Volume 26 Issue 6

Worship through visual art

In a piece titled “Migrant Journey,” artist Rafael Barahona explores a universal story that includes many perils but also a sense of hope. The art was inspired by Jeremiah 29:11 and Hebrews 11:1 and appears in the hymnal collection Voices Together, published by MennoMedia. (Artwork used with permission of Rafael Barahona)

For the digitally created image titled “Communion,” Canadian artist Dona Park depicted soup and rice, expanding the idea of communion beyond bread and wine to show it as an international feast. (Artwork used with permission of the artist)

Artist SaeJin Lee worked with watercolour paint and coloured pencils to create “Tree of Life.” Inspired by this biblical image of restoration, she writes, “So come, friends, rest, play, and belong.” (Artwork used with permission of the artist)

In “Sing the Goodness” artist Meg Harder used ink on paper to depict imagery from the Psalms, including human mouths, waters that “roar” and mountains that “sing together.” (Artwork used with permission of the artist)

One of the striking things about Voices Together, the new Mennonite song collection, is that it includes 12 pieces of visual art.

Life can be real

(Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen/Unsplash)

“Life can be real / on a snowmobile,” croons Canadian music legend Stompin’ Tom Connors in one of his many songs about Canadian life and culture. As someone who occasionally dabbles in songwriting myself, I have often had a chuckle when I hear that line with a bit of forced rhyme. What does “life can be real” mean anyway?

Kitchener MWC Assembly

(Photo: David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Mennonite Publishing House occupies a corner in the Kitchener (Ont.) Auditorium with its bookstand at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in 1962. Three women in the foreground gravitate towards the parenting books and the bestselling Mennonite Community Cookbook, while two men browse titles related to missions.

‘Make your tents large’

(Photo by Cindy Chen/Unsplash)

In my federal voting life, I have voted only for the Liberal party.

When I suggested that as the opening sentence for my next Canadian Mennonite column, my two eldest granddaughters, 17 and 20, immediately began guessing at the percentage of readership that would immediately condemn me to the lake of fire.

Unity, positivity pervade MC B.C. meeting

Although Mennonite Church B.C. delegates had to meet virtually this year for their annual general meeting, pastors and families were glad to meet in person for a retreat at Harrison Lake last November. (Photos by Ken Dueck)

‘What gives us hope?’ was the theme for the annual gathering of Mennonite Church B.C., held by Zoom on Feb. 26.

With the theme taken from Romans 15:13, “What gives us hope?” Mennonite Church B.C. conducted its annual meeting on Feb. 26 via Zoom. This was the second year for the church gathering to be online instead of the pre-pandemic face-to-face gatherings. Delegates numbered 122.

MC Manitoba reflects on shared life together

Michael Pahl, executive minister of MC Manitoba, preached on I John 1:3, a text that calls Christians to a shared life together, with God. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg donated enough to the World Health Organization’s COVAX fund so that 200 people could receive COVID-19 vaccines. A paper chain of people representing these recipients ran one-and-a-half times around the sanctuary. (Screenshot by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

For the second year in a row, the members of Mennonite Church Manitoba came together on Zoom screens, instead of in a church sanctuary, for their annual gathering, due to the risks of COVID-19.

MCC partners in Ukraine supply essential care

MCC partner, Kharkiv Independent ECB Churches, evacuated residents, housing them at a local Christian school and at the House of Hope, a seniors residence in a village community 50 kilometers from Kharkiv. (The names of the people pictured are not provided for security reasons.) (Photo courtesy of MCC)

Try to imagine hearing air raid sirens scream out their warning. In your panic, you seek shelter. Your freezing fingers remind you of the warm coat you’ve forgotten back home. Or maybe you pack the car full of blankets and food, planning to flee to a safer location. You hope you won’t get stuck in a kilometres-long line at a checkpoint.

Doug Klassen’s contract renewed

Doug Klassen looks forward to beginning his second term with planning for meaningful fellowship, worship and discernment at Gathering 2022 in Edmonton. His first term began in June 2019. (MC Canada photo)

Doug Klassen’s term as executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada has been renewed for a second three-year term beginning June 1.

“We received strong affirmation for Doug’s renewal from Joint Council,” says Calvin Quan, moderator for Mennonite Church Canada.

Leonard Doell receives lifetime achievement award

Leonard Doell speaks at a City of Saskatoon event honouring residential school survivors. (Photos courtesy of Leonard Doell)

A group of leaders from the Stoney Knoll Band, and the Mennonite and Lutheran communities meet to share stories, information and connection. Doell is pictured in the back row, left.

In 2017, Senator Lilian Dyck invited members of the Stoney Knoll Band, as well the Mennonite and Lutheran communities, to share their story with MPs and senators at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. They are gathered outside the Parliament Building to commemorate that event. Leonard Doell is pictured second from left.

A Saskatchewan man was recently recognized for his decades-long work in peacemaking and community building, especially between Mennonite settlers and Indigenous Peoples. Leonard Doell was honoured with the 2022 Global Citizen Lifetime Achievement Award from the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation.

Growing a business during the pandemic

A floral arrangement designed by Lydia Rekrut. (Photo by Lydia Rekrut)

Lydia Rekrut sets up a floral arrangement. (Photo courtesy of Creekview Floral archives)

It was at the end of February 2020 that Lydia Rekrut shook hands with the owner of a floral shop in Thorold, Ont., and bought the business, which included the stock and equipment. March was spent relocating to another building and doing renovations. The official opening was to be April 1, 2020.

Singing through the pandemic

Director Brandon Leis leads Menno Singers in an outdoor rehearsal at Pioneer Park Christian Fellowship Church, Kitchener, Ont., last fall. (Menno Singers photo)

The Menno Singers choir of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., has been making music since 1955. At that time, Abner Martin, a recent graduate of Kitchener’s Rockway Mennonite School and a student of music, established a choir simply for the joy of singing choral music. The choir has continued to sing throughout the pandemic, albeit with significant adjustments.

Founding chorister reflects on retiring from his beloved choir

Members of Pax Christi Chorale rehearse a piece by Haydn. (Photo courtesy of Pax Christi Chorale)

“Singing has always been life-giving for me.”

Gary Harder moved to Toronto in 1987 as pastor of Toronto United Mennonite Church. His arrival coincided with the founding of Pax Christi Chorale, which was inspired by the success of a choir assembled as part of the celebrations of the 1986 Bicentennial of Mennonites in Canada. Harder has been a member of  the group from the beginning.

Sharing art and building community in the digital space

Actor Peter Fernandes is pictured in the recording studio taking notes from director Erin Brandenburg during the recording process for Theatre of the Beat’s digital audio-visual presentation of Forgiven/Forgotten. (Photo by Brendan Kinnon)

Since 2011, Theatre of the Beat has been sharing stories and starting conversations about a wide array of social justice issues, with the goal to make the world a safer, more just place.

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