Number 5

Family camp becomes family’s summer highlight

The Wiens family of Abbotsford enjoyed a unique family vacation at Camp Squeah last summer and plan to attend again this year.

A week of Family Camp at Camp Squeah turned out to be a summer highlight for the Wiens family of Abbotsford, B.C. Maria Wiens, her husband Gerhard and children Jacob and Elizabeth spent a week of their summer playing together, trying new activities, enjoying both family time and couple time, and being nurtured body and soul.

A reason to celebrate…

On a hot summer day last summer, Lisa Cressman, left, Christina Wilkinson and Camille Martin, staff members at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp in southwestern Ontario, cool off by being the target of water-filled sponges.

Canoeing on the pond is a popular activity at Hidden Acres. Out for a paddle last summer are Julia Schumm, Hannah Stanley and Joselyn Polanic.

The rock-climbing wall is always busy at Hidden Acres.

Hidden Acres campers take time out to read a book in this 1964 photo.

As we reach the 50th anniversary of Hidden Acres, it is abundantly clear that we have reason to celebrate!

Sagamace Bible Camp hopes to reopen this summer

Sagamace Bible Camp, operated by Nordheim Mennonite Church in northwestern Manitoba, had to cancel its program last summer due to flooding, but hopes to be up and running in 2012.

Nordheim Mennonite Church in the small community of Winnipegosis is Mennonite Church Manitoba’s most remote congregation. More than 275 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg and far from other area church congregations, this small church community continues to thrive.

Poet struggles with Mennonite identity

Julia Spicher Kasdorf, the Rod and Lorna Sawatzky Visiting Scholar, spoke to staff and students at Conrad Grebel University College and members of the public last month.

Ancestral worship for Mennonite writers is a great temptation, Julia Spicher Kasdorf told a faculty forum at Conrad Grebel University College on Feb. 17 as part of the award-winning Mennonite poet’s three-day presence on campus as a visiting scholar sponsored by the Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Fund.

WISK women’s group bridges the age divide

Susan Nielsen, left, a member of Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary, brought her neighbours Melanie and Kayla Beingessner to the “Mennonite Girls Can Cook” event last fall. “It was a great event,” says Melanie. “I hope she invites us to the next one.”

Committee meetings have a reputation for being necessary but tedious. But at Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary, there is a standout exception to the rule in the Women Intergenerational from Seniors to Kids (WISK) group.

“For me, the committee is the source of great excitement,” says Kate Janzen.

On shaky ground


When the massive earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) was one of the fortunate non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to receive money for its relief work from the government fund set up to match donations from Canadians, but by then the ground beneath Canadian NGOs had already shifted.

Keeping the faith

In the summer of 2010, my family and I experienced a history lesson that made us really think about what it means to be Mennonite. With my wife, Geraldine Balzer, our two daughters, and my wife’s sister and mother, I travelled back to the “old country,” Ukraine and Russia.

Saying nice things

“Will you say nice things about me at my funeral like you did at Jay’s?” my mother-in-law asked as she and I were driving alone in a car shortly after my brother-in-law’s funeral, where I had offered memories on the family’s behalf. Given the recent family death, there was a good reason my mother-in-law was thinking about death and her funeral.

For discussion

1. Do you know people like Sue and Bill in the story? Does your congregation provide Sunday school classes that appeal more to Sue or to Bill? Do you see the world in a modernist or postmodernist way? Are younger people more apt to be postmodernists?

Just what is ‘postmodern’?

‘Bill’ and ‘Sue’ are on opposite sides of the modern/postmodern divide when it comes to Sunday school. Portraying the fictional Bill and Sue in this photo are Marco Funk and Marla Langelotz.

Dave Rogalsky is Canadian Mennonite's eastern Canada correspondent and pastor at Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg, Ontario

"Staying for Sunday School, Bill?”

“I’m staying, Sue, but not for Sunday school. I’m going to hang out with the ‘coffee drinkers’ in the kitchen. We have some really good conversations about religion and spirituality there, not dry discussions about traditional meanings of an ancient book.”

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