Volume 24 Issue 26D
The carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” paints a Christmas card picture of the ancient town of the Nativity: sparkling stars lighting quiet streets, a Holy Baby resting in a manger as the townspeople sleep, unaware. That idyllic view was replaced by a fuller perspective when my family moved to Israel in 1996.
(This Viewpoint piece was inspired by Christina Bartel Barkman’s recent “Marriage and conflict” column.)
Conflicts seem to occur even in the best marriages, and sometimes even church policies can become the cause of a marriage conflict.
By everything that is right and good, Helen Penner's life should have been celebrated with singing.
Let me tell you a story. A couple of years ago, our church council did some brainstorming around how to begin reaching out to our neighbours. Because our church is located in a rural community, the possibilities are limited and come with significant hurdles.
Erika Pappas of Edmonton Mennonite Church is amazed at what can be done with a few dollars at the Dollar Store. (Photo by Erika Pappas)
Brenda Tiessen-Wiens and Trevor Wiens display their very first Advent wreath so they can participate in community worship. (Photo by Brenda Tiessen-Wiens)
Kate and Bob Janzen create an Advent wreath from barn boards and barbed wire. (Photo by Kate Janzen)
Hanna Martens displays her living wreath made from moss, pinecones and succulents from the forest. (Photo by Hanna Martens)
Carole Neufeldt creates an Advent wreath using items from around the house. (Photo by Carole Neufeldt)
An Advent wreath created by Rose Goertzen for the altar at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta. (Photo by Anna-Lisa Salo)
Like most of the country, Alberta is experiencing, its second wave of novel coronavirus. As of early December, as many as 1,800 Albertans were contracting COVID-19 every day. With the Christmas season approaching, every church had to look at past traditions and ask whether to try to alter them in some way or to cancel activities altogether.
“People talk about church decline,” says Ryan Siemens. “I prefer to talk about church transition.” Lately, he’s been thinking a lot about church transition, and wondering, “What are we being called to open ourselves up to?”
The former Mohawk Institute Residential School is being preserved as an interpreted historical site and monument to indigenous resilience, documenting the history of the residential school system in Canada. (Woodland Cultural Centre website photo)
Janet Bauman recently participated in a 45-minute virtual tour of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont., with other people from St. Jacobs Mennonite Church; it fit in with the congregation’s worship series on unlearning racism.
Evan Kreider was scheduled to speak at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver in the spring of 2020. But the pandemic put an end to that, as life as we knew it changed. Group meetings were discouraged. The timing coincided with the church’s plan to depart the chapel of the Menno Simons Centre, a student residence, after more than 30 years.
“What a joy it is for the brothers and sisters [of the Bateke Plateau] to feel themselves a part of the larger Mennonite family,” says Reverend Seraphin Kutumbana of Communauté Mennonite au Congo, a Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church.
In late October, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL—Colombian Mennonite Church) issued a public statement declaring that there have been 60 massacres (killings of five people or more at a time) so far in Colombia in 2020. Victims include young people and small farmers, as well as 200 civic leaders.
While Mennonites across Canada and the United States eagerly await the arrival of the new hymnal, Voices Together, hundreds of online worship resources are already accessible to them through a brand new website that launched in November.
Faculty and students in the master of theological studies (MTS) program at Conrad Grebel University College have found that conversations between those with different approaches to Christianity are a valuable learning experience.
YAMENers Enosh Rupamajhi, Olicky Muchindu and Jeu Song take a group photo in Salatiga, Indonesia. Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, they were temporarily unable to return to their home countries of India, Zambia and Laos, respectively, from their placements in Indonesia. For a few months, they waited out the pandemic, learning, laughing and worshipping together. (Photo courtesy of Olicky Muchindu)
"The love from Indonesia." For Enosh Rupamajhi, Jeu Song and Olicky Muchindu—members of the Young Anabaptist Mennonite Exchange Network (YAMEN)—the warmth of relationship from their hosts and each other is a hallmark of their year.
Lynda Toews painted “Psalm 19” to commemorate the launch of Voices Together. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)
Unintentional figures, like a fish and an eagle, appear in Lynda Toews’s painting. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)
Lynda Toews created a quilt with Cheryl Warkentin, in honour of Mennonite Central Committee’s 100th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)
The year 2020 featured some big moments in the Mennonite world. MennoMedia launched Voices Together, the new worship and song collection; and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) celebrated its centennial.
Catherine Bergs, a student at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., and Jubilee Dueck Thiessen, a student at Canadian Mennonite University when she gave her speech earlier this year, came second and third in the 2020 intercollegiate C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest administered by Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
Amelia Pahl, a fourth-year Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) student doing an interdisciplinary degree in religion and narrative, did a three-month practicum placement with Together in Worship, a website of free Anabaptist worship resources that was launched in November.