Opinion

Indonesian peacemaking

Sufi Islamic dancers participate in a July 6 Mennonite World Conference assembly worship service at Congdut GITJ Jepara, a Mennonite church in Central Java. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

I am frequently asked, “What was it like to be in Indonesia for the Mennonite World Conference [MWC] assembly?” There are many possible answers, but today I want to focus on learning from our Indonesian Anabaptist sisters and brothers on how and why they build strong invitational relationships with their Muslim neighbours.

Fun, smart and committed

(Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/Oslermennonitechurch)

One of my farmers annually invites me for a combine ride to educate this city slicker on “Ag 101.” It’s a thrill to watch the header of the harvesting machine munch through swaths, hawks diving behind us for mice. He’s a captive audience for my complaints and occasionally hits a badger hole on purpose. Good thing I have a seat belt! Generally it’s a cushy ride.

Kazakhstan

(Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

There is a lot to take in on this photomontage of the Mennonite Brethren Church Choir from Badamsha, Kazakhstan—in Soviet parlance, a “closed city”—in 1971.

Pain, longing, hope and joy

Virginia musicians Christopher and Maria Clymer Kurtz wrote ‘Solemn Stillness, Weary Streets,’ No. 276 in Voices Together. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Clymer Kurtz)

On a Monday in the fall of 2014, Christopher Clymer Kurtz was supposed to be teaching middle-school English, but was distracted with an idea for a song. On Tuesday of that week, he worked out a melody. On Friday, his spouse Maria dove into older Christmas songs, like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Joy to the World,” gleaning ideas for the text.

Who is my Samaritan?

(Image by falco/Pixabay)

In a conversation with an educated religious scholar, Jesus agreed that the most important thing is to love God and love one’s neighbour as oneself. Then the scholar asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” In typical Jesus fashion, instead of answering directly, he told a story: the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Ron J. Sider

(Photo: Der Bote photo collection)

Ron J. Sider was an inspirational Canadian-American leader in the Christian community. It was his sermon at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in 1984 that spurred the formation of Community Peacemaker Teams in 1986. His sermon called Anabaptists to be formed by their persecution history to bring hope to the world by being ready to die in the name of peace.

‘Bring your best self’

Holly and Ed Olfert on their wedding day in 1972. (Photo illustration)

In the final days of October, Holly and I reached an anniversary.

Recently a relative reminded us that, in 1972, five cousins headed to five altars with their partners. Marie, a widow, pointed out that Holly and I would be the only ones to reach the 50-year milestone.

Parting thoughts

Virginia A. Hostetler (second from left) at work in the CM office in 2017 with publisher Tobi Thiessen, editorial assistant Barb Draper and managing editor Ross W. Muir. (CM file photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

My adventure with Canadian Mennonite began in October 2013, when I stepped into the newly created role of web editor. In March 2017, I became executive editor, teaming up with Tobi Thiessen, who began as publisher.

Eco-theology: On Earth as it is in Heaven

“Stunning sunsets, stars, aurora borealis.... All of this was a source of awe…” (Photo by Serey Kim/Unsplash)

Our shared home, planet Earth, is a miracle. I've known this intuitively since I was a child growing up under the expansive skies of the Saskatchewan prairies. Stunning sunsets, stars, aurora borealis, long winter nights and long summer days with brilliantly clear skies, thunderstorms rolling in from a distance.

‘There’s enough for all’

Bryan Moyer Suderman’s song “There’s Enough For All” is included in Voices Together.

“Jesus had a lot to say about money, but the songs we sing in worship rarely do.” These words from the album description of Bryan Moyer Suderman’s 2007 album, My Money Talks, provide a snapshot into the goal of the album: to intentionally provide songs for churches that help them talk about money.

Queen in Manitoba

(Photo: Gerald Loewen)

In 1970, the province of Manitoba celebrated its 100th birthday, and celebrations included a visit by the queen and her family. Among the many stops and events in July was a visit to the town of Steinbach, and the Milltown Hutterite Colony, near Elie.

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