When my family moved to Canada, I was amazed to learn that the Canadian Broadcasting Company ran a reality show featuring—of all things!—books. Each year, the Canada Reads program selects five books it encourages Canadians to read, with each title being championed by a public personality.
“Rainy days,” Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson once wrote, “should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”
As part of Canadian Mennonite’s biannual Focus on Books & Resources section, the magazine spoke with 14 people about the novels, poetry collections and non-fiction works that have impacted them.
I have a selective hearing problem. When I’m at home on a Thursday night, weary from a day’s worth of important religious listening, the certain pleas of a younger family member of mine to discuss the latest plot twist in an all-too-predictable cartoon become easy to ignore.
Herman Walde stands in front of the sign of First Mennonite Church in Edmonton, where he served as pastor from 1963 to 1966. Historically, as Mennonites became more accepted, their churches began to look like the churches of their neighbours. Later Mennonite churches began posting signs telling people of the church’s name, when services were held and contact information.
I visited an elderly friend in a small-town hospital. Gaining permission to see “Esther” (all names are pseudonyms) involved a slight untruth, but it was merely a sin of omission, as I simply withheld “retired” when I identified myself as her minister. I slept reasonably well that night.
“Making Peace with Nature” is the peculiar title of a scientific report recently tabled by the United Nations. That’s an attention-getting title for a peace-church eco-geek. My inquiring mind begs to know: How does the UN conceptualize “peace with nature” and how does its version compare with an Anabaptist understanding?
I waffle a lot when it comes to death. Sometimes I welcome the idea, especially when faith in being united with Christ is high, when the weight of the world and its heartache is great. But other times I fear death, when I realize how quickly life passes by, or when my faith flitters and the reality that, despite all we believe, we don’t truly know what happens next.
“Loose the chains of injustice . . . set the oppressed free and break every yoke.”
These words from Isaiah are not confined to dusty village squares thousands of years ago—they speak to us today.
Werner De Jong was the plenary speaker at this year’s MC Alberta annual delegate sessions, held on Zoom this year. His messages focused on the theme ‘Love one another,’ as part of the regional church’s launch of its Year 2 vision: ‘Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in Community.’ (Screenshot by Joanne De Jong)
Brenda Tiessen-Wiens, Mennonite Church Alberta’s moderator, said “Wow!” Peter Za Zor Sang, the secretary of the Calgary Chin Christian Church, kept repeatedly asking, “How blessed were we?” And Werner De Jong, pastor of Holyrood Mennonite Church in Edmonton, declared, “Grace danced!” when describing what God has done this past year in the regional church.
Mennonites in Colombia and Canada are reinvigorating a 76-year-old relationship.
With some Fraser Valley congregations insisting on their right to meet for public worship during the current pandemic, Mennonite Church B.C. leadership is encouraging its churches to follow current COVID-19 guidelines for gathering.
Leonard Enns conducts a DaCapo Chamber Choir rehearsal in a Waterloo parkade during COVID-19 restrictions. Enns won a recent composition competition with a piece called “A Little More Time,” which he wrote as part of a personal challenge to write a short choral work each week during the early part of the pandemic. (Chestnut Hall Music screenshot)
When the novel coronavirus pandemic broke out last spring, shutting down so many activities, Leonard Enns gave himself a challenge: to write a short choral work of three to four minutes in length each week. It is a commitment he kept up from April to June 2020.
When Lois Siemens travelled to Ukraine, she took several communion cups with her. Pictured are two communion cups in a former Mennonite church in Petershagen. (Photo by Lois Siemens)
The first stop Lois Siemens made in her communion photo project was at Springfield Heights Mennonite in Winnipeg. Here the cups are photographed on a ledge overlooking the sanctuary. (Photo by Lois Siemens)
While photographing in Altona (Man.) Mennonite Church, Lois Siemens met a woman who told her she had kept her communion cup from the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly that was held in Winnipeg in 1990. This image shows the woman’s MWC cup framed by the MC Canada cups. (Photo by Lois Siemens)
Peace Mennonite is a house church that meets at the home of Florence and Otto Driedger in Regina. Lois Siemens noticed that even in this house church there was a place for children. (Photo by Lois Siemens)
Communion cups photographed in the pews at Eden Mennonite in Chilliwack, B.C. (Photo by Lois Siemens)
What does one do with a cracker box full of used communion cups? This was the dilemma facing Lois Siemens as she drove from Saskatoon to Winnipeg in July 2016.
Canadians who sponsor refugees often discover that the task comes with surprises and challenges.
A new book invites readers to explore themes of loss and grief while imagining their own story.
“Who cares? The elderly among us... ” (length 1:27:30).
In the light of COVID-19, a panel explores how the pandemic has challenged systems that care for elders and offers insight into the experience of seniors. Part of the Face2Face series offered by Canadian Mennonite University at cmu.ca/face2face.