Recently TV sports personality Don Cherry lost his job for making disparaging comments to “You people,” which viewers and the company that employed him interpreted to apply to newcomers in Canada. The airwaves, newspapers and social media feeds were clogged with opinions about the outspoken commentator’s remarks. His trademark outfit: flashy sport coats.
‘Angel announcing: Jesus is here,’ by Elizabeth Cressman, a Grade 3 student who attends Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont.
‘Jesus here and now,’ by Sean Lane, a Grade 4 student who attends Crystal City (Man.) Mennonite Church.
I was eight years old. That year, the Sunday school Christmas pageant was going to be a no-fuss event. All the kids were going to stand up in a line, each of us reciting a memorized verse from Luke’s Christmas story.
“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
That was my line. I was disappointed!
“Not another visioning process” was a common reaction when I presented the idea of a year of visioning and discernment at Mennonite Church Alberta’s 2018 annual delegate sessions. The restructuring of MC Canada meant a shift in responsibilities for MC Alberta, and a focus on congregations as the centre of mission.
Mennonites lived in Prussia/Poland for more than 400 years, but our understanding of the Mennonite experience in this area requires further study. This is the former Mennonite church at Rosengart (now Rozgart), near Elbing (now Elblag). Peter Klassen (1930-2019) has worked hard at shedding light on the Mennonite experience in Prussia.
In my work with single, high-risk mothers and women who experience abuse in intimate relationships, many conversations about forgiveness have arisen. I recently shared about choosing the path of forgiveness and I could instantly feel the tension rise. Their bodies shifted, their breath became short, their brows furrowed.
It was Sunday morning on a Mennonite Church Canada Joint Council meeting weekend. We divided up into three groups to visit three different congregations and then we regrouped over a late pizza lunch to hear about the visits.
“Christianese” is what some people call insider jargon Christians use to talk about God and faith. One of the primary problems with Christianese is that it doesn’t make sense to outsiders. Someone once compared it to legalese, which has its place and purpose, but is confusing and meaningless to people who aren’t lawyers.
About 80 years ago, Jews and Mennonites lived peacefully together in the Ukrainian city of Khortitsa. Then the Nazis came, and everything changed.
In 1941, before the invasion, Khortitsa had about 2,000 Mennonites and 402 Jews out of a population of about 14,000. A year or so later, the Jews were all gone, killed by the Nazis.
After five years of meetings by an international commission of Mennonites, Lutherans and Roman Catholics on the topic of baptism, John Rempel, the commission’s Mennonite representative, presented a trilateral report from that dialogue at an event called “One Baptism? A Symposium on Baptism and the Christian Life,” at Waterloo North Mennonite Church on Nov. 8.
Betty Rudachyk, right, holds hands with a Tibetan woman. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)
Rosthern Mennonite Church members who travelled to China with MPC had the opportunity to reconnect with Yixian Wang (Shelley), front centre, who volunteered in Rosthern through Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program two years ago. Pictured from left to right with Shelley: Brian Roth, Delilah Roth, Jeanette Hanson, Ralph Epp, Bev Epp, Nancy Epp and Betty Rudachyk. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)
Myrrl Byler and Jeanette Hanson ably led the 25 Canadian and American participants on MPC’s China learning tour. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)
East meets west over the ubiquitous cell phone. Brian Roth, left, uses his phone to communicate with new friends. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)
Saskatchewan participants on MPC’s China learning tour include, from left to right standing: Scott Collier, Pat Mar-Collier, Henry Funk, Brian Roth, Bev Epp, Ralph Epp, Betty Rudachyk, Delilah Roth, Erna Funk and Nancy Epp. Kneeling in front of the group is Jeanette Hanson, MPC’s associate director and tour leader. (Photo courtesy of China learning tour participants)
“Everything about China was not what we thought.”
Delilah Roth’s words seem to capture the feelings of many in her group.
In May 2017, when Stephanie Martin stepped down as conductor of Toronto’s Pax Christi Chorale, the award-winning Toronto-based amateur choir with Mennonite roots, the choir gave her a going-away present.
“Instead of getting me a crystal bowl, they gave me a commission to write a piece,” she says.
An exciting part of Vision 20/20 was the unveiling of the vision statement on a huge banner that will be available to be hung in every MC Alberta congregation. Holding up the banner are June Miller, MC Alberta’s communications coordinator, left, and Heather Klassen of Foothills Mennonite Church. Facilitator Betty Pries is in the background. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)
Like all Mennonite Church Canada regional churches, MC Alberta continues to pray and discern God’s call, moving forward after the nationwide restructuring a couple years ago.
Representatives from across the province met at First Mennonite Church in Calgary on Nov. 1 and 2 to hear the final results of the four-phase discernment process called Vision 20/20.
The PeaceBuilders Community Inc.’s field operations team accompanied a Philippine Relief And Development Services team to deliver a thousand relief packs to the earthquake-affected families in Ilomavis, who mostly belong to the Obo Manobo Indigenous People. (Peacebuilders Community Inc. photo)
In the last half of October, the island of Mindanao in the Philippines experienced three earthquakes, one of which reached a magnitude of 6.6. According to a Nov. 11 report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 24 people were dead, 535 were injured and two people were missing.
The audience was absolutely amazed when Kirk Dunn finally revealed his “Stitched Glass” knitted panels at the end of his one-man show, The Knitting Pilgrim, held at Floradale Mennonite Church on Oct. 26. The performance described his 15-year knitting pilgrimage of making three panels in the style of stained-glass windows representing the three Abrahamic faiths.
Michael Veith grew up across the world in Macau, where his parents were Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers. This November, seven years after moving to Canada, he launched a photo exhibit featuring the city where he was raised.
On Peace Sunday, Nov. 10, five metro Vancouver Mennonite Church British Columbia congregations gathered for a service of unity with a focus on peace. They met at Peace Church on 52nd, formerly known as First United Mennonite.