Volume 23 Issue 1

MWC census shows increased numbers

‘Anabaptists around the world’: A 2018 map. (Mennonite World Conference)

Worship at a Uganda Mennonite Church congregation. ‘The Mennonite Church Uganda is quite happy and honoured to be member of the global family of the MWC,’ says Bishop Simon Okoth, national coordinator of Uganda Mennonite Church. (Uganda Mennonite Church photo)

“Uganda is ripe for evangelism and the church is growing,” says Bishop Simon Okoth, national coordinator of Uganda Mennonite Church. The new Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church, accepted by the Executive Committee in 2017, grew from 310 members in seven congregations in 2015 to 553 members in 18 congregations in 2018.

Holding hands with the FARC

Colombian countryside where FARC guerrillas and the military fought for control before the peace accords were signed. (Photo by Brenda Jewitt)

Congress building in Bogotá, where the peace accords were approved. (Photo by Brenda Jewitt)

Presidential Palace, Bogotá, Colombia. (Photo by Brenda Jewitt)

The learning tour members stand for prayer with Robert J. Suderman, in the blue plaid shirt, and two FARC members, Andres Camilo and Jorge Ernesto (no last names), to his left. (Photo courtesy of Robert J. Suderman)

Len Jewitt hugs FARC member Andres Camilo, at left, while learning tour member Isaias Rodriquez, back to camera, speaks with Jorge Ernesto, another FARC member. (Photo courtesy of Robert J. Suderman)

There we were, standing in a prayer circle holding hands. While not really that unusual, what was extraordinary was that some of the hands we were holding were likely bloody. They were the hands of guerrillas—high-ranking, long-time members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). 

The daily phone-call prayer

Melissa Miller: “Each day I call my mother. Over time, I came to see that my prayer practice was found in the daily phone calls.”

Over the course of our lives, we likely offer many prayers in a variety of ways. Some are formal, memorized prayers said for specific occasions. A family table grace recited before meals. The comforting words of Psalm 23. The Lord’s Prayer spoken as one body during worship.

A ‘village’ in our home

Christina Barkman: “While it is certainly nice to sometimes have a quiet home—like these long winter evenings when the kids are all finally asleep and I can cuddle up with a good book—I love welcoming friends, family and a little extra chaos into my home.”

When our family lived in the Philippines from 2012 to 2018, we hosted our Peace Church community in our home every weekend and opened our doors to countless friends throughout the week.

The clarity of divine call

Troy Watson: “The clarity of divine call deeply and profoundly liberates us. It unleashes us to make a difference in the world without feeling we are responsible to solve all of the world’s problems.”

I believe every human being has a divine call. This divine call is more explicit than the generic “call to ministry” associated with the clergy. It’s a specific expectation God has given each person to fulfill.

Conscientious objectors tree planting

Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada Photo Collection

During the Second World War, Canadian conscientious objectors (COs) planted 17 million trees in British Columbia between 1942 and1944. Some COs questioned the use of working in the “bush.” Pictured from left to right: Frank Dyck, Jacob Wiebe, Menno Wiebe and Rudy Regehr returned to Campbell River, B.C., in 1966 to see the trees that they had planted.

Pastors prepare to become climate leaders

Warmed by a campfire and the scent of wood smoke, pastors prepare for a forest church experience outdoors. (Photo by Jennifer Schrock)

Wendy Janzen, centre, leads the group’s worship services. Janzen pastors at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, Ont., and leads the Burning Bush Forest Church, which worships outdoors. (Photo by Jennifer Schrock)

Hopelessness. Denial. Grief. Guilt. Despair. Pastors face these emotions in their congregations as they walk with people suffering from personal losses.

Reaching out together

Family and friends gather together to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Alkhanous family’s arrival in Canada, at the home of Zakia Hamdani. (Photo by David Brubacher)

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Many people will remember seeing the picture in September 2015 of the three-year-old Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. And for a minute, or maybe two, many wondered what they could do.

Historical Society quietly contributes to national identity

Laureen Harder-Gissing, archivist at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., is the new president of the not-so-new Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. (Conrad Grebel university College photo)

Historian Laureen Harder-Gissing does not want to be heard saying, “You should know your history,” the way someone might say, “You should eat your vegetables.”

She does not want people to feel badly if they do not know their history; she just wants it to be available at those “points in our lives when the past will suddenly matter,” and we want to know the larger story we fit into.

Training peacemakers through ‘Tough talk’

Rosthern Junior College student body. (Rosthern Junior College photo)

Rosthern Junior College held its fall Deeper Life Days in late October and early November. The topic was ‘Tough talk: Conversations about the Bible, peace and violence.’ (Rosthern Junior College photo)

“It’s called Deeper Life Days for a reason,” says Grade 11 student Shaelyn Nordmarken. Deeper Life Days give Rosthern Junior College (RJC) students opportunity to engage with challenging topics.

The topic was “Tough talk: Conversations about the Bible, peace and violence.” The event was held over four days in late October and early November 2018.

Band of brothers

Darian Neufeld, Isaac Schlegel and Zachary Stefaniuk are members of Boy Talk, a group that fosters deep friendship and honest discussion. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

The members of Boy Talk meet every Friday for serious discussion or just to have fun together. (Photo by Kenji Dyck)

When Isaac Schlegel and Nathan Rogalsky noticed that their friendships with men lacked the same depth as their friendships with women, they decided to do something about it.

‘A picture of his grandmother’

Henry and Gerald Neufeld have assembled a collection of about a thousand archival photographs of First Nation communities in the Berens River watershed. They are holding a photograph of Miskwaatesi ’oskiisik and his wife Kihcimoohkomaan from Pauingassi. (Photo by Gladys Terichow)

Gerald Neufeld and his father Henry share a passion for linking families from First Nation communities within the Berens River watershed in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario with archival photographs of their ancestors. 

Conductor. Father. Farmer. Christian.

Abner Martin conducts the Mennonite Mass Choir’s performance of Haydn’s ‘Creation.’ (1975 Waterloo Region Record file photo)

Abner Martin was born at his parents’ farm in Waterloo Township, Ont., the seventh surviving child of Annanias and Susannah (Steckle) Martin. His family, until the time of Abner’s birth, were members of the Old Order Mennonites that met at Martin’s Meeting House. Later, they attended St.

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