Readers write: August 17, 2020 issue

August 12, 2020 | Opinion | Volume 24 Issue 17
Various Contributors |
Graphic by Betty Avery

Dandelion cover inspires flower arranger

Re: Dandelion front cover, June 8. 

I laughed out loud when I saw the dandelion on the cover.

Growing up on the farm in Virgil, Ont., we had Italian neighbours. As soon as the dandelions were out in the spring, they would be out in the ditches along the road picking dandelions or leaves for eating. Strange people, we thought.

Early this spring, I passed a yard that was covered with dandelions and I thought, how beautiful! One of my passions is flower arranging, and I couldn’t resist the beautiful dandelions. I picked a few along the sidewalk, took them home and made a flower arrangement to share with your readers.

—Mary Derksen, Abbotsford, B.C.


Social-media followers resonate with polio story

Re: “Legacy of the last great epidemic,” June 22, page 26.

  • I got my start in nursing the summers of 1959 and 1960, when I worked with post-polio patients at King George Hospital in Winnipeg. There were still several patients in the iron lung then.
    —Rickey Schrag (Facebook comment)
  • At age 4, I contracted polio in 1952, as did two of my cousins in our Mennonite church in western Oklahoma. All of us survived without having any lifelong results.
    —Pat Penner (Facebook comment)
  • Thanks for sharing this story. It brings back memories of when I worked in the diet kitchen of the King George Hospital for a year in 1964-65. There were still several polio patients in iron lungs there at that time. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the thought of spending one’s life in such a situation and I was impressed with the spirit of endurance I sensed in the people I met.
    —Leona Dueck Penner (Facebook comment)


Reader disappointed in radio feature gaps

Re: “The twilight of Mennonite radio,” June 22, page 4.

The feature gives a timeline of events and highlights several pioneers in Manitoba Mennonite radio. I would like to point out a large gap in information:

  • Victor Sawatzky became director of Faith & Life Communications (FLC) in 1976, and remained so until his retirement in 1999.  During his 23-year tenure, it flourished. Programming consistently met the needs and wants of its listenership. Recording workshops, which provided music for broadcasts, led to the development of the internationally renowned Faith & Life Male Choir (1984) and Women’s Chorus (1995).
  • Reg Sawatzky was the recording engineer of FLC from 1988 until 2003. He was integral to the success and achievements of its recording studio.
  • From 1998 to 2001, Mennonite Church Manitoba annual reports of FLC pointed to growth and sustainability of programs. In 2002-03, a significant shift happened, as programs and jobs were eliminated to save money. An explanation for the depletion of the FLC Bequest Fund was not detailed in subsequent reports. The feature only mentions “a $250,000 fund had dried up.”

I am disappointed that an article that focused on the timeline of success and subsequent demise of FLC would leave out key contributors to that success.

I acknowledge the passing of time, changes in demographics and priorities of listeners. I also believe it is just as important to acknowledge changes in specific focus, vision and accountability of the conference (now the regional church).

—Ramona Turner, Headingley, Man.


Former pastor, choir leader thankful for church-history story

Re: “Superb helped me continue to have faith,” June 22, page 20.

Thank you for the interesting article on the Superb Mennonite Church’s history and its closing service.

As well as the ministers mentioned, Reverend Peter Warkentin drew the people together into one church community, sharing the pastoral role with Reverend Peter Klassen until 1948, and continuing until 1974. Music was always important in that church, beginning with Reverend Klassen, who taught the choir to sing harmony.

Later, for a period of about 20 years, I very much enjoyed leading the Superb Mennonite Men’s Choir, which sang in several other Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregations, as well as in churches of other denominations. We often heard, “We didn’t know men could sing!” The choir also performed several arts-council concerts in the area.

Reverend Werner Zacharias began driving from Fiske, Sask., in about 1970 to provide English services twice a month and he served faithfully until 1986.

It is notable that several missionaries, volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service, Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Voluntary Service were produced by this small and vibrant congregation.

While it is sad to see that its time has now come to an end, God is to be praised for the church’s time. Superb was, as a neighbouring clergyperson described it, “an oasis in a desert.”

—Eileen Klaassen, Saskatoon


Exchange of letters ‘reveals interesting nuances’

Re: “Point: From the indulgence of hubris” and “Counterpoint: ‘I have received as much as I have given’” letters, June 22, page 7.

This exchange reveals interesting nuances around the word “assumptions.” It seems to me that Peter Reimer misinterpreted Doug Klassen’s missional comments in “Open to us a door,” May 25, page 4, regarding the opportunity this COVID-19 crisis presented for the church. I know Doug quite well, having been a member of his congregation in Calgary for many years. As he stated in his Counterpoint, when he talked about the community surrounding the physical presence of the church, he meant everybody. And he also meant everybody would be welcome, regardless of religious persuasion, skin colour or anything.

—Richard Penner, Saskatoon

Graphic by Betty Avery

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