Volume 23 Issue 6

Are we there yet?

‘Sometimes the vision for the trip hasn’t been very clear. Who’s driving this car and where are we going?’ (Photo by Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay)

Do you remember those family car trips? In the front seat, Mom and Dad are navigating, driving and planning for the next pit stop. In the back seats, kids are staking out their individual spaces, trying to stave off boredom and bickering. Everyone is looking forward to the adventure ahead. Someone calls out the question, “Are we there yet?”

Raspberry capital beckons Gathering 2019

The roundabout on South Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford, B.C., features a giant raspberry sculpture, symbolic of the agricultural heritage of the area. In the background is the Mennonite Heritage Museum. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Camp Squeah, MC B.C.’s church camp near Hope, is a place of refuge for children and families. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Washington state’s Mount Baker looms over the Fraser Valley in southern B.C. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

The first West Abbotsford Mennonite Church building. It merged with Wellspring Christian Fellowship in 2008 and became Level Ground Mennonite Church. (Mennonite Heritage Museum photo)

The raspberry capital of Canada, the most charitable city in Canada, the Bible Belt of Canada. These terms have all been used to describe Abbotsford, the site of Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019, to be held from June 28 to July 1. Nestled in the scenic Fraser Valley just over the border from Washington state, Abbotsford is a growing community known as the “city in the country.” 

Swords into ploughshares

Photo: Klaas Brandt Photo Collections

“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” These famous words from Isaiah 2:4 have been enacted in various ways over the years. Sculptures have been created, jewelry made and roads built with former military machinery.

A friend tells a story

'Donny’s life had obviously not been easy, as he displayed in her room with great anger and frustration... He hated school, he hated kids, he hated teachers, he even hated his own name.' (Photo by PDPics/Pixabay)

My friend Catherine* teaches at a community school in the core of our city. Given her experience and her skill set, she manages a classroom that is not so much age- or grade-specific, but rather contains children whose behavioural issues make them difficult to manage in normal classroom settings. 

Get ready to be shaken

‘Shake: Rattled by the Radical’ takes place from July 28 to Aug. 1 at Saskatchewan’s Shekinah Retreat Centre, 75 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Ready to be rattled by the Radical? Youth from Mennonite Church Canada congregations in grades 6 to 12 (including new graduates) are invited to take part in “Shake: Rattled by the Radical,” which takes place at Saskatchewan’s Shekinah Retreat Centre, located 75 kilometres north of Saskatoon, from July 28 to Aug. 1.

‘Audacious preacher’ tackles racism at School for Ministers

‘Audacious preacher’ Anthony Bailey is pictured with Marilyn Rudy-Froese, MC Eastern Canada’s leadership minister, at this year’s School for Ministers event. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Through worship, workshops and keynote addresses, Anthony Bailey challenged participants at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual School for Ministers to be audacious: bold, daring, provocative and courageous.

New structure brings challenges and opportunities

Nearly 150 delegates and other attendees representing 35 churches attended the annual delegate meeting at Steinbach Mennonite Church. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Henry Paetkau, interim executive minister of MC Canada, holds the covenant document between the regional churches that make up MC Canada. He said they are now more connected with each other than before. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

A Saskatchewan Roughriders jersey was spotted in Winnipeg Blue Bombers territory. Ken Warkentin, executive director of Mennonite Church Manitoba, speaks at the MC Manitoba delegate gathering in Steinbach, Man., on March 2, as Ryan Siemens, executive director of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, looks on. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Ken Warkentin, executive minister of MC Manitoba, accompanies the congregation in worship. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Delegates connect with each other over morning coffee at the MC Manitoba annual general meeting. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

The people of Mennonite Church Manitoba discussed and dreamed what the new structure of MC Canada means for their regional church, at this year’s annual delegate gathering. 

Nearly 150 delegates and other attendees representing 35 churches from across Manitoba gathered at Steinbach Mennonite Church on the first weekend in March. 

