Volume 25 Issue 11

Hellos and goodbyes

(Photo by Chris Montgomery/Unsplash)

At the end of a video conferencing call, have you found yourself waving energetically at the screen? It might seem strange to make a goodbye gesture toward a computer, but something tells us that it’s not right to simply make those faces disappear by clicking a button labeled “Leave meeting.”

Toward Antioch

The five ‘amigos’—members of the Global Community of Young Anabaptists—joined hands at St. Jacobs (Ont.) Mennonite Church in early 2005. The hands belong to Sarah Thompson (North America), Amandus Reimer (South America), Elina Ciptadi (Asia), Khohlwani Moyo (Africa), and Barbara Kärcher (Europe). (CM file photo by Ross W. Muir)

By Doug Klassen

Fruit basket

(Photo: Ontario Women in Mission / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Helene (Heese) Toews, seated, is honoured by Katie Dyck with a fruit basket, circa 1972. At a Conference of Mennonites in Canada meeting in 1945, Toews read a paper to a gathering of women on “the true role of women” in which she argued that women could work for God’s kingdom outside the realm of the family.

A communion in communion

Mennonite World Conference's YABS (Young Anabaptists) committee poses for a picture. The committee includes a representative from each continent. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Perdian Tumanan)

Where or when is the next Mennonite World Conference? This was the question posed to all of us as Mennonite World Conference (MWC) staff and volunteers at a recent Zoom gathering. Some people quickly figured out it was a trick question. The next MWC assembly will be in Indonesia in July 2022. But MWC is right now, everywhere, all the time!

Fair trade under the mask

Jane Nigh, manager of Villages Port Colborne, Ont., wears a jacket and scarf from Ark Imports and earrings from Ten Thousand Villages. (Photo by Travis-James Haycock)

Unmasked, Jane Nigh, manager of Villages Port Colborne, Ont., wears a jacket and scarf from Ark Imports and earrings from Ten Thousand Villages. (Photo by Travis-James Haycock)

Although most of the Ten Thousand Villages (TTV) stores closed in Canada in the spring of 2020 when the TTV Canada entity ceased to exist, seven stores decided to stay open and continue to offer fair-trade products.

Soup, biscuits, laughter and verse

Many participants at the MC B.C. Women’s Day on May 1 enjoyed a lunch of soup and biscuits, prepared together as guided online by Chef Dez. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

Women of Mennonite Church B.C. couldn’t meet in person for the annual B.C. Women’s Day on May 1, but they could still see each other’s faces, enjoy fellowship and eat the same lunch.

This year’s event was held on Zoom, with 67 participants from 12 cities in B.C. tuning in along with some from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New York and California.

Ecological grief

Pictured clockwise from top left, moderator Kari Miller and panellists Zoe Matties, Josiah Neufeld, Marta Bunnett Wiebe and Bob Haverluck took part in “Ecological grief and exploring hope,” a virtual panel discussion, on April 28. (Screenshot by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

A million plant and animal species are nearing extinction, the global climate is dramatically shifting and sea levels are rising—the earth is in crisis and many people are overwhelmed with ecological grief.

‘Staging change’

Calvin Peterson as Jay, right, and Lindsey Middleton as Addi, perform a scene from Unmute.

Calvin Peterson as Jay, left, and Lindsey Middleton as Addi, perform a scene from the play Unmute.

The Unmute poster designed by Ali Carroll.

Twenty-six times since November, audiences have had the opportunity to participate in changing the story of gender-based violence. That is how many times Theatre of the Beat, a Canadian touring theatre company, has staged Unmute: The Impact of a Pandemic on Gender Based Violence, a forum theatre piece performed entirely through the video-conferencing platform, Zoom.

Planting a church in a pandemic

Josh and Cindy Wallace’s tiny house church, normally consisting of four households, meets via Zoom each Sunday afternoon. Pictured on screen, clockwise from top left, are: Josh and Cindy Wallace, Taylor Summach and Mark Bigland-Pritchard. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

The ideal time for planting a church is likely not the middle of a pandemic, but Josh and Cindy Wallace have discovered that it can be done.

“We sort of left everything behind on the premise of a house church,” says Cindy.

Who needs denominations?

Gerald Gerbrandt, president emeritus and professor emeritus of Bible at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, was this year’s speaker at MC Alberta’s Faith studies event in April. (Photo by Esther Gerbrandt)

Many churches today are distancing themselves from denominational labels like “Mennonite,” to appear more inclusive. Renaming churches “The River,” “The Mosaic,” or “Hope City” is one way of communicating this. Others embrace the name “Mennonite” because they want to celebrate their distinctiveness. Both see their decision as part of their witness.

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