Volume 25 Issue 6

The gifts of all

Doris Gascho, pictured in March 2020, was a mentor, pastor and the first woman to serve as conference minister of the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Ontario. 'As we celebrate the leaders who have gone before us, let’s keep finding ways to invite and encourage the gifts of all,' Virginia A. Hostetler writers. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

On March 8, 2021, International Women’s Day, I attended the celebration of life for Doris Gascho, who had died a week before, after many years of serving the church. Doris was a pastor in the mid-80s and early 90s and was the first woman to serve as conference minister of the Mennonite Conference of Eastern Ontario, from 1994 to 1999.

Modern life

(Photo: David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

“The car [is] the child and charm of modernity,” writes sociologist Donald Kraybill. A century ago, this new technology became another dividing line between Mennonites who contested or accepted—even embraced—modern life. This photo of horse sheds outside Elmira Mennonite Church, Ont., in 1955, captures a moment of embrace.

We are now family

'Anne was there from early morning until late afternoon. I made an observation about her obvious devotion to Bill...' (Photo by National Cancer Institute/Unsplash)

Some years ago, the person who shares my life experienced a blip in her physical well-being. This resulted in Holly spending several days in hospital.

Don’t be like Jonah

'Forget the fish! The book of Jonah is a comedic satire against ethnocentrism, nationalism and a narrow-minded exclusivity regarding God.' (Image by CCXpistiavos/Pixabay)

Jonah suddenly became a favourite book of mine after I went to Iraq.

Forget the fish! The book is a comedic satire against ethnocentrism, nationalism and a narrow-minded exclusivity regarding God. In the story, the whiny fellow is sent 900 kilometres to Nineveh, now the site of Mosul, the second-largest city of Iraq. Nineveh was the capital of the reigning superpower at that time.

Spontaneous joy in this time of pandemic

Take two exuberant Mennonite Church workers, give one a bunch of balloons and the other a camera, and what do you have? Spontaneous joy on the streets of Calgary. (Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

(Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

(Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

(Photo by Ruth Bergen Braun)

Louisa Adria, Foothills Mennonite Church’s congregational support worker, and Ruth Bergen Braun, communications coordinator of Mennonite Church Alberta, sparked joy when they spontaneously decided to do a photo shoot on Feb. 26, next to a brightly painted shipping container near downtown Calgary.

Communicating at the table

International friendships develop. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

An impromtu soccer game. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

A neighbourhood work project. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

A formative experience for me was a youth work camp I participated in during my teenage years. The event was organized in connection with the ninth assembly of Mennonite World Conference, held in Curitiba, Brazil, in July 1972.

Making the Bible come alive

John Braun is pictured in 2010 by the ancient steps that lead from the upper city of Old Jerusalem down to the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. (Photo courtesy of John Braun)

Ken Quiring is a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers and pastor of Grace Mennonite Church in Brandon, Man. (Photo courtesy of Ken Quiring)

Deuteronomy urges people to “fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,” and Ken Quiring has dedicated himself to this call. Telling Scripture by heart is an integral part of daily life for the pastor of Grace Mennonite Church in Brandon, Man.

Brazilian beans

A meal of rice and beans makes a frequent appearance on every Brazilian table. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

I grew up in Brazil, a child of missionary parents. One regular item on our family menu was the traditional Brazilian rice and beans meal. These are the daily staples of cuisine throughout Brazil, a wholesome and inexpensive combination eaten by people of all economic classes.

Celebrating 10 years of spiritual friendship

Members of the Edmonton Menno-Catholic dialogue pose for a picture in the remains of the city of Ephesus during a two-week study tour in Turkey, sponsored by Edmonton’s Intercultural Dialogue Institute. Pictured from left to right: Roger Thiessen, Eleanore Woollard, Marvin Bloos, Ibrahim Cin, Bob Thiessen, Doreen Bloos, Julien Hammond and John Woollard. (Photo courtesy of Marvin Bloos)

A Mennonite-Catholic hymn sing directed by Johanna Dietrich held in 2019 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Edmonton. (Photo by Julien Hammond)

The Roman Catholic Church has a global baptized membership of 1.3 billion parishioners. Mennonite World Conference (MWC), on the other hand, has just over 0.16 of one percent of that number, with a global baptized membership of 2.13 million. What reason or benefit could there possibly be for an elephant and mouse to be friends? 

Archivist shares ‘a sweet and true tale’ 

A sample of cookies baked as evidence in ‘the cookie war’ were preserved at the Amish Historical Library and donated to the Mennonite Archives of Ontario. In Laureen Harder-Gissing’s virtual archive tour, they helped to document one of the food stories from Mennonite history. (Photo courtesy of the Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Edna Staebler, author of Food That Really Schmecks, is shown holding the cookies in question, in an article she wrote for Saturday Night Magazine in 1987 about ‘the cookie war.’ The photo was shown as part of the virtual archives tour by Laureen Harder-Gissing, far right, describing a patent dispute over a cookie recipe that drew Mennonite women into the conflict. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Big city lawyers paid Old Order Mennonite women $20 an hour to bake cookies, all in an effort to gather evidence in “the cookie war.” This “sweet and true tale” was shared recently as part of “The Anabaptist Story lives on: Virtual museum and archive tour,” sponsored by TourMagination, in which archivists and historians show unique artifacts, photos and documents as they share parts of the Anab

New directions for MC B.C.

Despite the reality of COVID-19 this year, the 2021 annual general meeting of Mennonite Church B.C. took place virtually on Feb. 27 with participation exceeding that of previous years. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

The 2021 annual general meeting of Mennonite Church B.C., held virtually on Feb. 27 ‘worked out very well,’ according to moderator Gerry Grunau, lower left. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Although faces on screens had to replace in-person contact, participants at the 2021 Mennonite Church B.C. annual general meeting, held on Zoom on Feb. 27, managed to create a sense of connection for participants and allowed them to transact business as in previous years.

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