Number 1

I resolve to . . .

The dawn of a new year is always alluring to me because there is so much promise. You say goodbye to the year that was. If the previous year was a good one overall, you hope that the new year will be similar. If the previous year was not so great, the new year promises an opportunity to start afresh.

For discussion: An ‘experiment’ in sexuality gone wrong

1. What has changed since the 1970s and ’80s that conversations about sexual misconduct and sexual abuse are so much more prevalent these days? Does sexual violence happen more now, or are we just more ready to talk about it? Does a sexualized culture make sexual violence more prevalent? Are we less apt to silence or blame victims than formerly?

With aching hearts

Some readers have called for a moratorium on reports about John Howard Yoder’s past misdeeds. We acknowledge that continued attention to this issue has caused pain to Yoder’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as to the women who suffered because of his actions.

Year-round generosity

The Christmas holiday season brought a bombardment of consumerism. Retailers hoped you’d blow your shopping budget on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But the day after this festive frenzy is now known as Giving Tuesday, a day that demonstrates how charities, businesses and individuals can transform the way we think about, and participate in, this season of giving.

Starting strong

Early in the new year many congregations hold their annual general meetings. This is often the time when various leadership positions and volunteer roles are confirmed. But how many congregations provide an orientation to their new committee members? How do they learn about their church’s ministries and the wide reach of these good works?

Buffalo shout, Mennonites discuss

MC Saskatchewan participants in the five-session discussion of Steve Heinrichs’s book Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry grapple with the complexities of indigenous/settler relations. Pictured from left to right: Craig Neufeld, Cheryl Woelk, Bernie Thiessen and Larry Epp.

They met in the library at Rosthern Mennonite Church, a good place for a book discussion group to meet. It wasn’t a typical book discussion group, but then they weren’t discussing a typical book.

Remembering Mandela

Photo © Pep Hernandex / bit.ly/1wheB9Z

Nelson Mandela passed away a year ago last December, at the age of 95. Although we knew this time was coming, it does not alleviate the sorrow experienced by South Africa and indeed the world. Mandela—or Madiba, as he was lovingly called—lived as an incredible example of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Chiara House officially opens

From left to right: Norm Voth, director of evangelism and service for MC Manitoba; Orly Friesen, volunteer site manager; Jon Owen, caretaker and resident; Alvin Thieseen, supporter and volunteer; Pearl Plohman, resident; and Jamie Arpin-Ricci, pastor of Little Flowers Community, cut the ribbon to officially open Chiara House in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Jon Owen).

“When one of our members suffered from untreated mental illnesses and committed suicide quite publicly five years ago, we realized how critical it is to provide community supports and affordable housing in order for people to have a chance at healthy living,” said Jamie Arpin-Ricci, pastor of Little Flowers Community in Winnipeg’s downtown West End, at the official opening of Chiara House.

Carpe diem

Jack Dueck

In his “Remembering Jack” soliloquy at Jack Dueck’s memorial service, the famous Mennonite novelist and writer, Rudy Wiebe, termed his friend, “a very large and complex human being,” and rendered this story as an example:

The merger God has been waiting for

Sandy Keomany, left, Venus Moungsouvanh and Joanne Sou perform a traditional Lao dance at the amalgamation service of Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church and Toronto United Lao Mennonite Church.

It was with singing, dancing and, of course, a potluck that two Lao Mennonite churches in Toronto celebrated their amalgamation late last year. After a seven-year separation, Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church and Toronto United Lao Mennonite Church became one again on Dec. 11.

Heartfelt apology

Ruth Boehm, right, pastor of Faith Mennonite Church, Leamington,Ont., presents Rev. Thomas Mertz, co-pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, with a breadbasket cloth she stitched from a 1545 German pattern book on Reformation Sunday, Oct. 31.

On Reformation Sunday, Oct. 31, Faith Mennonite Church in Leamington, Ont., was visited by neighbours and friends from the local St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Reformation Sunday marks the anniversary in 1517 when Martin Luther began public theological dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church that is considered the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

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