“When you learn to follow Jesus, you will act a little strange.” This memorable line comes from a song by Mennonite singer/songwriter Bryan Moyer Suderman. Besides being an earworm, this simple song encourages children, youth and adults to consider what their lives will look like as they’re learning to walk in the way of Jesus.
Although Mt. Baker is located in Washington state, traditional Salishan territory, its presence is part of Abbotsford, B.C.’s skyline. Abbotsford is home to the Matsqui First Nation, affiliated with the Stó:lo Nation. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)
A sign at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., was unveiled in September 2017 acknowledging the traditional land of the local Indigenous Peoples. It mentions the arrival of the first Europeans in the 1800s and expresses the intention of Mennonites today to “work on building a new covenant relationship with our Indigenous hosts, neighbours, and friends.” (Photo by Barb Draper)
In recent years, whether attending church meetings or public or community gatherings, Canadians may have heard opening words similar to these: “We gratefully acknowledge that we are meeting today on the traditional, ancestral territory of [local Indigenous group].”
Keep on keeping on
After many years of supporting the withholding of military taxes and volunteering with Conscience Canada Peace Tax Trust Fund (CC), I have at last retired from the board.
We have not yet achieved our goal: that it be legal in Canada for conscientious objectors (COs) to war to have their military taxes go towards peace-building purposes.
When God’s story connects with our story, the Holy Spirit is at work, bringing life. As author Anne Lamott says, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where it found us.”
A large audience gathered for one of two “Women’s Section” meetings at the Mennonite World Conference held in Kitchener, Ont., in 1962. The women met to consider the conference theme, “The Lordship of Christ,” from the perspective of personal faith and the home.
When we opened the portal for submissions to Voices Together, the new Mennonite hymnal, the committee received over 2,000 submissions from songwriters, text writers, and composers from around the world, many of whom were Mennonite.
I recently heard a comedian say, “Everyone has an opinion on everything these days.” He continued, “When I was young, it wasn’t that way. People had maybe six opinions. Sometimes you’d meet a guy with, like, eight opinions, and you’d think, ‘Man that guy’s opinionated.’ But on average people had about six opinions. And most of them were about food.”
A drone photo of the old red brick and the new Shantz Mennonite Church. Erb’s Road goes east to St. Agatha and Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Chad Bender)
Lukas Winter introduces a slideshow chronicling the two-and-a-half-year construction process underway during COVID. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Mike Shantz, co-chair of the build team, speaks to the congregation in the new sanctuary of Shantz Mennonite Church. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Dwight Baer, Mae Baer and Norma Shantz enjoy the celebratory lunch in the new church gym. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Kathy and Andy Oja receive food from Liz Plumtree, at the celebratory lunch in the new gym. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Shantz Mennonite Church held a dedication service on Sunday, June 5. It was intended to be for our new facilities, but in truth, it was primarily a rededication of ourselves. Like other followers of Christ, we have been aware that God is calling the church to a new beginning—one that reestablishes its centeredness in a way of life where all are beloved, welcome and authentically known.
During a retreat addressing climate anxiety MC Saskatchewan youth shared their hopeful feelings about the planet’s future, on tags. (Photo by Emily Summach)
Young people played field games at a retreat held at Shekinah Retreat Centre in early June. (Photo by Emily Summach)
It is true that the impacts of climate change on the planet’s future are unfairly shouldered by youth and children. Mennonite Church Saskatchewan made space for youth to explore that burden together. Seventeen young people attended a day-long retreat, “The Climate is Changing: Now What?” held at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask., in early June.
After two years of outdoor ceremonies and air hugs, the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) community gathered at Bethel Mennonite Church on April 30 to observe this year’s graduation in a more familiar way. Finally, CMU was once again able to host an indoor convocation ceremony, also livestreamed online, and reception.
Over the past several years, numerous historians have highlighted how different Mennonite communities in Europe before and during the Second World War were entangled with and even actively participated in National Socialism, with some Mennonites helping to perpetrate the Holocaust. Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) intersected with this broader Mennonite history in multiple ways.
As part of a five-week series focused on land, place and community, members of Calgary Inter-Mennonite Church went on a walk through their neighborhood. The original idea for the series came from Diana Mansell, an active member of the worship committee, while the idea to go on a community walk originated with Walter Hossli, church council chair.
Ernie Hildebrand intended to spend his life farming along the banks of the Cypress Creek, where he grew up in south-central Manitoba. And while Hildebrand, now 80, and his wife Judy currently live less than a mile from where Ernie played as a boy, a pastoral calling took them on a 23-year journey away from those creek-side sheep pastures.
In the middle of Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood is a small and much-loved community centre, the Maison de l’amitié (MA) or House of Friendship. This unassuming brick building is a bustling place, fueled by the desire for community and social change. On any given day you will see people wandering in to volunteer or to benefit from the variety of services that this centre offers.
Three guest speakers will engage the theme of witness at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2022, to be held in Edmonton, Alta., from July 29 to August 1.