Volume 23 Issue 9

Costly perfume

“Why did Jesus praise this woman for pouring out the costly perfume when the proceeds of its sale could have helped many poor people in their town?” (Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni/Pixabay)

On April 15, dramatic images of Paris’s burning Notre Dame Cathedral captured worldwide attention. Nearby, local citizens and tourists stood singing and praying in grief. Could it be that this majestic symbol of faith, art and culture was crumbling before our eyes? 

Experiencing God’s love affair with the world

‘In our Canadian context, growth is not happening. How then do we think about our role? Do we need to water more? Do we need to plant in a different space?’ (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

So I’m out walking in the beautiful spring sunshine and I pass a church that has a large empty parking lot with a sign that says “No Parking.” As I turn the corner, I see the official church sign that states “Everyone is Welcome.”

Harold Schmidt cook

Photo: Harold J. Schmidt / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

We “both have white uniforms,” joked Harold Schmidt in a letter to his girlfriend (later, wife) Enid Culp in 1942. Schmidt, left, was a cook at the Seymour Mountain conscientious objector (CO) service camp in British Columbia; Enid was in nursing training in Ontario. The Second World War disrupted normal life in many ways, including traditional gender roles, as historian Marlene Epp has noted.

Can we talk about abortion?

‘In our churches are people who have experiences with abortion. How does the church provide support, compassion and understanding?’ (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

At a recent gathering of pastors, one man spoke of “a woman’s right to choose” with respect to pregnancy, then added, “I assume everyone here would agree with that.” In a room of Mennonite pastors, I was not so confident that all would be “pro-choice.”

Hold them close

‘We are an extroverted pastoral family, with doors always open to friends and family. And we love that! But we also covet the closeness of our unit and are sure to prioritize time together.’ (Image by waldryano/Pixabay)

It was a year ago now, when we were packing up our life in Manila, embracing in tearful goodbyes and embarking on a new path. On our departure day, our home was still full of our dear Filipino friends who had become our family over the span of six years.

What ‘confessing your sins to one another’ isn’t

Some forms of communal confession, like “open mic” confession, can be hurtful and destructive to the community and individuals involved, Troy Watson writes. (Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians/Pixabay)

Confession is primarily between the individual and God, as I wrote about last month. Yet Scripture encourages us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). Why is this important, and how do we do this in healthy and helpful ways? 

‘Queer and quirky and profoundly worthy of wonder’

Tamara Shantz, left, and Thea Andres lead the ‘Beyond binaries: Creating an affirming church’ event at Waterloo North Mennonite Church on April 6. (PiE photo)

The gathering hymn, “God Welcomes All,” called some 120 people to worship at the opening of the “Beyond binaries: Creating an affirming church” event hosted by Waterloo North Mennonite Church on April 6. 

Sharing muffins and friendship

Muffins and fruit, supplied in part by members of MC Saskatchewan churches, greet students at the University of Saskatchewan Faith Leaders Council breakfast program on Thursday mornings. (Photos by Donna Schulz)

In 2017, when Kirsten Hamm-Epp was appointed to the newly formed Faith Leaders Council at the University of Saskatchewan, she likely didn’t imagine she would be hosting breakfast for up to 50 students every week.

MC Canada primer

If you care about connecting with the wider Mennonite community but have trouble keeping up with all the conference restructuring and acronyms—so many M’s and C’s—this article is for you. 

If you form part of the small remnant of church nerds who love organizational charts, you may want to pull out your copy of Martyrs Mirror or a recent church budget and read that instead. 

Seeking to fulfill God’s mission in the world

Participants at the MC Canada mission consultation gather for a group photo at Calgary’s Chinese Cultural Centre. (Photos by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

“To be clear, this is not a missions consultation.”

So said Ryan Siemens, executive minister of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, in his opening address to key regional leaders on March 29. From opening statements to the closing benediction two days later, MC Canada’s mission consultation was more about being a people with a mission than about “doing” missions.

From mould to masterpiece

A mosaic of mushrooms captured in Joel Penner and Anna Sigrithur’s film, Wrought, coming out in summer of 2019. (Photo by Joel Penner)

Joel Penner is a time-lapse filmmaker based out of Winnipeg’s West End neighbourhood. But he doesn’t capture typical scenes like sunsets or the bustle of the city. 

Joel Penner.

Coffee and community

Brock Peters was the owner and operator of Strong Badger until March 16, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Brock Peters)

Five years ago, Brock Peters dreamed of an affordable coffee shop where everyone in the community would feel comfortable going.

“Sometimes, when I walked into coffee shops in the city, I felt like ‘I’m not cool enough to be here,’ ” he says.

Into the wilderness with hope

As part of the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s Spring Enrichment Day, Gloria Bauman, left, reflected on her journey with cancer, and Rita Bauman spoke of moving from her home in Abbotsford, B.C., to a dairy farm in Ontario. Journey and wilderness were themes for the April 13 event at Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Barb Draper)

There were rich experiences and mixed emotions at the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s Spring Enrichment Day, hosted by Floradale Mennonite Church on April 13. Along with inspiring worship and powerful storytelling, discernment about the future was on the agenda. 

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