Readers write: Oct. 24, 2016 issue

October 19, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 21

‘Minister’s handbook to reproductive loss’ available online

re: “coping, grieving, remembering,” Sept. 12, page 4.

I’m writing to express my appreciation for Beth Downey Sawatzky’s thoughtfully written piece on pregnancy loss. I was particularly drawn to “Holly’s” natural inclination towards ritual when she asked her doula to bless one of her babies during his burial.

A related resource on recognizing pregnancy loss is Alicia Buhler’s 2016 “Minister’s handbook to reproductive loss.” This guide was written to equip those who provide spiritual care to grieving individuals and families as they stand on the holy ground of grief. Buhler’s resource is available at or through CommonWord.

Jennifer Epp, Winnipeg


Time to give up the poverty act

Several issues ago, it was mentioned that Mennonite Church Canada had a financial shortfall. In the Sept. 12 issue’s Calendar section, several provinces were seeking sponsors for “Ride for Refuge,” to get funds to support 20 national church missionary groups.

What has happened to us? Christians are to tithe and give offerings (Malachi 3:10), but some of us give outside our church budgets.

It’s time to give up the poverty act. The greatest sin is in our greed.

Olga Epp, Coaldale, Alta.


Former MCC personnel ‘suffer silently’

Re: “When your services are no longer required,” Aug. 29, page 4.

I, too, was dismissed by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada, after almost 10 years of service. It came out of nowhere. The decision was casually let slip by my manager over the phone.

I was told the firing was due to restructuring, although the position might be there if our family would relocate to Winnipeg, which was out of the question for us. I appealed to board members, and then to the board chair, all known to me. No expression of care whatsoever was given.

When I shared a little later a written diary/reflection of the experience with the binational director, also known to me, and previously very supportive of my work, he in some detail picked the reflection apart and upbraided me for such “negativity.” Again, no empathy whatsoever. His crowning insult was to tell me that MCC policy was that all staff were to work a maximum of nine years, then be dismissed. Apparently technically true, but this policy was contradicted by numerous staff then and since, of whom he was one!

I was fortunate, however: A respected provincial director insisted that my manager meet with me and a trained mediator, to work through the conflict. In the end, however, that provincial director—attending as an advocate—was forced to act like a union negotiator and “demand” a favourable settlement. There was once again no expression of empathy, no regret indicated.

Such handling elicited personal awareness of other MCC staff similarly treated. One commented that few wish to go public about MCC personnel mistreatment because MCC is so widely respected. So we choose to suffer silently, perhaps thereby sadly emboldening further personnel mishandling.

Wayne Northey, Agassiz, B.C.


No other God compares to Jesus

Re: “Discovering humility” column, Sept. 26, page 9.

My strong heartfelt agreement is with Steve Heinrichs on much of what he articulated. So much damage has been done by the Christian church in its functioning, whether knowingly or unknowingly, within the Doctrine of Discovery.

My one challenge would be that some unpacking needs to be done about what is meant by “Christian superiority.” If that means the superiority of western Christian culture, then I would wholeheartedly agree.  

However, if by “Christian superiority” we are saying that Jesus Christ is one way to salvation and right relationship with God, while other types of spirituality are another way, and that one way is not superior to the other, then I would strongly disagree. Jesus is superior.

Actually, that isn’t accurate. Superiority is a measure of comparison, which would necessitate that there are different ways. But Jesus clearly says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So Jesus isn’t superior because there isn’t another way to compare him to.

So the challenge is this: Can we love our indigenous brothers and sisters on whose land we now live, as well as bless and respect their culture, while at the same time sharing the good news of Jesus with them? I have to believe that we can. Why? Because Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves, and to make disciples of all nations.

Craig Frere (online comment)

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