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Eyes to see

Jared Siebert, right, founder of the New Leaf Network, shares his story of encountering God in the failures of church planting, as Cindy Wallace of the Backyard Church in Saskatoon looks on.

In the current cultural climate, many churches, Mennonite ones included, are wrestling with the question of how to help members talk about faith and God’s work in their own lives. At a time when “evangelism” can seem almost like a four-letter word, how can people of faith bear witness to God’s movement in honest and authentic ways?

People at Play

Greg Thiessen, manager of the Metzger Collection at Columbia Bible College, discusses the origins of dice, chess and other ancient games at the museum’s current display of ‘Let’s Play!’ The exhibit invites visitors to explore the origins of table games and their place in cultures throughout history. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

The commonality of playing games throughout history, and how and why civilizations have played those games, are the foci of the current featured exhibit, “Let’s Play!” at Columbia Bible College’s Metzger Collection museum.

MCC gala dinner features Malcolm Gladwell

Ian Thomas, left, of Kindred Credit Union and Malcolm Gladwell. Kindred was an important sponsor of the MCC fundraising dinner. (MCC photo by Shoua Vang)

Malcolm Gladwell, a widely acclaimed writer and podcaster, drew a crowd of 650 people to a fundraising dinner hosted by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario on Oct. 27 at Bingeman’s in Kitchener. As is his style, Gladwell wove together interesting stories, while the audience wondered about the connections between them.

Drawing the circle bigger

The annual Christian-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue at All Saints Anglican Cathedral in Edmonton. (Photo by Suzanne Gross)

“Our theme for the dialogue today is ‘Drawing the circle Bigger,’ ” said Scott Sharman, emcee for the annual Christian-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue, held on Oct. 29 in Edmonton. “We are asking our speakers to help us understand how our call into dialogue as Muslims and Christians also calls us to broaden the dialogue further.

Amish Mennonites commemorate 200 years in Canada

On Sept. 30, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Dave Neufeld and Rebecca Seiling talked about Indigenous history and issues as part of the Amish bicentennial celebrations. This side of “The Landed Buggy” exhibit depicts the Ojibwe creation story. (Photo by Fred Lichti)

Among the artifacts and memorabilia at Steinmann Mennonite Church was a display of traditional Amish clothes and explanations of how dress changes at different stages of life. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Among the displays was a video with people speaking the German dialect still used in traditional Amish homes. The sign asks, ‘Can you speak Pennsylvania German?’ (Photo by Barb Draper)

Leah Cressman and her daughter Norah try to figure out what the antique tools are used for at the display of Amish artifacts and memorabilia at Steinmann Mennonite Church. (Photo by Fred Lichti)

Of all the events planned by the Amish bicentennial committee for this fall, the most popular were the hymn sings held at Maple View Mennonite Church near Wellesley, Ont., on Sept. 11, and at East Zorra Mennonite near Tavistock on Sept. 25. Both events had between 200 and 300 people.

Point Grey leaves MBs

On a Sunday in Advent, Point Grey traditionally sings the Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah. This photo was from the fellowship’s 2015 rendition. (Photo by Janice Kreider)

Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship asked the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren (MB) Churches to be released from conference membership, which was granted on Aug. 15.

Zoom baptisms in a time of pandemic

Mackenzie Nicolle was baptized by Pastor Judith Friesen Epp at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, a year ago this month. She waited until Manitoba’s public-health restrictions were temporarily loosened to be baptized. The province went into a full lockdown the following month. (Photo by Brenda Suderman)

Natasha Neustaedter Barg, left, transferred her church membership on the same Sunday morning that Mackenzie Nicolle, right, was baptized at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg in November 2021. The two enjoyed collaborating on the choosing of hymns that were sung during this service.

In a time when hope was hard to find, expressions of faith became even more significant. As a ritual necessitating proximity and touch, baptisms were something Mennonite churches across Canada struggled to maintain and accommodate within the public-health restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Theatre of the Beat returns to Saskatchewan

The warring rulers, Hocken Grabber and Loopen Snatchem, seek to make amends as Selah and her father look on. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Audience members settle into pews for ‘Selah’s Song.’ (Photo by Emily Summach)

Malia Rogers, Sara Jarvie-Clark, Zach Parson and Christina Leonard perform one of the original songs, written by Bryan Moyer Suderman. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Actors Christina Leonard and Malia Rogers take time to converse with a young fan after the show. (Photo by Emily Summach)

After a “too long” hiatus due to the pandemic, Theatre of the Beat is once again on tour. The theatre company, based out of Toronto, delighted audiences in Saskatchewan with its production of Selah’s Song recently.

