Number 11

The voice of the future

Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada, has been invited to comment on the complexities of the relationship between Canadian Mennonite and the denomination, in part as a response to Dick Benner’s three-part series of editorials published in September/October, 2013, a series explaining the history, governance and future of this publication.

A time to die

‘End-of-life decisions will be more complicated as time goes on. It will be necessary for the church community to be aware of the complexity of cases and to seek to find appropriate Christians responses to them.’ (Marianne Mellinger)

David Schroeder, professor emeritus of New Testament and philosophy at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, says that we fail to recognize that death is always with us and every day we are making life-and death-choices.

John Rempel

Marianne Mellinger

Cornelius Woelk

When Susan Griffiths of Winnipeg went to Switzerland a year ago to die by doctor-assisted suicide, it was headline news and re-ignited the debate around end-of-life issues. Responses to her death revealed that we are living in a time of shifting public sentiment when it comes to end-of-life issues, especially concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Remembering Caleb

I recently began another journey through the Scriptures, which offered a fresh look at the story of Caleb. As a young man, he was one of the 12 Israelites sent to spy out Canaan prior to the Israelites’ attack. He was one of two who returned with a positive report and faith that God would lead them. The other 10 spies swayed the crowd with fear-filled tales.

The deadly sin of lust

A fragment of a remark from long ago comes back. The context was a Sunday school class. I was young, just 18, a summer visitor in that church. The others were well into middle-age. The content was Matthew 5:27-30, where Jesus reframes the prohibition against adultery, declaring, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

B.C. women ‘at a time of crossroads’

Cutting the celebratory birthday cake for B.C. Women’s Ministry are members of the planning committee: Cheryl Dyck, left, Waltrude Gortzen and Rita Siebert.

Seven-and-a-half decades after its founding, Women’s Ministry of Mennonite Church B.C. celebrated its diamond anniversary on May 3 with a day of memories and celebration. The annual spring Inspirational Day held at Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew 138.

Stó:lō, sacredness and salmon

Cheryl A. (Francis) Peters, right, holding the MCC blanket given her, in turn gives Forrest Johnstone a sparkling ball she had recently purchased for herself. Peters says she wanted to give one of her possessions to the child.

Josette Jim shows a deer-hide shaker her daughter made for her, personalized with the letter ‘J’. Jim is of the Wilmelmex People and comes from Xwewenaqw of the Whonnock Tribe.

The former St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission drew 50 Fraser Valley Mennonites on May 10 to hear stories of history and culture by the Stó:lō Nation leadership.

Educating eaters

Don and Louella Friesen of Carmen Corner Meats happily package an order for a customer.

Mennonite-style farmer sausage sizzles on the grill at many prairie gatherings, and a growing number of those gatherings serve sausage from Carmen Corner Meats.

From garbage, beautiful music comes

All of the instruments played by members of Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra are made from garbage, including this upright bass fashioned from a discarded oil drum.

The Recycled Orchestra boasts violins made of cake pans.

Recycled Orchestra conductor Favio Chavez doubles on guitar.

Pastor Ben Pauls of  Zoar Mennonite Church in Waldheim, Sask., examines one of the Recycled Orchestra’s trumpets.

What do cake pans, candy tins, bottle caps and wooden pallets have in common? They were all found in a landfill, and they’ve all been made into musical instruments for Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra.

Enduring service

Seniors often take on the responsibility of caring for their peers.

Seniors are often pillars of prayer in their churches.

Seniors may lament the loss of the music they hold dear.

It would appear that 65 is the new 40 across Mennonite Church Canada. As Canadians continue to be active into their 60s, 70s and even 80s, so, too, are Mennonites remaining active in their churches well into their senior years.

Faith and megawatts

Madeline Spence of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation at Nelson House, Man., says ‘Our land used to be so good; the shorelines used to be so different.’

Herb Cook of the Misipawistik Cree Nation at Grand Rapids, Man., surveys a shoreline littered with logs from eroding shorelines on the Cedar Lake hydroelectric reservoir.

Photographer Matt Sawatzky at the May 3 opening of ‘A Sad Sort of Clean,’ an exhibit of his photographs.

The director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba at the time told me two issues stirred up the most flak from constituents: MCC’s work in Israel-Palestine and its involvement with hydropower issues in the north.

That was a dozen years ago. I was MCC’s hydro guy.

‘This is home’

St. Clair O’Connor residents Julia Bringau, Jane Huggins, Mae King, Joyce Cockburn and Doris Cullen enjoy the community’s tea room, a place where residents and the public can enjoy a drink or shop for gifts.

Aquafit classes led by Linda DeHaan, front, help St. Clair O’Connor residents Norman Tom, Janet Grant, Pat Cavanagh, Pat Murray and John Harpen stay active

As Canada’s population ages at an ever-faster pace, Toronto’s St. Clair O’Connor Community may hold the key to keeping seniors independent longer, and teaching young people to respect their elders. Since opening in 1983, the community has provided family townhouses, independent apartments for seniors and a nursing home all under one roof.

The smell of contentment

Tavis Weber checks on loaves of fresh-baked whole-grain whole-wheat bread at the Golden Hearth Bakery he owns with his wife Heidi in downtown, Kitchener, Ont.

“There are some things I don’t understand,” opines Bruce Weber about his nephew, Tavis Weber. “The guy goes to school in music for four years and then he goes and buys a bakery.”

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