I am thinking about sparrows today, about how many of them there are, and yet how little I notice them until they stop for a quick perch on the railing of my deck and I find myself wishing that they were some other variety of backyard bird, perhaps something with just a little more colour—like a wren or a goldfinch or an oriole. Even a chickadee or a nuthatch will do.
From our leaders
As we emerge from our cocoons of self-isolation, what revelations will inform us as we move through the stages of our collective pandemic response?
If you’ve travelled in central or eastern Europe, you may have come across a plague column holding a prominent place in a town square. Plague columns were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries as a display of public faith in the church and in God.
Although our world is facing the challenge of COVID-19, I am so glad for the parts of life that remain unchanged. Every day brings press conferences with appalling numbers of the losses we endure, talk of restrictions and life that seems like it’s in a state of flux. Yet, peanut butter, Netflix, and, of course, the Revised Common Lectionary remain.
There is a post-resurrection story that I find helpful this Easter as I contemplate the changing world around me.
As with everybody else, my life and work these past few weeks have been a scramble to adjust and respond to the ever-evolving pandemic that has now hit us here in Canada as well.
“Know we are connected in ways that are terrible and beautiful.”
Once upon a time, around 35 years ago, God brought into the world some new people. These people have grown up to love Jesus and follow him with all of their lives. They have also responded to the impulse of the Holy Spirit and God’s call to serve as leaders in the church. Some of them are pastors. Some are people just interested in making a difference in our world in Jesus-shaped ways.
There are many changes in Canadian society today that compel us to be trained in “diversity and inclusion.” As Christians, what direction do we find in our own biblical texts?
When Jesus first returned to his hometown, he read a passage from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” The whole synagogue was impressed, as he claimed to fulfil that vision.
In 2018, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan began a three-year journey called “Deepening our walk.” In year one, we opened ourselves to encounters with God’s presence by “Deepening our walk with Christ.” This theme grew out of an awareness that, if we desire to live well in this day of turmoil and uncertainty, we need to re-centre ourselves on Jesus Christ, the one who invites us to the table and tr
Over the years, I’ve attended many youth gatherings, even organized a few. But none were like the one I attended on Sept. 20, 2019, when the Manitoba Youth for Climate Action called students to gather for a Die-In in Winnipeg.
The church we inhabit today is a lot different than the one I grew up in. Whether it was an English congregation or a German one, the worship services tended to have a familiar look and feel. “Mennonite” was somewhat predictable.
“Where are you, Mennonites?”
A colleague and I are in a Winnipeg café discussing the current land struggles of many Indigenous peoples. I listen intently as she speaks of the Unist’ot’en, Muskrat Falls and the Tiny House Warriors. I nod my head in understanding and offer affirming murmurs. But then, halfway through tea, she looks at me impatiently.
What is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to media outlets?
“Not another visioning process” was a common reaction when I presented the idea of a year of visioning and discernment at Mennonite Church Alberta’s 2018 annual delegate sessions. The restructuring of MC Canada meant a shift in responsibilities for MC Alberta, and a focus on congregations as the centre of mission.
There’s canola in my bed and it makes me smile.
Perhaps I should explain.
In the mid-1960s, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman coined the phrase “the social construction of reality.” The phrase emphasizes that the world of power and meaning is created through the careful management and manipulation of social symbols.
We live in a fearful world. People persecute, slander, ignore, bully and oppress other people.
The Temple of Heaven is one of my favourite places in China. It was the place where the emperor went several times a year to offer sacrifices and receive wisdom from the spiritual realm, in order to rule wisely. The temple, with its three-tiered, round, blue roof representing heaven, is surrounded by a square courtyard with green walls representing the earth.
We have a lot of pastoral transitions happening at the moment in Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is a time that has given me pause to think about how we do church ministry and what our pastoral ministry positions look like.
I have worked at Camp Valaqua for a total of six summers, and this summer I am back on staff after being away for a few years.
Valaqua is a place where I learned many things. It was my first job. I learned how to work with a large group of people cooperatively. Valaqua is a very isolated place, so I got a taste for what it is like to live in close community.
“With” may be the most important word in the Christian faith. So argues Sam Wells, an Anglican priest-theologian, in Incarnational Ministry, a book about being with the church.
I didn’t used to get nervous leading singing. There were times before leading at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019 when I was nervous. I was less nervous leading 6,500 youth and sponsors at the St. Louis ’99 Youth Convention than some points before leading a few hundred in Abbotsford, B.C., last month.
It is difficult to know what the future holds for youth ministry within Mennonite churches in Canada. Change is happening fast for some churches as they experience more immediate declines in the number of youth and children in their congregations.