Highlights from 2023

December 22, 2023 | Editorial | Volume 27 Issue 26D
Will Braun |

Below are some bits that caught my attention from the last year of Canadian Mennonite magazine, and 13 headlines I like. Thanks be to God.



A wall still exists, invisible and seemingly insurmountable at times, that separates “original” Mennonites . . . and new Mennonites. . . .

I long for deep, authentic intercultural connection within the family of God, old and new.

– Joon Park, January 16, page 5


God is, we think, very interested in our positions on social issues and is very eager to affirm our journey through various constellations of identities, but God is not so much interested in sin or salvation or judgement or deliverance or . . . . anything that could set a soul aflame.

– Ryan Dueck, January 30, page 16


[On the Canadian purchase of fighter jets, and military aid for Ukraine:] We respond by putting on the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6), recognizing that the human struggle we see is driven by powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil.

– Ernie Wiens, January 30, page 22


Jesus teaches us that [Christian] unity is not the result of seeking unity with other Christians, it is the result of abiding in him and being in unity with his Spirit.

– Troy Watson, February 13, page 14


“Peer support is not a job; it’s a blessing. This is where God wants me to be. . . . I’m mostly working in the psychiatric unit, which is my favourite place. I’ve met incredible people, and I can relate to their experiences because I’ve been there.”

– Ashleigh Singleton, quoted by Angelika Dawson, February 13, page 16


Maybe it was powerful to me precisely because what the women want in the story [Women Talking] is what I truly want as well: We want our children to be safe, we want to be steadfast in our faith, we want to think.

– Dora Dueck, February 27, page 4


“We Brunks want to apologize to you and your family for the piano ban our father and grandfather enacted within the Virginia Mennonite Conference in the last century.” I immediately burst into tears.

– Carol Ann Weaver, quoting Conrad Brunk, March 13, page 5


At first, I thought cancel culture was a good idea.

– Emma Siemens, March 13, page 14


Who wants to talk about sin? . . . As I write this, my autocorrect keeps changing the word “sin” to “sun.” My computer can’t even believe I want to talk about it.

– Carol Penner, March 13, page 28


What is a Mennonite? Mennonites are loud and charismatic; most speak Vietnamese, Amharic or Spanish; love Jesus; and are willing to suffer for him.

– Kevin Barkowsky, March 24, page 10


On the day of my mother’s scheduled removal from the country, my sister and I were told we could skip school and go to work with our mother. We ended up at Border Services in Niagara Falls. . . .

– Madalene Arias, March 24, page 16


[About people no longer coming to church:] We need to stop thinking, “Let’s invite them in.” They’re not coming. We need to go to them. The church . . . needs to become a movement, in much the same way as the early church was.

– Colin McCartney, quoted by Barry Bergen, March 24, page 27


A [drug-addicted] man came in who did not want to eat because he felt unworthy to be with us at the table. He told me about his nightmares and bad dreams . . . . He also shared that he did not know how to stop doing what he was doing.

                I looked at him and said: “Today, I forgive you of all your sins.”

– Michel Monette, April 7, page 5


“There’s no way to undo the Doctrine of Discovery without non-Indigenous Canadians giving up significant rights and benefits and land.”

– David Scott, quoted by Will Braun, April 21, page 6


Tell [youth in the church] they are seen, they are appreciated, and there is a place in the church with their name on it.”

– Kirsten Hamm-Epp, May 19, page 11


I’m with Rick Warren: “The only way to have unity is to love diversity.”

– Arli Klassen, June 30, page 12


Sitting in front of a glowing wood stove in winter is nice, but ever since we sold our chainsaw, our sore sawing muscles have put that comfort into perspective.

– Andre Wiederkehr, July 28, page 6


The Mennonite land acknowledgement is simple: “We have your land and we are not giving it back.”

– Peter Reimer, July 28, page 11 (letters)


These two ex-prisoners, Gadisa and Birru, planted a new MKC church in their community. . . . The number of their church members has reached more than 100.

– Pastor Niguse Bekele, July 28, page 21


now / Diana she says & then stops      i can see my question is too / much for her      Dad she calls into the other room come here a / minute & listen to what this girl is asking . . .

sometimes i just felt i would burst with all the / unanswered question inside me . . .

– Di Brandt, September 22, pages 18-19


“No!” She turned on Father. “Nelson is our son. I’ll not shun him.”

– A.S. Compton, October 20, page 8


One of our sons and I drove through the dark—a great kindness, it seemed, that dark—back to the hospice. Back to the familiar room, now utterly quiet. Entering it, I was pierced by the quiet, by the surely impossible absence of the sound of him breathing.

– Dora Dueck, November 3, page 10


“Did you know Christ walked 22,000 miles in his lifetime of ministry?”

– Judith McCartney, quoted by Madalene Arias, November 3, page 20


We’re broken. I think this describes the feeling, more or less, right now in the West Bank, in Palestine. We are broken. . . . Where is God in the midst of all of this? As I’ve said, he’s under the rubble, he’s with the people in the hospital, he’s the victim of that very same violence . . . . I see Jesus in solidarity with us.

– Rev. Munther Isaac, pastor, Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bethlehem, November 17, page 32



13 notable headlines from 2023


Welding a Mennonite reality (Ed Olfert, Jan. 30, p.9)

To set a soul aflame (Ryan Dueck, Jan. 30, p.16)

Dump truck affirmation (Ed Olfert, Feb. 27, p.15)

Practising for tragedy (Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Mar. 13, p.11)

Goodbye ‘model minority’ (Joon Park, Mar. 13, p.13)

Many Christians do not believe the Holy Spirit is real (Troy Watson, April 7, p.13)

Reno with a cause (Madalene Arias, June 16, p.16)

A safe-ish consumption site (David Driedger, June 16, p.26)

A plastic chair partnership (Jeanette Hanson, June 30, p.11)

Of beets and chainsaws (Will Braun, July 28, p.2)

Church offers money-back guarantee on tithing (“What in the world,” July 28, p.4)

Is the theory of inerrancy inerrant? (Barb Draper, July 28, p.28)

Priest offers to be taken hostage (“What in the world,” Oct. 20, p.4)

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