Number 7

For discussion: I was in prison

1. What experiences have you had with prison visitation or helping someone with a painful past become settled in Canadian society? What level of acceptance would someone like Jack McKay, the pseudonymous former inmate in this story, find in your community? What social services would there be to help him? What would happen in your congregation if a former sexual offender began attending?

The prophet margin

In our rush to welcome Jesus, we often skip those who paved the way for him.

Consider the prophets, who tend to be marginalized by others or by themselves. The margins they occupy actually become the focus for people and their real-life stories. Prophets often represent a paradox. They call for repentance and radical change while maintaining an apparently unchanging resolve.

A reluctant traveller

When the door opens, do you hesitate, turn aside or walk through? It probably depends on the door, right? A big door opened when I was invited to join a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) program review team in South Africa. In the end, I walked through, but certainly with some hesitation.

A ri$ky topic to ignore

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Integrated wholeness

In my last “Spirit attunement” column, March 3, page 14, I explained why I believe “wilderness seasons” and solitude are essential for many individual’s spiritual vitality. However, it is noteworthy that Spirit attunement always happens in the context of community in the Christian tradition.

MC Saskatchewan adopts safe church policy

Representatives of the MC Saskatchewan council, Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization and Rosthern Mennonite Church flank new area church youth minister Kirsten Hamm in a prayer of commissioning at the annual delegate sessions.

Nguyen Thanh Tung, pastor of Saskatoon Vietnamese Mennonite Church, chats with Elmer Regier of MC Saskatchewan’s Ministries Commission. Regier serves as an informal liaison between the area church and the Vietnamese congregation.

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan now has a new safe church policy, ratified during the area church’s annual delegate sessions held in Regina on March 14 and 15.

Rome relaxes

As Pope Francis finishes his first year as pontiff, 85 percent of Americans have a favourable view of him, but the number of people attending Catholic churches in the U.S. has not increased.

It's been a year since Argentina's Jorge Bergolio became the 266th Roman Catholic pope. Although he is 77 years old, the new pope has brought fresh energy to one of the most staid institutions in history.

Feeding the demand for Anabaptist faith values

Last October, Willard Metzger, right, and seven other Christian faith leaders met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on an Evangelical Fellowship of Canada delegation to discuss matters of importance to the church. Topics ranged from Canada’s relationship with its host peoples to climate change and homelessness. (Photo used by permission of Office of the Prime Minister)

Mennonite Church Canada executive director Willard Metzger, right (in black), marches through the streets of Durban, South Africa, in support of climate justice with other people of faith at the UN Climate Change Forum in 2011. He attended as an unofficial observer on behalf of the World Council of Churches.

Willard Metzger accepts writing invitations from various organizations and publishers to help increase engagement with Anabaptism on a wider level. Thanking God with Integrity: Table Graces & Scripture for a World of Need encourages gratitude while increasing awareness of those who live with less. He contributed to ‘Living Ecological Justice,’ a faith-based learning tool helping Canadian Christians care and advocate for creation.

A growing awareness of Anabaptism is increasing interest in Mennonite Church Canada, and Willard Metzger is happy to respond.

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