What is the significance of youth pastors living with their partner outside of marriage? How do young people respond to this information? Sexuality, spirituality, marriage, cohabitation and the church community all pertain to this conversation. The reality of cohabitation questions long-held views of marriage.
What makes Mennonites funny, and what does their sense of humour say about them?
Those are the questions at the heart of That Mennonite Joke, a new documentary from Prairie Boy Productions. Written and directed by Winnipeg filmmaker Orlando Braun, the documentary follows Niverville, Man., comedian Matt Falk as he traces the roots of Mennonite humour.
I paid for my undergraduate degree with scholarships and my own savings, and graduated without student debt. I am touchy about this. I tell anyone listening about how expensive it was, how I kept my grades high and earned scholarships, what weird part-time work I did and the imaginative ways I found to save money.
When Manitoba photographer Jay Siemens partnered with Friesens Corporation to create a 2016 calendar to benefit Syrian refugees, he had no idea they would print 1,000 copies and raise $20,000 for the cause in a matter of weeks. But that’s exactly what happened last month in the lead-up to Christmas.
Growing up, Allison Barron didn’t feel she could voice her interests in computer games and science fiction at church. (Photo by James Christian Imagery)
Kyle Rudge leads monthly Bible studies that explore faith by looking at television shows like Dr. Who, Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Photo courtesy of Geekdom House)
Allison Barron developed an interest in computer games and science fiction at an early age. Reconciling her pop culture interests with her Christian faith has not always been easy, though.
“I’ve never felt very ostracized or pressured because of my [interests],” says Barron, 26. At the same time, “I did not feel like that was something I could bring to church, either.”
My partner Suzanne Braun and I spent three years as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) service workers in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho from 2011-14. As the connecting peoples coordinator and planning, monitoring and evaluation coordinator, we worked to support a wide variety of MCC partner organizations throughout the SwaLeSA area.
It takes Anna Chemar almost two hours to dress in her favourite style. The elaborate makeup alone requires 45 minutes. Carefully slipping into the clothes—bell-shaped skirt, blouse and corset—takes another 20 minutes. The rest of the time is devoted to final touches: wig, headdress and painted lips. When finished, she looks like a Gothic-styled doll.
“Mennonites talking about sex? That would probably make world news!”
So observes the latest original production by Ontario-based theatre company Theatre of the Beat. The hard-hitting play, This Will Lead to Dancing, tackles this “taboo” topic and encourages Mennonites to talk about lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer (LGBTQ) inclusivity at least in our congregations.
My mother Colleen Thiessen and I were out for a walk when I visited her a few months ago and we passed our church. I asked how she could attend every Sunday morning. She replied, “I don’t. That’s the problem. I barely even have enough strength to just get out of bed.”
Even walking is an obstacle for her these days.
I always knew growing up that I wanted to leave home and see the world. The thought of one day volunteering overseas, listening to people’s stories and learning new languages excited me all through my adolescence and young adulthood.
That’s now a reality.
Sleeping soundly with his legs pulled into his hunched frame, my grandfather was comfortable before I woke him.
For Beverley Winter, the Friendship Manor community includes teenagers from the Altona Mennonite Church (AMC) youth group. Winter looks forward to monthly Sunday morning breakfasts with the youth group, a tradition started in 2011.
“We become a ‘nutcase’ when we’re isolated,” Winter says. “But it’s been so nice since [the youth group] have been here.”
Javier and his family arrived in Winnipeg in November of 2013, on the brink of Winnipeg’s coldest winter since 1898, a bone-chilling change from their Colombian homeland, where the temperature rarely drops far below zero.
The cold was a small price to pay for safety, though. The family fled Colombia to save their lives.
A selection of thematically diverse prints constitute Rudolph’s contribution to “Tandem: Going Places Together.” (Photo courtesy of Miriam Rudolph)
Miriam Rudolph and Terry Hildebrand met 11 years ago while studying fine arts at the University of Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Miriam Rudolph)
Rudolph is an accomplished printmaker currently working on her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Alberta. (Photo courtesy of Miriam Rudolph)
Originally from Winkler, Terry Hildebrand earned a Master of Fine Arts degree with a focus on ceramics from the University of Minnesota. (Photo courtesy of Miriam Rudoph)
From Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Edmonton, Terry Hildebrand and Miriam Rudolph’s journey together as artists and life partners has taken them to a variety of different places.
Youth and young adults from all over the world went to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from July 21 to 26 for a reunion with the global Mennonite family. We spoke with a handful of young Canadians who were at Mennonite World Conference assembly about their time in Harrisburg. Though, as one young person pointed out, MWC is something best witnessed first-hand.