I have never met César García, but I am impressed with his story as told by Meetinghouse freelancer Kathy Heinrichs Wiest on page 4. García is the general secretary-elect of Mennonite World Conference.
Have we learned anything about resolving church conflict in the past 50 years?
After reading the painful account of the German/English language dissension resulting in several congregational splits (“Changing the language of worship is a test of love,” page 4), our faith community should take a contemplative look at how to redeem this blot on our past.
“If we step back and review the letters to the editor in this magazine over the past several years, we generally find debates in the church and religion framed in terms of conservative and liberal.
“Each side thinks the other is at best misguided, perhaps even profoundly wrong, and misinterprets Scripture. There tends to be a fair bit of each side yelling at the other.”
As an American living and working in Canada, I am both intrigued and saddened by two political events of the past ten days in these two North American countries—the take-out of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. military and the take-over by a militaristic Conservative majority government in Monday’s elections in Canada.
While we won’t endorse candidates of the five political parties in the upcoming May 2 election, or tell you how to vote, we do ask Mennonite voters to both examine the political views and voting records of candidates regarding our deeply held core beliefs in peacemaking, compassion for the poor and care for creation before placing your ballot in the ballot box.
“I have never heard the editor’s vision for the magazine,” said a reader when asked what she thought of Canadian Mennonite. The observation caught me up short. Assuming my vision was implicit in the biweekly conversation I engender, being explicit with my goals and aspirations didn’t seem necessary.
The church, or congregation, as a “royal priesthood” was announced as one of our core beliefs by the Anabaptist Reformers nearly 500 years ago, setting us apart from our Catholic-Protestant counterparts who, in that time and place, were perceived to have corrupted the faith with their vertical view of a believer’s relationship to God.
We do have a website, dear readers, a recently re-designed one, in fact.
And we know many of you are reading Canadian Mennonite online. Our Google Analytics tell us that as many as 2,400 unique visitors a month are coming to the website for some 16,000 page views and staying an average of three minutes to read something of interest.
As a people of hope, what should we, as a Mennonite faith community, expect on the road ahead in 2011?
If the past is prelude, as the adage goes, there are road signs, some of them giving helpful direction, others giving us warnings. At the risk of oversimplifying, we will deal with only three: cultural shifts, ecumenism and a new mission/service focus.