Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about missions. The feature in this issue is Part 2 in a series focussing on partnerships between congregations and Witness workers. These workers were sent by Mennonite Church Canada on our behalf, to use their skills and their passions alongside local Christians for the work of God in those unique settings.
‘I thought this type of support was normal’
Jeanette and Todd Hanson
By Donna Schulz, Saskatchewan Correspondent, Rosthern, Sask.
Although they have had other mission partnerships over the years, Jeanette Hanson marvels at the support she and her husband Todd have received from their two home congregations.
One late Friday afternoon when the office was nearly empty, two clean-cut young men showed up at the Mennonite Church Canada reception desk to inquire about pension benefits for their widowed mother. Assuming they were sons of a pastor, the receptionist sent them my way. As chief administrative officer, helping such people out is part of my job.
A year ago, I said goodbye to my job and stepped into an unknown future. In truth, the future is always unknown, or beyond certainty, as my father would qualify when he spoke of plans, concluding, “Lord willing.” The same acknowledgement comes from our Muslim friends who say inshallah with a similar meaning.
Edward Beatty, front row right, and John Dennis, behind him, speak with Mennonite girls. Dennis was a young man in 1874 who witnessed the Mennonite immigration to Manitoba. Over the next decades, he observed that the Mennonites were honest, hardworking and trustworthy farmers. By 1922, he was a commissioner of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
If I were to give a 14-minute TED Talk in our church context before the restructuring assembly for Mennonite Church Canada and its area churches in October, this is the gist of what I would want to communicate. I would like to ask and give an answer to an important question: What is it that is more important for all of us than our current and necessary restructuring?
For Muslim students at the University of Waterloo, long spans of fasting during the longest days of the year are over and may already feel like a distant memory. However, it was just a few weeks ago that students were stretching the limits of their bodies as they refrained from eating or drinking each day while the sun was up.
“We are here to celebrate with you,” said Melissa Giles, director of programs for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C., as she praised the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees around the world at a World Refugee Day event held in Abbotsford’s Mill Lake Park on June 24, 2017, that included speakers, song and dance.
Although the conscientious objectors were pacifists, they organized boxing matches at the alternative service camps. Here Alvin Bender (played by Johnny Wideman) spars with Rudy Enns (played by Ben Wert), while member of the band Jim Bender (far left) fills in as a bystander. (Photo by Barb Draper)
Glenn Martin’s voice was deep with emotion as he expressed appreciation for Yellow Bellies, a drama that describes the experiences of Mennonite conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War.
The past two years have seen the publication of two interesting new collections of academic writing on Mennonite themes, one theological and the other historical. While other reviewers such as Jamie Pitts and Ben Goossen have reviewed these books in detail elsewhere, I would like to reflect on them in much broader terms and ask what they might mean for Mennonites today.
For Jaymie Friesen, responding to abuse and preventing it in communities of faith is a personal calling. As the abuse response and prevention coordinator at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba, Friesen supports churches and individuals, and works to raise awareness of abuse and trauma.
Chesley Lake Camp, located west of Owen Sound, Ont., lost its main building to fire on Canada Day. The building housed offices, a restaurant, tuck shop and many memories.
The fire has been classified as accidental and no further investigation is being carried out. Fireworks had been displayed near the building on the evening of July 1, 2017, and the fire began several hours later.