Volume 18 Issue 8

Breaking down walls in the name of Christ

Elaine Klassen and Noreen Neufeldt ham it up in the kitchen as they prepare food for delegates at the annual Mennonite Church Alberta assembly hosted by Lethbridge Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Dan Graber, MC Alberta area church minister, left; Elias Miranda, pastor of Word of Life Mennonite Church, Calgary; Thomas Pham, pastor of Edmonton Vietnamese Mennonite Church; and Jon Olfert, Camp Valaqua director, lead the 2014 MC Alberta assembly delegates in a time of remembering those who have passed away in the last year, and celebrating those who have joined MCA through baptism. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Cheryl Bear-Barnetson poses with a copy of her 2013 book, Introduction to First Nations Ministry, at the MC Alberta assembly. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

“As a child, I didn’t see the wall,” Arlyn Friesen Epp told delegates to the 85th annual Mennonite Church Alberta assembly, as he spoke of growing up in small-town Saskatchewan with no real knowledge of, or connections to, first nations people other than negative stereotypes.

War doesn’t work

According to Ernie Regehr, for statistical purposes a war is defined as political fighting—not criminal violence—that engages the security forces of the state; as well, it is a situation in which “at least 1,000 people [combatants and civilians] have been killed directly by the fighting during the course of the conflict, and 25 or more are killed annually.”

A tale of two voyages

Several years ago, Chau Dang, pastor of Calgary Vietnamese Mennonite Church, enthusiastically recounted for me the Caribbean cruise from which he had just returned. Coming from all over North America, at least 150 Vietnamese friends, 35 from his extended family, had been reunited to celebrate a week of cruising balmy waters.

A flood of bleak images

Those who miss the days of Hollywood biblical epics will be happy to see that one of the first stories we hear in Sunday school has come to the cinema as a grand, big-budget spectacle. Darren Aronofsky’s Noah has opened to widespread critical acclaim and blockbuster status, defying the expectations of those who thought it was too controversial to succeed.

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