Ken and Debbie Martin are ready to head out from Elmira (Ont.) Mennonite Church on a countryside tour as part of the MennoHomes fifth annual bike-a-thon for affordable housing on June 20. More than 100 adults and children participated by walking, cycling or riding, and raised $40,000 toward a three-storey apartment building to be built in Elmira.
The sky was a deep blue, the sun shining brightly as we gathered in the Zion Memorial Gardens to bury the ashes of a beloved family friend, my brother-in-law Frank R. Keller, in the community of our birth—Souderton, Pennsylvania. We all knew him as “Butch.”
The last in a five-part series leading up to Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Harrisburg, Pa.
When someone asks you to use a few words to describe yourself, what words do you use? Would you change those words to describe yourself when you are with your family? At work? Travelling to some distant place?
Thanks to those who attended TRC report in Ottawa
“All through the long winter I dream of my garden. On the first warm day of Spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy and my spirits soar.”
~Helen Hays, quoted in Like a Garden: A Biblical Spirituality of Growth by Sara Coven Juengst (Westminster John Knox Press, 1996)
So Jesus was striding down the street one day when a kid in front of him turned around and asked for a bus ticket. Jesus had noticed the boy—a skinny teenager wearing a too-big T-shirt—aimlessly tapping a stick on a nearby fence. Jesus had wondered why the boy wasn’t in school, and if he was waiting for an adult doing business at the auto shop or picking up a coffee at the Tim’s.
“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” (John 6: 8-9)
The fragrance of old books mingled with stale pipe tobacco washed over me like finely aged wisdom, fermented from years of deep contemplation. Every wall of the late history professor’s study was concealed behind rows of shelves fully stocked with hardcover and paperback treasure. My sense of gratitude for the invitation to come “pillage” Robert’s library morphed into unbridled excitement.
In the year 2000, world leaders set themselves a deadline for dramatically decreasing global poverty. That deadline was 2015.
A group of 18 young men and women travel in the back of a truck on their way a Sängerfest or song festival in the Didsbury, Alberta, area in 1934. No seatbelts used here! Song festivals were popular in Mennonite circles as a way of gathering to see old friends, enjoy singing four-part harmony music, and a way for young men and women to meet in controlled environments.
Mike Martin (second from right) and his siblings (from left), Steve, Ron, Willard, Gloria and Terry Martin sang at the 25th anniversary celebration for Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont., on May 23, 2015. Mike, who is the chair of church council, wrote a special song for the event. (Photo courtesy of Community Mennonite Fellowship, Drayton)
The roots ran deep in both the Berea and Moorefield Mennonite Churches, north of Kitchener-Waterloo. Berea, first known as the Parker Mission, was founded in 1941 and joined the Ontario Mennonite Conference in 1947. That same year a congregation was founded less than 10 miles away at Moorefield, using a disused Anglican church building.
Pick a category of people at the Mennonite Church USA convention, and you could identify their pain.
It might have been the pain of exclusion due to sexual orientation. Or of feeling the church has agreed to tolerate sin. It might have been the pain of sexual abuse. Or of concern for the future of a church sharply divided on how to relate to sexual minorities.
April Yamasaki speaks about fasting from the Christian perspective at the Abbotsford interfaith symposium on July 6, 2015. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)
An interfaith symposium on July 6 at Abbotsford’s Garden Park Tower found Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs reflecting on fasting and peace and then eating together with a meal around formally set tables.
Ester Neufeldt has been around Mennonite Church Eastern Canada longer than MCEC has existed. The area church came into being on Feb. 1, 1988, but Neufeldt began her job on Jan. 25.
Wilhelm (Will) Friesen, a Grade 5/6 student, does not have a voice. Will was born with severe cognitive and physical disabilities which prevent him from performing basic tasks, including speaking. Born in a Mennonite colony in Bolivia in 2004, he moved with his parents and two sisters to Manitoba in 2007.
Before they ate their fill of rollkuchen, watermelon, farmer’s sausage and other traditional Mennonite food, a group of Saskatchewan Mennonites cycled 43 kilometres in solidarity with those who have to leave their homeland in search of peace.