Radio host Esther Horch interviews school children live on a Saturday morning broadcast of Children’s Party in 1958. This education and entertainment show for children aired daily on CFAM from Altona, Man. Founded in 1956 by Mennonite shareholders, CFAM could reach 90 percent of Manitoba’s population.
Relationships in an age of ‘impacts and outcomes’
Re: “The future of MCC,” Aug. 31, page 11.
Certainly relationship has been at the core of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for many years. But is that still really the case?
A number of weeks ago I boarded a plane in Toronto for Istanbul. It’s a long flight—more than nine hours—and I secretly hoped that the seat beside me would remain empty so I could stretch out and sleep. It wasn’t to be. A young man in his late 20s plopped down beside me. I did the polite thing and introduced myself. “I’m Armi,” he replied.
Mennonite Church Canada’s history of engaging our global neighbours in mission and international church relations began more than 100 years ago. Since that time, the worldwide church has grown significantly. Almost two-thirds of the global Anabaptist community today is African, Asian or Latin American.
Tribes are good (essential, I said in my last column). And yet there is danger when tribal extremes become virulent tribalism. Such tribalism takes what is good and life-giving about a bounded group and morphs it into a destructive, negative force. It proclaims the superiority of one group over another.
Mennonite Central Committee nurse Katherine Dyck poses with mothers and twins in Pusan, Korea, in 1956. Born in Russia in 1925, she immigrated to Rosthern, Sask., and worked as a nurse in Saskatchewan and Maryland before beginning service in Korea in 1953.
My family and I moved from Vancouver to Regina in July and are slowly searching for a faith community. So far we’ve attended two churches close to where we live, and with which we would feel comfortable, theologically. When we arrived (late) at both services, the first thing I noticed was that there were mostly older folks sitting in the chairs.
Missionary to the city of Winnipeg, Anna Thiessen, is seated with some girls she worked with in 1919. Rural life has been an important part of Mennonite life and self-understanding. The city was seen as dangerous and unhealthy and therefore shunned. Mennonite Brethren missionary Anna Thiessen was one of the first Canadian Mennonites who chose to work in the city, beginning in 1915.
Antje van Dijk stopped by the Mennonite Women Canada display to chat with Liz Koop. Van Dijk coordinates women’s groups in the Netherlands. (Photo by Liz Koop)
Liz Koop met Ekien-E-Kiag Baudouin, who is planting a Mennonite Church in Durban, South Africa. He wants to connect women from South Africa with women from Canada. (Photo by Liz Koop)
I can hardly find words to describe the experience of worshipping, singing, eating and fellowshipping with about 7,500 others at Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly, held in Harrisburg, Pa., this summer. We came from so many different countries, speaking so many different languages, yet connected to each other by a common confession of faith. What an amazing and inspiring week it was!
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has long been part of the DNA of the North American Anabaptist church, linking us to the world and providing a sense of relation to “the least of these.” It has served as an informal seminary, immersing thousands of us in realities that have enriched us and, in turn, enriched our friends, family and the church. But that is changing.
Life is never static. As I transition from eleven years of leadership with Mennonite Church Canada into a season of semi-retirement and new opportunities, I’m struck by the parallels between the endemic and essential aspects of change in personal life and in church life.
In fond farewell, I offer a few reflections on change for the church.
On a recent visit to extended family, I greeted my nephew’s wife Emily and their year-old son Kenneth. She immediately thrust her child out to me, introducing him to his “auntie from away.” Like a thirsty desert traveller, I drank in the sweetness of the youngest family member, who settled without protest into my eager arms, stranger though I was to him.