Responding, faithfully

June 8, 2022 | Editorial | Volume 26 Issue 12
Tobi Thiessen | Publisher
(Photo by Ashni on unsplash)

What is a faithful response to the news in the world around us? Canadian Mennonite posed this question in our annual spring fundraising appeal. Each year CM needs to raise $150,000 on top of advertising and subscription revenue to ensure that people across the church, and newcomers online, have access to the important church stories of today.

Thank you for your positive response. One supporter wrote, “Issue after issue, the CM consistently poses relevant questions and challenging topics that relate to our faith. There’s a wide range of viewpoints and plenty of encouragement to listen and respond with respect. . . .  [T]hank you. I don’t need to feel safe and snug in my own little world. I need to hear the myriad Mennonite voices from across Canada.”

The spring appeal letter mentioned climate change and Indigenous-settler reconciliation as two major issues facing Canadians. For Mennonites in this country, is there a faith-based response that differs from a secular approach? How do we learn from, challenge and support one another on these issues?

Canadian Mennonite addresses important topics through news articles and opinion pieces in the magazine and on our website. We want to do more to foster healthy conversation across the church.

On May 25, CM launched the first in a series of online events to discuss current issues in the church and the world. Moderated by Aaron Epp, the event featured three guests discussing their efforts to reduce harmful climate impacts and how the broader church can be involved. The next two events will take place in the autumn. Each online event will be supported by magazine articles to lay the groundwork for a healthy conversation. See Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe’s report on our first event here.

Indigenous-settler reconciliation is another topic of ongoing concern; the October 5 online event will focus on it. On pages 15 and 16 of this issue, Scott Morton Ninomiya writes about the Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters conference that recently took place at Conrad Grebel University College. He reports that the conference included Indigenous perspectives about Mennonite history in Canada. While it can be discomforting to hear such stories, Morton Ninomiya observes that they help Mennonites find new, collaborative ways to work towards reconciliation today.

Also in this issue, we face head-on the Anabaptist principle of nonviolence, a position that can be difficult to hold as we witness Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mennonites renounce violence and war in any country. Canada, generally, responds to global violence by offering humanitarian aid and welcoming refugees displaced by conflict. Mennonites, generally, agree with government efforts in this regard and support international aid programs and the settlement of refugees here. Canada has also sent military aid to Ukraine. We do not want Ukrainians to suffer, but how does the Canadian government’s military response fit with Mennonites who follow Jesus’ call to be peacemakers?

U.S. author Robert C. Johansen provided the feature article for this issue. As co-founder of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Johansen says that Anabaptist peacebuilders need to advocate for the rule of international law instead of military might. On page 20, Will Braun offers a Canadian perspective, putting the spotlight on Canadian military spending. Braun asks what it means to be a peace church today.

We thank you for reading and supporting Canadian Mennonite as we respond to the news from a faith-based perspective.

CMPS annual general meeting

On May 7, Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service held its fifty-first AGM, once again via video conference.

Henry Krause of Langley, B.C., was elected chairperson for his sixth and final year. Also elected to the executive committee are Kathryn Lymburner of Stouffville, Ont., as vice-chair; Aaron Penner of Winnipeg as treasurer; and Annika Krause, pastor of Montreal Mennonite Fellowship, as secretary.

Alex Tiessen of Rosthern, Sask., was appointed to the board to represent Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. He replaced Larry Epp, also of Rosthern, who had served for six years. Mennonite Church Eastern Canada re-affirmed Karen Heese (Stouffville, Ont.) to serve on the board.

Several directors continue their terms: Eun Young Kwon (Surrey, B.C.), Lois Epp (Calgary), Arthur Koop (Edson, Alta.), Carl DeGurse (Winnipeg), Ken Reddig (Pinawa, Man.) and Kathryn Lymburner.

With regret, we acknowledge the loss of Rod Wiens (Herschel, Sask.) who passed away on March 26, 2022. The vacancy he leaves on the 12-member board has not yet been filled.

Read more editorials:
Hybrid church
Two things not up for debate
Speaking of faith
Steps on the path
Trusting the Easter story

(Photo by Ashni on unsplash)

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