books

CommonWord’s top hits of 2020

The year of the coronavirus pandemic saw everyone spending more time at home, and many paying increased attention to their bookshelves. We asked CommonWord, the bookstore and resource centre of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University, what people read in 2020. In-store and curbside pickup sales and loans across Canada have declined, says Arlyn Friesen Epp, CommonWord’s director. But online orders have increased significantly, making the staff busier than ever.

'Be It Resolved' released

(Photo courtesy of Steve Heinrichs)

A new anthology published by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Canada and Mennonite Church Canada hit the press this fall. Be it Resolved: Anabaptists & Partner Coalitions Advocate for Indigenous Justice, 1966-2020 is a collection of more than 90 documents detailing commitments Anabaptists have made to Indigenous justice and decolonization since the 1960s.

Making believe together, participating in dialogue

Magdalene Redekop (right), a professor emerita of English at the University of Toronto who grew up in a conservative Mennonite community in Manitoba, argues in her new book that 'art provides a space where we can deal with the crisis of representation by making believe together and by participating in dialogue.'

Ancient cave drawings illustrate that artistic expression is endemic to humanity. And throughout history, artists have pushed boundaries and come into conflict with their communities.

Century-old photos shed new light on Mennonites

Johann E. Funk took the cover photo for Mennonite Village Photography: Views from Manitoba 1890–1940 in 1903.

Photographer Peter H. Klippenstein took this portrait in the 1910s. Subject unknown. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Peter H. Klippenstein took this photo of the Altbergthal village road in the 1930s. Subjects unknown. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Peter G. Hamm took this photo of a horse and wagon in the 1920s. (Mennonite Heritage Archives photo)

Hundred-year-old images on fragile glass negatives, discovered in a dusty barn in the heritage village of Neubergthal, Man., open a window to Mennonite life in Manitoba in the early 20th century.

A global conversation through books

Korean translations of Mennonite books are a boon to seminarians and lay leaders in Anabaptist house churches, but they also appeal to other Christians in Korea. (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

“Although each congregation has its own history and social and cultural background, it is common to experience the same sorts of conflicts, troubles and situations,” says Ellul Yongha Bae, a Mennonite church leader and publisher in South Korea.

Building resource connections

CommonWord is partnering with Herald Press to make 'The Bible Unwrapped' available for small-group study at a discounted price. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

CommonWord is just over four years old. In that short time we have doubled our sales (reaching more than 10,000 retail customers last year), more than doubled the number of website users, and have continued to circulate half of our loan materials outside Manitoba—and increasingly to people outside our immediate Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University communities.

CommonWord shares books by the dozen

Arlyn Friesen Epp is the director of CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre, located in Canadian Mennonite University’s Marpeck Commons. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

CommonWord’s ‘Cheaper by the dozen’ program sends 12 books to Mennonite Church Canada congregations anywhere in Canada, free of charge, on a six-week loan. (Photo courtesy of CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre)

Still a hidden gem for some, CommonWord Bookstore and Resource Centre is a well of resources for the Mennonite community and beyond. One of the ways it shares these materials and guidance is through its “Cheaper by the dozen” program. 

Readers ‘zoom’ to discuss Unsettling the Word

Congregants at a Toronto church did a six-week study of 'Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization' via video conference. (Photo courtesy of David Warkentin)

In a large city like Toronto, attending a church small group or Bible study may not be feasible for those with families or busy schedules. But Toronto United Mennonite Church has found a technological solution.

Translation valuable to Swahili-speaking pastors

Begin Anew, authored by Palmer Becker, and its Swahili translation, Anza Upya. (Photo by Joyce Maxwell)

Palmer Becker, centre, leads a workshop session in Tanzania in February. Also pictured are Debbi DiGennaro, Eastern Mennonite Missions’ regional representative, and translator Baraka Amolo Ouso. (Photo by Joyce Maxwell)

In mid-February, 50 Tanzanian Mennonite Church leaders, under the guidance of Palmer Becker, a Canadian Mennonite author and teacher, studied spiritual leadership, pastoral care and Anabaptist essentials using a translation of Becker’s book Begin Anew: Christian Discipleship Seminars.

One writer, many dreams

Alliana Rempel wrote and illustrated her book One when she was just 10 years old. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Alliana Rempel has raised thousands of dollars to support inner-city shelters in Winnipeg, the Children’s Hospital and the Malala fund. Most recently, she published her first book, the proceeds of which will support education around the world.

Alliana, of Arborg, Man., is also just 11 years old.

Is self-care selfish?

A new book by B.C. pastor and author April Yamasaki, published by Herald Press.

The phrase “take care of yourself” is often heard today, but how to find time to do that in today’s world? For many Christians, the idea of self-care sounds contrary to the command of Jesus to deny themselves and follow him. How exactly do believers balance these two seemingly opposite pursuits?

Mezgebu A. Tucho Book Launch

On July 8, 2018, Mezgebu A. Tucho held a book launch for his Principles of Conflict Transformation at Trinity Lutheran Church in Edmonton. The book, originally written in the Oromo language, presents a transformative approach for resolving congregational and interpersonal conflict by combining conflict theory and biblical and theological reflection. Tucho is pastor of the newest Mennonite Church Alberta church—Bethel International Church Edmonton Oromo Congregation—which was welcomed into the regional church at its March 2018 annual meeting.

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