A bullet point editorial

July 5, 2024 | Editorial | Volume 28 Issue 9
Will Braun |

This issue of CM contains much intense material. I want to take this opportunity to not add to that, (though I had started writing about an unanswerable question I inherited when I took this job). Instead, I offer quick thoughts on a bunch of elements in the following pages (with page numbers in parentheses).


  • I don’t do movies and I have no deaf friends, but I want to see the new Jesus film done entirely in sign language (4). The trailer grabbed me. A fresh take. Expressive.
  • Fifty years ago (4), this magazine talked about “voluntary service as a negation of materialism and an enhancement of the spirit of servant- hood.” We’ll revisit that territory in the July issue.
  • I encourage you to join the Mennonite World Conference July 17 online prayer hour (7). There’s a big, beautiful Mennonite world out there.
  • As per the ad on page 8, with our monthly print schedule, we’re sending Friday emails to fill the gaps. If you want timely Menno news, behind-the- scenes comment and the odd surprise, send us your email address to Lorna at office@canadianmennonite.org.
  • If I ever go to Africa, I’ll visit Barbara Nkala (page 10) who someone once described as a “rock star” of the Mennonite World Conference scene.
  • Last year, columnist Troy Watson asked readers to share their Holy Spirit experiences. The response was astounding. I will remember this piece (11)
  • I dream of having a weekly, televised panel discussion, set in the foyer of an old church, with the Deeper Communion writers (12, 13).
  • Lots of people bemoan division and polarization; our Anabaptist seminary is doing the hard work of bringing diverse people together (14).
  • A year or two back, a Canadian Mennonite University prof pointed me to the video of a speech by student Alayna Smith. It stuck with me (18). A leading young voice.
  • Readers who recall my 2022 series, “The sweet solace of polarization,” will get why we included Josh Garber’s “Jeep Weekend” (20). Vroom, vroom!
  • Rhianna McGregor Hajzer writes about something I only discuss with certain friends: amid all the talk of identity in progressive Christian circles, what about identity in Christ (22)?
  • I long for stories of Christians directly engaged on the margins of society. Windsor Mennonite Fellowship is there (32).
  • If you are intrigued by Simone Weil, justice, “literary afterlives,” feminism, the “challenge of religion” or what a recovering fundamentalist, Mennonite, young mom, English professor does at her day job, see Katie Doke Sawatzky’s piece about Cindy Wallace’s new book (44).


I must mention one rather intense item. This issue includes an in-depth investigation into the cases of seven people who were terminated by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). The piece raises uncomfortable questions (39).


Many of my most valued experiences have come via MCC—in Brazil and with Indigenous communities in Canada. I have also witnessed imperfections of MCC. That sort of tension pervades the article.


I hope people can read it with a view to something more than just choosing sides. If the article evokes impulses of vilification or defensiveness in you, I invite you to examine those impulses.


As always, we welcome your responses.


Finally, the article leading off the feature section (page 14) marks Aaron Epp’s final contribution to Canadian Mennonite—at least as a staffer—after more than 16 years in various roles.


From among the 329 articles he wrote, you may recall his “Year of reading biblically” series in 2014, his reporting from the Indonesia global gathering in 2022 and his innovative work as Young Voices co-editor.


Virginia Hostetler, executive editor from 2017 to 2022, says “Aaron brought insight, clear and concise writing, creativity, and respect for readers and colleagues.”


I would add that I valued Aaron’s dependability, solid judgement, good cheer and dashes of humour. Plus, when it was his turn to offer the reflection at staff meeting, I would lean forward in anticipation. Recently, after one such reflection, a colleague suggested Aaron do them for every meeting.


Aaron now occupies a desk at the Winnipeg Free Press. We offer our gratitude, affirmation of his gifts and best wishes.


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