Four pieces of art by Ray Dirks

This painting by Ray Dirks, entitled “There is surely a future hope for you,” is from a series of 14 paintings from his personal experiences in several countries, all with titles taken from the book of Proverbs. (Image courtesy of Ray Dirks)

The Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) Gallery is featuring Ray Dirks’ exhibit, Thankful: moments, memories, and some art, in which the gallery founder and retired curator reflects on his lifetime of work.

The exhibit runs until Jan. 14 at the gallery on the grounds of Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg.

‘MDS was such a big part of her life’

Evelyn Greenwood, who died a year ago in September, was remembered for her dedication to Mennonite Disaster Service’s mission at a ceremony in British Columbia, where her husband, son and son-in-law were volunteering in Monte Lake. (Photo by Kevin Greenwood)

Steve Billing, left, Kevin Greenwood and Ben Greenwood are pictured at a memorial service for Evelyn Greenwood on an MDS worksite in Monte Lake, B.C., in September. (Photo by Roman Heuft)

All was quiet on Sept. 6, at 9 a.m., as Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers in Monte Lake put down their tools and paused for a moment of silence.

They were doing it in memory of Evelyn Greenwood, a long-time volunteer with MDS, who was killed in a tragic accident exactly one year earlier.

An ‘accidental’ visiting scholar

Natalyia Venger leans against an offspring of the Chortitza oak tree in Ukraine on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University. The original Chortitza oak tree was an iconic landmark in the village of Chortitza. It was estimated to be between 700 and 800 years old when it died. (Photo by Dan Dyck)

Like a gem miner with a headlamp, Natalyia Venger scans microfilms, hunting for treasures rescued from Russian archives now stored at the Mennonite Heritage Archives (MHA) in Winnipeg. She is here from Ukraine to study Mennonite colonies under Russian nationalism in the early 20th century.

Passing the conductor’s baton

Richard Janzen poses with the cast of Anastasia after RJC High School’s final performance in June. It was also Janzen’s final performance. (Photo courtesy of Richard Janzen)

“I remember so fondly the tours and travelling,” says Richard Janzen, the long-time music educator and choir director at RJC High School. “In 2002, we went on a tour along the Oregon coast of the United States. We stopped by the Oregon state legislature building, just to take a peek around. There was this massive common area with a huge dome and great acoustics.

The sweet solace of polarization, Part 3

A bridge over Highway 6 near Twin Butte in southern Alberta, 2022. (Photo by Will Braun)

I’m nervous about presenting non-orthodox views about COVID. Some of my mandate-abiding friends will look askance.

“Yes, but . . . ,” they will say, then demarcate limits of tolerance.

Rigidity was a spiritual variant of COVID. Questions became unwelcome. A singularity of narrative prevailed, spawning a minority reaction.

Sparking community life again at Nutana Park

Children make their own pizzas, one of many activities offered in Nutana Park Mennonite Church’s Adventure Club. (Photo courtesy of Marie Guenther)

Kids Club and Choir promo posters

“How can we bring people back to church?”

It’s a familiar question for churches across the country and across the denominational spectrum. The arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020, and the ensuing public health restrictions kept many people home on Sunday mornings for months.

Stories by the shore

Darlene Bartha, standing at the microphone, hosts the evening at the lakeshore. (Photo by Randy Klaassen)

After a rainy day on Aug. 30, about a hundred guests enjoyed a balmy evening on the shore of Lake Ontario, listening to stories shared by various Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario staff.

Abe Epp, a longtime fruit farmer on Lakeshore Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake, invited MCC to use his beach-front property to host this event called “MCC stories by the shore.”

The sweet solace of polarization, Part 1

Art displayed on a social media page of Will Braun’s neighbour. (Photo courtesy of artist Hannah Rae Dieleman)

I knew I would eventually have to interview my neighbours who staunchly resisted COVID-19 mandates and proudly supported the Ottawa trucker convoy. Actually I have many such neighbours. But it took a year of working through my pandemic enmity until I was ready to listen to them.

Some readers will see more danger than value in such interviews, so let me explain my motives.

