Volume 23 Issue 5

Moving beyond ‘climate grief’

'As we seek to love our earthly home and the neighbours God has given us, maybe our task is not as impossible as we think.' (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Last December, unbeknownst to each other, my daughter-in-law and I bought each other bamboo toothbrushes as Christmas presents. Earlier in the year, she had heard me lament the plastic toothbrushes I was regularly contributing to the local landfill. In the larger scheme, those toothbrushes didn’t seem very important, but the long life of those plastic handles was an uncomfortable reality.

Dreaming of possibilities

'We pray that a significant number of our dreams come to be fulfilled,' Vince Friesen writes. (Illustration courtesy of Pixabay)

As we explore new possibilities in our journey with a new church structure, the Mission and Service Committee of Mennonite Church Alberta has been dreaming about possibilities in a variety of areas. Some of these dreams will remain dreams, while others, hopefully, will come to fruition.

Canadian Women in Mission

Photo: Der Bote Photograph Collection

These Saskatchewan ladies are hovering over baked goods at a sale circa 1964. “Ladies groups” have been significant organizations that have contributed to the social and spiritual well-being of women, their families, communities and beyond. Over time, the organizational structures grew to include local, regional and nationwide organizations.

Can we talk about suicide?

'If we are unable to speak of the crushing struggle that compels someone to end his or her life, we give it even more power,' Melissa Miller writes. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

A few months ago, a preacher at our church included suicide in his sermon. Philippians 1 was the text, where the Apostle Paul sets out his dilemma between preferring life or death. “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you,” Paul writes.

The beautiful chaos of kids at church

Church can be a beautiful way to be still and meet with the Lord, but it can also be a place where kids are fighting, stealing way too many cookies and running laps through the sanctuary, Christina Bartel Barkman writes. (Courtesy of Pixabay)

As a mother of four little ones, I find church can be pretty chaotic. For six years while living in Manila, our Filipino church gathered in our home while my kids played around the family room.

Worship as an act of loving God

'When we come together to collectively recognize and respond to God’s presence in our midst, something happens that we don’t experience on our own,' Troy Watson writes. (Photo courtesy of MC Canada)

I’ve run into a number of people who are “spiritual but not religious,” who have recently started attending church. They told me they skip the opening worship and just show up to hear the message. When I asked why, one person said, “The music doesn’t resonate with me or the world I live in. It often hinders my ability to connect with God, to be honest.”

Going solar

Wayne MacDonald sees installing solar panels on the roof of Wildwood Mennonite as “an expression of what we value as a congregation.” The 20 panels are expected to cover 60 percent of the church’s energy costs. (Drone photo by Les Klassen Hamm)

Wildwood Mennonite Church recently became the first Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregation to go solar. But, as with all major spending decisions, this one wasn’t made overnight.

RJC and MCC Saskatchewan celebrate collaborative relationship

Following the concert, guests enjoyed conversation over coffee and Syrian pastries prepared by Basem Ahmad and Fadia Almasalma, a Syrian couple who have recently settled in Saskatoon through the help of MCC. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Richard Janzen led the RJC Ensemble as well as the Global Mass Choir, in which supporters of RJC and MCC Saskatchewan joined students to perform several works, including ‘Freedom Come’ by Ben Alloway. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The Alsheikh family are Syrian refugees who recently moved to Saskatoon. Accompanied by their brother Abdul on keyboard, sisters Zina and Janna Alsheikh entertained the audience with songs sung in both Arabic and English. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan and Rosthern Junior College (RCJ) joined forces to host a unique fundraising concert. 

Held on Feb. 10, 2019, at Grace Westminster United Church in Saskatoon, Global Songs and Sweets featured music and musicians from around the globe. Interspersed between the songs were times of sharing. 

Youth panel explains what keeps them in church

Pictured from left to right: moderator Irma Fast Dueck and panellists Colin Friesen, Emily Hunsberger, Maria Klassen, Yeabsra Agonfer and Jonathan Klassen speak on the topic ‘Taking the plunge: Young adults and the church,’ as part of this year’s Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College. (Grebel photo by Jen Konkle)

Christian youth and young adults are seeking church spaces that are authentic, safe and open, but also supportive of their role in leadership.

At least, that’s what five people who took part in a youth panel had to say at the 2019 Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., on Feb. 8.

Bethany Mennonite helps Wells of Hope in Guatemala

Members of Bethany Mennonite Church shovel gravel onto a truck to transport it to the next well site in the mountains of Guatemala. (Photo by Herb Sawatzky)

Colton Sawatzky, Evan Vanvliet and Ryley Vahrmeyer collect donations during a Jan. 27 fundraiser at Bethany Mennonite Church, Virgil, Ont. (Photo by Maria Klassen)

Before there was a mission trip to Guatemala last month, there was a fundraising lunch of hot chili the month before.

Swords into ploughshares, guns into art

Irian Sittler-Fast works as a blacksmith in Floradale, Ont. (Photo by Paul Dimock)

Sittler-Fast sits by her sculpture, ‘Gun Shy’ at her first public showing at Hawkesville (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Elo Wideman)

(Photo by Paul Dimock)

(Photo by Paul Dimock)

(Photo by Paul Dimock)

Irian Fast-Sittler spends her days hammering hot steel and welding metals together at a forge in Floradale, Ont.

Recently, the 20-year-old blacksmith created a modern-day take on the analogy from the Book of Isaiah of turning swords into ploughshares. Instead, she turned her grandfather’s shotgun into a work of art.

Winter cyclists brave the cold

Michael Veith and his sister Marika Veith prepare for a winter bike ride. (Photo courtesy of Michael Veith)

Michael Veith, bundled up and frosty, after a winter bike ride. (Photo courtesy of Michael Veith)

A passion for cold commuting runs in the family. Michael Veith, centre, and his siblings Marika, left, and Matt are all avid winter cyclists. (Photo courtesy of Michael Veith)

While a polar vortex and temperatures of -50C with the wind chill attacked Winnipeg, most people scurried from building to building, trying to be outside as little as possible.

All except a select few: the winter cyclists. Snapping on ski goggles and carefully covering every inch of exposed skin, these commuters brave the cold, snow and ice to bike all 12 months of the year. 

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