Volume 26, Number 6
‘For the joy of ear and eye’
As I write, the horrific attacks on the people of Ukraine continue, but recently I witnessed a sign of beauty amidst the chaos. Standing in a grey bomb shelter, with pipes overhead, a Ukrainian musician brings forth a haunting tune from his violin.
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)
One of the striking things about Voices Together, the new Mennonite song collection, is that it includes 12 pieces of visual art.
Readers write: March 21, 2022 issue
A pastoral letter regarding Ukraine
Beloved sisters and brothers in Ukraine: Today, war has come to your homeland.
We grieve the danger, death and destruction that this plague brings.
We stand in solidarity with you as persons of shared faith and hope.
Life can be real
“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
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’
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.
A culture of peace
The very day that Russia sent tanks across the Ukrainian border, a book on nonviolence arrived at my door. Sometimes I wonder if God does that sort of thing intentionally.
A blip in the family tree
As I read through long lists of descendants in the first chapters of First Chronicles, some names are familiar, like the sons of Jacob and other names I’ve encountered in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the comet
What would you do if you heard that all life on earth was about to end? This is the premise behind Don’t Look Up, an Academy Awards best-picture nominee, released on Netflix in December and already one of the most popular Netflix films ever made.
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)
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)
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’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
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
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
“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
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.