Volume 26, Number 25
2,000 years later in Bethlehem . . .
Bethlehem Bible College sits within walking distance of the birthplace of Jesus and about 200 metres from the eight-metre-high concrete wall that hems in Palestinians such as those who lead and attend the college.
Challenging Holy Land stereotypes
A woman runs past graffiti on the wall that divides Bethlehem from Israel. (Photo courtesy of Bethlehem Bible College)
Munther Isaac recently published a book that confronts a longstanding problem in Christian attitudes toward the Holy Land—ignorance, indifference and even hostility to the Palestinian church. Isaac is an Oxford-educated, Palestinian Lutheran pastor who serves as academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College.
Readers write: December 12, 2022 issue
Two views on ‘sweet solace’
Re: “The sweet solace of polarization” series, Oct. 3; Oct. 17; and Oct. 31.
Jesus doesn’t stop where we think he should
I’ve probably preached half a dozen sermons on “Doubting Thomas” over the last decade or so. Thomas shows up faithfully in the lectionary readings each year after Easter Sunday. Thomas, the recalcitrant empiricist.
Vernon Ratzlaff in Eqypt
Vern Ratzlaff, centre, worked much of his life within Mennonite institutions in western Canada and internationally, serving as a church pastor, Bible school teacher and radio preacher. From 1982 to 1987, Vern and his wife Helen served as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) country representatives in Egypt.
‘Stella makes a difference’
I have a friend named Stella (a pseudonym), who will soon be 89 years old. She recently informed me that she had just taken delivery of a new car.
I quizzed her about the new car.
Christmas is a difficult season for many people, myself included. As a Christian, I “should” be celebrating the birth of Jesus. The angels sing of “great joy” as the lowly and the mighty come to bend the knee at the crude bedside of the baby. The Incarnation is what makes Christianity profoundly different from all other religions.
As I read through the accounts of the kings in the Bible, Uzziah’s story doesn’t strike me as being overly unique. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, at least for a while. Eventually, his own power and pride did him in. He overstepped, and it cost him.
Hymn reflections inspire and comfort
Inspired by J.S. Bach and his prolific contribution to church music, Carla Klassen’s These Songs We Sing is a lovely collection of 52 short meditations and reflections on favourite hymns.
Mennonites prod government on Palestinian concerns
Christian Palestinians have asked the global church to stand with them, and Mennonites in Canada have now asked their government to do the same.
Mennonites address domestic violence
This image—entitled “Before Grace”—and the one opposite—entitled “Endless Cycle”—tell of artist Lynda Toews’ experience growing up in a violent home. They were part of the exhibit, ‘Breaking the Silence on Domestic Abuse,’ at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery a year ago. (Photo courtesy of Lynda Toews)
Research shows that rates of domestic abuse are just as prevalent in religious communities, and even higher in more conservative forms of religion, says Val Peters Hiebert, assistant coordinator of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba’s Abuse Response and Prevention Program, which helps congregations navigate disclosures of abuse and cases of sexual misconduct by clergy.
Volunteers respond to Hurricane Fiona
As hurricanes go, Fiona wasn’t as bad as some when it hit Atlantic Canada—just lots of trees blown down into yards, and shingles and siding blown off houses.
Unless it was your tree, your yard or your roof and siding. Then it was a very big deal.
That’s how Nick Hamm sees it.
Meet MC Canada’s new moderator, Geraldine Balzer
Geraldine Balzer, a member of Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon, was elected moderator of Mennonite Church Canada in July, replacing Calvin Quan, who served in the role for six years. We asked her to share about her life and vision. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Emily Summach: Where did you grow up?