Volume 23 Issue 8

First impressions

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'If we “do” welcome well, those first impressions might lead visitors to stick around and become “one of us.”' (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

Confession: I once shooed a visitor away from “my” bench at church. (I was saving a spot for my husband.) Fortunately, the visitor stayed and I could apologize for my thoughtless act.

God has swept us together

One of Holyrood’s music teams. Pictured from left to right: Cajetan Ngede, Gordon Baergen and Dorathy Chokpelleh. (Photo by Helena Ball)

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Holyrood Mennonite Church’s puppeteers, pictured left to right: Pastor Werner De Jong, Helena Chokpelleh, Zach Chokpelleh and Joanne De Jong. (Photo by Helena Ball)

Near the beginning of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo speaks memorable words to his fellow hobbit Sam about the adventure that lies before them: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.

Didsbury drawing

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Photo: David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario Mission Photo Collection

In 1893, Kitchener, Ont., businessman Jacob Y. Shantz secured land from the government and railway, and he promoted the Didsbury, Alta., settlement to eastern Mennonites.

Whose are we?

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'In the coming weeks, we move together towards the cross, reaffirming the presence of the resurrected Christ in our midst, and therefore reaffirming whose we are.' (Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

“It isn’t the authority which is given to me, but the authority under whose I am,” was the answer of a friend when I asked, “So what is it like to wear a clerical collar?” In other words, it isn’t so much who I am, but whose I am, to whom I belong and under whose authority I reach out and speak from.

Holiness doesn’t demand perfection

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'Each one present... was told about the particular gifts and strengths that he or she brought to make this Circle strong and holy while being offered juice and crackers.' (Image by Ana Segota/Pixabay)

Towards the end of 2006, I burned out as a full-time minister. I had failed to find adequate supports for my introverted spirit in an extroverted role. I chose not attend the church while it made decisions about future directions and leadership. 

MW Canada theme puts words into action

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Our verbal and physical expressions of support are often enhanced at wider social gatherings.

“Women walking together in faith“ is such a fitting theme as I observe life around me this Easter season. The “walking together” part, which carries echoes of the two disciples sharing concerns on the road to Emmaus, draws me in and certainly includes upholding our sisters in prayer, particularly during challenging times.

Gathering 2019 is for the whole family

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Among the tour options at Mennonite Church Canada’s assembly in 2016 in Saskatoon was a bus trip to the Shekinah Retreat Centre. (Photo by Irma Sulistyorini)

I have many fond memories of attending our annual national events over my lifetime, beginning in my youth at Great Treks and then as a young adult at assemblies. I remember creative and inspiring worship; animated, even heated, business meetings; and, most significantly, making personal connections with my faith community from across the country.

Mennonite organizations help Montreal church with renovations

Peter Kroeker, a Mennonite Disaster Service volunteer from Vineland (Ont.) United Mennonite Church, works on the exit stairs during renovations at Hochma Mennonite Church to bring its basement homeless shelter up to code. (Photos by Nicholas Hamm)

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Silvain L’hereault, Hochma Mennonite Church’s shelter coordinator, gives a thumbs-up in thanks for the 30 quilts from Mennonite Central Committee Ontario that will be enough to carry the ministry through the season and allow it to discard some of its threadbare bedding. (Photo by Nicholas Hamm)

Every night, from November to April, volunteers from Hochma Mennonite Church in Montreal open its doors as a warming centre for some 40 people who are experiencing homelessness. The church wants to become a licenced shelter operating year-round, but its building needs roughly $200,000 worth of renovations to bring it up to code. 

Workshop challenges participants to move from multiculturalism to antiracism 

Stacey Swampy, the Micah Mission’s Indigenous Awareness Program facilitator, tells his story of life within the system and of healing, at a two-day workshop entitled, “The awakening: Indigenous voices in restorative justice.” (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Group 2 has all the advantages in assembling its Lego set, including the participation of the presenter’s 11-year-old daughter! (Photo by Donna Schulz)

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As part of an exercise to mirror the experience of Indigenous children in the residential school system, Group 1 must try to assemble the Lego set without instructions and without speaking. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Group 2 succeeds in assembling its Lego set. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Becky Sasakamoose-Kuffner believes that racism can be overcome with a ‘concentrated and deliberate change of policies.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

There were two Lego sets and two groups of participants. The first group to assemble its toy would be the winner, but it quickly became apparent that the playing field was not level.

