Stories told and untold

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October 9, 2019 | Editorial | Volume 23 Issue 18
Virginia A. Hostetler | Executive Editor
'A storyteller I know recently alerted me to an incomplete story...' (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

This past summer I attended an event focused on Mary Magdalene, at which guest speaker Amanda Witmer reviewed what scholars know about this early follower of Jesus—not very much. In addition, over the centuries, the Christian church has perpetuated misinformation about Mary: No, she was not the “sinful woman” in Luke 7. 

The Gospel of John tells us Mary was present at Jesus’ empty tomb and that she announced his resurrection to the other disciples. We get glimpses of her elsewhere in the gospels, but very little of her life story is told.

A storyteller I know recently alerted me to an incomplete story in Acts 21:8-15. The setting is Caesarea, where the Apostle Paul and other Christians gather at the home of Philip the evangelist. The writer of Acts informs readers that Philip had four unmarried daughters with “the gift of prophecy.” A prophet named Agabus comes from Judea and offers a prediction of the unpleasant fate for Paul if the apostle proceeds on to Jerusalem. Some of those present urge Paul not to go. Did any of them ask the unnamed female prophets what they saw? What might those women have said? The rest of their story is untold.

We at Canadian Mennonite have the responsibility and the honour to help tell stories of Mennonites, particularly those within the denomination called Mennonite Church Canada. Our correspondents and the rest of the staff keep their eyes open for events and people whose stories will inform and inspire. Every two weeks, and more often than that on CM’s website, we publish some of those stories. 

Our team doesn’t say this enough to you, our readers: Thank you for allowing us to share these accounts about your congregation, your personal life and the causes you support. Thank you for sharing your opinions, your concerns and your gripes. (We like your praises, too!) We aim to treat them all with accuracy and respect.

This storytelling provides connections between readers in many different places in Canada and beyond. As members of our nationwide church get to know each other better, it’s easier to cheer each other on, pray for each other, cooperate and share resources. 

Like the biblical writers, the CM team is bound by limits of time, space, resources and perspective. Sometimes, the information offered to us is incomplete, and sometimes we may not dig deeply enough. Surely, there are many untold stories out there. So we continue to ask: What stories are waiting for us to tell? Whose perspectives are we missing? Are the quiet voices getting missed?

Readers of the Oct. 14 print issue will notice that there is lots to tell. Check out the Focus on Education section that highlights people and programs of numerous educational institutions. There are reports related to Mennonite actions on climate change in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Waterloo. See what’s happening in Congo and Ukraine. We’re glad to help tell these stories.

New perspectives

CM’s roster of columnists includes a mother of young children in British Columbia, a prison volunteer/pastor/storyteller in Saskatchewan and a pastor in Ontario. In today’s issue, we welcome Randy Haluza-DeLay to that list. Randy lives in Edmonton, where he teaches at The King’s University and attends First Mennonite Church. In his column “Mind and Soul,” Randy aims to show “that good information (such as that produced by the social sciences) can be valuable in living an informed life of faith and commitment.” Welcome, Randy!

Still on the subject of opinion writers, here’s a plug for our blog on CM’s website. This online-only content curates writings of Mennonites from across the country, with updates every Thursday. There you will find personal reflections on a wide variety of topics Canadian Mennonites are considering. Check it out at canadianmennonite.org/blog.

Goodbye

Rachel Bergen’s name is familiar to our readers; over the years, she has written for CM in a variety of roles. Most recently, she served as contributing editor, writing news articles and people profiles, particularly of younger Mennonites. We’ve appreciated Rachel’s honed journalistic skills and her attention to people and events across the church. Rachel has left to take on a full-time position as a journalist with CBC Manitoba. We wish her well. 

Read more editorials:
Disciples and citizens
The zucchini principle
Digital church
Broad prayers in a time of fear
A word to our digital subscribers

'A storyteller I know recently alerted me to an incomplete story...' (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

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