The way Ken Bechtel, Wanner Mennonite Church historian, puts it, the “175” in this year’s celebration refers only to the construction of the first dedicated church building.
Is the New Testament inherently violent? What does Jesus’ brutal death on the cross mean to persons holding a more passive view of non-resistance? How does one seriously read the text and make sense of Jesus’ teaching of non-violence and his behaviour with the money-changers in the Temple, for instance?
After 12 years as Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s conference minister, Muriel Bechtel will be moving into retirement this summer. On June 24 she also celebrated 20 years since her ordination, when she was pastor of Warden Woods Mennonite Church, Toronto.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) continues to address needs of refugees fleeing from increasing violence in Syria. Caritas Jordan, an MCC partner, is distributing comforters, relief kits, school kits and hygiene kits in five governorates, similar to provinces or states. In the Mafraq governorate, milk powder and diapers also are distributed.
For over 35 years “the little church that could” nurtured faith, built community, and sent many of its members out into the wider world to work in with MCC, Canadian Foodgrains Bank or Mennonite Church Canada programs. It was a place for those Christians who moved into the city of Portage la Prairie to grow in their faith and find fellowship with others who shared these Anabaptist convictions.
The new $12-million complex Mennonite Central Committee Ontario (MCCO) is building in Kitchener will fit the more-with-less ethos, says Rick Cober Bauman, MCCO’s executive director. “But,” he adds, “it is still clearly sending a message that we are a serious player in relief, development and peace; and we’re not hiding.”
What’s at the heart of the matter? What is basic and essential to our questions of faith and life? Such questions were asked of Jesus in attempts to trap him. They are also important questions in helping us find our way to a more life-giving centre in a context where our Christian faith is often perceived as more exclusive than embracing—more restrictive than freeing.