Volume 26 Issue 23

Amish Mennonites commemorate 200 years in Canada

On Sept. 30, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Dave Neufeld and Rebecca Seiling talked about Indigenous history and issues as part of the Amish bicentennial celebrations. This side of “The Landed Buggy” exhibit depicts the Ojibwe creation story. (Photo by Fred Lichti)

Among the artifacts and memorabilia at Steinmann Mennonite Church was a display of traditional Amish clothes and explanations of how dress changes at different stages of life. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Among the displays was a video with people speaking the German dialect still used in traditional Amish homes. The sign asks, ‘Can you speak Pennsylvania German?’ (Photo by Barb Draper)

Leah Cressman and her daughter Norah try to figure out what the antique tools are used for at the display of Amish artifacts and memorabilia at Steinmann Mennonite Church. (Photo by Fred Lichti)

Of all the events planned by the Amish bicentennial committee for this fall, the most popular were the hymn sings held at Maple View Mennonite Church near Wellesley, Ont., on Sept. 11, and at East Zorra Mennonite near Tavistock on Sept. 25. Both events had between 200 and 300 people.

Point Grey leaves MBs

On a Sunday in Advent, Point Grey traditionally sings the Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah. This photo was from the fellowship’s 2015 rendition. (Photo by Janice Kreider)

Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship asked the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren (MB) Churches to be released from conference membership, which was granted on Aug. 15.

Zoom baptisms in a time of pandemic

Mackenzie Nicolle was baptized by Pastor Judith Friesen Epp at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, a year ago this month. She waited until Manitoba’s public-health restrictions were temporarily loosened to be baptized. The province went into a full lockdown the following month. (Photo by Brenda Suderman)

Natasha Neustaedter Barg, left, transferred her church membership on the same Sunday morning that Mackenzie Nicolle, right, was baptized at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg in November 2021. The two enjoyed collaborating on the choosing of hymns that were sung during this service.

In a time when hope was hard to find, expressions of faith became even more significant. As a ritual necessitating proximity and touch, baptisms were something Mennonite churches across Canada struggled to maintain and accommodate within the public-health restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Theatre of the Beat returns to Saskatchewan

The warring rulers, Hocken Grabber and Loopen Snatchem, seek to make amends as Selah and her father look on. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Audience members settle into pews for ‘Selah’s Song.’ (Photo by Emily Summach)

Malia Rogers, Sara Jarvie-Clark, Zach Parson and Christina Leonard perform one of the original songs, written by Bryan Moyer Suderman. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Actors Christina Leonard and Malia Rogers take time to converse with a young fan after the show. (Photo by Emily Summach)

After a “too long” hiatus due to the pandemic, Theatre of the Beat is once again on tour. The theatre company, based out of Toronto, delighted audiences in Saskatchewan with its production of Selah’s Song recently.

An ‘accidental’ visiting scholar

Natalyia Venger leans against an offspring of the Chortitza oak tree in Ukraine on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University. The original Chortitza oak tree was an iconic landmark on Chortitza Island in the Dnieper River. It was estimated to be between 700 and 800 years old when it died. (Photo by Dan Dyck)

Like a gem miner with a headlamp, Natalyia Venger scans microfilms, hunting for treasures rescued from Russian archives now stored at the Mennonite Heritage Archives (MHA) in Winnipeg. She is here from Ukraine to study Mennonite colonies under Russian nationalism in the early 20th century.

Sam Steiner’s memoir reflects on life

‘A Mennonite Draft Dodger in Canada’ updates personal stories from Sam Steiner's blog.

While working on his book In Search of Promised Lands: A Religious History of Mennonites in Ontario, Sam Steiner began writing a weekly online blog about his research, and occasionally he would include personal stories. In this memoir, A Mennonite Draft Dodger in Canada, he has expanded and updated those personal blog stories.

Ron J. Sider

(Photo: Der Bote photo collection)

Ron J. Sider was an inspirational Canadian-American leader in the Christian community. It was his sermon at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in 1984 that spurred the formation of Community Peacemaker Teams in 1986. His sermon called Anabaptists to be formed by their persecution history to bring hope to the world by being ready to die in the name of peace.

‘Bring your best self’

Holly and Ed Olfert on their wedding day in 1972. (Photo illustration)

In the final days of October, Holly and I reached an anniversary.

Recently a relative reminded us that, in 1972, five cousins headed to five altars with their partners. Marie, a widow, pointed out that Holly and I would be the only ones to reach the 50-year milestone.

Novel examines Mennonite ethics in Second World War

‘To Antoine’ is a powerful story, according to reviewer Barb Draper.

E.J. Wiens has written a powerful story that explores the question of Mennonite collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War. Hesets this question within the broader context of Mennonite history and helps the reader to understand the nuances and moral discrepancies faced by Mennonites who fled Russia (present-day Ukraine) in 1943.

Listening to the Spirit, with John

‘Saint John the Baptist Pointing to Christ,’ by Carlo Maratta (1625-1713). (Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain Artwork)

At an Anglican church I know, the congregational response after the reading of Scripture is: “Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church.” This response captures the dynamic nature of Scripture that respects the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the many authors in the biblical canon.

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