Volume 19 Issue 10

Do we love him?

My beautiful wife and I had the pleasure recently of leading a couple’s retreat on an island just off British Columbia’s mainland. It was a glorious weekend—sans kids for us—with glorious blue skies and majestic panoramic views of the coastal mountains. Precious memories.

A different kind of disaster

My family and I often walk through the old-growth forests that surround the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus and then down to the waters of English Bay. There is lots to look for along the way: pileated woodpeckers and black-capped chickadees in the trees, slugs on the trails, and, when we get to the water, crabs under the rocks at low tide.

‘Burning bush moment’ leads to refugee children singing

Karen children—refugees from Myanmar—sing at a Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan event last fall. (MCC Saskatchewan photo)

Bethany College students in the back row provide literacy help for Karen refugee children from Myanmar who have been resettled in Rosthern, Sask. (MCC Saskatchewan photo)

It was a “burning bush moment” that got Marian Hooge Jones of Rosthern (Sask.) Mennonite Church started on her lengthy involvement with the sponsorship of refugee families from Myanmar (formerly Burma) living in refugee camps in Thailand. While glancing through a church bulletin one Sunday, she read that refugee sponsors were urgently needed by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

Chin Christians receive Mennonite teaching with joy

David Martin, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada executive minister, centre, poses with the baptismal candidates from the addictions recovery group in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Pastor Jehu Lian Ching, left, and David Martin of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, right were accompanied on their trip through Myanmar by Sui Sui, centre.

Pastor Teichum Lian Ching stands in front of the church he used to pastor in Hakha, Myanmar.

David Martin was invited to Myanmar (formerly Burma) in March 2015 to preach two or three times and to teach from the book of Galatians in four sessions over two days. By the time he returned he had also performed two graveside memorial services, baptized six, preached at a wedding, and took part in many more services in Myanmar and Malaysia.

MCC 50th full of historic symbolism

Elder Margaret Harris and Donna Roach flew in from Vancouver to celebrate with MCC Manitoba at Knox United Church in Winnipeg. (MCC photo by Alison Ralph)

MCC Manitoba executive director Ron Janzen, left, presents a gift of handmade moccasins to Joe Clark, a former prime minister of Canada, in gratitude for his participation in the celebration of MCC Manitoba’s 50th anniversary last month in Winnipeg. The moccasins bear the MCC logo on the top in intricate beadwork. (MCC photo by Alison Ralph)

As the choirs’ final note of “Die Zeit ist Kurz” hung sublimely in the sanctuary of Knox United Church on April 18, the indigenous drums began to beat and the Buffalo Gals started into the “Wolf Song.” Once they were done, it was back to the Faith and Life choirs and the University of Manitoba Women’s Chorus for “Come Let Us All Unite to Sing.”

MC Eastern Canada gathering hears stories of faith

Chris Brnjas, left, Dimitri Faludy, Rachel Brnjas and Esther Kissor talk about their work at the 2015 Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual church gathering. The Brnjases work in churches in Kitchener, Ont., and attend The Gathering Church. Faludy and Kissor are from the Jane Finch Faith Community in Toronto. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Brandon Leis, music director at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., leads singing. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada executive minister David Martin, with hand raised, prays for the Jane Finch Faith Community Church during the area church’s annual church gathering on April 25 after church members learned of a fire in the building where the church meets to worship and where many members live. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Paul Wideman, moderator of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, challenged the 28th annual church gathering, saying, “How can we encourage one another by sharing our faith?” The day-and-a-half event was filled with faith stories and had little actual business.

Building houses and learning to serve

Participants in the Youth Farm Bible Camp’s recent trip to Mexico mix cement for the foundation of the house they built. Pictured from left to right: Brandon Wurtz, Holly Epp,  and Dawson Dueck. (Photo by Mark Wurtz)

Holly Epp, volunteer coordinator for Youth Farm Bible Camp, in the blue ball cap, enjoys communicating through pictures with the neighbourhood children in Tijuana, Mexico, where a group from the camp built a house. (Photo by Mark Wurtz)

It may not be typical summer camp staff training, but Mark Wurtz says the Youth Farm Bible Camp’s annual trip to Mexico is “probably more worthwhile than orientation.” The camp has been taking senior staff members and youth on short-term mission trips for the past eight years, and Wurtz sees the trips as highly valuable in developing camp staff.

A warming world should make us uncomfortable

Susan Johnson, left, Willard Metzger and Joe Gunn discuss poverty and climate change in Winnipeg during a cross-country tour organized by the Canadian Council of Churches and Citizens for Public Justice. (MC Canada photo by Dan Dyck)

It’s time for some uncomfortable conversations about climate change and poverty, says Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada.

Churches ‘on the healing side’

At a recent Saskatoon ecumenical event in response to missing and murdered indigenous women, Pauline Muskego of Onion Lake Cree Nation shared the heart-breaking story of her daughter’s disappearance and the discovery, four years later, of her remains. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

“We are all equal. Not one person is above others.” Elder Marie Linklater’s words set the tone for a day of learning and discerning on April 18, when about 200 women and men from Saskatoon and area gathered at Mayfair United Church for an ecumenical response to murdered and missing indigenous women and girls.

Saskatchewan youth take small steps toward big changes

Honouring the Earth participants Kennedy Martens, Amy Wiens, Sydney Martens, Johanna Wiebe and Naomi Klassen learn about vermiculture as a way of better managing food waste. (Photo by Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

Worms, balloons, dolly carts and minimal sleep were all part of a Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization event held in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan on April 8 and 9. This year’s Honouring the Earth event focussed on how making small changes to food consumption habits can have a big impact on the global food market.

The Mennonite and the Lurmen

Kyle Rudge is the founder of Geekdom House, a ministry devoted to loving and serving the nerd and geek community. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Rudge)

Conrad Stoesz is an archivist at the Mennonite Heritage Centre, a ministry of Mennonite Church Canada in Winnipeg.

Are there parallels between the Star Wars universe and Anabaptism?

I asked myself that recently after watching an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated TV series.

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