In a chapter on “Sabbath” in her book An Altar to the World, Barbara Brown Taylor confesses to “holy envy” of how the Jews practise the Sabbath, beginning with a proper Friday evening Shabbat service and the lighting of two candles, one for each of the Sabbath commandments in Torah, both of which cal
1. Henry Neufeld writes that, “[o]ur memories are prone to distortion.” Do you agree? Have you ever been faced with evidence that you remembered something inaccurately? Do your memories of a situation or an event sometimes differ from the memories of others?
We all have some painful memories of things that happened to us. They are stored, encoded, and sometimes retrieved and reworked. There are strained relationships with our parents and siblings; and the hurt or wrong caused us by a teacher, classmate, colleague, boss, lover, spouse, pastor or fellow church member.
It’s disturbing that the “religious industrial complex” is cashing in on the desperation of many churches today. It’s common for struggling churches to look to more “successful” churches for the answers. What’s their secret formula? Will it work for us?
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22).
Perhaps it was inspiration from Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning”: “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.” When I first heard it decades ago, I didn’t imagine it would apply to me at any stage of my life. Interestingly, Joseph wrote the poem when she was just 29 years old.
“Why don’t Mennonites believe in evangelism?” asked my breakfast partner. This was the question of the appointment. With small chat out of the way, the purpose of the invitation became clear.
Emily Toews of North Star Mennonite Church in Drake, and Kirsten Hamm, MC Saskatchewan area church youth minister, relax on the dock at Churchill River Canoe Outfitters as Craig Neufeld of Rosthern Mennonite Church and Jerry Buhler, MC Saskatchewan area church minister, stand nearby.
Dan and Rose Graber canoe on Otter Lake as part of MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors gathering. The Grabers are co-pastors of Grace Mennonite Church in Regina. Dan is also area church minister of MC Alberta.
MC Saskatchewan pastors play table games at their annual fall pastors gathering in Missinipe. Pictured left to right: Paul Bergen, resource person for the retreat; Craig Neufeld of Rosthern Mennonite Church; Kirsten Hamm, MC Saskatchewan area church youth minister; Bruce Jantzen of Laird Mennonite Church; and Emily Toews of North Star Mennonite Church, Drake.
A little synchronized swimming in Otter Lake! Clockwise from lower left, the swimmers are: Dan Driediger, Ric and Theresa Driediger’s son and a guide at the camp; Craig Neufeld of Rosthern Mennonite Church; Kirsten Hamm, MC Saskatchewan area church Youth minister; and Emily Toews of North Star Mennonite Church, Drake.
Ric Driediger, at the rear of nearest canoe, and Walter Jantzen of Horse Lake Mennonite Church set off in one canoe, while their spouses, Theresa Driediger and Esther Jantzen, paddle another.
Daniel Janzen of Carrot River Mennonite Church, left, visits with Bruce Jantzen of Laird Mennonite Church at MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors gathering.
Paul Bergen, a chaplain at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, leads one of several devotional sessions during MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors’ gathering.
“I would rather be out here thinking about God than in church thinking about paddling.”
Team members of the MEDA Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb celebrate as they reach the summit on July 14 after beginning that morning at 5 a.m., which required wearing headlamps to see. (Photo: Duane Eby)
Allan Sauder, MEDA president, on the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb in July. (Photo: courtesy of Allan Sauder)
Allan Sauder, MEDA president, on the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising climb in July. (Photo: Tom Bishop)
After 27 years with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), the last 12 as president and chief executive officer, Allan Sauder of Waterloo felt that he needed a professional development leave to both freshen his energies and to give him a new perspective on his work.
David Shenk, fourth from right; Pastor Jeremiah Choi, sixth from right; and Pastor Crystal Nana Lee, fifth from left, discuss relationships between Muslims and Christians at Agape Mennonite Church in Hong Kong in September 2013. (Photo courtesy of David Shenk)
The Christian/Muslim Relations Team, from left to right: David Shenk, Grace Shenk, Jonathan Bornman, Sheryl Martin and Andres Prins. (Photo: Tammy Evans)
“Are Muslims trying to take over America?” “Who are the ‘true Muslims’—the peaceful ones or the violent ones?” “How should Christians respond to jihadi Muslims?” “Isn’t force the only effective way to respond to Islamist terrorism?”
Bryan Moyer Suderman (SmallTallMusic.com) sees his music work over the past 11 years as an outgrowth of his desire to have Scripture alive in the church.
He has been active in Community Mennonite Church, Stouffville, Ont., as a youth and adult Bible teacher for years, and has worked to have singable music for young and old to join in those Bible stories.
The Niska Artisans cooperative, operating for the past seven years in Timmins, Ont., launched a beadwork display at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario complex at 50 Kent Avenue in Kitchener on Sept. 11.
In addition to new students, Rosthern Junior College began its 2014-15 school year with two new deans. Lisa Isaak, a 2006 graduate of the school, with a psychology degree from the University of Saskatchewan, is partnering with Myrna Wiebe as girls’ dean. Scott Kim, originally from South Korea and with a master’s degree in conflict resolution studies, is serving as boys’ dean with Joel Siemens.
If anyone has been keeping track, Conrad Grebel University College is going through a generational shift in faculty and staff. This spring saw the retirements of James Pankratz as academic dean and Carol Ann Weaver as associate professor of music, with Pankratz being replaced by Trevor Bechtel and Weaver by Timothy Corlis.
What good can a stranger with no construction skills do in a disaster zone in a week? Quite a bit, it turns out.
Widespread, ongoing abuses not best left alone
When I was eighteen I participated in a “street evangelism” campaign at the Boston University campus as part of a Bible course I was enrolled in. A few of the BU grad students decided to have a little fun and interrogate us with some questions of their own. We were steamrolled by their merciless intellectual superiority. My ignorance was not bliss on this particular occasion.
Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) recently announced that Region V (Canada) had made some financial cuts affecting one person’s employment, three employees’ salaries and benefits, travel reimbursement for volunteers and board costs.
Despite tragic reports of sexual assault, alcoholism and drug use among Old Colony Mennonite communities in Bolivia this past year, there are many good things happening there, which offer hope for a better future.
Just over 50 percent of Mennonite Church Canada congregations have their own websites. Next year that number will be higher.