“It takes a village to raise a child,” we’ve often heard. Does it also take a village to grow old? I wondered after a phone call with a friend who is a generation older than me. We talked of her move from independent living into a small seniors’ apartment, and the pleasures and challenges she is experiencing there.
Second World War conscientious objectors (COs) were often sent to provincial parks for manual labour, as part of their alternative service assignments. This photo, taken between 1941-45, depicts Mennonite men getting dressed in their winter clothes around the warmth of a wood stove. Smoke from the stove, with laundry hanging from the rafters, can be seen in the background.
December 24. Late morning. I am in the kitchen, making a pot of soup, savouring its scents and colours. Lovely Christmas music pours from the radio. I’m hoping this domestic activity will centre me in the wake of the stormy currents that accompany the season. How do we ponder all these things, like Mary did, when we are assaulted by such a crush of busyness?
Some time ago, during a morning walk, I found a wallet a few blocks from my house. I looked around, hoping the owner might still be close by, but there was no one. Just me. A peek inside revealed a library card, a health card and $25 in bills. That was it. No credit cards. No driver’s licence. Nothing with an address or a phone number.
The weeks leading up to Christmas brought an overwhelming spirit of anticipation to our household when I was growing up. In fact, the intensity of waiting to open our gifts on Christmas morn was too much for my brother and me to bear.
My memories of the church I grew up in are good ones. I liked seeing my friends in Sunday school every week and enjoyed singing in the grown-up service. The Halloween game nights, Christmas musicals and Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) were fun. They were also opportunities—at least the musicals and VBS—for people to accept Jesus Christ into their hearts.
During my first year as a member of the Women of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (WMCEC) executive, I was fortunate to be invited to an information session about the possibility of Sister Care (a women’s empowerment program created by Mennonite Women U.S.A.) coming to Canada. Being quite the “newbie” in 2014, I had no idea what to expect.
This photo is of a men’s quartet singing for a radio broadcast in a Vancouver Mennonite church basement circa the 1960s. Advances in mass communication such as radio were first met with suspicion and in some cases were banned in Mennonite communities warning about worldly influences entering the home and community. Committees were established to consider the best response to these innovations.
Early in the Syrian refugee crisis, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) asked me to be part of a delegation meeting with Chris Alexander, minister of immigration. We indicated that the church was ready to do what it could to respond to the crisis. But as the crisis continued to unfold and governments struggle to know what to do, I pondered further.