Do you ever have a Sunday when the church music stinks? In your opinion, at least? Well, that’s the way it should be from time to time.
One of the privileges of living and travelling overseas is that you get to become a part of many different families. I’ve been fortunate to spend significant amounts of time with families in Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, just to name a few. But one of the most special families I have had the honour of being “adopted” by is the Jaber family in Palestine-Israel.
In her story about hospitality, “Sharing food with my two families,” Natasha Krahn describes being served a traditional Palestinian dish turned upside down on a large platter. Here is the recipe as found in the Extending the Table cookbook.
In large, heavy saucepan, heat:
Staff outside the Bethesda Home in 1965 in Campden, Ont. Bethesda, the first Mennonite mental health facility in North America, was begun in the early 1930s by Henry and Maria Wiebe to serve the Russian Mennonite immigrant community. The Wiebes had gained their experience working at Bethania in Russia, the first Mennonite mental health hospital in the world.
“[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . . ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
The subject of masks came up in the adult Sunday school class. Not literal ones, but the invisible ones we wear in an attempt to hide that which we don’t want to be seen. I ventured that such masks are unhelpful barriers, interfering with connectedness and intimacy.
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. . . . [I]nstead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ ” (James 4:13-15)
The king was looking for someone possessing great wisdom to join his council of advisors. So he contacted the elders of the 12 regions of his kingdom and asked them to send their wisest man or woman to his palace to participate in a challenge. The winner would then be invited to join his council.
How much have funding losses affected Future Directions?
For once, I know what I’m giving up for Lent early this year: social media.
It has been my experience that the church of Jesus Christ is chock-full of glorious stories of the power and presence of our Lord. It’s also my experience that many of these stories remain untold. The church is poorer for this silence. Why aren’t we telling these stories?
Lend me a moment to share a few that I’ve been able to unearth:
This photo tells the story of a congregation’s diaspora. The last ältester (ordained elder) of the Chortitza Mennonite Church in Ukraine was Heinrich Winter. The church was the first Mennonite congregation organized in Imperial Russia, and thrived up until the Soviet era, when the government made religious activities extremely difficult. In 1943, most of the congregation fled to Germany.
Reader lauds ‘brilliant’ Christmas feature
Re: “Spirit-heat to thaw your freezing blood” feature, Dec. 12, 2016, page 4.
As my dental hygienist would say: “brilliant!” Thank you, Layton Friesen. May you enjoy a long and fruitful ministry.
When we as a church agree to help those in need and place our trust in God, we should anticipate unexpected consequences. As we serve, we might make new friends, learn a new skill or enrich our spiritual lives.
I am in my 60s, as are many of my friends. Our parents, if they are living, are in their 80s and 90s, with the accompanying challenges and rewards of that season of life. The experiences of the parents impact their children significantly. Now, when I gather with my peers, we often talk about our parents. The stories we tell may be distressing or inspiring, funny or heartbreaking.
Many of us are familiar with the the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. There are great lessons in this story about grace and forgiveness, but I’ve never heard it used in the context of warning about giving children gifts before they are emotionally or spiritually mature enough to handle them properly.
For much of Mennonite history, leaders were called from within the group to serve. This was in addition to working on their own farm or business to pay the bills. One of the longest-serving bishops of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church, centred in Manitoba, was Peter A. Toews (1877-1961), pictured with his wife Maria Toews (1880-1970).
How does one define wisdom? It’s difficult to put into words.
Herman Hesse, in his classic novel, Siddhartha, writes: “Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish. . . . Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
The timing was tight. I had made it to the airport parking lot and was then shuttled to Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to catch my flight to Winnipeg for yet another round of meetings with executive staff and moderators from each of the five area churches and Mennonite Church Canada.
I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of those seven letters to the churches named in Revelation 2 and 3. The words of Jesus to fellowships in present-day western Turkey were both encouraging and at points sharp with direct challenge. Jesus is serious about the health and vitality of his body, no matter where they are or what they are staring down.
Frieda Woelk loves to bake. When she gets up in the morning, she thinks, “What can I bake today?” Although she is in her mid-80s and lives in a seniors apartment in the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home complex, she keeps very busy with cooking, baking and socializing. She is so busy that when her children want to spend time with her they ask, “When can we pencil you in?”