Volume 24 Issue 5

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Structure and identity

Doug Klassen, executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada (left), serves communion to Calvin Quan, moderator of MC Canada, and Lee Dyck, moderator of MC British Columbia, at Assembly 2019 in Abbotsford last July. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

After Gathering 2019 last summer, Doug Klassen, then newly hired as executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada, sat down with me for a chat in the Abbotsford, B.C., airport. Amid the chatter of travellers and loudspeaker announcements, we considered the work ahead for our church. We talked about structure and identity.

God is inclusive, not exclusive!

(Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

There are many changes in Canadian society today that compel us to be trained in “diversity and inclusion.” As Christians, what direction do we find in our own biblical texts? 

When Jesus first returned to his hometown, he read a passage from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” The whole synagogue was impressed, as he claimed to fulfil that vision.

Twilight Auction

Photo: David L. Hunsberger/ Mennonite Archives of Ontario

In this scene from Twilight Auction by John L. Ruth, young Harvard-educated Sam confronts his traditional Mennonite family’s willingness to sell treasured family heirlooms. Doug Millar, left, is the father, and Dale Shantz, holding the vase, plays Sam in this 1969 Conrad Grebel College production.

Making things right

'My son spent much of that evening writing an apology note...' (Image by _Alicja_/Pixabay)

I read the note from my son’s teacher and my heart sank. As the kids unpacked their backpacks and had a snack, I stood still in the kitchen feeling disappointed, sad and perplexed.

Partners in the body of Christ

Participants at the Mennonite World Conference Renewal 2027 event in Costa Rica in 2019 hold hands and pray together. (Photo by Ebenezer Mondez)

Strange, I know, but I like to read financial statements. I remember, in my early 20s, listening to the treasurer in our Toronto congregation explain how to understand financial statements when they were meaningless to me. Since then, I have learned that financial statements show us how we think about our priorities and relationships. Numbers and their labels tell lots of stories.

The snowball effect

'The snowball effect is about momentum...' (Image by Benoit Hamann/Pixabay)

The snowball effect refers to a situation in which something starts off small or insignificant and increases in size or importance at an accelerating rate. Like when you roll a small snowball through wet snow and it accumulates more and more snow until it becomes so large and heavy that you can’t move it anymore.

Rockway celebrates 75 years

Current faculty and staff pose at the photo booth as part of the festivities celebrating the 75th birthday of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Sarah Kathleen Johnson, class of 2003, speaks at the Founder’s Day Chapel on Feb. 9, celebrating the 75th birthday of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. (Photo by Neveen Antoun)

Jane Schultz-Janzen, left, Patty Klassen and Marcia Shantz, all from the class of 1981, joined the Alumni and Friends Choir that sang at the Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s Founder’s Day Chapel on Feb. 9, celebrating the school’s 75th birthday. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Pearl Wideman, class of 1956, centre, celebrates with her daughters Louise Wideman, class of 1982, left, and Janice Klassen, class of 1982, right, at the Founder’s Day Chapel marking the 75th birthday of Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

There was cake, balloons, confetti and a photo booth with goofy props. There was singing in harmony, and prayers of gratitude and blessing—all of it to celebrate the 75th birthday of a “small school for a big world.” 

75 Candles for 75 Years

David Martin, right, executive minister of MC Eastern Canada, announced a $250,000 grant from the regional church for tuition assistance for students from the regional church’s first-generation Canadian congregations, at the Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s Founder’s Day Chapel, celebrating the 75th birthday of the school. The grant was gratefully received by Ann L. Schultz, left, Rockway’s current principal, on behalf of the school. (Photo by Yuanpei (Robin) Xiang)

Citing a “strong history of pitching in” at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, David Martin, executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, announced a $250,000 grant to Rockway, with the vision of making the school more accessible for students from the regional church’s first-generation Canadian congregations. 

Workshop explores land, community, reparation

At ‘The cost of colonialism: Joy of jubilee’ workshop in Vancouver last month, a breakout group discusses what jubilee might look like in relation to Indigenous-Settler relations. (Photo by Henry Krause)

An interfaith workshop drew more than 80 registered participants to Peace Church on 52nd on Feb. 7 and 8 to learn about “The cost of colonialism: The joy of jubilee.”

