When I grew up in a conservative, non-denominational church, the issue of homosexuality was never discussed, but it was regarded as “sin.” It was not until a friend came out to me at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg that I had a direct experience with someone who is homosexual. My strong friendship with this person let me see her humanity, rather than just a sexual orientation.
The choirs, bands and performers at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) produce some of the most beautiful music around, but a few graduates are using music to help people achieve non-musical goals.
I remember coming home the day my brain started bleeding.
I had worked the morning shift that Friday and was pulling into my driveway when the spots in my eyes wouldn’t go away. I nonchalantly dismissed it as the brightness of the morning sun, thinking nothing of it at first.
The accident that came to shape Lisa’s life happened three months after her first birthday. She was run over by a car.
“The front and back wheel went over my head,” she says. “My eyes were pushed out and my ear was almost cut off, it was just hanging by a little bit of skin. I was unconscious for 32 days and the doctors said there was no hope I would make it.”
This past spring, I walked the Camino de Santiago, an 800-kilometre pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galacia in northwestern Spain. Tradition has it that the remains of the Apostle James are buried at the site of the cathedral.
Maia was four years old when she was diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). She remembers being confused and upset. In many ways, the anger the Winnipegger feels towards her mother hasn’t dissipated after more than 30 years. “My mom did what to me?” she asks. “What happened?”
I’m not waiting for marriage.
This past summer, Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, who works for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraqi Kurdistan, visited the Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation in northwestern Ontario to prepare the community for the arrival of a CPT Aboriginal Justice delegation.
“Walk together, children, don’t you get weary,” said Bernice King, daughter of the legendary Martin Luther King Jr.
Those words were spoken to a crowd that organizers estimated at 70,000 who were about to take symbolic and literal steps towards reconciliation on Sept. 22, the day after the Vancouver Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) events ended.
At first glance, Shane Claiborne and Arika Fraser would seem to have little in common.
Claiborne is from Tennessee, is a popular author and is in demand as a speaker in Christian circles.
Arika lives in inner-city Winnipeg and sleeps under parked cars on nights when there is no better option.
What they have in common is poverty.
Crossing the street in a big Canadian city like Calgary isn’t very remarkable, but it’s a different story on the busy streets of Kathmandu.
Stefan Dyck, 25, from Okotoks, Alta., learned this first-hand after moving to Nepal in August to begin a one-year term with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Serving and Learning Together program.
“To love our neighbours as we love ourselves means also to love ourselves as we love our neighbours. It means to treat ourselves with as much kindness and understanding as we would the person next door who is in trouble.
In Dieudonne’s small apartment in Altona, Man., there is a colourful menagerie of crocheted animals: elephants, frogs and cats. He sells them for $15 each because crocheting is one of his few options for a livelihood. He is paralyzed below the waist.
The old saying goes that it’s better to give than to receive, but Kristina Toews’ six months in Colombia have taught her differently.
Canada is known as a land of plenty but, through the eyes of a newcomer, it’s not necessarily the land of happiness.
Paulin Bossou and his family moved to Winnipeg from Africa two years ago, and he has seen beyond Canada’s relative affluence and materialism.
Poet Sally Ito was born in Taber, Alta., and currently lives in Winnipeg. She has published three books of poetry, along with a collection of short stories. Her latest book of poems is Alert to Glory, published by Turnstone Press in 2011.
Editor's Note: The following article arrived too late to appear in our Aug. 19 'Fat Calf Festival' print issue.
Disrespect is nothing new for Michael Mifflin, who was born with spina bifida. In high school in Winnipeg, he was shoved into lockers and had his canes stolen and hidden by other students.
Now, as an adult, he navigates public transit with canes and a wheelchair, an effort sometimes greeted with impatient eye-rolling and complaints from comfortably seated transit users.
When I came back to church after a faith crisis in my early 20s, the first one I attended regularly was a place called Praxis. It was the kind of church where the young, hip pastor hoisted an infant into his arms and said with sincerity, “Dude, I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
God loves you and he wants you to live life with him. That was the message youth from across Canada were left with at the Fat Calf Festival, Mennonite Church Canada’s 2013 youth assembly.
Every morning in Jessica Burridge’s house begins with dancing. Accompanied by her children, Dakota, six, Danika, four, and Dawson, three, the family begins each day with joy to the music of Justin Bieber.
Some of the most horrifying injustices in Canada and the U.S. happened when more than 600 indigenous women went missing or were murdered in the last 20 years. The public hardly noticed or responded until it was too late.
I often find myself questioning the way the church handles single people. Surely there is a better way for the church to relate to those of us who aren’t married. When I looked for a website that offered encouragement for singles recently, I couldn’t find much of anything.
As a Ph.D. student studying Mennonite history, Susie Fisher Stoesz finds it hard sometimes to explain to her family what exactly she does when she goes to her office at the University of Manitoba. She hopes that will change with her contribution to Mothering Mennonite, a collection of essays that explores the roles of mothering in Mennonite contexts and the world at large.
Saida Sheikh, a Somali young woman who fled to a refugee camp in northwest Kenya when she was just nine years old, is one of two initial graduates of a World University Service of Canada (WUSC) program that gives refugees the opportunity to study at the University of Waterloo, Ont.