Readers write: February 29, 2016 issue

February 24, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 5

Magazine should ‘continue to challenge and question’

Re: “Do church and journalism mix?” by Will Braun and “Are congregations up to it?” by Dick Benner, Feb. 1, pages 14 and 2, respectively.

Kudos to Braun and Benner!

Braun’s timely column raises important points about the role of church-related media in providing independent analysis of critical issues in the church, and even in speaking truth to power when church journalists question the wisdom of actions or statements by our church leaders.

While I acknowledge that many Canadian Mennonite readers chiefly want what Braun terms “newsletterism: straight up church news with no probing of deeper layers,” I tend to skim over those items and crave pieces that dig deeper into the topics that affect our church and society.

A while ago I looked back at some of the early issues of the Mennonite Reporter, a predecessor of Canadian Mennonite. I was struck by the difference in tone from the more recent publication. Under the direction of founding editor Frank Epp, the Mennonite Reporter provided an independent (prophetic) voice and regularly prodded and probed in ways that made people uncomfortable.

It is indeed risky as an editor to nip at the arm that funds you, and thus Benner is to be commended for his editorial. He took to task the Future Directions Task Force for the limited timeframe given to our churches to engage with that Task Force’s far-reaching recommendations, which, if implemented, will profoundly change our denomination.

We face big challenges as a church. And nothing that I have seen in the past while from our national leadership provides me with assurance that Mennonite Church Canada staff, mission workers, pastors and people in the pews have been adequately engaged in this discernment process. Let’s support and pray for those tasked with leading in troublesome times. And may Canadian Mennonite continue to challenge and question.

Dean Peachey, Winnipeg


Say ‘no more war’ when you file your income tax return

Re: “Disarming Conflict ‘not silent about the immorality of war,’ ” letter, Feb. 1, page 11.

Erwin Wiens writes that “any western political leader who has not lost faith in war now finds himself squarely among the lunatic fringe.”

I wonder.  I have not heard political leaders say they have lost faith in war, nor have I  noticed them withdrawing from it. Even our own new Liberal government’s withdrawal of Canadian bombers was followed up by the commitment to reconnaissance and the re-fuelling of other coalition planes, and the training of Iraqi soldiers, hardly a statement of loss of faith in war.

Why will Justin Trudeau not say, “No more war”? He must sense that popular support is not behind that. There is no strident anti-war movement to be  heard. If hundreds of workers at General Dynamics in London, Ont., lost their jobs making armoured vehicles for Saudi Arabia, they would make far more noise than thousands of peace-minded people in our churches  have been making over the years.

Make your voice heard with “No more war,” and resolve conflicts by nonviolent means. When you file your taxes, send in a Peace Tax Return that says what you truly think. Or louder yet, withhold the military portion of your taxes. Learn how at

Mary Groh, Toronto
Mary Groh is a member of Danforth Mennonite Church, Toronto.


Future Directions needs more spark

It is somewhat ironic (I hope not prophetic), that the short note in the Jan. 18 issue of Canadian Mennonite about the final report of the Future Directions Task Force is on the same page as a note about a congregation disbanding and that ideas are needed about what to do with the empty building.

The Task Force report is a good one, but more spark is needed for the structures to come to life, whatever the structures may be. Help us to stand up, to speak up.

Let justice (peace, wholeness, wellbeing) flow like a mighty river. Let every congregation, every camp and school have at least one corner, one layer, for awareness and activism—mission, service, peace, evangelism, call it what you will. Teach us all to wake from the slumber of comfort and pleasure. Teach us all to lift our eyes beyond our own families, our own backyards and our own busyness. Teach us all to look beyond today and to see seven generations into the future.

Ray Hamm, Neubergthal, Man.

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