Web First - Opinion

Students in Burkina Faso write African church history

Sibiri Samuel Zongo and Sana Cabore take notes during Anicka Fast's Christianity in West Africa class at LOGOS University in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. (Photo by Josué Coulibaly)

Sibiri Samuel Zongo, a student at LOGOS University in Burkina Faso, lamented that the church in Africa is “like a canoe that passes without leaving a trace.” Anicka Fast, serving with Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Mission Network, is committed to changing this reality, through teaching courses that hone skills in writing oral history.

Is church online for good?

In its third live-streamed pandemic church service, Comunidad Evangélica Menonita of Barcelona, Spain, celebrates Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday in 2021. Joshua Garber records Estrella Norales, left, and Aïdeis Martín Mallol as they observe social-distancing guidelines while reading the liturgy. (Photo by Alfred Lozano Aran)

“We’re all going through the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. Context is everything.”

These words, spoken by a North American pastor, address the divergent responses to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many congregations in Canada and the United States continue to experience restrictions on in-person meetings, while others have had the freedom to safely gather again.

Making welcoming spaces for all

‘It turns out that when we make spaces more welcoming and nurturing for people with disabilities, we make spaces that are more welcoming and nurturing for all.’ (Photo by Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)

When I was a pastor, I learned we had a few young people with autism in our youth group. In order to begin creating an environment that felt more comfortable, I provided a big basket of fidgets on the table in the centre of the room. I expected that youth with autism would use them to help reduce anxiety and increase focus.

The land of my belonging

'What is the landscape that feels like home? The mountains with their forests, snow and freshwater streams.' (Photo by Viviana Rishe/Unsplash)

I sit in my backyard watching my dog as he rolls in the grass, pressing his back as deeply into the ground as he can. He moves freely, alternating his rolling with digging into patches of the earth that intrigue him.

My CERB story

‘While Mennonite history and theology also show hesitance around state politics, we cannot let theological hang-ups stop us from actively supporting measures that could change so many lives,’ Jonas Cornelsen writes. (Photo by Christina W. Kroeker Creative)

Does the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) mean the federal government is paying people to not work during the COVID-19 pandemic? Does this prove that a universal basic income would cause a mass exodus from workplaces and weaken our economy?

The perfect complexity of Coastal GasLink protests

Wet'suwet'en solidarity action in Toronto on February 8, 2020. (Photo by Jason Hargrove)

In 2012, I spent two memorable hours in Smithers, B.C., with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), one of the chiefs at the centre of the Coastal GasLink crisis now confounding our nation. I also spent time with the chief and other members of the Haisla Nation, which supports the pipeline. 

An overview of Christianity’s ideas about God

'Speaking of God' by Anthony G. Siegrist is an overview of how the Christian church has approached Scripture and humanity’s relationship to God over the past 2,000 years. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Because we live in a time of change and upheaval in our culture, Anthony G. Siegrist argues that the church needs to improve its biblical and theological literacy, writing, “It’s important that Christian communities nurture their ability to speak about God, about Scripture, and about our lives with care and attention.”

A bit of ‘colour’ inside

'Prison life is deprivation... Connections with nature are missing in the too-small, brick-and-wire yard, where you might get to spend an hour.' (Image by falco/Pixabay)

I like to bring simple card-making supplies into the secure unit of the Edmonton Institution for Women. The inmates enjoy the chance to be creative but, more than that, they crave an opportunity to make something to send to family on the outside. Life stories bubble up as they write in the cards, and I listen.

“’Twas in the moon of wintertime” not included in new Mennonite hymnal

“’Twas in the moon of wintertime” as it appears in 1992's Hymnal: A Worship Book. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Geraldine Balzer (left) and Katie Graber. (Photo courtesy of MennoniteUSA.org)

Choosing whether or not to include a song in Voices Together is more complicated than whether or not people like singing it.

Once Round the Barn: Cheap Edition

Another trip around the barn: In the video below, pigpen pundit Will Braun explores the difference between frugality and tightfistedness. (Photo by Jennifer deGroot)

“Most of us harbour a degree of financial neurosis, tinged with religious uptightness,” Will Braun, Canadian Mennonite’s resident ranter, says at the start of his latest video. 

Follow our pigpen pundit once around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard as he explains what really gets his goat about Mennonites and money.

What Rachel Held Evans taught me

Rachel Held Evans’s willingness to be honest about her faith journey left many readers feeling less alone, Christina Entz Moss writes. (Photo courtesy of RachelHeldEvans.com)

Since Rachel Held Evans’s sudden death on May 4, the internet has been filled with tributes to the beloved Christian author and her work. Her willingness to be honest about her faith journey left many readers, especially those who grew up in conservative evangelical churches, feeling less alone.

Once Round the Barn: Twang Edition

Another edition of ‘Once Round the Barn’: pigpen pundit Will Braun challenges you to get the feet a-stompin’ with some good old country music. See the video below.

Grab your cowboy hat and don’t mind the barn smell! Join Will Braun, Canadian Mennonite’s resident ranter, once around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard. This time he challenges you to cue up the country music twang. (See the video below. Then scroll down and check out some more rants.)

World Fellowship Sunday: A communion of 500 years

From the World Fellowship Sunday worship resources: Venezuelan migrants welcomed to the Iglesia Menonita de Riohacha, Colombia. (Photo by Iglesia Menonita de Riohacha)

Every year on the Sunday closest to January 21, Mennonite World Conference (MWC) invites its 107 member churches to join in a celebration of World Fellowship Sunday. (See the 2019 worship resources here.

Once Round the Barn: Pat-on-the-back Edition

Video below: ‘Once Round the Barn’ rides again. Resident ranter Will Braun has some choice words about how Mennonites talk about their generosity.

He’s our resident ranter, our pigpen pundit. Canadian Mennonite writer Will Braun rants around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard. This time he’s got opinions on how Mennonites talk about their generosity. (See the video below. Then scroll down more and check out more rants.)

'Winds of the Spirit' blow through the Global South

A tool for churches from the North to evaluate.

Tilahun Beyene is coordinator of International Missions Association, affiliated with Eastern Mennonite Missions. A long-time leader in Ethiopia’s Meserete Kristos Church, he authored I Will Build My Church, the Amharic language history of the growth of the MKC.

Conrad Kanagy is professor of sociology at Elizabethtown College, Pa., and pastor of Elizabethtown Mennonite Church. He authored Road Signs for the Journey, based on the 2006 Mennonite Church USA Church Member Profile.

Richard Showalter is past president of Eastern Mennonite Missions. He is current chair of the Mission Commission of Mennonite World Conference and coach for International Missions Association.

Anabaptist churches in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have grown rapidly in recent years, while membership and attendance numbers in North American and European churches have declined.

A Classic Mennonite Tale of One City

Leo Driedger is professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Manitoba, where he taught, researched and published for more than 40 years, and as Senior Scholar still writes today. This is his 19th book. For more than 20 years, Driedger has served on boards of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC Manitoba, MCC Canada, MCC International).

As a relative newcomer to the Canadian scene, I found Driedger’s latest book on the Mennonites in Winnipeg, his 19th, a virtual map as he traces their development in what has become the largest concentration of them in the world, surpassing Amsterdam. 


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