generosity

Church garden provides produce for soup kitchen

The garden at Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, Man., donates its produce to local soup kitchen, Soup’s On. (Photo by Larry Friesen)

Larry Friesen, garden coordinator, shows a harvest of potatoes from the garden. (Photo courtesy of Larry Friesen)

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Sharon Reimer picks cucumbers from the garden. (Photo by Larry Friesen)

Betty Koop showcases the garden’s tall tomato plants. (Photo by Larry Friesen)

In the summer of 2004, Joy Neufeld opened the first soup kitchen in Steinbach. Fifteen years later, Soup’s On is still serving its community and is thriving.

Neufeld, a member of Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach, started the project because she loved working in the kitchen. “I just love cooking and baking, but the last thing Steinbach needed was another restaurant,” she says. 

Costly perfume

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“Why did Jesus praise this woman for pouring out the costly perfume when the proceeds of its sale could have helped many poor people in their town?” (Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni/Pixabay)

On April 15, dramatic images of Paris’s burning Notre Dame Cathedral captured worldwide attention. Nearby, local citizens and tourists stood singing and praying in grief. Could it be that this majestic symbol of faith, art and culture was crumbling before our eyes? 

Once Round the Barn: Pat-on-the-back Edition

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Video below: ‘Once Round the Barn’ rides again. Resident ranter Will Braun has some choice words about how Mennonites talk about their generosity.

He’s our resident ranter, our pigpen pundit. Canadian Mennonite writer Will Braun rants around the barn on his southern Manitoba farmyard. This time he’s got opinions on how Mennonites talk about their generosity. (See the video below. Then scroll down more and check out more rants.)

Planning to give this Christmas?

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Marlow Gingerich

The gift-giving season is upon us, and with it comes Christmas shopping for our loved ones. We all know people who will be running around the mall five minutes before closing time on Dec. 24, looking for that spontaneous token to tuck under the tree. Then there are those meticulous planners who have every gift listed in a spreadsheet and finished their shopping way back in October.

Full stomach, faulty memory

‘Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark’ (detail), by Benjamin West

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‘Moses shown the Promised Land,’ by Benjamin West.

We are daily awash in choices and opportunities, and many of us are affluent enough to be able to choose among many options. Many of us make many choices even before we get out the door in the morning. Our stomachs are full, we live in fine houses, our income and assets have grown, our retirement funds are increasing, and our possessions keep multiplying.

Stories of generosity

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The young couple was living far from home, juggling college studies and part-time work, in preparation for overseas missionary work. Their first child was due and then complications set in. It was a difficult birth, and the hospital bill totalled much more than their meagre budget allowed. When the time came for the new father to take mother and baby home, the hospital authorities balked.

A new view of nature

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I am so glad that summer is on the horizon. Spending time outdoors was a huge part of my childhood. My family shared many weekends at a small one-room cabin on a river, fishing, swimming, canoeing and just enjoying the beauty around us. We would watch the beavers make their way up and down the river, hope to see a deer come out at dusk for a drink, and listen to the wolves howl at night.

Buried treasure

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Lately, I have had several conversations with people about downsizing or simplifying their estates. Some talk about rearranging their financial affairs to make life easier for their executors someday. Others face the physically and emotionally demanding task of moving from the homes they have lived in for many years to smaller, more manageable accommodations.

Pies bring a message of encouragement

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Each year Tim Sauer, left, takes his first rhubarb pie to John Neufeld, the executive director of House of Friendship in Kitchener, Ont., because rhubarb is John's favourite. (Photo courtesy of Tim Sauer)

Tim Sauer is known as the “pie man” because every now and then he shows up at places like the thrift shop or House of Friendship in Kitchener, Ont., with a pie for volunteers or staff. His gifts of pie are meant to bring a message of encouragement, to say, “You’re doing important work.”

Tim’s rhubarb pie

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Tim’s rhubarb pie—a pie to share and enjoy! (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Tim Sauer, who is known as the “pie man,” bakes at least 200 pies a year that he gives away to encourage volunteers and those who work in church-related organizations. This is his recipe for rhubarb pie, a favourite of John Neufeld, executive-director of House of Friendship in Kitchener, Ont.

MC Saskatchewan ‘extends the table’

The Gospel According to Food, a play written and performed by members of Pleasant Point Mennonite Church, encourages the audience to re-examine their relationship with food. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

The Saskatunes performed during MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

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The bread and the cup graced the communion table at Nutana Park Mennonite Church during MC Saskatchewan’s recent annual delegate sessions, along with jars of preserves and a basket of corn reflecting the event’s theme: ‘Extending the table: Enough for all.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Nutana Park Mennonite Church delegates, from left to right, Brent Gunther, Susanne Guenther Loewen, Mat Rouleau and Gordon Peters, discussed proposed changes to the structure of MC Canada. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Susanne Gunther Loewen reminded those at MC Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions that “’our God is generous, welcoming, always making room for more at the table.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

“Extending the table: Enough for all.” That was the theme chosen for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s annual delegate sessions this year, and as delegates and guests broke bread together, literally and metaphorically, they found there was indeed enough for all.

Celebrating generosity

The 2014-15 CMU Student Council on Tuition Freedom Day, an annual celebration recognizing the generosity of donors, churches and the Manitoba government in supporting education at CMU. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

Tuition Freedom Day is celebrated with speeches, balloons, pizza and fellowship. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

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A group of students leads singing at the 2014 Tuition Freedom Day on Nov. 24. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

Amber Neufeld enjoys organizing Tuition Freedom Day. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of being activities vice-president on the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Student Council. Along with all the elections, blood donor clinics and fun social events I’ve planned, I have also organized a very special day that is close to my heart: Tuition Freedom Day.

#Brag-worthy

Jesus said, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:2-4).

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Embarrassing gratitude

What if justice and care for the most vulnerable in our community and our world is not primarily a duty or even a mandate, but rather an act of gratitude and devotion to God?

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Sue Steiner

A woman—a good family friend—pours perfume worth $25,000 on Jesus’ feet at a dinner party held at her house in his honour. She removes her head scarf, shakes her hair loose, bends over, and wipes Jesus’ perfumed feet with her hair. The fragrance fills the whole house. Surely that fragrance remains on Jesus’ feet—and in Mary’s hair—for days.

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