Volume 27, Number 3
The evangelical edge
Two readers recently wrote to me with concerns. “Over the years that we have received [CM],” wrote a Manitoba couple, “we have detected a constant shift toward liberal theology. . . . de-emphasizing evangelism, Christ’s life and ministry, and his death for our salvation.”
The church in Pingjum, Netherlands where Menno Simons stood up to Catholic authorities. (Photo by Doug Klassen)
Norm Dyck (centre) of MC Eastern Canada and Jeanette Hanson of MC Canada with an Indigenous coffee grower in the Philippines. (Photo by Doug Klassen)
Pastor Endezinaw Tefera next to the baptismal tank at the Asela Meserete Kristos Church in Asela, Ethiopia. (Photo by Doug Klassen)
An 1814 edition of Martyrs Mirror in the library of the Tokyo Anabaptist Centre. (Photo by Doug Klassen)
Safari Mutabesha is a Congolese refugee and pastor at a camp in Malawi, pictured at the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Indonesia. (Photo by Doug Klassen)
I stand on the very spot where it all began, in a former Catholic church in the village of Pingjum, Netherlands. Here, the priest Menno Simons was called to account by his superiors.
Readers write: February 8, 2023 issue
New ventures in faith formation
Reflecting and reshaping is what I have been witnessing congregations doing in the ministries of formation. Across the board, in ministries that engage adults, youth, seniors and children, people are ready to venture into new territory. There seems to be a desire, perhaps prompted by new realities, to flex muscles that were awakened during the past few years.
Henry Gerbrandt, missionary to Mexico
Henry Gerbrandt (far right) in Mexico ca. 1947. Henry and Susan Gerbrandt began their mission work with the fledgling Mennonite Pioneer Mission, arriving in northern Mexico on Dec. 21, 1945. Because money was scarce, their first Christmas dinner was macaroni and salt.
The wider church and church budgets
It is the time of year when churches—whether local, regional or nation-wide—set their annual budgets. I’ve had interesting conversations in this process.
Many churches are experiencing declining and/or aging participation. A decline in revenue comes with that.
“When we gather for worship, we bring all of ourselves, though some experiences or emotions might feel harder to name. Or maybe we feel pressure to keep them tidied away,” explains Alissa Bender when describing her worship resource in Voices Together. Found at #859, “God of Every Place” is an invitation to bring our whole selves to worship, no matter what space we’re in.
The complexity and simplicity of Christian unity
Understanding how to pray and work towards unity with all “Christians” has been a struggle for me. How do I seek unity with people who call themselves Christian, but embody attitudes, values, behaviours and beliefs that, in my opinion, are diametrically opposed to the teachings, character and heart of Jesus.
This struggle is by no means new, or unique to me.
Niklaus Mikaelson, Valerie Tulle, Lizzie Saltzman, Stefan Salvatore . . . do you know who these folks are? If not, maybe that’s because they are not from the Mennonite heritage but from a supernatural world featured in the TV series, The Vampire Diaries. These beings are “hybrids,” born out of the cross-breeding of supernatural species such as werewolves and vampires.
Mental health worker shares faith story
When Ashleigh Singleton reflects on her life, she sees God’s grace in the many turning points that have brought her to where she is today.
“I am so blessed,” she says. “I’m just surprised over and over again by how God works.”
Looking for leaders
“We’re looking for someone who can balance spiritual leadership with executive leadership . . . someone who can hybrid those two areas.” That’s how Arli Klassen, Moderator for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) describes the role of Regional Church Executive Minister, the senior staff position within each Regional Church.
Pianist, professor dies at 90
Esther Wiebe—long-time music professor, pianist and composer—died in Winnipeg on January 26 at age 90.
She is survived by her husband George; children, Robert (Verna) and Peter (Ruth); daughter-in-law Marlene Wiebe; 12 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; extended family and friends. She was predeceased by her son, Tim Wiebe.
House of Friendship opens new facility
House of Friendship held an official grand opening celebration of its new ShelterCare facility in Waterloo, Ont., on Jan. 19. This renovated former hotel will provide shelter and other supports for 100 men experiencing chronic homelessness, including onsite health care and staffing 24/7.
A season of Spirit
Moses Falco is a Mennonite pastor who grew up Baptist, but for six weeks each year, he takes his cue from the Catholics.
Saskatchewan historian receives award
When the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada wrapped up its meetings at Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask., on Jan. 22, the freezing rain had started. Dick Braun loaded up the 15-passenger van with people going directly to the airport, but it was too late. The laneway at Shekinah was too slippery and he could not get up the long hill. Still, no one missed their flight back home.
T-shirt honours fierce biblical women
A new T-shirt celebrates women of the Bible who often get overlooked.
The shirt features 11 phrases, including “Teach like Junia,” “Preach like Mary,” “Lead like Esther” and “Risk like Ruth.” Rianna Isaak-Krauss, co-pastor at Frankfurt Mennonite Church in Germany, created it while pregnant with Noa Jubilee, now five months old.
In her new memoir, The White Mosque, Sofia Samatar describes Mennonites as “something that seems very odd, at least at first: an evangelizing tribe.”
This tribe, she says, “travels the world to spread the universal love of God, and at the same time maintains the occult power of its family names, its language, its traditions, its alphabet of bone.”
Music copyright in an age of online church
The COVID pandemic brought many changes—some obvious, others not so much.
Are Canadian Mennonites too progressive?
What sets apart faith-based justice work from secular causes? Do we lack spiritual depth? Are we too progressive for our own good?
Grebel alumni change the world with tech
Like many Conrad Grebel University College alumni, Dale Brubacher-Cressman considers it important to make an impact on the causes he stands for.
Service through art
Menno Simons Christian School is proud of alumna Eugena Lee (‘20) who won first-place in the National Remembrance Day Poster contest held by the Legion National Foundation. After studying the Korean War in her high school social class, she became inspired to learn more about her grandparents’ experiences during the Korean war. Then artistic inspiration took hold.
MDiv student reflects on AMBS experience
Ian Funk, pastor of Langley (B.C.) Mennonite Fellowship, anticipates graduating in 2023 from the Connect program of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) with a Master of Divinity degree. Students can complete the distance-friendly program online with weeklong visits to the seminary’s Elkhart, Indiana, campus once or twice a year.
Rockway’s umbrellas are given new life
What do you do with 103 broken umbrellas? You make something new, of course!
RJC helps a Ukrainian family settle in Canada
When Linda Rudachyk brought Vlad Malezhyk for his first tour of RJC High School, she teased him on the walk to the front door. “Vlad, you’re gonna sing. Do you sing?” she asked. He was certain the answer was no.