Will Braun appointed as CM’s new executive editor

Will Braun will be Canadian Mennonite’s next executive editor. (Photo courtesy of Will Braun)

Will Braun will be Canadian Mennonite’s next executive editor.

Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service Inc. hired Braun, who has spent the last decade as CM’s senior writer, to lead its magazine and digital news services, beginning on Nov. 1. Braun succeeds Virginia A. Hostetler, who is retiring after five-and-a-half years in the role.

It’s a ‘God thing’

Pictured from left to right: Daniil Dolozin, Olga Nesterenko, Violetta, Nataliia and Timofey Dolozin in front of their new residence in Leamington, Ont. (Photo by Charlotte Lane)

Pictured from left to right: Artem, Oleg and Nadiia Kulachko at Pearson International Airport in Toronto after their arrival from Poland. (Photo by Charlotte Lane)

It is amazing what can happen when a few friends get together.

Growing old with grace and gratitude

Staff of Menno Place bade farewell to Ingrid Schultz, right, along with fellow chaplain Ingrid Stahl, who both retired at the same time over the summer. (Photo courtesy of Ingrid Schultz)

Ingrid Schultz, who recently retired as one of three chaplains at Menno Place in Abbotsford, will never forget the succinct advice one of her instructors told her during chaplaincy training: “Shut your mouth and open your heart.”

A summer of page-turners

(Book cover compilation by Betty Avery)

Are you browsing the library shelves aimlessly, uncertain as to which book to take home? Did you spend the entire summer gardening or at the lake, unable to find time to read? Or are you looking for a wonderful story to carry you through the gloomy winter? Look no further! Avid readers from across Mennonite Church Saskatchewan have plenty of recommendations to share.

A business built more by accident than by arrangement

Chris Steingart’s graphic design journey began through creating a website for a church where he served as youth pastor. He is pictured working outside, enjoying the benefits of having a home office. (Photo courtesy of Chris Steingart)

Chris Steingart designed a website for MCC thrift stores. (Photo courtesy of Chris Steingart)

Chris Steingart created an online store for the Shine Sunday school curriculum project. (Photo courtesy of Chris Steingart)

Chris Steingart’s journey to owning a professional web-design business was unanticipated. In 2005, he was working as a youth pastor at Waterloo-Kitchener Mennonite Church in Waterloo, Ont., and he decided that the church needed a website.

When efforts to get volunteers for the project failed, he ended up doing it himself. “How difficult could it be to build a website?”

‘Walking together, doing things together’

Norman Meade, the former director of MCC Manitoba’s Aboriginal Neighbours program, took his granddaughter Everlee to hear the Pope speak in Alberta last month. (Photo by John Longhurst)

Although the focus was on the Roman Catholic Church when the Pope visited Canada in late July, Mennonites also have a role to play in promoting reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in this country.

Music builds bridges to Africa

Heidi Epp leads a workshop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo about peace and conflict transformation.

Heidi Epp rehearses a duet with a student in DRC for a concert held in June.

Heidi Epp says farewell to the Peace Foundation team in DRC after spending two weeks training leaders and sharing resources on music and peace.

A chance connection on social media led Heidi Epp, a music teacher from B.C., to travel to Africa this summer to teach music and peace and conflict transformation.


Biking and hiking raise funds for Alberta organizations

Cyclists (left to right) Ernie Engbrecht, Edgar Dueck, Dave Neufeldt, Doug Wiebe, Ken Esau, Zachary Wirzba and Ron Esau raised $10,000 for MCC on July 15. (Photo by Annie Dyck)

The annual Hike-a-thon for Camp Valaqua involved walking the north end of Jumpingpound Ridge on June 11. (Photo by Jon Olfert)

This summer, Alberta supporters of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Camp Valaqua got physical to raise funds.

Emmaus House concludes decade of intentional community living

Susan and Rod Reynar founded Emmaus House, an intentional community for university students in Winnipeg. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Fifty-six different people lived at Emmaus House over its eight years of operation. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Rod and Susan Reynar made a huge life change in 2014 when they moved from Alberta to Manitoba and started Emmaus House, an intentional community for university students in Winnipeg. This spring, they said goodbye to their last group of students and closed their doors.


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