There is a new culture in North America around sexual harassment and abuse. The social media hashtag #MeToo is everywhere, and we are starting to address abusive behaviour in the church with the hashtag #ChurchToo.
At our annual Mennonite Church Manitoba delegates meeting in Winnipeg in March, I concluded my time as a member of the regional church board. I served on this board as a rep from the southern area of Manitoba for six years (two full terms).
Many years ago, a boyfriend who subsequently became my husband gave me a book about touch and its essential place in human well-being. At the time, touch was a delightful dynamic in our new relationship. Within the boundaries of our Christian ethics, we explored physical intimacies, one of the expressions of our deepening love.
Volunteers raise the first of four timber frame bents into position. By the fall of 2019, five others like this one will be in place. (Shekinah Retreat Centre photo)
Shekinah Retreat Centre recently launched an exciting new building project. The first of six planned timber-frame cabins took shape at the Mennonite Church Saskatchewan camp during the first week of April.
Shekinah board member Michael Neufeld, who attends Zoar Mennonite in Langham, designed the cabins together with Charles Olfert of Aodbt architecture + interior design.
A ladder made of masking tape sticks to the floor of the foyer of Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. It’s not a typical sight in a worship space. Yet every Tuesday and Friday morning, a path is cleared through the chairs in the sanctuary, and a small group of seniors ranging from their 60s to their 90s gathers at the church to exercise.
Mennonite women in British Columbia have been coming together each spring since 1939 for Women’s Inspirational Day, a time of spiritual encouragement and fellowship. But as the planned date of May 6, 2018, approached, still without a coordinator or location for the event, some were questioning whether the annual spring gathering has seen its day.
Top: Allan Rudy-Froese, left, associate professor of Christian proclamation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., leads Pastors in Exile preachers and leaders—Tamara Shantz and Jessica Ressor-Rempel, as well as Benjamin Weber, Kim Rempel and Caleb Redekop in an exercise to feel their mouths.
Bottom: Allan Rudy-Froese, left, leads the Pastors in Exile preachers Benjamin Weber, Emily Hunsberger, Jennifer Regehr, Sylvia Hook and Katherine Matthies—in an exercise to get into the biblical text physically. (Photos by Dave Rogalsky)
Hands on his stomach, Allan Rudy-Froese walked a group of young preachers through exercises designed to make them feel at home and centred in their bodies by learning to recognize the part their abdominal muscles and their mouths—lips, tongues, palates and jaws—play in the delivery of a sermon.
At Mennonite Church Alberta’s annual delegate sessions in March 2018, Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Margaret Kruger-Harder were appointed to represent the regional church on MC Canada’s Joint Council, which was created following the restructuring of the nationwide church in October 2017.
Staff member Barratt Bender, left, and volunteer Virginia Kreitz sort clothing that has been shipped from another thrift store to MCC’s new rePurpose store in Elmira, Ont., where it is sold by the pound. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Volunteers who work at any of the many Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift stores know the sorrow of unsold goods: clothing that hangs around for more than a month or dishes that don’t move out the door to grace someone’s table.
Esther Kern, a former Canada coordinator of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), received the Muriel Duckworth Award for Peace Activism at the Voice of Women for Peace International Women’s Day dinner held at Friend’s (Quaker) House in Toronto on March 8, 2018.
Around 10 women and female-identifying people meet weekly at Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo, Ont., for Feminist Bible Study, an initiative supported by Pastors in Exile. (Photo by Jessica Reesor Rempel)
‘In the framework of my churches that I was at growing up, women weren’t portrayed as powerful people God worked through,’ says Caitie Walker, left, pictured with fellow Feminist Bible Study participant Emily Leyland. (Photo by Jessica Reesor Rempel)
Kim Rempel, a Feminist Bible Study participant, takes part in a March 22 discussion about the ‘Gospel according to Mary Magdalene.’ (Photo by Jessica Reesor Rempel)
Around 10 women and female-identifying people sit in a circle at Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo, every week, drinking tea and discussing biblical texts through a feminist lens.
Grace Kang’s installation at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg consisted of 400 prints depicting different pairs of feet suspended in the air using twine and surrounding a large ceramic bowl. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
‘Suffering will always be a part of my art, because it’s such a big part of being human,’ Grace Kang says. (Photo by Gabrielle Touchette)
‘I wanted people to face the places they had been and realize . . . Jesus wants to meet us where we’re at,’ Grace Kang says of her installation at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. (Photo by Aaton Epp)
Grace Kang can’t remember a time when she wasn’t making art.
As a child, “I was always drawing, I was always writing stories,” the 22-year-old says. When she learned that art is not something everyone does or is interested in, “I realized it was a unique way I could contribute to the world.”