Viewpoints

Listen to the silence

Recently, I heard a story about a young prince named Hullabaloo. He lived in a land where everyone and everything was noisy. When people talked, they shouted at each other. When they ate their soup, they inhaled it with a loud air-over-tongue sound. When they worked, they clanked and bumped until the air was filled with noise.

Family tradition goes back 500 years

Making peppernuts for Christmas are, from left to right: granddaughters Kishina and Anaya Toews, and Oma Marion Toews. (Photo by Dave Toews)

Pfeffernusse,” Dora repeated after me in amazement! She couldn’t believe that my Christmas treats were the same as hers.

It was Nov. 7, 2002, and we were sitting around the pool at Toddy’s Backpacker Hostel in Alice Springs, Australia. Nostalgia crept among us; we had wandered far and wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

‘I’m sorry:’ Apologies and abuse

(Photo: flickr.com/photos/spudmurphy/2219131207/)

What role do apologies play in healing from abuse? We may feel that we can’t go wrong by offering an apology. We encourage people to apologize to each other in church. Unfortunately, too often quick apologies lead to more hurt than healing, especially in the context of abuse, where the hurt done is so long-lasting and painful.

Here are six areas where apologies can go wrong:

Johnny Kehler

Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Pioneer Mission Photo Collection

Johnny Kehler, left, with his plane and George Groening, at Matheson Island, Man. Groening grew up near Lowe Farm, Man., and served the Mennonite church community for decades. As a long-serving leader, he not only witnessed change but instituted changes as well.

Choose life

Melissa Miller

“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” These Old Testament words resonated with me this past summer as part of my extended family gathered at our church camp. We did the typical things like catching up on each other’s lives, playing games and debating if the mountain spring-fed lake was warm enough for swimming.

Patricia Beach baptism

Photo: Selkirk Christian Fellowship Photo Collection

Malcom and Esther Wenger moved to the town of Selkirk, Man., in 1979. Malcolm worked for the Conference of Mennonites in Canada’s Native Ministries program and pastored the small Selkirk Christian Fellowship. Pictured, Malcolm baptizes Gillian Thororanson at Patricia Beach, Man., on July 22, 1979.

On leaving home and coming home

The Barkmans say their final goodbyes to their Peace Church friends in Manilla this past spring. (Photo courtesy of the Barkman family)

Saying goodbye to a friend that’s more like a big brother. (Photo courtesy of the Barkman family)

Five months ago, when we were packing up our lives in Manila, I wanted so badly to just stay. I didn't think I could handle any more tearful farewells and I felt horrible tearing our kids away from our Peace Church family who helped to raise our kids. I am still filled with tears when I think back on those painful goodbyes.

Gathering and sharing seeds of faith

Shirley Redekop, the president of Mennonite Women Canada, is pictured with a Maasai student from Monduli Village from Monduli Village. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Shirley Redekop crushes roasted coffee beans at the St. Catharine monastery in Karatu while Sister Norellen looks on. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

‘Mama’ Milka, left, and another Monduli Village woman teach the Maasai way of beading to Liz Koop of Ontario and Linda Rush from Oregon during their TourMagination excursion to Tanzania this summer. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Arusha Mennonite Church women process into their Tanzanian church. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Arusha Mennonite Church women at a Sunday morning worship service. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

North American women examine the handmade crafts by women of Arusha Mennonite Church. Sale of the crafts helps support the Tanzanian congregation. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

An Arusha Mennonite Church woman sews crafts to sell in aid of congregational projects. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Norene Kanagy reads with a Maasai student in Monduli Village, Tanzania. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Some years ago, a seed was planted in my heart to take a group of intergenerational North American Mennonite women to share faith and life stories with other Mennonite women in an international setting.

Peace Factory

Photo: MCC Ontario/Mennonite Archives of Ontario

“Groups keep pleading for Peace Factory,” said a Mennonite Central Committee memo in 1996. An interactive exhibit, Peace Factory was a cooperative Mennonite project. Its goal was to “help all Christians connect their faith in God with a life of peacemaking.” In 1997, it toured southwestern Ontario.

Can we talk politics?

Melissa Miller

Some years ago, when Canada was in the midst of a federal election, my husband proposed that our church “talk politics.” Specifically, that we set aside time in the adult Sunday school class to examine the issues and the options being offered by different parties and candidates.

A wise decision

Sherri Grosz

From the time we are young, most of us are taught that decisions about money are not to be taken lightly. Through experiences like saving up to buy a new bike, purchasing our first car and choosing a new home, we become familiar with budgeting, saving and praying about the big financial decisions in our lives.

Lonely creek

Photo from the Jake Peters Photograph Collection / Mennonite Heritage Archives

A lonely bridge over a creek near Winkler, Man., in 1907. A humble structure, but so very important. Bridges connected farmers to markets, children to schools, families to church, and pregnant women to midwives. Many of the everyday things that we use are humble pieces that someone has expended effort to make.

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