Volume 22 Issue 22

A season of change

Since 1939, Mennonite women in British Columbia have been gathering each spring for a day of spiritual encouragement and fellowship. But this year, as the planned date approached, no location had been determined and no one had stepped up to coordinate the day. Was the tradition dead? One concerned woman took the initiative and secured a speaker, found a meeting place and hired a caterer. 

An everlasting light

Artwork by Emma Unger, Grade 11, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

God of grace, today we pray for peace for the City of Bethlehem.
It has had more than its share of conflict,
as it has changed from a sleepy little town to a bustling city
that is visited by millions each year.
Lord, you know the walls that separate people in Bethlehem:
walls of concrete, walls of prejudice, walls of hatred,

Pregnant with peace

Artwork by Merle Yin, grade 11, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Celena Harder, grade 10, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Christy Zhang, grade 12, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Erynn Heinrichs, grade 12, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Autumn Wieler, grade 11, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Julia Suderman, grade 10, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Karly Wiebe, grade 12, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

Artwork by Taya Friesen, grade 12, Mennonite Collegiate Institute

‘Midnight on ocean’ by Shirley Zhang, grade 12, Rockway Mennonite Collegiate

"Into the woods"by Vivian Chau, grade 11, Rockway Mennonite Collegiate

From the moment we learned I was pregnant, the baby we longed for was continually on my mind. What would it look like? What kind of personality would it have? How would this baby change our life? I was truly “expecting.” Expectant waiting with our baby in mind transformed not just me and my husband, but our whole extended family.

Stepping into the gap

Lontfobeko Manana and Brenda Tiessen-Wiens

Creating space for important cross-cultural discussion is crucial work for the church today. Our paths for the coming year have merged at Foothills Mennonite Church, where Lindo is serving with Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) for a term as a pastoral assistant, and Brenda is a part of Lindo’s mentoring group.

Can we talk about death?

Melissa Miller

“In the midst of life, we are surrounded by death.” These words are often spoken by a pastor during a graveside service at which loved ones gather to bury the deceased. They are taken from the Mennonite Church’s Minister’s Manual. When I first read them as a new pastor, I was startled by their sharp contrast. Now I often ponder how true it is.

Planning to give this Christmas?

Marlow Gingerich

The gift-giving season is upon us, and with it comes Christmas shopping for our loved ones. We all know people who will be running around the mall five minutes before closing time on Dec. 24, looking for that spontaneous token to tuck under the tree. Then there are those meticulous planners who have every gift listed in a spreadsheet and finished their shopping way back in October.

Bicycle trip

Photo: Almeda Kolb / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Did your summer include a bicycle trip? In 1891, 19-year-old Fred Coffman, far left, his brother William, and their friends Abram and Aaron Kolb biked more than 700 kilometres from Elkhart, Ind., to Niagara Falls, Ont. Fred would become Bishop S.F. Coffman, an influential Ontario Mennonite leader. Abram would become a publisher of Mennonite periodicals, choir director and hymnwriter.

Gifts symbolize Indigenous relations

As a sign of honour and respect for the work of Steve Heinrichs, left, Mennonite Church Canada’s director of Indigenous-settler relations, Lorne Brandt, the chair of Mennonite Church B.C.’s Service, Peace and Justice Committee, presents his vest and moccasins, that were made by Cree craftspeople in Manitoba in 1974, to him at a meeting of the regional church’s Indigenous Relations Group. (Photo by Henry Krause)

A vest and moccasins presented to the Mennonite Church Canada director of Indigenous-settler relations symbolized the ongoing work of Indigenous relations in B.C.

Is ‘you do you’ an ethical base for living?

Elmer Thiessen, a Wilfrid Laurier University professor, spoke and preached at Leamington (Ont.) United Mennonite Church earlier this month on ethics and objective truth. (Photo courtesy of Elmer Thiessen)

When discussing the question of ethics in the church or in society at large, there is an increasing cacophony of voices laying claim to the ideological space governing the collective sense of right and wrong. What’s more, the loudest and most prominent voices tend to drive home the idea that what is right for one may be wrong for another, so people should live and let live.