Flourishing with creation

A group shot of Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal congregants at their fall retreat. (Photo by Yeabsra Agonfer)

Earlier this fall, members of the Mennonite Fellowship of Montreal had the chance to escape the bustle of the city and submerge ourselves in nature. For the first time in three years, we were able to do an in-person retreat, and we were blessed to have as our speaker Wendy Janzen, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s eco-minister.

CM event explores concrete steps for reconciliation

Pictured clockwise from top right: host Aaron Epp and panellists Allegra Friesen Epp, Doyle Wiebe and Niigaan Sinclair.

This September, Canada marked its second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Throughout the month, people talked around dinner tables, in the media and at workplace meetings, about Indigenous-Settler relations and the country’s history of residential schools.

Kelowna church celebrates 75 years of faithfulness

The first families of First Mennonite Church, Kelowna, B.C., gathered for worship in homes. (Archival photo supplied by First Mennonite Church, Kelowna)

On Sept. 10, First Mennonite Church in Kelowna, B.C., held a meeting to decide on the congregation’s future directions. (Photo by Johann Funk)

Members and friends gathered to mark the 75th anniversary of First Mennonite Church, Kelowna, in a celebration service on Sept. 11. The service was a time of reflection on the church’s identity as an Anabaptist congregation, the individual and collective history of worship and service, and a renewal of the church’s commitment to the vision and purpose of the church for the future.

What you see is what you get

Lethbridge Mennonite Church and L’Arche join for worship, pre-pandemic. (Photo by Ryan Dueck)

“When L’Arche comes, the lack of pretense, the joy, the enthusiasm, the simple faith and the light in Jesus, it was and is so refreshing,” says Ryan Dueck, pastor of Lethbridge Mennonite Church. He has thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between his congregation and L’Arche Lethbridge, which has been cherished for three decades.

‘We’re still just trying to catch up’

A small group of participants race through a course of off-road bicycling, canoeing and kayaking around Camp Assiniboia’s new lake and running through the forest. (Photos by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

The CwM fundraising day ended with a performance played on a burning piano.

The first adventure race fundraiser for Camps with Meaning (CwM) brought more than a hundred people to Camp Assiniboia on Sept. 18 to celebrate another summer of camp and to support its future.

The Pedal, Dash, Paddle fundraiser raised $5,100 for the camp’s Covid Recovery Campaign, which will put the money towards camp operations.

History, hymns showcased at golden anniversary

An ensemble of singers, accompanied by Julia Toews on violin, performs traditional Mennonite hymns at the Mennonite Historical Society of B.C. fundraiser on Oct. 2. The theme for the afternoon was ‘Music that shaped our Mennonite souls.’ (Photo by Jennifer Martens)

“What we have heard and known we will tell the next generation,” says the watchword of the Mennonite Historical Society of B.C., and on Oct. 2 at South Abbotsford MB Church, the society marked its 50th anniversary with a celebratory afternoon of music in the Mennonite tradition.

Adding friends and funds

Spear throwing proves challenging. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

A Fury Road participant makes the climb up Quill Hill. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

A racer attempts to ‘army crawl’ underneath barbed wire as part of the Fury Road Race. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

Spear throwing proves challenging. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

Despite the intensity of the race, there were plenty of fall colours to enjoy. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

A man makes a leap over one of the walls on the obstacle course. (Photo by Taylor Summach)

A kayaker heads out for a paddle on the North Saskatchewan River. (Photo by Emily Summach)

Shekinah Retreat Centre, located in the North Saskatchewan River Valley, hosted its annual Move-A-Thon fundraiser on Sept. 17, with 120 people participating in the volunteer-led event.

A walk through Mennonite history

A cyclist rides the Peace Trail, which crosses almost 55 kilometres of southeastern Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Heritage Village)

The Shantz Immigration Sheds cairn, one of the waypoints on the Peace Trail, marks where Mennonites stayed when they first landed in Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Heritage Village)

Volunteers prepare the Peace Trail with scythes. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Heritage Village)

A new trail, spanning almost 55 kilometres across southeastern Manitoba, has been created by a group of Mennonites.

The Peace Trail was dreamed up and implemented by the EastMenn Historical Committee, a group under the umbrella of the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society, along with community members volunteering on the Peace Trail working group.