Coming together over Deuteronomy

Some participants in Gerald Gerbrandt’s short course on Deuteronomy opt to be part of a choir, led by Richard Janzen, that performed during the joint morning worship service on Feb. 9. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Gerald Gerbrandt presents a Portable CMU short course on Deuteronomy to participants from five MC Saskatchewan congregations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Gerald Gerbrandt presents a Portable CMU short course on Deuteronomy to participants from five MC Saskatchewan congregations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Table discussion gave participants in Gerald Gerbrandt’s short course on Deuteronomy an opportunity to dig a little deeper. Pictured, from left to right: Curtis Wiens, Claire Ewert Fisher, Eldon Funk and Denise Epp. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Participants in Gerald Gerbrandt’s short course on Deuteronomy take a closer look at what the Old Testament book has to say about loving God and loving neighbours. Pictured, left to right: Delilah Roth, Brian Roth, Les Regier and Lil Regier. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Participants in Gerald Gerbrandt’s short course on Deuteronomy hear one another’s ideas during table discussion. Pictured, foreground from left to right: Ike Epp, Ted Janzen, Bev Janzen and Ric Driediger. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Julie Handel, at right holding the microphone, asks a question of Gerald Gerbrandt during his short course on Deuteronomy, held at Rosthern Mennonite. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Worshippers from Aberdeen, Eigenheim, Rosthern, Tiefengrund and Zoar Mennonite churches gather at Rosthern Mennonite for worship on Feb. 9 as their weekend with Gerald Gerbrandt draws to a close. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Five Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregations collaborated recently to provide a weekend of learning for their members. 

‘Who will answer the call?’

South Sudanese Mennonite Church women lead worship in the Gambela region in Ethiopia in January. (Photo by William Tut)

Pictured from left to right are the leaders from the South Sudanese Mennonite Church in Edmonton: Gatroup Mut, William Tut and Pastor Reuben Tut. (Photo by Joanne De Jong)

Mennonite children from South Sudanese refugee camps in Ethiopia smile for the camera after a church service. (Photo by William Tut)

South Sudanese Mennonites prepare to worship and beat their drums. (Photo by William Tut)

Leaders from Edmonton’s South Sudanese Mennonite Church are serving as connectors between refugees in Ethiopia and other Mennonites in Alberta.

Planting seeds in their community

Congregants walk a labyrinth set up in the church, a rich tradition at Seeds. (Photo by Ted Enns-Dyck)

Darlene Enns-Dyck, co-lead pastor of Seeds Church, reads a story at children's time. (Photo by Ted Enns-Dyck)

Seeds Church celebrates its 20th anniversary in a low-key way, with birthday cake. (Photo by Ted Enns-Dyck)

Seeds Church celebrated its 20th anniversary on the first Sunday of 2020. But instead of throwing on party hats and revelling in the past two decades, the congregation faced forward and asked the question, “What about the next 20 years?”

‘Jesus Christ: Our hope’

Local participants in the Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday service in St. Catharines, Ont., included, from left to right: Louise Wideman, Ben Falk, Bounnho Phommaseng, Herb Sawatzky, Jim Friesen, Rob Patterson, Michael VandenEnden, John Rempel, Ed Willms, Mike Sherbino and Kenol Bernard. (Photo by Rob Patterson)

César García, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference (MWC), preached the Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday sermon at Scott Street Mennonite Brethren Church in St. Catharines to a diverse group of Anabaptist worshippers. Entitling his sermon, “Jesus Christ: Our Hope,” he said, “On this Sunday [Jan.

Portrait of a strong woman

Adolphine Tshiama, left, is pictured with Kanku Ngalamulume and Joseph Nkongolo, coordinator of the Department of Service and Development of the Mennonite Church in the Congo. (Photo by Rod Hollinger Janzen)

From mid-2016 to mid-2017, the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo was devastated by an armed conflict. Rebel militias gathered around a traditional chief, Kamuina Nsapu, to fight against the central government. They attacked posts where security forces were located and sometimes attacked schools, churches and hospitals.

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