Modern ghosts of a horse-drawn scandal, Part 4

If Manitoba Colony members are accused of a crime, they are brought before the congregation at church and judged. For serious offenses like incest, they may be excommunicated, but if they ask for forgiveness, they can return a week later. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky (noahfr.com))

Mennonite families watch the rape trial in May 2011. After discovering the rapes, Manitoba Colony leaders considered locking the accused in shipping containers for years but eventually called in the Bolivian police. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky (noahfr.com))

Eight men went to prison, the media gaze moved on, and colony life resumed. But the saga of mass rape in the Bolivian corner of our family of faith is far from over.

Online extras: Modern ghosts of a horse-drawn scandal, Part 4

Mennonite families watch the rape trial in May 2011. After discovering the rapes, Manitoba Colony leaders considered locking the accused in shipping containers for years but eventually called in the Bolivia police. (Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky noahfr.com)

Eight men went to prison, the media gaze moved on, and colony life resumed. But the saga of mass rape in the Bolivian corner of the Mennonite family of faith is far from over. 

Hitting reset

Rachel Miller Jacobs of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary teaches participants at MC Saskatchewan’s recent continuing education event how to develop habits that deepen their walk with Christ. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Participants in MC Saskatchewan’s continuing education event with Rachel Miller Jacobs learn to pray the Lord’s Prayer with their bodies. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Anyone who has operated a computer knows that, from time to time, it’s necessary to hit reset. The same is true in the life of faith.

Peace pole reflects prayer for peace and harmony

Karen Peters and Pastor Lee Hiebert stand by the peace pole that displays the prayer, ‘May peace prevail on Earth’ in eight languages. (Photo by Gladys Terichow)

The peace pole and peace garden in front of Steinbach Mennonite Church connect the congregation with more than 200,000 groups and churches worldwide that desire a world at peace.

The pole displays the prayer, “May peace prevail on Earth,” in eight languages. Surrounding the pole is a newly planted peace garden with an inviting path and benches. 

Christian-Muslim dialogue expands to Calgary

Pictured from left to right: Zaid Al Rawni, CEO of Islamic Relief Canada; Donna Entz, Mennonite Church Alberta’s North Edmonton Ministry; Salwa Kadri, a committee member of A Common Word Alberta; and Wes Thiessen, who holds a doctorate in Islamic history. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

For the first time in its six-year history, the annual Christian-Muslim dialogue in Alberta held an event in Calgary as well as in Edmonton.

Mennonite Church Canada thanks Willard Metzger

At the farewell celebration on Oct 21, 2018, Ken Warkentin, the executive director of Mennonite Church Manitoba, presents outgoing executive director Willard Metzger with a gift from the Executive Staff Group of MC Canada. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

(Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

(Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

A farewell celebration was on the agenda for the Mennonite Church Canada Joint Council and Executive Staff Group, that were both meeting over the weekend of Oct 21, 2018. Along with other friends and well-wishers, they gathered at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg to thank Willard Metzger for his years of service as executive minister of MC Canada.  

Soaking it in

Gavyn Stroh spent 370 days travelling through 34 countries by bike. (Photo courtesy of Gavyn Stroh)

Gavyn Stroh watches hot air balloons take off at sunrise in Göreme, Turkey. (Photo courtesy of Gavyn Stroh)

Gavyn Stroh explored Sarajevo’s abandoned 1984 Olympic bobsled and luge track. (Photo courtesy of Gavyn Stroh)

‘To connect more intimately with the place where you are is a good thing,’ Gavyn Stroh says. (Photo courtesy of Gavyn Stroh)

Gavyn Stroh spent more than 150 nights camping during his trip. (Photo courtesy of Gavyn Stroh)

When Gavyn Stroh decided to spend a year exploring Europe, he wanted to do it in a way that aligned with his values. 

“I chose a bicycle . . . to minimize the [environmental] impact, the carbon emissions of travelling,” the 26-year-old says.

A most excellent Christmas

Remembering a Christmas homemade gift exchange: ‘I presented my brother Thomas with a jar filled with 150 encouraging notes.’ (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘My brother gave me a pillow inspired by my favourite movie, Ghostbusters, that he sewed himself.’ (Photo by Aaron Epp)

The author, dressed as Santa Claus in 2006. (Photo by Timothy Dyck)

I love Christmas. The tree, the lights, the music, the food, gathering with family and friends, special church services. I look forward to all of it. 

I still go with my siblings to the mall so that we can have our picture taken with Santa, and I’ve even dressed up as the jolly old elf a time or two (or three) myself.

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