Budget matters

B.C. delegates engage together in ‘God’s mission’

MCBC executive minister Garry Janzen, right, gives a blessing to Tammy and Rob Wiebe of the Church of the Way in Granisle, as they leave MC B.C. for partnership with another denomination. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Delegates at the Mennonite Church B.C. annual meetings at Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, Feb. 23, found themselves walking alongside each other, encouraging each other and sometimes disagreeing with each other, yet with a common goal to fulfill “God’s mission: Our mission” as a church body.

Teaching horse sense

Cheralyne Gibson is horsemanship director at the Valley Equestrian Centre, a ministry of Youth Farm Bible Camp. She appreciates being able to offer equine-assisted learning in a Christian setting. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Youth Farm Bible Camp’s new riding arena will soon be the scene of both riding lessons and equine-assisted learning sessions.

No one likes to be told, “Hey! You need to change your attitude!” But that bitter pill is much easier to swallow when it’s administered by a horse.

The future is now

Mennonite places of worship across Canada.

I posed one question to the 186 Mennonite Church Canada congregations for which my search engine found email addresses. My question: “What changes has your congregation experienced as a result of the Future Directions decisions of October 2017?”

‘I feel like it is God’s will that I am here’

Ukrainian IVEPers Maryna Bogomaz and Anton Shylov, left, perform with Daniel Verchau, a German service worker, at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

South Koreans Eunji Ryu, left, and JuYeong Lee take part in an IVEP worship service at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

Dancing up a storm at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10 were Indian IVEPers Chattu Sinha, Sharon Dass Sumanta Mandi. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

This year’s IVEPers pose with their flags at North Leamington United Mennonite Church on Feb. 10 during a worship service with their hosts from four local Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Zach Charbonneau)

For a week in early February, North Leamington United Mennonite Church played host to the annual mid-year conference of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP), including an international worship service on Feb. 10.

Couple enjoys being ‘on the road’ with MDS

Neil and Audrey Rempel, a semi-retired couple from Winnipeg, are part of the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) recreational vehicle program, whose volunteers drive their RVs to worksites to assist with rebuilding after disasters. (Photo courtesy of MDS)

A year off to travel and volunteer—that’s what Neil and Audrey Rempel are doing.

The semi-retired couple from Winnipeg are part of the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) recreational vehicle program, whose volunteers drive their RVs to worksites to assist with rebuilding.

Neil, 66, was a painter for 20 years, and he also built homes. Audrey, 67, worked alongside him.

Learning through space and time

Participants in the January 2016 AMBS ‘Encountering Egypt’ learning tour visit a Nubian house in Aswan, Upper Egypt. (Photo by Sara Wenger Shenk)

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary organized a trip to Egypt in January 2016. The goal was to encounter the long history of Egypt as well as to get to know Christian and Muslim communities. Of the 37 participants from Canada, the United States and Australia, seven took the trip as a seminary course. 

Great Trek from Russia to Central Asia remembered

Audrey Voth Petkau of Waterloo, Ont., left, is welcomed with flatbread by Muslim villagers in Ak Metchet, Uzbekistan. Mennonites from Russia settled in Ak Metchet from 1884 until 1935. (Photo by John Sharp)

“[In Tashkent] the nearby river was full of fish and the banks were lined with trees loaded with apples, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, pomegranates, lemons, oranges and many fruits we had no name for.

“It seemed like the ideal place to settle,” wrote Elizabeth Unruh Schulz, reflecting on the Great Trek migration from Russia to Central Asia. 

‘A community of friends around the world’

Darryl and Shirley Peters’ vision is founded on bringing Africans and guests together as friends. (Photo by Dashir Lodge and Safaris)

Maasai men dance for joy in Tanzania, home to Dashir Lodge and Safaris. (Photo by Dashir Lodge and Safaris)

Building “a community of friends around the world” is a driving force behind Dashir Lodge and Safaris, based in the Arusha area of Tanzania.

Insights from abroad

Dexter Volkman and friends in Wadi Rum, Jordan, during his year of teaching high-school music through the MCC Serving and Learning Together program. (Photo courtesy of Dexter Volkman)

Since I began as director of intercultural studies (ICS) at Columbia Bible College in 2013, the college has sent out 45 young adults to serve in a variety of contexts—Mongolia, Mexico, Mayotte, Myanmar, Macedonia, Moldova—and those are just the countries beginning with “M”!

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