Readers write: July 25, 2016 issue

July 20, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 15

Use land for food production, not burying the dead

For some time, I have wondered whether we are good stewards when we use precious real estate to bury our dead. I do not now own real estate, and I question why, upon my death, I should own a piece of land for the next thousand years. Thousands of hectares of land hold grave markers, pay no taxes, require maintenance and are all but forgotten. I will give up my little plot to grow food for a starving world.

My children recently donated their deceased father’s body to science, and several months later received his ashes, all at no cost.  

Surely our church or some organization on the Internet could keep a memory bank of our deceased loved one’s statistics, with a photo and other details.

Lydia Warkentin Mathes,
Machesney Park, Ill.

 

Yellow Bellies more inclusive than The Last Objectors

I enjoyed viewing the premiere of The Last Objectors, a film about Canada’s conscientious objectors during the Second World War, at the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario meeting on June 18. Produced by Refuge Productions of Winnipeg and researched by Conrad Stoesz of the Mennonite Heritage Centre in Winnipeg, it was a wonderful overview with interviewees who served as COs.

However, after the showing a few asked, “Were there no Swiss Mennonites who served as CO’s?” One, maybe two, interviewees were from Ontario, but those were from Russian Mennonite backgrounds.

Laureen Harder-Gissing, archivist at the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, said that 2,600 of the 10,000 Canadian COs were from Ontario, where Swiss/Amish would have been the single biggest group.

A week earlier, Theatre of the Beat premiered Yellow Bellies, a dramatic version of the same story. Young playwrights Johnny Wideman and Rebecca Steiner included a range of experiences of Swiss, Amish and Russian Mennonites, both East and West. Coincidently, funding for this play was entirely from Ontario, mostly from Swiss/Amish donors. I’m glad to see younger Mennonite writers are providing a broader perspective.

Fred W. Martin, Waterloo, Ont.
Fred W. Martin is chair of the Theatre of the Beat board.

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