One morning in the second full week of Lent, I woke up to the first sign of Easter.
MCC representative Victor Neumann, second from left, in Songkhla, Thailand, with Vietnamese Boat People. Mothers of the pictured children were abducted by pirates. In response to the refugee crisis following the end of the Vietnam War, in 1979, MCC was the first agency to sign a private sponsorship agreement with the Government of Canada, leading hundreds of Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in Canada to sponsor and resettle thousands of refugees across the country. (All photos courtesy of MCC)
More than 12,500 refugees have been resettled in Canada by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) since it negotiated an agreement with the government on March 5, 1979. This historic agreement established the framework for private agencies to sponsor more than 327,000 refugees for resettlement in Canada in the last 40 years.
Thoughts for the Easter season
The season of Lent and Easter is a time of mystery and power.
God is much bigger and more than a warm security blanket wrapping the Earth, and bigger than the whole solar system.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV).
Most likely, you have heard these words during a wedding ceremony. Although they are fitting for the marriage context, I would suggest that this verse also speaks to our need for each other.
This adorable, and very formal, group is the “graduating class” of the Steinmann Mennonite Church Kindergarten in Baden, Ont., in 1964. The Kindergarten was started in 1962 by the married couples fellowship at Steinmann. Enrolment in the first year was 23; by 1964, it was 58.
A Winnipeg winter has many pleasures: plentiful sunshine, thick river ice for skating, cozy cafés and a wealth of artistic treasures. A Winnipeg winter is also long and challenging, hard on body and spirit.
The other day I hosted a diverse group of women from church: some single, some widowed, some married with kids, some married without kids, some in their 20s and some in their 80s. While sharing our joys and our struggles, we each honoured the unique life stories around the room and created a space for all to feel cared for and valued.
This Lenten season I find myself reflecting on the spiritual discipline of confession. What does a healthy practice of confession look like both individually and collectively?
Delegates cluster for small-group discussions at MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions, held at Zoar Mennonite Church in Waldheim. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
At the 2019 annual delegate session of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, Joel Ens explains a graphic he designed for his congregation, Eigenheim Mennonite Church, in Rosthern. As congregants explored questions around their church’s outreach, they had challenged themselves to list the various connections they have in their community and beyond, which are represented by interconnected circles. This illustrated a point made by guest speaker David Fitch, who encouraged listeners to seize opportunities for building relationships in the community in which they live and work. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)
“We looked at the bylaws and asked, ‘Is this what we’re actually doing?’” said Tim Wiens. “Usually the answer was ‘No.’ ”
During a litany of release and embrace, MC Alberta delegates lit candles to remember and release individuals who have passed away, churches that have left MC Alberta, and programs no longer present in the regional church. Candles also celebrated and embraced new and hopeful baptisms, churches who have joined MC Alberta and vibrant programs. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)
Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta’s executive Minister, left, prays for Doug Klassen as Klassen prepares to leave pastoral ministry at Calgary’s Foothills Mennonite Church to become executive minister for MC Canada. The prayer was part of the blessing and commissioning of staff and volunteers at the MC Alberta annual delegate sessions at Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury, on March 15 and 16. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
It was an unusual delegate session, with the bulk of the time dedicated to discussion rather than business. “Discerning God’s call,” Phase 3 of Mennonite Church Alberta’s Vision 20/20 process, engaged participants in reflection on what was heard in congregations during the previous phase, “Season of prayer.”
With her powerful, resonant voice, Ysaÿe Barnwell, composer, vocalist, speaker and former member of the African-American female a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, began to sing “Amazing Grace,” stretching out the length of each phrase. Members of the audience started to hum along. Soon she invited everyone to sing in full voice.
At Thomson Funeral Home on Sunday morning, you won’t find a hearse, or the building filled with mourners. Instead, it is bursting with life.
The space is home to Winnipeg’s Hope Mennonite Church, a thriving community of around 200 active participants and members. The congregation moved into the funeral home last September because it faced a unique problem. It was growing.
It was standing room only in the community room at the Woolwich Memorial Centre in Elmira, Ont., for an auction of vintage hockey cards, hosted by the local Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Thrift and Gift store on March 16.
Potential buyers lined up early to view the cards and other memorabilia, including rookie cards for Tony Esposito, Darryl Sittler and Bobby Orr.
For the first time in more than two decades, participants in the annual Camp Squeah paddle-a-thon will be navigating the Fraser River in the fall instead of the spring.
Gathering 2019 guest speaker Elaine Heath says the greatest challenge for the western church today is to “regain a gospel-centric imagination.”
For Reem Younes and Brian Darweesh, everything seems possible now that they’re citizens of Canada.
Originally from Syria, Younes and Darweesh moved to Winnipeg in 2015 as privately sponsored refugees, welcomed by a Mennonite community there.
Anneli Loepp Thiessen is pictured playing piano for worship at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Anneli Loepp Thiessen)
The Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met in Cincinnati in July, 2018. Pictured from left to right, front row: Cynthia Neufeld Smith, Jackson, Miss.; Adam Tice, Goshen, Ind.; Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Ottawa; and Benjamin Bergey, Harrisonburg, Va.; and back row: SaeJin Lee, Elkhart, Ind.; Tom Harder, Hillsboro, Kan.; Allan Rudy-Froese, Kitchener, Ont.; Mike Erb, New Hamburg, Ont.; Bradley Kauffman, Cincinnati, Ohio; Darryl Neustaedter Barg, Winnipeg; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, Toronto; and Katie Graber, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)
Mennonites are stereotyped as people who love singing and forming committees.
Anneli Loepp Thiessen fulfills both of these stereotypes. The 23-year-old is one of 12 people from Canada and the United States who make up the Voices Together committee charged with making a new Mennonite hymnal planned for release in 2020.
This cake is so good and easy; it is my favourite! Because it has no eggs or milk it is suitable for those who are vegetarian or vegan or those with an allergy to eggs.
I love to bake and cook. Some years ago, while I was studying at Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ont., money and time were in short supply, but there was a free television channel called WNED Buffalo/Toronto.