story of being criminalized by the Canadian government for exercising her indigenous rights to fish from the Fraser River. And she drummed a prayer for “indigenous” Mennonites attending the overflow “Sacred Scripture in Invaded Space” Assembly workshop as she appealed for help in fighting a lonely battle in the courts for the past decade.
Jesus plays the role of scapegoat so that we don’t have to hate, kill and blame each other for those sins, observed Rose Graber in discussing the “Three Views of the Atonement” workshop led by April Yamasaki. The workshop focused on Christ-the-Victor, Substitutionary and Moral Influence categories developed by biblical scholars over the ages.
Randy Wiebe, Mennonite Church Canada’s CFO, reported to delegates at Assembly 2012 that while total revenues increased by $55,000 over the previous year, the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2012 still ended with a $129,000 deficit. Wiebe showed the continuing downward trend since 2004, and warned that increasing or even maintaining current programming is not possible over the long term.
Brander McDonald, MCBC Indigenous Relations Coordinator, plays a West Coast native lullaby to say welcome to the natives on whose land the assembly was held.
The “Dust on the Bible” band—(l-r) Chad Miller (Associate Pastor at Foothills Mennonite, Calgary), Doug Klassen (Senior Pastor at Foothills), Jerry Buhler (MC Saskatchewan Conference Minister), and Joanna and Andrew Reesor-McDowell (Hagerman Mennonite, Toronto)—play the bluegrass classic, “Dust on the Bible.”
Participants of a humorous skit describing Korean social rules take a bow at the Friday evening barbecue at MC Canada Assembly 2012 in Vancouver.
Lily Cheung, an assembly volunteer, shepherds participants onto their bus after the Friday evening barbecue.
We know of Jesus writing only once, Tom Yoder Neufeld told the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly gathered here for Sunday morning worship. Urging his listeners to use more than the written word, he recalled the story of the woman adulterer’s accusers fuming while Jesus wrote in the dust on the ground.
It’s difficult to pinpoint just what made Assembly 2012 in Vancouver earlier this month a standout. Its rich textured fabric made it a many-splendored thing that made you want to dance despite the heavy theme of “Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century.”
Dusting off the Bible we did. 21st Century it was.