Volume 19 Issue 13

A graduation blessing

’Tis the season of graduations. Society recognizes graduation as an important transition in the lives of young people and so we ritualize the event with special ceremonies. At a typical ceremony young people hear various words of encouragement: A whole world of opportunity lies before you. Pursue your passions and dreams. Become whatever you want to be.

Is that driving you to lust?

Looking out the café window on a warm spring day, I watched as a short, rotund man pulled off his shirt and bared his quite large tummy to the friendly rays of the sun. “There’s a man sitting at the bus stop who’s just taken off his shirt—” I started to tell my companion, a pastor colleague thirty years my junior.

“What?” he teased. “Is that driving you to lust?”

Communication is key

A will is your last communication with your family. Many of us are uncomfortable planning for our death, but the chaos, confusion and potential for conflict in families where there is no will should offset your discomfort. A properly written will explains how you want your assets distributed.

Moving thinward (Pt. 5)

The brilliant Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “The world is in truth a holy place.” He was echoing the words of the prophet Isaiah who wrote, “the whole earth is filled with God’s glory.” God’s presence and glory can be perceived anywhere if we have “eyes to see and ears to hear.” Yet it is clear certain places, people and things help us tune into the reality of God’s presence mo

Kairos hosts Time for Reconciliation

Drummers open the Kairos reconciliation event in Ottawa, May 29, 2015. (Photo by Dennis Greunding)

Panelist Marie Wilson, TRC commissioner, expresses kind words to Mike Cachagee, spokesperson for residential school survivors, as he recalls his childhood in a residential school. (Photo by Dennis Greunding)

Along with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other organizations, Kairos invited children and youth from across the country to create Heart Gardens. These gardens honoured memories of students who did not return from residential schools and pointed to dreams for a reconciled future. A Heart Garden was planted at Rideau Hall during the last TRC events in Ottawa. (Photo by Dennis Gruending)

While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hosted events in Ottawa leading up to the release of its summary report, the ecumenical justice coalition Kairos organized a complementary gathering called Time for Reconciliation.

We’ve heard the truth. Do we have the courage for reconciliation?

Lorraine Clements holds burning sage for Gerry Shingoose, a residential school survivor, as she smudges at the closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Winnipeg. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

About 200 people marched from the University of Winnipeg to Thunderbird House for a feast and a pipe ceremony following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

“Reconciliation is not an aboriginal problem. It is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.” Justice Murray Sinclair spoke those words on June 2 at the closing ceremonies of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa. I watched a live feed of Sinclair’s speech at the University of Winnipeg, among tens of thousands of Canadians who tuned in to witness the historic event.

Thoughts on Peru and the TRC

Dave Rogalsky explores the ruins of Machu Picchu, the mountaintop retreat and administrative centre of the ancient Incan empire. (Photo by Annemarie Rogalsky)

The ruins of Machu Picchu, the mountaintop retreat and administrative centre of the Incan Empire. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Atahualpa Inca with the condor, puma, and snake—the guardians of the sky, earth and underworld in the cosmology and religion of the Incas. By the time the European explorers reached Latin America, the Incan civilization had assembled a significant empire from southern Panama deep into Chile. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The city of Cuzco in its valley in the Peruvian Andes. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

It was a huge painting. At least 3 x 3 metres. It was part of a show in the Dominican church of San Domingo, built over and incorporating Qurikancha, a central Inca complex in Cuzco, Peru. My congregation, Wilmot Mennonite Church near Baden Ont., had given me the privilege of travelling to Peru for two weeks in early May this year.

Nutana Park celebrates 50 years of God’s blessing

Under the direction of Duff Warkentin, the Nutana Park Mennonite Church Choir presents songs of praise and thanksgiving in both English and German to help mark the congregation’s 50th anniversary. (Photo by Howard Giles)

Nutana Park Mennonite Church celebrates 50 years of God’s blessing with a special time of worship, led by Brent Guenther, on May 3, 2015. (Photo by Howard Giles)

Donning a party hat, worship leader Brent Guenther invited adults who had grown up in the congregation to join the children at the front of the sanctuary for a children’s time, complete with birthday cake. Seated behind the cake is Susan Ens Funk. (Photo by Howard Giles)

Children of Nutana Park Mennonite Church, assisted by their parents, create 50th birthday cards in celebration of the church’s 50th anniversary. (Photo by Howard Giles)

Photos depicting the congregation’s history cover the walls of the hall. (Photo by Howard Giles)

At a coffee house, held April 25, members of Nutana Park Mennonite Church entertain one another with music and slides. Pictured, left to right: Susan Ens Funk, Peter Hooge, Ron Peters and Lynn Driedger. (Photo by Howard Giles)

Voices joined together in celebration for the opening hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God,” in a service of worship at Nutana Park Mennonite Church commemorating 50 years as a congregation.

Alberta relief sale raises $172,000

Children and their parents remained engaged in the children’s auction time led by Darcy Krahn on Saturday afternoon at the Mennonite Central Committee Alberta relief sale in Didsbury.

Sebastian Loewen “runs off his rollkuchen” at the ‘GO’ booth at the MCC Relief sale in Didsbury.

Isabel Hillis has to pedal hard to blend her smoothie While Laurie Bennie of MCC provides encouragement.

Low oil prices in 2015 have not dampened the generosity of Alberta Mennonites. On June 5-6, 2015, the annual Mennonite Central Committee relief sale was held in Didsbury, and as of June 8, over $172,000 had been received with donations still trickling in. The last Didsbury sale, held in 2012, raised $170,000.

Concerts raise funds for relief

Bethany Horst sings in the benefit concert in Kitchener on May 24, 2015, helping raise funds for MCC’s Nepal Relief fund. (Photo courtesy of the Grand Philharmonic Choir)

Six local Nepalese youth sing in the benefit concert in Kitchener on May 24, 2015, helping raise funds for MCC’s Nepal Relief fund. (Photo courtesy of the Grand Philharmonic Choir)

With the Canadian Federal Government’s pledge to match funds for Nepal relief coming to an end, a flurry of events in Waterloo and Toronto raised an additional $28,000 on May 24.

Staying close to God

Afonso Arrais left his home in Portugal to find better career opportunities abroad. (Photo by Michael Veith)

Michael Veith

When people complete high school, they are often overwhelmed and stressed because there are so many career options. When Afonso Arrais graduated, his stress came from a lack of options.

 Arrais, now a student at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, was born in Portugal and attended high school in the capital city, Lisbon. He was constantly concerned about his future.

Preaching must be from—and to—the margins

Gennifer Brooks, Ph.D., encourages Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary students to immerse themselves in the lives of the people to whom they will preach, so that their messages are good news that fit the context of their listeners. (Photo by Mary E. Klassen)

Gennifer Brooks began her presentations for the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary  (AMBS) Theological Lectureship the same way she begins the preaching classes she teachers—with the story in Luke 4 of Jesus reading from Isaiah in the temple.

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