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Birding with Alvin

‘I’m still learning all the time,’ says birder Alvin Dyck, pictured at Oak Hammock Marsh near Winnipeg. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

I don’t get out much.

That’s true for my personal life. My wife and I are homebodies and we jokingly refer to ourselves as “indoor kids”—a nod to the kind of children who choose watching TV or reading a book over getting outside and running around.

Of beets and chainsaws

(Photo by Will Braun)

If integrity is the currency of change, the Wiederkehr family of Mildmay, Ontario should have a chunk of change to spend.

In a world of compromise, greenwashing and homesteaders Instagramming their idealism, the Wiederkehrs have done far more than most to actually extract themselves from the consumerist machine that treats earth as waste bin and soul as credit card.

The poofy blue MCC couch

Not *the* poofy blue couch, but *a* poofy blue couch. (Photo by Giacomo Carra/Unsplash)

When I worked at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) office in Winnipeg 20 years ago, I took pride in showing up early. Occasionally I even arrived before Norm, the custodian, who turned the lights on at 7 a.m.

Sometimes, I was also the last to leave.

I was doing advocacy with a Cree community and there was no shortage of passion or work.

The duty of tension

Maxime Bernier, former Conservative cabinet minister from Quebec, and now leader of the People’s Party of Canada—ran in the federal by-election in southern Manitoba, basing his campaign in the heart of Mennonite country. This image is from a June 10 rally in Winkler, where the big-city francophone politician has won the hearts of a suprising number of Mennonites. (Photo by Will Braun)

I did not plan to write about polarization—I’ve filled my quota on that topic—until Maxime Bernier held a rally near my home. Bernier leads the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) and may be the most prominent populist politician in the country. I couldn’t resist the chance to cross the political divide.

How I almost bought a Tesla

The Tesla that tempted me. (Photos from Kijiji post, compilation by Betty Avery)

I came closer than I’d like to admit.

Three weeks before a family road trip to Ontario, our ex-Hutterite mechanic gave our 2004 Jetta wagon the death sentence. The ensuing car search turned into a troubling family crash course in the psychology of real-life environmental ethics.

In-house acknowledgment

A selection of covers designed by Ross W. Muir, managing editor of Canadian Mennonite from 2005-2023, that feature his own photography. (Collage designed by Betty Avery)

With this issue of Canadian Mennonite, Ross W. Muir completes his time with the magazine. As managing editor for almost 18 years, he has undertaken a central piece of the work required to put the magazine together every two weeks.

A centuries-old offer of peace

Jonathan Neufeld is the Indigenous relations coordinator for Mennonite Church Canada.

During the Papal visit to Canada in the summer of 2022, observers and news-watchers likely caught glimpses of banners and heard chants to reject or repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. For some, this may have been a first introduction to the Doctrine; for others it represented decades of work to bring the Doctrine out of the shadows and into the light.

Do we dare to succeed?

'I hear and feel two different narratives—one about keeping the doors open and another about bursting out of the doors on a mission.' (Photo by Manuel Hodel/Unsplash)

“I am convinced more so now than ever before that every neighbourhood deserves a Jesus-centred, disciple-making peace presence.” Norm Dyck starts the 2022 Church Planting Resource from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada with that conviction.

No shortcut to Easter

A mural in San Salvador shows Oscar Romero surrounded by peasants. (Photo by Will Braun)

It’s not easy to come up with fresh, new material for Easter, so we dug up something nearly 500 years old instead. We’re putting the “Menno” in Canadian Mennonite, literally—the original Menno.

The evangelical edge

(Photo by Gift Habeshaw/Unsplash)

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 holy paradox of modern Mennonite identity

Mennonite demographics have shifted greatly over the centuries. Perceptions need to follow. (Design: Betty Avery)

I grew up happily embedded in white Mennonite culture in rural Manitoba. Our family regularly travelled to Winnipeg and on the edge of the city we would pass a Chinese Mennonite church. I never visited, heard about, read about or asked about that church. I just saw that sign and wondered vaguely how we all fit together.

My prayer

Peter and Elfrieda Dyck share a laugh during a commissioning for an MCC speaking tour in 1994. (MCC photo/Canadian Mennonite files)

Let me share some wishes for Canadian Mennonite, which are largely my prayer for the overall endeavour of faith. These are topics I’m drawn to and challenges I note.

Three questions about content

(Photo by Climate Reality Project/Unsplash)

Movies and TV shows about journalism always catch my attention. How do publishing enterprises work? How do reporters and editors gather information? How are decisions made about the content that the public will see?

Here are questions that readers have about the content you read on the print and web pages of Canadian Mennonite.

Change ahead

(Photo by Gaelle Marcel/Unsplash)

I once knew a young child for whom change was extremely difficult. Whether the change came as a surprise or whether the child anticipated the happy results of an expected change, it was hard to move from “here” to “there.” Change can be difficult for people of all ages.

Senses open new doors

Stella and Rebecca Liu of Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church help file documents and shelve books in the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ont. In the summer of 2019 Mennonite youth and leaders participated in a Mennonite Disaster Service project there to help the Woodland Cultural Centre’s Save the Evidence campaign. “It’s personal, there are names and faces. It’s not just textbook information now,” said one participant. (Photo by John Longhurst)

The Friesen Housebarn at Neubergthal Heritage Site in Altona, Man. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/NeubergthalCommons)

First, a disclaimer: I love books. With a father in the bookstore and publishing business, I grew up in a household that always had books available. I’ve volunteered and been employed in a library. I currently own cards to two local libraries. For me, books have been a source of learning, inspiration and connection to people in other places and times. 


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