Number 10

Church exclusivity challenged

A scene from Forgiven/Forgotten, the latest play by the Toronto-based Theatre of the Beat troupe, which is on a cross-Canada tour sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee Canada. Pictured: Kim Walker and Johnny Wideman.

A bottle of wine moves through Forgiven/Forgotten, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada-sponsored play about restorative justice that premiered last month at the Conrad Centre for the Performing Arts in Kitchener, Ont.

MCC B.C. mourns loss of long-time volunteer

Clyde Dougans is pictured in action on the auction floor at last year’s MCC Festival for World Relief, Abbotsford, B.C. The popular auctioneer passed away on March 7.

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff and volunteers are mourning the loss of their friend and long-term volunteer, Clyde Dougans. Dougans was a fixture at the annual MCC Festival for World Relief in Abbotsford, where he entertained crowds as an auctioneer, helping MCC to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars over the span of his career.

Community means communication

César Garcia, Mennonite World Conference (MWC) general secretary, left, visits with Vidya J. Narimalla of Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church at the MWC/Mennonite Central Committee Ontario-sponsored pastors breakfast on April 25.

Ears pricked up when César Garcia suggested that all national churches need to be in communication with other national churches about issues of faith and practice.

‘Seeds scattered and sown: In every seed a promise’

Rochelle Benny Gerard, Marisa Pathmanathan and Kameesna Kamal of the Markham Christian Worship Centre perform a worship dance about not needing to be afraid because ‘God most high’ is in charge.

Brent Horst from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church helps delegates and guests at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering focus on the theme of ‘Seed scattered and sown: In every seed a promise.’

Looking forward to the future, looking back to the past: Ruth Penfold peers over the shoulder of her father Josh Penfold, one of the pastors at Wellesley Mennonite Church, at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering last month in Kitchener.

Twenty-five years ago Mennonite Church Eastern Canada gathered at the United Mennonite Educational Institute in Leamington, Ont., for its inaugural annual conference.

A cross bears witness

This cross was carved out of a downed tree after a deadly tornado struck Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011. At a celebration to commemorate two year’s of rebuilding efforts, Kevin King, executive director of Mennonite Disaster Service, said of the carving, ‘It is now weathered and cracked from the drying sun, proclaiming the injury of the past.’

Nearly two years after an EF5 tornado struck Joplin, Mo., Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) closed its project site in Joplin with a celebration.

Holding on to hope and judgment

Nova Scotia teen Rehtaeh Parsons recently committed suicide after humiliating pictures of her alleged rape and shame flooded social media. While the powers-that-be considered what to do, in a cyber version of frontier justice a loose network of computer hackers known as Anonymous claimed to have discovered the alleged culprits and threatened to go public if the authorities didn’t act.

For discussion

1. How big is the problem of poverty in your community? What local initiatives have tried to reduce poverty? Have they been successful? What circumstances lead to high levels of poverty? Do you have a sense of hope that the problems of poverty can be overcome?

The ART of hope

Our society is very good at dividing us into categories. We talk about the poor as though they are a separate species.

"The poor will be with you always.” That is the message that seems to have been so frequently taken away from the gospel when we talk about poverty. That’s not a very encouraging message to someone who has been tasked with coming up with a way to end it.

Sabbath

I turned off the radio en route to my destination at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre, Guelph, Ont. A shooting in Toronto, a bombing in Boston, political chicanery in Ottawa—all were short-circuiting my gradual descent into solace. The noise was drowning my need for silence, a yearning for an uncluttered world.

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