Opinion

Growing with our global faith family

Jeanette Hanson speaks with pastors from China during an event at Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask. in June 2014. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

In the early 2000s, I sat in the church office of Pastor Wang in southern China. He was lamenting the fact that 300 people from his congregation had signed up to take baptismal classes during services over the Christmas weekend. I tried to encourage him by saying that that number was beyond a Canadian congregation’s wildest dreams.

Rosedale Church of God

(Photo: Der Bote photo collection/ Mennonite Heritage Archives)

The Rosedale Church of God in Christ, Mennonite (also known as Holdeman) is in the community of Crooked Creek, Alta. This photo is from the 1970s, but the community began in 1928 and is located 72 kilometres east of Grand Prairie, Alta. In 2019, this congregation’s membership was 178.

What can a white church do?

(Screenshot by Donna Schulz)

Indigenous educator Russell McAuley leads a session on anti-Indigenous racism for Eigenheim Mennonite Church’s adult education class. (Screenshot by Donna Schulz)

When the death of George Floyd sparked race-related demonstrations across North America earlier this year, one of our deacons asked, “What can we do in response to this?”

Victor Neumann

(Photo: Annie Krasker/ MCC collection)

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) began work in Thailand in 1960, but from 1963 to 1975 it had no programs there. In 1979, MCC started working with Indochinese refugees coming into Thailand with job creation, social services, agriculture and education programs. This is a photo of MCCer Victor Neumann of Abbotsford, B.C., with refugee workers processing mail at Songkhla camp, Thailand.

Marriage and conflict

(Photo by Heather Barnes/Unsplash)

My husband and I have been married for 13 years; long enough to have weathered some difficult seasons. We’ve walked alongside other couples in turmoil lately, causing us to reflect together on what makes our marriage work and how we will continue to grow stronger and closer. My grandparents were married nearly 70 years so, in light of that, we anticipate years ahead of us growing closer! 

Going to church

(Photo by Akira Hojo/Unsplash)

I’ve been a “church-goer” my whole life. I remember my dad polishing our shoes on Saturday evening so we would all look bright and shiny for church on Sunday morning. I remember Sunday evenings watching Walt Disney on TV, getting changed for church during the last commercial, and leaving for church just before the show ended. Going to church is what we did on Sundays.

See all of me

(Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

We don’t talk about mental health much in the church. When we do, we tend to see it as deviation from a presumably healthy “normal.” This is deficit thinking. Maybe our standards of “normal” are a problem. Maybe we could see the diverse ways that minds and bodies function as gifts. 

God as our inheritance

'Now I find myself a homeowner and still tempted, as I walk past the beautiful houses, to covet what I don’t have...' (Photo by Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash)

In late August, my wife and I became first-time homeowners. There had been many times we wondered if we would ever be able to afford a house, ever save up enough for a down payment, or if we even wanted to do the traditional homeownership thing. But, after 16 years of marriage, we bought a house.

Reaping what you sow

Martens Bartel with some of the vegetables from her garden. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Martens Bartel)

As I finish off another growing season on the farm, I reflect on how things grew, what went well, and what to tweak for next year. Aside from our various pastured livestock, I also grow a market garden and, after nine years, I still feel that I have so much to learn.

Brubacher House

(Photo: Brubacher House Museum, Waterloo, Ont. / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Within this Mennonite hearth, we can read an environmental history. By 1850, when John E. and Magdalena Brubacher built this house, the forest stands of southwestern Ontario were well on their way to being transformed into farmland. The harvesting and sale of wood and its products was the engine of the economy.

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