Opinion

Doris Moyer

(Photo: David L. Hunsberger / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

David Hunsberger’s photos are normally more well-composed. But it appears he saw the expression of expectation and joy on the face of music teacher Doris Moyer and he couldn’t wait to capture it. She grew up in Pennsylvania and taught at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., in 1954, when this photo was taken.

What is enough?

(Photo by Mathieu Stern/Unsplash)

“Who says they have enough money? We’ve never heard such a thing!” blurted the students at a Christian college at which I used to teach. I had just told them that I was going on an international human-rights delegation. After asking about funding, they vocalized their surprise that I was paying my own expenses. “I have enough money,” I had said.

What is the loving thing to do?

Meheret Evangelical Church in Kitchener, Ont., looks normal from the outside. As the church has now reopened, it has adapted to the pandemic and has made changes along the way. (Photo by Yeabsera Agonfer)

There is no question that COVID-19 has been disruptive. We, like the Israelites, found ourselves wandering in the wilderness, anxious to get back to normal.

We have realized that  “normal” will not happen anytime soon so, like the Israelites, we made our home in this new place, building houses (carving out offices) and planting gardens (noticing and practising what is life-giving).

Expanded belonging

“There is a form of belonging and connection that is intended to not only transcend our capacity to imagine it, but also the boundaries of exclusion that are so fundamental to all these other ways of imagining belonging. . . .” (Photo by Mireia B L from istock.com)

I’m not naturally a morning person; it usually takes a lot to get me started at the beginning of my day. But this last Wednesday, I set my alarm a little earlier and bounced up from bed like a child on Christmas morning.

Will COVID-19 create lasting divisions in churches?

Kyle Penner, assistant pastor of Grace Mennonite in Steinbach, Man., is also the Mennonite poster boy for vaccinations in the province. Literally. Penner is on the advisory committee for Protect MB, the provincial government’s COVID-19 outreach initiative.

The correlation is unavoidable. Some of the areas with the lowest vaccination rates in Canada are areas inhabited by lots of Mennonites.

The Globe and Mail reported on vaccination resistance in the Aylmer area of Ontario, with special mention of Mennonites.

Der Bote 1924

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Henry T. Klassen)

The German-language periodical Der Bote was begun in Rosthern, Sask., in 1924, to connect Mennonites in Russia, Canada, the United States and Latin America. It had generations of faithful readers, like Mrs. Lepp, pictured. Der Bote recorded the pain and loss of home and loved ones. It provided advice on how to improve farming practices in times of drought.

What will church look like?

(Photo by Debby Hudson/Unsplash)

Church is not the building. We’ve heard that often over the last 18 months. But now that some congregations are back in their building, with the rest trying to figure it out, I wonder who will come back? And what will we come back to?

I have heard a variety of opinions around me, which may be a microcosm of many of our congregations.

Hearing from God

(Pixabay.com image by Couleur)

A long time ago I told God that I was his, and that I would follow him wherever he led me. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to decipher God’s leading!

Does that still small voice belong to God, or is that just my own will whispering loudly? Closed doors and open windows are often a sign but, sometimes, as you crawl through the window, you wonder if this is really the best way.

‘It is so good to connect!’

(pixabay.com photo by congerdesign)

“It is so good to connect with each other.” In my role as executive minister of Mennonite Church Alberta, I have heard this sentiment expressed many times in many different ways. It is a feeling I heard expressed again on a Monday evening in late June as I met with the church chairs from the congregations of the regional church.

Cairn unveiled

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / CMC photo collection)

Hochstadt, Man., near Altona was the location of the first delegate meeting of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) in 1903. A cairn was unveiled in July 1978 at that location to mark the 75th anniversary. On the left is Peter J. Hamm, but who is the man with the beard on the right?

Discovering my dross

(flickr.com photo by Mike Sayfang)

I remember singing in various youth-group settings the once popular, and now dated-sounding, worship song, “Refiner’s Fire.” Admittedly, I never really took the time to ponder the metaphor of being refined in the fire. The words “Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver” sounded nice, accompanied with lyrics desiring holiness.

What makes you happy?

(Photo courtesy of Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

“So . . . what’s next??”

The dreaded question for every graduate.

It’s been a few years (plus a few more!) since I graduated from high school and university, but I still remember this sense that, come graduation, I needed to have a roadmap of my future aspirations ready to explain in one easy sentence.  No problem, right? Should be easy enough! (Insert “zany face” emoji here.)

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