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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Kyle Penner’s December wasn’t filled with just Christmas preparations, but with a multitude of book launches.
Many conversations about the Old Testament are determined by questions of modernity. What are the facts? What really happened? The facts are then loaded as ammunition in the culture wars of “liberal” and “conservative.” Other questions bring faith to the shoals of doubt on matters of a potentially violent and misogynistic God.
“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.
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.
More than 50 years ago, Walter Paetkau founded Abbotsford Community Services (ACS), an umbrella organization bringing various local service organizations under one roof.
When Rachel Held Evans died on May 4 at the age of 37, it shocked the thousands of people who follow her work.
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)
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.
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.
Begin Anew, authored by Palmer Becker, and its Swahili translation, Anza Upya. (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.
The Brodsky estate of Peter and Marie Bahnmann. (Photo from The Russian Mennonite Story: The Heritage Cruise Lectures. www.therussianmennonitestory.com)
The August sky was an eerie brownish-orange as the morning news warned Edmontonians not to exert themselves outside. Thick smoke smelling of charred forests blanketed the city, and the air quality was so poor that even healthy young people stayed indoors.
Shawn Klassen-Koop never thought he would write a book before his 30th birthday but that’s exactly what he’s done.
Bird-Bent Grass truly is a “memoir, in pieces” as it explores the lives of Kathleen Venema and her mother, with anecdotes from the past, excerpts from old letters and reflections on the present, all mixed together.
Meghan Florian’s name surfaced in the small circle of Mennonite pastors and friends I know in the United States. Because this is how I found this book, I assumed it would be a “churchy” (or religious, or theological, or spiritual) collection of essays. What I found was a case for better writing in the church.
A widely published poet, a retired professor, a farmer, a recent graduate and an engineer regularly discuss literature and theology together. Hard to imagine? The sight is more likely than you might think.
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.
In their appreciative foreword to Mennonite theologian Lydia Neufeld Harder’s retrospective essay collection, Kimberley Penner and Susanne Guenther Loewen write of the time, hospitality and encouragement that Harder provided to both of them during their PhD studies and dissertation writing.
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?
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.