Praising God in our neighbourhood

Ericka Hoajaca and Ruth Ramirez examine their autograph from the Vancouver Canucks mascot, Fin, while enjoying worship music from the Punjabi Masihi Church. Hoajaca is Pastor Jorge’s wife and is a member of Sherbrooke and First United Spanish Mennonite Church. Ramirez attends Sherbrooke Mennonite. (Photo by Walter Toews)

Erwin Heinrichs and Sandra Teran worship the Lord with dancing while enjoying worship music from First United Spanish Mennonite Church. Heinrichs is a member at Sherbrooke, while Teran is a volunteer at Sherbrooke’s Thursday MCC Refugee Food Bank. (Photo by Walter Toews)

Three Mennonite Church B.C. congregations joined together for the annual Neighbourhood Fall Festival on Sept. 11.

First United Spanish Mennonite, Vancouver Vietnamese Mennonite and Sherbrooke (English & Korean) churches invited the Punjabi and Tamil churches that rent Sherbrooke, and together they had one big block party celebrating Jesus.

‘Under the tall, tall trees of Camp Valaqua’

Gathering from across Canada, Mennonite youth, sponsors, volunteers and parents took part in Amplify! at Camp Valaqua. (Photo by Dan Driedger)

Guest speaker Christy Anderson challenges youth to work toward reconciliation. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Canadian Mennonite University organized a campfire at Camp Valaqua for youth participants at Mennonite Church Canada’s Amplify! gathering this summer. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Worship times happen under a large tent. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Worship (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Left to right: Mackenzie Hildebrand, Louisa Adria and Danika Warkentin lead the group in times of worship. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

During free time campers do crafts, including rock painting. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Youth assembled MCC school kits as a service project. (Photo by Mel Harms)

During free time campers do crafts, including rock painting. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

From July 31 to Aug 4, 132 youth, sponsors, volunteers, parents and planning committee members from across Canada gathered under the tall, tall trees of Camp Valaqua to learn, worship and fellowship, at the Mennonite Church Canada youth gathering Amplify!

Three youths reflect on their experience at Amplify!

Ethan Willms and Kai Willms (Photo by Deanna Willms)

Dinner in the dining hall. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Guest speaker Christy Anderson challenges youth to work toward reconciliation. (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Campers learn new songs and actions at Amplify! (Photo by Joani Neufeldt)

Ethan Willms
Foothills Mennonite Church, Calgary

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend Amplify! at Camp Valaqua. This was an amazing experience for me, and it left me wanting more.

The power of language

Anna Nekola (left) and Jubilee Dueck Thiessen (right)

How have you experienced gendered language? Has certain language hurt you or made you feel welcome and safe? These are some of the questions that students reflected on in a recent peer-led survey about Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

‘Finding God in uncertain times’

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld leads members of Edmonton First Mennonite Church on a mushroom tour at their fall retreat at Camp Valaqua near Water Valley, Alta., from Sept. 2 to 4. (Photo by Jessica Evans)

Edmonton First Mennonite Church has a long-standing tradition of holding its fall retreat every Labour Day long weekend at Camp Valaqua. For the first time in two years, members were once again able to come together and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and spend time in each other’s company.

Vineland church goes ‘cruising on Menno Street’

One of the vintage cars on display during Vineland United Mennonite Church’s ‘Cruising on Menno Street’ event on Aug. 12, that also included a barbecue supper in the parking lot. (Photo by Maria H. Klassen)

“Cruising on Menno Street” was the theme of an outdoor event staged by Vineland United Mennonite Church on Aug. 12.

Many restored and polished vintage cars were on display in the church parking lot. Cars were labelled with the name, year, special features and owner’s name. Automobile owners answered visitors’ questions and even gave a few rides.

‘We have no safe area under the sky’

Displaced by conflict and trapped by drought, this woman seeks water in the Afar region in northern Ethiopia. (UNICEF on Flickr.com / Creative Commons 2.0)

This UN-chartered ship left Ukraine on Aug. 16, carrying 23,000 tonnes of wheat bound for World Food Programme efforts in the Horn of Africa. (WFP/Anastasiia Honcharuk, used with permission)

For much of my life I associated Ethiopia with famine. I’m just old enough to recall the searing scenes from Ethiopia in the mid-1980s: windswept, dull-beige landscapes; skeletal cattle; distended bellies; flies; people crowding trucks laden with sacks of food; and charitable rock concerts.

Believers Church Bible Commentary series nears completion

Dan Epp-Tiessen wrote the most recent volume of the Believers Church Bible Commentary series on Joel, Obadiah and Micah, which will launch in October with an event at the CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre in Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

After almost 40 years of writing and editing, the Believers Church Bible Commentary (BCBC) series is nearing completion.

The collection of commentaries covers every book of the Bible, written by various biblical scholars across North America. Herald Press has published 35 volumes since 1986, and almost all of its final nine are currently in progress.

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