Volume 24 Issue 13

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Life together online

'I’ve been visiting many churches. Not in person, of course, but on the internet.'

Since the middle of March, when church buildings closed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, I’ve been visiting many churches. Not in person, of course, but on the internet. Each week I click on the link to a worship service that a Mennonite congregation, or group of congregations, has prepared to share with members of our denomination.

The twilight of Mennonite radio

Frank H. Epp was the first radio director for the Conference of Mennonites in Manitoba and led the Abundant Life radio program. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario / The Canadian Mennonite)

Southern Manitoba Broadcasting Company opened the CFAM radio station in Altona, Man. in 1957. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario / The Canadian Mennonite)

Dorothea Kampen hosted Frohe Botschaft from 2001 to 2020. (Photo courtesy of Dorothea Kampen)

Elmer Hildebrand, CEO of Golden West Broadcasting, was influential in Mennonite involvement in Manitoba radio. (Photo courtesy of Golden West Broadcasting)

Moses Falco, pastor of Sterling Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg, is starting a new podcast with two pastors from across Canada. (Photo courtesy of Moses Falco)

Manitoba’s airwaves are full of Mennonite radio. I began to notice this last year when I started hosting a radio program for Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), where I also work. 

Len Bechtel

(Photo: Len Bechtel / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Len Bechtel, front, is pictured with a portable saw he and other conscientious objectors (COs) designed near Vancouver during the Second World War. As oil supplies dwindled due to the war, this group of workers with mechanical aptitude in the Alternative Service program were pulled aside from forestry work to help supply Vancouverites with wood for the winter.

Learn, love, advocate

The Barkman family takes part in a rally in Manila on Feb. 24, 2018 to protest the police brutality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. (Photo courtesy of Christina Bartel Barkman)

I was in Whistler, B.C., last week with my husband and kids, and we joined a Black Lives Matter protest in the village. My eight-year-old reminded us that we used to do this often when we lived in Manila in the Philippines.

Disillusionment and hope

People dance at a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C. on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Clay Banks/Unsplash)

When I preach I often reference verses in the Bible that talk about God’s intention that all nations, languages and tribes are called to worship God through Jesus. The Book of Acts is the story of the Jewish disciples relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and learning that the new church is relevant to a world much bigger than they ever imagined. 

Walking together at a distance

Al Friesen, left, Marlene Friesen, Charlotte Siemens and Jon Nofziger, who all attend Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., take part in the Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation. (Photo by Al Friesen)

Following current physical-distance guidelines, the fifth annual Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation was held in various parts of British Columbia over the final weekend of May.

Although we walked apart, we did so in solidarity with our First Nations brothers and sisters whose families have been affected by the residential school system for many generations.

‘Superb helped me continue to have faith’

Regular attenders celebrate Superb Mennonite’s 70th anniversary in 2015. (Photo by Marg Olfert)

Superb Mennonite Church (Photo by Lois Siemens)

“I think they’re going to grieve for a while,” says Lois Siemens of Superb Mennonite Church, which held its final worship service on May 31.

The church building, located 212 kilometres west of Saskatoon near Kerrobert, was home to a small but thriving congregation for more than 75 years. It took its name from the hamlet of Superb, where 10 Mennonite families settled in 1927.

Manitoba’s Winter Hour releases debut album

Mike Wiebe is the musical mastermind behind Winter Hour. (Photo from Winter Hour’s Facebook account)

You Made a Shadow is about the people and experiences that have made an imprint on Mike Wiebe’s life. (Photo from Winter Hour’s Facebook account)

Manitoba musician Mike Wiebe released his debut album, You Made a Shadow, on May 31 under the name Winter Hour. He wrote the album’s 10 songs over a period of five years, starting in 2015.

The 'poet of ironwork'

Pickup truck bookends by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

John Wiebe, a ‘poet of ironwork’

The Wiebe-Neufeld family displays one of the iron doves made by John Wiebe while watching this year’s Inter-Mennonite Good Friday service and preparing for communion in Edmonton. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

Horseback bookend by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

Curling bookend by John Wiebe. (Photo by Laura Wiebe)

If you are Mennonite and live in Alberta, you may not know John Wiebe, but you’ll recognize his work. Kate Janzen calls him the “poet of ironwork.”

Legacy of the last great epidemic

A Mennonite quartet sings for polio patient Ted Braun, in an iron lung at the King George Hospital in Winnipeg in the mid-1950s. Ted watches the singers in the mirror positioned above his head. (Photo courtesy of Henry John Epp)

An iron lung, the iconic image of the polio epidemic of the 1950s, at the Riverview Heritage Museum in Winnipeg. (Photo by Will Braun)

Dave Penner recalls playing in the ditch with his brother in the summer of 1952. He was 5, his brother Henry was three years older. The freshly dug ditch on the expanded Highway 3 next to their yard near Morden, Man., had filled after a rain storm and Dave remembers having a grand time in the water with his brother. 

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