It is my favourite time of year, this season of Advent. The anticipation leading up to Christmas is the richest and most exciting time of year for me. Last year, I had the privilege of journeying with Mary while expecting our second child. There is nothing quite as amazing as waiting for the birth of a child, waiting for the seeds of hope, the promise within the womb to be realized.
“I can’t get into the Christmas spirit,” she said. My daughter Alyson hefted the load in front of her, and the load—my 10-week-old granddaughter—squeaked. “Maybe it’s the new baby. Everything else seems anticlimactic.”
What is central to our relationship with God in Christ through the Holy Spirit? Do we experience vitality in this relationship? What happens when we encounter people who can’t, or won’t, agree with what we hold as central to our understanding of faith? How do we challenge the discomfort, doubt or uncertainty many feel when asked to seriously consider our role in mission or evangelism?
The best moment of my Sunday school teaching career happened when the children were nearly stumped by a question. My co-teacher began the Bible lesson by asking the 8- to 10-year-olds, “What is sin?” whereupon a rare and rich silence descended as the children contemplated her question. The silence was broken by a spiritually precocious boy who offered, “Isn’t that where we’re forgiven?”
Michael Champagne, left, participates in a table discussion of opportunities and barriers to indigenous people and settler populations working together in the city.
Michael Champagne speaks with energy and passion about indigenous youth and young adults in the city.
Instead of the usual small, intimate gathering that has characterized previous fall Partnership Circle meetings, more than 85 northern indigenous people, Mennonite Church Manitoba representatives, people from other denominations and social service agencies gathered on Nov. 1 to form a vastly expanded circle at Winnipeg’s Circle of Life Thunderbird House.
When Mennonites in Winnipeg baptize a believer, they do so with water from Shoal Lake. The baptismal water comes from a project for which the members of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation were involuntarily moved. It comes from a place where local residents have lived under a boil-water advisory for 17 years.
Day and night, children love to play on the metal playground equipment, placed there haphazardly many decades ago. . . . The rusted slides have gaping and jagged holes, and can’t be used except to scramble up and down; children do this each day, still wearing their blue and grey school uniforms as they pause for some fun. (Photo: Nathan Dirks)
When entering Bontleng in Botswana’s Gaborone Region from the southeasternmost road you find yourself passing tall grass, wrought-iron covers and headstones of a large cemetery.
There are some verses in the Bible that we studiously avoid thinking about, let alone discussing publicly. They are like repressed memories or family secrets that threaten, if evoked, to cast us back into shame and confusion, to undo the semblance of peace, fellowship and orderliness that we have so diligently cultivated for ourselves.
There are some verses in the Bible that we studiously avoid thinking about, let alone discuss publicly. They are like repressed memories or family secrets that threaten to cast us back into shame and confusion, to undo the semblance of peace, fellowship and orderliness that we have so diligently cultivated for ourselves.
'We began reading it out loud to each other in 1981, and have done so every year since, finding more gems to think about each time.' (Photo by Aaron Epp)
Thirty years ago this Christmas, my wife Annemarie and I began a Christmas tradition we’ve continued year after year, with variations.
The MCC revisioning process seeks to address the tension of being rich Christians in an age of global inequality—an age in which golf tournaments in Manitoba (as shown by the cover of MCC Manitoba’s annual report, left) fund hurricane recovery efforts in Haiti. (MCC file photo by Ben Depp, right)
At a time when relief supplies can be purchased in countries close to disaster sites—providing stimulus to their often hard-hit local economies—does it make economic or environmental sense to continue making blankets and relief kits of all kinds in North America and then ship them around the world?
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is the largest and most influential Anabaptist organization in the world. It has nearly 1,200 workers and an annual budget of $82 million.