Christine Kampen Robinson and Christy Anderson, both on the staff of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, have been named as the keynote speakers for Amplify!, the nationwide youth gathering happening next summer at Camp Valaqua, near Water Valley, Alta., from July 31 to Aug. 4, 2022.
As the year 2021 winds down, this slightly distracted editor is trying to wrangle disparate ideas into a cohesive whole. What I offer here instead is a sort of patchwork quilt of thoughts, resembling the traditional coverlets created from fabric of varied colours, sizes and textures.
Claiming the story
A sketch of the meetinghouse used by the Moyer Mennonite congregation, in Vineland, Ont., before 1897. The church was later renamed The First Mennonite Church. (Photo: L.J.Burkholder collection, Mennonite Archives of Ontario)
The cemetery beside the meetinghouse of The First Mennonite Church in Vineland, Ontario. (Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario)
What do we do when we disagree with people in our church? There are lots of reasons to disagree. We can disagree about how we talk about salvation, about who we should include or not include, about political views, or even about vaccination. Across North America, we see issues dividing congregations and conferences.
In 2015, some of the summer staff at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Camps with Meaning wrote a song called “This Ground.” The song makes the simple observation that nature inspires us to pray. It encourages us to notice the beauty of creation all around us, hinting that there’s much to learn about God in the natural world.
Alternative service camps during the Second World War brought young men from various traditions and regions together. Pictured, Reverend David P. Reimer of Manitoba, centre, is posing with conscientious objectors in Seebe, Alta.
I was driving the night shift that week, hauling wood chips to the pulp mill in The Pas, Man.
I pulled into the Esso C-Store in Nipawin, Sask., a little after 11 p.m., closing time. As I filled my mug, I apologized for keeping the clerk around so late.
“Oh, no,” he assured me. “The fair closes tonight, so we’re staying open till midnight to catch the traffic going home.”
A reader who comes from outside the religious community asked what I meant by the term “flourishing” when I used it last month. I had written that God desires the flourishing of all peoples, especially the marginalized of our global world.
In Dr. Seuss’s book Oh the Places You’ll Go there is a section about “the waiting place.” It is depicted as an undesirable and useless place to be. I wonder if our Advent waiting sometimes feels like that kind of waiting. I wrote a little poem in the style of Dr. Seuss about Advent waiting:
They can be necessary, but they are usually devastating. Church splits, in my experience, are not often talked about in Christian circles, yet they are not uncommon.
Church splits are necessary for many different reasons, including:
Recent news about human trafficking in Canada continues to alarm many social service agencies and providers working with immigrants and refugees.
The Sumas Prairie is pictured in the beginning stages of the refilling of Sumas Lake. At this point in time, the worst flooding was further to the west but, after the dike was breached, this area filled up with more water. (Photo by Elaine Binnema)
A member of Yarrow United Mennonite Church was among those working through the night sandbagging to help save the Barrowtown Pump Station. (Photo courtesy of Darnell Barkman)
The Barg farm just east of Chilliwack was spared from flooding, and was able to take in the cows from this flooded barn. The Bargs attend Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack. Mary reports, ‘We are holding up okay, finding a rhythm with our new herd, working hard to coordinate with and support the efforts to continue to evacuate cows that are stranded.’ She says the farmer was ‘pretty thankful to be able to save all of his animals, including the chickens, and he even was able to leave some food for the barn cats in the hayloft.’ (Photo by Mary Barg)
Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack had its basement flooded in mid-November. Pictured squeegeeing up is Calvin Patterson. More than 90 percent of the basement was covered in a few inches of water. Since the basement has been the site of two local food-based ministries to seniors and students during the pandemic, there was a lot of food to quickly move to safety after the flood. (Photo by Aaron Roorda)
Aaron Roorda, pastor of Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack, took this photograph on his commute home from Abbotsford along Highway 1 on the evening of Nov. 15. The highway was closed 15 minutes later. The river of water to the right of his truck was the centre of the roadway between the east- and west-bound lanes. (Photo by Aaron Roorda)
As catastrophic rains pummelled the Lower Mainland of British Columbia in mid-November, causing massive flooding and mudslides that deposited debris over local highways, Mennonites in the community experienced both uncertainty and loss, and they responded with compassion and a willingness to help others.
Camp Squeah lived up to its Salish name as a “place of refuge” during the week of Nov. 15, when mudslides cut off the town of Hope and the camp found itself sheltering more than a hundred marooned motorists. Torrential rains Nov.
Nancy Maitland and her dog are pictured in front of the Brubacher House. Nancy and husband Ted were the first live-in hosts from 1980 to 1982. Prior to their marriage, Nancy lived there beginning in 1977 as a live-in custodian and consultant/curator. (Photo courtesy of Ted and Nancy Maitland)
Imagine what it would be like to live in a museum. Past and present live-in hosts at the Brubacher House in Waterloo, Ont. are sharing what it is like to live in the upstairs apartment of this historical landmark in a new digital exhibit.
If art is the imitation of life, then the art of preaching is about the imagination of new life. At least that’s the message Meghan Good preaches. According to her, “Preaching is for transformation, not conveying information. We need to preach to that goal. Turning minds is different from turning hearts and lives.”
The land where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet the Prairies, including Winnipeg and most of southern Manitoba, is Treaty One territory. Treaties, which exist in many parts of Canada, are commitments by multiple parties to live in relationship and share the land. Aug. 3, 2021, marked 150 years since representatives of the Crown and Cree and Anishinaabe peoples signed Treaty One.
Mabel Steinman was a long-time cook at the House of Friendship in Kitchener, Ont., serving meals to the hostel residents for 26 years. She was the proverbial mother or grandmother, providing them with a touch of home, a warm meal and encouragement. She received many thanks for her home-cooked meals.
Eddy Rempel is the newly appointed executive director of Mennonite Community Services of Southern Ontario (MCS) based in Aylmer, Ont., replacing the retiring Abe Harms, who worked for the organization for 22 years.