We all inhabit a genuinely complicated world—a world of generosity and incomprehensible inequality.
I have compiled various numbers and statistics that relate to the wealthy and the poor, and the efforts to bridge the divide—topics of interest to biblical writers.
Numbers, too, are complicated, and they are both informative and deceptive.
Hyejung Jessie Yum, left, and Junggyu Anthony Yang work with Korean and other Canadians through Sowing for Peace in Toronto. They are members of Danforth Mennonite Church in Toronto and licenced pastors through Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo courtesy of Hyejung Jessie Yum and Junggyu Anthony Yang)
“The Mennonite tradition has a very precious heritage as a peace church,” says Junggyu Anthony Yang. “If we focus more and more on peace in our daily lives, then we truly become the children of God.”
Church members look at the property where the new church building was later constructed. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)
The original Grace Mennonite Church building located on 15 Street West in Prince Albert, Sask. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)
Children participate at Daily Vacation Bible School held at Camp Kinasao. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)
Volunteers, many of whom were members of Grace Mennonite Church, take part in a Person to Person visitation evening. (Grace Mennonite Church photo)
After 80 years, Grace Mennonite Church held its closing service on Jan. 31. The service marked a months-long discernment process and a bittersweet celebration of all that God has done through the church.
Grace Mennonite began with a mission, and the church’s legacy of mission in the community will continue.
Reflecting on three decades of service in Asia, Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers Tobia and George Veith say that, while their time of service has at times been hard, it has also been one of the richest blessings of their lives.
Fifth-year staff members Elora Neufeld, left, Saskia Snyder-Penner, Kathyana Carvajal, Katie Goerzen Sheard and Benjamin Schwartzentruber lead their closing campfire at Silver Lake in expectation for a bright 2022 camp experience. (Silver Lake Mennonite Camp photo)
As with so many organizations, the pandemic was a challenge for Silver Lake Mennonite Camp in 2021. However, we were blessed last summer to have the ability to run camp programs such as the Camper in Leadership Training (CILT) program; overnight camps in August; and day camps in Toronto, Hanover, Hamilton, Kitchener, Leamington, Ottawa and Waterloo.
Everyone making behind-the-scenes plans for Camp Elim has all their fingers crossed that this year we will get back to running the summer camp programs that we love. After two years on hiatus, we are ready to rally an amazing staff and host campers for what we hope will be the best week of their summer.
The last two years have been an adventure at the Youth Farm Bible Camp. The summer camp program was on hold for 2020 and at low numbers last year. However, we were able to see other programs grow and impact the constituency we serve. During times of crisis and chaos, we have opportunities to take risks and use our creative juices.
Hope. It’s a command, a gift, a noun, a verb. Of all that matters in life, the Apostle Paul states that hope is one of a trinity of essentials alongside faith and love. When we are loved, faith blooms in our hearts, and when the path darkens, hope keeps us remembering the love we’ve received and the presence of God.
The past two summers have been difficult for summer camps.
This summer, Ontario Mennonite Music Camp is once again happening at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, from Aug. 14 to 26. The camp provides an exciting adventure for 12- to 17-year-olds that helps to build friendships, strengthen leadership skills, celebrate their love of music and explore their faith.
Mention “church camp” and many people might think of camping or volunteering there a summer or two. But for Rob Tiessen, executive director of Mennonite Church B.C.’s Camp Squeah, camp has meant a decades-long experience.
Growing up in Vancouver’s Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, Tiessen faithfully attended summer camp at Squeah throughout his childhood and youth.
Singing is an integral part of life at Camps with Meaning (CwM), Mennonite Church Manitoba’s camping ministry. This is the case at many summer camps, but unique to CwM is this: their staff have been writing their own music for more than 20 years.
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
This proverb, attributed to the first-century Greek philosopher Epictetus, is still good advice. In a time where there is no lack of speaking—whether with actual voices, through written words or even with visual symbols—the art of listening is one we need to continually cultivate.
Although some Mennonite churches in Canada have wrestled with whether to accept LGBTQ+ people in their congregations, the conversation around queer issues is rapidly expanding in the public sphere.
These three words, at least for me, capture strong feelings I experience as I work with congregations and pastoral leaders at this time.
This is a photo of the home of Bernhard Klippenstein (1880-1973) and Maria (nee Dyck) Klippenstein (1882-1956) in Waldheim, Northwest Territories. They moved from Altbergthal, near Altona, Man., to Waldheim around 1902. They returned to Altbergthal around 1907.
A friend called last week.
Tony (a pseudonym) had undergone surgery in a Saskatoon hospital, had recuperated for a number of days, and was needing a ride home to Prince Albert, Sask.
CPT Iraqi Kurdistan met with Kak Bapir and some of the villagers of Basta village from the Pishdar district on Feb. 2, 2022. Basta villagers have been partnering with CPT since 2008. Basta village is one of the hundreds of villages that have been targeted and bombed by both Turkey and Iran for a long time. CPT is working alongside the villagers to stop the Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombings. (Photo courtesy of CPT)
The organization formerly known as Christian Peacemaker Teams has changed its name, replacing the meaning of that first letter with “Community.” I have two reactions. First, the name change is good for the organization. Second, it shows that the broader church has not caught the vision of the peacemaker Jesus.
Warning: Spoiler alert for Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns.
I have a mental list of Disney movies I wish would end differently, movies that might actually pack a better punch if they didn’t have the fairy-tale ending where everything resolves perfectly with a pretty happily-ever-after bow on top.