Volume 23 Issue 20

Going deeper together

'We desire to go deeper in our relationship with God and with our neighbours both inside and outside the church walls.' (Image by congerdesign/Pixabay)

If you have been paying attention to what the regional churches are up to recently, you may have noticed a common question and a common longing. A question expressed at both regional and nationwide levels: What is God calling Mennonite Church Canada to do, as a church?

‘Taste and see that stuff is good’

Capitalizing on the way that society is currently unplugging itself from traditional forms of religion, the mall is an example of a cultural institution that has successfully read the religious market and opened a new outlet for selling and consuming transcendence. (Mennopix photos by Ross W. Muir)

The mall’s clean, bright, inviting and vaulted interior architecture make it easy for us to forget about the outside world. (Mennopix photos by Ross W. Muir)

“If the training of desire towards an ultimate object of love is the final and most important telltale sign of religion, then worship at the mall is about training worshippers to long for the good life: a life of perpetual youth, beauty, wealth and independence.” (Mennopix photos by Ross W. Muir)

The human struggle has always been—and always will be—between worshiping the God who made us or worshiping a god that we have to make for ourselves. Secularism is a myth because there is no such thing as not worshipping.

Speed sprayer

Photo credit: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Readers raised on fruit farms—including this archivist—may remember the high-pitched whine of an orchard pesticide sprayer in action. Pictured, Peter J. Sawatzky of Ruthven, Ont., is operating a “speed-sprayer” in his apple orchard.

A plausible, persistent passion

The so-called ‘Keeling Curve,’ which indicates concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and ice over time, fascinates Henry Regier, who sees links between temperature and carbon in its various forms. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography chart [creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0])

On a spring morning in 1970, Henry Regier walked out of the residence assigned to guest lecturers at the University of Wisconsin and turned east. Student riots related to the Vietnam War had broken out on campus, and the night before National Guards with bayonets had deployed tear gas.

‘Jesus Christ is present here’

Norm Dyck, right, the new MC Eastern Canada mission minister, presents Brian Bauman with a tribute T-shirt as part of retirement celebrations for Bauman held at the regional church’s fourth annual Mission Festival at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

People from the Chin Christian Fellowship share a cultural dance at this year’s Mission Festival on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

Women from the First Mennonite Church Hispanic congregation share a Colombian cultural dance at this year’s fourth annual Mission Festival on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

People from Meheret Evangelical Church in Kitchener sing at the fourth annual Mission Festival on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

“Jesus Christ is present here. Alleluia!” sang enthusiastic worshippers in many languages to begin the fourth annual Mennonite Church Eastern Canada multicultural Mission Festival, held on Oct. 26 at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener.

Roméo Saganash visits CMU

Former MP Romeo Saganash, left, and Steve Heinrichs, MC Canada’s director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, and members of the CMU community met on Oct. 16 in an effort to ensure that all 46 articles of UNDRIP are implemented in Canadian law. (CMU photo)

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) students, staff and faculty gathered on Oct. 16 to hear Roméo Saganash speak on how Indigenous political leaders are keeping up the fight to see the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) implemented into Canadian law. 

Vietnam highlighted at MCC B.C. meeting

Mabel Paetkau, second from left, a former MCC refugee sponsorship coordinator, poses with the Quach family, who were one of the first Vietnamese families to arrive in Abbotsford, B.C. (MCC B.C. photo)

Those who attended Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C.’s 2019 annual meeting on Oct. 19 were treated to a Vietnamese cultural experience as they entered the gym at King Road Mennonite Brethren Church. Glowing paper lanterns, Vietnamese music and a gallery of photos from the Vietnam War era set the tone for the theme, “A journey of hope: Vietnam then and now.” 

'If you’re not hungry, your neighbour shouldn’t be hungry'

Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., right, visited and worked with Lucy Anyango on her farm in Busia, Kenya. ‘[Lucy] is a role model not just to her community, but to me,’ says Dyck. (Photo by Meagan Silencieux)

Colleen Dyck of Niverville, Man., right, visited and worked with Lucy Anyango on her farm in Busia, Kenya. (Photo by Meagan Silencieux)

A full house of more than 200 people gathered at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg on Oct. 15, a day before the United Nations-designated World Food Day, for the release of a new documentary by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. 

Should pastors have friends in the church?

Proving you’re never too young to learn about healthy boundaries, Pastor Will Loewen and his son Sebastian sit together at this year’s Equipping Day at Trinity Mennonite Church. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Participants sit at round tables and discuss how to have healthy boundaries at this year’s Equipping Day, held at Trinity Mennonite Church. Peft to right: Coreen Froese, Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Jeanette Thiessen. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Marilyn Rudy-Froese, left, church leadership minister with MC Eastern Canada, chats with Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, executive minister for Mennonite Church Alberta at this year’s Equipping Day at Trinity Mennonite Church. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Jake Froese, left and friend Don Baergen enjoy discussing this year’s Equipping Day topic, ‘Healthy boundaries.’ (Photo by Helena Ball)

When Don Baergen, an elder at Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton, heard that Mennonite Church Alberta was hosting an Equipping Day on healthy boundaries, he decided to go since he had never received formal training at work or in the church. Baergen also works at the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. 

Becoming a work of art

Tom Yoder Neufeld, standing, describes the church as God’s recycling project. Speaking at MC Saskatchewan’s continuing education event, Yoder Neufeld led participants in exploring Paul’s writings and Jesus’ teachings, to learn what it means to walk deeply together. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Tom Yoder Neufeld likens God’s work with the church to an artist who creates a beautiful work of art out of things others have thrown away.

The professor emeritus of religious studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., spoke at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s recent continuing education event.

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