Among other shifting sands in the Mennonite world is how we view our relationship to the state, moving from a stance of a nonviolent witness but not participation, to one of entering its ranks to influence policies for its betterment in the areas of justice, creation care and peacemaking. We are becoming participants, not only witnesses.
1. How long ago did Mennonites in your community begin holding public office? Was there a time when local/municipal offices were deemed appropriate for Mennonites, but not provincial or federal ones?
Melvin Klassen, left, is mayor of Altona, Man., while his brother, Ted, serves as a city councillor. ‘Ted, 67, could be forgiven for thinking Melvin, 73, is engaged in some kind of “anything you can do, I can do better” sibling rivalry,’ writes Bill Redekop. ‘When Ted was hired as a teacher at W.C. Miller Collegiate, Melvin soon followed him there, but as principal. When Ted was elected to Altona council, Melvin followed shortly after but—as if to do him one better—ran for mayor.” (Winnipeg Free Press photo by Bill Redekop)
“In the New Testament,” said Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, who ran unsuccessfully for the office of mayor of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ont., on Oct. 27, “the state is understood as part of God’s good ordering function in the world—but it is not the centre of God’s purposes in history; that distinction belongs to the church.
If lesbians can’t be ordained is there still a place for ordination?
Re: “MC U.S.A. will not recognize pastors in same-sex unions,” Sept. 15, page 19.
My mother sternly warned me against doing such a thing, and I’m sure I echoed her feelings to my children and grandchildren as they grew up. Yet, as the years flew by, I had a growing urge to just do it: to write on the walls of the little room beside our master bedroom.
For most of my life, I’ve driven to church. Growing up in Regina, the Alliance church I attended was a 15-minute drive away. In Winnipeg, while living at Canadian Mennonite University, I drove with friends to Charleswood Mennonite Church, which is a five-minute trip.
Do you remember playing Follow the Leader? Do you recall the squabbles over who got to lead? Most everyone wanted to set the pace and be the example at some point. I’m intrigued by how that changes over time.
Have you ever considered how the growth and maturity of the church depends on us continuing to play Follow the Leader?
I had the privilege of spending the first week of October on a learning tour in the United Kingdom with eight young adult leaders from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.
We share in the grief and shock our nation is feeling. We honour Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who were killed. Our prayers for comfort and healing are offered for the families of Cirillo and Vincent, those wounded, and those who were the first responders on the scenes. We offer our prayers for the families of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau.
Like many Canadians, I find myself in a place of sadness following the senseless violence in our capital city on Oct. 22, two days after a similar incident in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., south of Montreal.
Canada is not among the nations to ratify the new United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that seeks to better regulate the $85-billion global arms industry and thus prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands.
“Jesus, help us live in peace,” people sang at the outset of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s “Equipping to listen” event, expressing the sorrow—but also the hope—of a church deeply divided.
The woman known to countless Mennonite church missionary kids from Canada and the U.S. as “Aunt Tina” died on Oct. 16 at the age of 83
Amy Keating, playing Velda, an Old Order Amish girl, tells the story of the Amish Mines shooting in 2006 through naïve chalk drawings on the floor of the stage in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)
Velda, an Older Order Amish girl (played by Amy Keating), lies dead on stage in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)
In 2006, when the Amish of Nickel Mines, Pa., forgave the man who shot their daughters and offered assistance to his widowed family, the world was divided: Were they insane, misguided or holy beyond human reckoning?
Christmas stocking ‘goodie bags’ greeted registrants for the B.C. women’s retreat at Camp Squeah in October. The theme for the weekend was ‘Unwrap your gifts.’
When Mennonite Women in B.C. members arrived at Camp Squeah for their annual fall retreat last month, they might have thought their calendars had skipped two months ahead. The holiday season was in the air with Christmas trees, ornaments and banners decorating the lodge, all in keeping with the theme, “Unwrap your gifts.”
Mennonite Church Canada is discerning how best to respond to Canadian survivors of sexual abuse by theologian John Howard Yoder.
- Atonement, Justice and Peace: The Message of the Cross and the Mission of the Church by Darrin Snyder Belousek. Eerdmans, 2012.
- Instead of Atonement: The Bible’s Salvation Story and our Hope for Wholeness by Ted Grimsrud. Cascade Books, 2013.
A statue of the Good Shepherd at the St. Callisto Catacombs, Rome. In the early centuries, Jesus was much more likely to be portrayed as the Good Shepherd than as a crucified Messiah.
The Gero Crucifix in the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral, Germany). In the Middle Ages, Jesus’ suffering on the cross came to the fore, shadowing other images of Jesus as Saviour.
Jesus is pictured on the side of this early Christian sarcophagus in the Vatican Museum turning his back on Moses and the old law, and giving the new law of love to Peter.
In the 1990s, when the Mennonite church in Ontario was deciding whether to add Hymnal: A Worship Book to its pews, a dear (now departed) saint approached me, saying, “I hear that they’ve taken out all the blood songs.” The person wondered if this important part of church heritage and theology was going to be left behind.
A group of Muslim men gather for prayer at a mosque in Israel/Palestine. Palmer Becker wonders if Mennonites, through their example and witness, might eventually help both male and female Muslim believers to pray and worship side by side.
An instructor at the Kitchener, Ont., LDS church explains the consequences of trying to follow both the way of the world and the way of the Lord to a group of high school students who meet each weekday morning for 45 minutes of ‘seminary’ instruction over the course of four years. Do Mennonites have church communities where we might convene our you
In our increasingly multicultural and multi-faith society, can we learn from belief systems other than our own? I believe so, and offer what I have learned from two faiths—Mormonism and Islam—that have very diverse beliefs from each other and also from my own Mennonite faith. This has called for risk-taking, relationship-building and honest self-reflection.
“Richard Branson has offered a large prize to anyone who invents a device that will pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. God already invented this device, and we call it a tree.