At the request of Elsie Wiebe of Mennonite Women in Manitoba, Mennonite Collegiate Institute graduating student Amelia Pahl interviewed Martha Epp, 77, of Morden, Man., who has been the primary caregiver for her husband Henry, 88, ever since debilitating arthritis set in all over his already frail body four years ago. Both Epp and Pahl attend Morden Mennonite Church.
My exhibit of paintings, Along the Road to Freedom, remembers and honours the journeys of Russian Mennonite women who led their families to freedom in Canada, mostly in the 1920s and 1940s. It also acknowledges those thousands who did not escape. It’s a story that is familiar to many cultures and faiths.
Recently the Listening Church video (listeningchurch.ca) was released, in which lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/queer (LGBTQ) people speak of their experiences in Mennonite churches. One speaker challenged people “who had changed their minds” to tell their stories. Here I take up that challenge.
There was an interesting scene on a recent courtroom drama in which a dying, wealthy woman had taken the time to place sticky notes on precious items around her home to indicate to whom the items should go after she died. Unfortunately, the woman passed away during the night. By morning, all of her carefully placed sticky notes had fallen to the floor. Oops!
In my experience, Mennonites live by the adages “Actions speak louder than words” and “Faith without works is dead.”
Banff, Alta., has hosted numerous Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren national youth gatherings. Pictured are youth “crowd surfing” at a 1995 Mennonite Brethren event in Banff. Events like these have been important times of building friendships with youth leaders, people within one’s own church, and those from across the country.
It is said that change is inevitable. As true as that might be, it doesn’t have to leave us powerless, for we always have a choice of how we decide to respond to it.
In 2015, for the first time in nearly two centuries of publication, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary chose a suffix as its word of the year. That word was “ism.”
Dianne Bailey, Mary Bechtel and Beth Good play Mennonite pioneer women in the 1970 production of Trail of the Conestoga. Several ambitious drama projects were undertaken by Ontario Mennonites during this time, spurred on in part by Canada’s centennial in 1967 and a new emphasis on multiculturalism. The New Commandment by Barbara Coffman was produced in 1967.
One of the things I most admire about Scripture is the space it creates for the undominant voice, specifically the strange and suspect voice. For sure, the text is far from perfect. Alongside all those male authors, heroes and stories, give us some more women! And next to those Israelite colonists, how about a few Canaanites—those dispossessed natives—offering their truths?
“What this is about,” the counsellor said kindly, “is the end. How your mother faces the end—her dying—impacts everyone else in the family. How you and your siblings respond to your mother affects each person as well. You are all in this together.”
It’s time for “the talk.” You know, the one we’ve been putting off because it’s uncomfortable. That end-of-life conversation. There is, after all, a 100 percent certainty of our death. The Psalms remind us of our frailty: “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” Psalm 39:4 (New International Version).
‘Braun, Harder, Andres with wives at Montreal River,’ read the caption on the back of this photo taken by conscientious objector Wes Brown in 1942. As luck would have it, I knew Ted and Mary Harder, the centre couple, who were my great-uncle and great-aunt. E-mails to relatives confirmed the couple at left as Mary and Henry Braun. But who were the Andreses?
The way many Canadians understand and talk about truth has changed. Some Christian thinkers believe the church needs to change how we understand and talk about truth as well, if we are to engage our fellow Canadians in meaningful conversations about God and faith.
Church leaders thanked for naming Vernon Leis
I want to publicly say thank you to Mennonite church leaders for speaking up against sexual misconduct in the case against Vernon Leis, even if it is decades after the fact.
Recently I discovered Apple Music. This is an amazing deal in which I give the good folks at Apple a few dollars every month and they give me access to more than 30 million songs. Well, I went on a bit of a listening binge. I would think of a song and then look it up and play it.
The real driver of our lives—and even our churches—is whose voice we hear and obey. We make decisions to listen to and give authority somewhere. We quote, footnote and reference. We point to a source, and usually one that agrees with us.
On Feb. 27, 2016, I attended a talk given by Seth Klein, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives B.C., about The Leap Manifesto, an initiative out of the This Changes Everything movement begun by Naomi Klein and her book of the same name.
Freeman Simard is pictured in traditional indigenous regalia in the front of a church in Manigotogan, Man., which is about 200 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. A small portable record player is helping Freeman as he participates in an event called ‘Native awareness’ around the Christmas season in 1979.
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (I Peter 4:10 NIV).
Many times over the years I have been asked to volunteer here or there, but at the same time I have also been asked, “Why do you do this to yourself?”
Last summer, the Mennonite Heritage Centre was given a German language database of more than 110,000 family registries. We were ecstatic! With this new resource, we could reconnect families torn apart during the Second World War. The “lost” had been found. A branch from our faith family tree could be grafted back on.