Several years ago, a fellow pastor sighed in resignation as we talked about the approach of Advent, a pastor’s workload equivalent to an accountant’s tax season. “I don’t like preaching through Christmas,” he said.
1. Stuart Scadron-Wattles says that waiting in expectation is a difficult balancing act. What experiences have you had of waiting with expectation? What makes it difficult? Do we recognize and accept what we’re waiting for when it comes?
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.”
‘Open invitation’ leaves reader saddened and disturbed
Re: “Come out: An open invitation,” Oct. 13, page 14.
“When the disciples saw him they worshipped him, but some of them doubted.” That’s how the disciples responded to the risen Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (28:17).
So what were these disciples doubting? Nothing less than the resurrection of Jesus.
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?”
I didn’t grow up in a home steeped in Christian heritage. Instead, my childhood includes only a handful of memories that involve the church or religion. But in 1980, that all changed. My parents moved from having a distant relationship with God to a profound new life of walking with Christ.
Despite falling short of a quorum, delegates attending Mennonite Church Manitoba’s fall gathering on Nov. 6 gave the board strong affirmation for its 2015 proposed budget.
The budget as presented calls for the same amount—$645,000—from congregations as the 2014 budget.
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.
Mennonite Church Canada has responded with letters of support to the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community and the Middle East Council of Churches.
How does a South Korean soldier become a teacher of peace?
Delegates at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan’s Encounter and annual general meeting heard the answer to that question through the life stories of keynote speaker Jae Young Lee.
Many people have grown tired of the pat answers that the church and religion have provided regarding questions of faith and meaning in life.
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.
There is a difference between doing well and doing good in business, Grant Unrau says. Doing good is something that Stun Collective, a strategic design company, strives to do on a daily basis.
‘As Amos as possible’
Re: “I’m a human being,” Sept. 5, page 12.
Troy Watson’s column reminded me of a story in Jewish lore. It went something like this:
“I felt a very intense homesickness and wanted to go home [to Manitoba] for Christmas. Christmas is a very important holiday to me.”
It was Christmas 2010 and Hinke Loewen-Rudgers had been in Nazareth since October 2008, working through the Witness program of Mennonite Church Canada.
'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.