A quiet, years-long journey. A voice speaking in a mosh pit full of teenagers. A love for the church. An unexpected second career. These are just some of the ways that Mennonite Church Canada pastors from across the country entered into pastoral ministry. Pastors shared with Canadian Mennonite their stories of pastoral calling and what keeps them in ministry.
My adventure with Canadian Mennonite began in October 2013, when I stepped into the newly created role of web editor. In March 2017, I became executive editor, teaming up with Tobi Thiessen, who began as publisher.
Our shared home, planet Earth, is a miracle. I've known this intuitively since I was a child growing up under the expansive skies of the Saskatchewan prairies. Stunning sunsets, stars, aurora borealis, long winter nights and long summer days with brilliantly clear skies, thunderstorms rolling in from a distance.
David K. Jantzi came from an Old Order Amish family.
“Jesus had a lot to say about money, but the songs we sing in worship rarely do.” These words from the album description of Bryan Moyer Suderman’s 2007 album, My Money Talks, provide a snapshot into the goal of the album: to intentionally provide songs for churches that help them talk about money.
Members and friends gathered to mark the 75th anniversary of First Mennonite Church, Kelowna, in a celebration service on Sept. 11. The service was a time of reflection on the church’s identity as an Anabaptist congregation, the individual and collective history of worship and service, and a renewal of the church’s commitment to the vision and purpose of the church for the future.
This summer, I met a wildlife conservationist named Leo. His life passion began in California as a young adult, when he joined the California Condor Recovery Program. In 1987, there were only 27 California condors left in the world. Today, thanks to the efforts of people like Leo, there are more than 500 California condors.
“When L’Arche comes, the lack of pretense, the joy, the enthusiasm, the simple faith and the light in Jesus, it was and is so refreshing,” says Ryan Dueck, pastor of Lethbridge Mennonite Church. He has thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between his congregation and L’Arche Lethbridge, which has been cherished for three decades.
“I remember so fondly the tours and travelling,” says Richard Janzen, the long-time music educator and choir director at RJC High School. “In 2002, we went on a tour along the Oregon coast of the United States. We stopped by the Oregon state legislature building, just to take a peek around. There was this massive common area with a huge dome and great acoustics.
On my first day as senior writer for Canadian Mennonite, one of the two most important elders in my life died. Gene Herr, along with his wife Mary, created the Hermitage, a spiritual retreat centre in Michigan, which served as a spiritual home for myself and many others. Gene died on Jan. 1, 2012.
“Why are you a Mennonite?” That question is the basis of Canadian Mennonite’s next online event.
Hosted by Aaron Epp, CM’s online media manager, the event will take place on Zoom on Nov. 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Register to attend at canadianmennonite .org/events.
I’m nervous about presenting non-orthodox views about COVID. Some of my mandate-abiding friends will look askance.
“Yes, but . . . ,” they will say, then demarcate limits of tolerance.
Rigidity was a spiritual variant of COVID. Questions became unwelcome. A singularity of narrative prevailed, spawning a minority reaction.
Times have changed. Few argue the accuracy of that statement as it relates to congregations seeking and calling individuals for pastoral leadership. Congregations rarely receive multiple candidates to fill an opening for a pastoral leader. Congregations need to anticipate that it could take 12 months for a search process to conclude.
Like Amos, I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. Yet it is apparent to most people involved in church ministry that, to quote another non-prophet prophet, Bob Dylan: “The times, they are a-changin’.”