‘A place to belong’

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Members of the Sherbrooke Mennonite Church’s food-bank outreach ministry enjoy a Christmas celebration together. Participants say the gatherings help them feel like a family. (Photo by Yohan Sanchez)

Food may be what draws people to the basement of Sherbrooke Mennonite Church every Thursday morning, but it’s not what keeps them coming. It’s a feeling of family, a place to call home.

Come to the table

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Sarah Kathleen Johnson, far right, talks with participants, from right to left, Eva Cressman, Carl Bear and Carrie Martens, at the two-part Anabaptist Learning Workshop worship clinic she led on communion at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., in March. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

For two evenings in March, Sarah Kathleen Johnson led an Anabaptist Learning Workshop focused on the ritual of communion, at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener.

Mennonites advocate for Bill C-262

Joel Kroeker stencils messages on bread he makes to expand the public discourse on different issues. (Photo courtesy of Joel Kroeker)

Allegra Friesen Epp, right, speaks at the CMU rally on March 26 that she helped to organize. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

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Steve Heinrichs, left, Romeo Saganash, Leah Gazan, Jennifer Preston and Paul Joffe speak at a press conference on the importance of passing Bill C-262. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Approximately 700 people rally at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg on March 26 for the Canadian government to pass Bill C-262. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Joel Kroeker owns Baeker Kraeker bread share in Saskatoon. He stencils messages on bread he makes to expand the public discourse on different issues. (Photo courtesy of Joel Kroeker)

From changing their profile pictures and holding rallies, to baking bread embossed with messages of support, young Mennonites are standing up to call for a private member’s bill to be passed.

Canadian Mennonite bids farewell to Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

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Longtime Alberta correspondent Donita Wiebe-Neufeld is pictured with CD, her beloved horse. Over the years, she wrote around 385 stories, features and news briefs. (Photo by Melanie Cumin)

After more than 18 years of contributing to Canadian Mennonite as the Alberta correspondent, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld, who has developed a fondness for horses over the years—especially CD—has resigned from her reporting position to take on an increased role with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta. 

CommonWord shares books by the dozen

Arlyn Friesen Epp is the director of CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre, located in Canadian Mennonite University’s Marpeck Commons. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

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CommonWord’s ‘Cheaper by the dozen’ program sends 12 books to Mennonite Church Canada congregations anywhere in Canada, free of charge, on a six-week loan. (Photo courtesy of CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre)

Still a hidden gem for some, CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre is a well of resources for the Mennonite community and beyond. One of the ways it shares these materials and guidance is through its “Cheaper by the dozen” program. 

Readers ‘zoom’ to discuss Unsettling the Word

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Congregants at a Toronto church did a six-week study of 'Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization' via video conference. (Photo courtesy of David Warkentin)

In a large city like Toronto, attending a church small group or Bible study may not be feasible for those with families or busy schedules. But Toronto United Mennonite Church has found a technological solution.

Translation valuable to Swahili-speaking pastors

Begin Anew, authored by Palmer Becker, and its Swahili translation, Anza Upya. (Photo by Joyce Maxwell)

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Palmer Becker, centre, leads a workshop session in Tanzania in February. Also pictured are Debbi DiGennaro, Eastern Mennonite Missions’ regional representative, and translator Baraka Amolo Ouso. (Photo by Joyce Maxwell)

In mid-February, 50 Tanzanian Mennonite Church leaders, under the guidance of Palmer Becker, a Canadian Mennonite author and teacher, studied spiritual leadership, pastoral care and Anabaptist essentials using a translation of Becker’s book Begin Anew: Christian Discipleship Seminars.

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