It has become a routine yet still shocking news report: another shooting in a quiet neighbourhood or at a shopping centre, nightclub, school or place of worship. Then come the familiar offers of “thoughts and prayers” for the victims and their loved ones. Sadly, there have been too many opportunities to pray these prayers recently.
Vladimir Kozlov of New Life, an MCC partner, distributes relief kits, school kits, comforters and canned meat in Nikopol, Ukraine, on June 21. (MCC photo by Matt Sawatzky)
MCC Ukraine staff Anna Proshak, left, and Olga Litvinenko serve corn grits, rye bread and warm cocoa—a 1920s MCC “relief-kitchen dinner”—at a symbolic picnic on June 16. (MCC photo by Matt Sawatzky)
Mary Raber, left, a Mennonite Mission Network worker in Ukraine; Peter Wolfe of Langley, B.C.; Catherine Enns of Winnipeg; and J Ron Byler, executive director of MCC U.S., read from 1920s testimonies of aid recipients and MCC workers at the picnic in Khortitsa on June 16. Behind them is a memorial to Mennonite victims of Stalin’s repression. (MCC photo by Matt Sawatzky)
Under shade trees in a city park on June 16, about 40 Anabaptists shared a picnic of corn grits, rye bread and warm cocoa.
“With” may be the most important word in the Christian faith. So argues Sam Wells, an Anglican priest-theologian, in Incarnational Ministry, a book about being with the church.
The Petitcodiac (N.B.) Mennonite Church Council is pictured during a meeting in 1996. Whether around a kitchen table or a purposely built boardroom, church councils are the administrative hub of most mainstream Mennonite congregations. But it was not always so.
At the Mennonite Church Canada Gathering earlier this summer, my husband Darnell and I led a workshop on the theme of inspiring the imagination of the local church.
The song “Wonderwall” by Oasis came on the radio. I was about to change the station when these lyrics hit me, “Backbeat, the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out.”
There are many fires that burn in one’s heart over a lifetime:
MW Canada members vote to dissolve the organization and turn the assets over to the five regional churches for future women’s ministries. (Photo by June Miller)
On June 30, at our annual general meeting in Abbotsford, B.C., Mennonite Women Canada elected to dissolve our nationwide ministry for the purpose of releasing energy and assets to the regional churches so that they can grow stronger in their ministry with and through women within their contexts.
Welcoming visitors from North America, Ivan Kapelushniy, pastor of Nikolaipolye Mennonite Church, led his congregation of about 15 people in singing “For God So Loved Us” in Russian.
“There are no born Mennonites among us,” Kapelushniy said on June 16 as mission worker Mary Raber translated. “We became Mennonites.”
Natalia Mezentseva, second from left, director of New Life, a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partner in Ukraine, accepts an MCC centennial paperweight from North American visitors. Looking on are MCC board member Robert Enns of Calgary, left, and Viktoria Rabchenyuk, second from right, and Tatiana Yorzh, right, New Life women’s house residents. (Photo by Paul Schrag)
Natalia Mezentseva oversees a household of “women in difficult circumstances.”
With an affirming and instructive place to live, thanks to a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partner, their circumstances are better already.
A group of visitors on an MCC learning tour heard their stories, cuddled a baby, applauded a child’s poetry recital and prayed with them on June 21.
God’s success is our problem. But it’s a good problem. From these thoughts of Tom Yoder Neufeld came a catch phrase of MennoCon19: “The church is a mess. Thanks be to God!”
Who was Mary of Magdala? What impressions do people have of her, and where do those impressions come from?
Hansel and Gretel—I mean Peter and Tina—enter the woods and end up at a house made entirely of waffles and white sauce, where they are led by their evil stepmother to pick rhubarb. And when they need to find their way home, they follow Peter’s trail of knaczot (sunflower seeds).
“I’ve had many teachers, most of them children,” says Patricia Erb. “The best ones.”
Growing up, Cedar Klassen loved singing hymns.
Donna Dinsmore, interim pastor of Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, is pictured with her beloved seven-year-old Tucker. ‘Tucker makes every community more human,' she says. (Photo courtesy of Donna Dinsmore)
Donna Dinsmore never felt she fit into church life.
Shake participants gather for a photo on the Shekinah Retreat Centre deck. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)
The afternoon at Stoney Knoll, Sask., included a hoop dance presentation and instruction by Lawrence Roy Junior of Saskatoon. (Photo by June Miller)
Before departing Stoney Knoll, youth representatives from across Canada helped plant a tree as a sign of reconciliation between Mennonites and the Young Chippewayan First Nation. (Photo by June Miller)
Kirsten Hamm-Epp, left and Kathy Giesbrecht led in prayer for each regional church just before the end of Shake. (Photo by June Miller)
Kirsten Hamm-Epp, far right, looks on as Andrea de Avila, holding the microphone, responds to a question during a panel discussion in response to the theme ‘Hol(e)y, healthy, hopeful.’ Also pictured, from left to right, are: Miriam Huebner, Phil Campbell Enns, Nathan Bartel, Zachary Stefaniuk and Madison Harms. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
Youth sponsor Chad Miller, right, anoints Caleb Gartner with oil and the words, ‘The God who gave you life calls you beloved.’ Both are from Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
“We want to be shaken not by what the world throws at us, but by what Jesus throws at us.”
With these words, Kirsten Hamm-Epp welcomed participants to Shake: Rattled by the Radical.