Bought tires for my pickup and determined to install them myself. I no longer have the specific equipment, so tire work involves scrabbling on a concrete floor with hammer and pry bars.
When I moved from Alberta last year, my explorations of Ontario began by bike. My cycling companions showed me things I had not heard of. Once, we biked past the towering statue of some military guy on the heights above the town of Queenston. Just a day earlier, we had cycled around another part of the Niagara Region and found a historical marker about a “negro burial ground.” Such wording!
The camping trip had a rough start. While packing to go we got a phone call with a heart-stopping estimate for our car repairs, the first of two vehicles needing work. We were definitely feeling the financial crunch.
Hannah Kroeker and Fiona Janzen ride camels in the Wadi Rum. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Westgate students engage with Ben, an Israeli man who spoke about losing his daughter in the conflict. He is part of the Family Forum, a group that connects bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Raya Cornelsen and James Friesen sit by the separation barrier in Bethlehem, just outside of Banksy's Walled Off Hotel. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Students scramble up to the Burdah rock bridge with their Bedouin guides. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Raya Cornelsen and Nancy Loewen overlooking the treasury in Petra. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
The Westgate students pose in front of the treasury at Petra. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Westgate students meet with the young people who are a part of the Galilee Dreamers. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Westgate students eat at the Fauzi Azar Hotel in Nazareth. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Westgate student Sarah Schellenberg, right, chats with two students from the Galilee Dreamers. (Photo courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
After two years of living through a pandemic, we never expected that we would be able to travel to the Middle East. After so much uncertainty, we were so fortunate to be able to be a group of 15 graduating Grade 12 students visiting Israel/Palestine and Jordan.
Keep on keeping on
After many years of supporting the withholding of military taxes and volunteering with Conscience Canada Peace Tax Trust Fund (CC), I have at last retired from the board.
We have not yet achieved our goal: that it be legal in Canada for conscientious objectors (COs) to war to have their military taxes go towards peace-building purposes.
When God’s story connects with our story, the Holy Spirit is at work, bringing life. As author Anne Lamott says, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us where it found us.”
A large audience gathered for one of two “Women’s Section” meetings at the Mennonite World Conference held in Kitchener, Ont., in 1962. The women met to consider the conference theme, “The Lordship of Christ,” from the perspective of personal faith and the home.
We welcomed two babies and their families with words of blessing and commitment into our local congregation today. The wide-eyed babies took in all the people watching them and waving at them, with our pastors saying “Look, these are your people!”
When we opened the portal for submissions to Voices Together, the new Mennonite hymnal, the committee received over 2,000 submissions from songwriters, text writers, and composers from around the world, many of whom were Mennonite.
I recently heard a comedian say, “Everyone has an opinion on everything these days.” He continued, “When I was young, it wasn’t that way. People had maybe six opinions. Sometimes you’d meet a guy with, like, eight opinions, and you’d think, ‘Man that guy’s opinionated.’ But on average people had about six opinions. And most of them were about food.”
A drone photo of the old red brick and the new Shantz Mennonite Church. Erb’s Road goes east to St. Agatha and Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Chad Bender)
Lukas Winter introduces a slideshow chronicling the two-and-a-half-year construction process underway during COVID. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Mike Shantz, co-chair of the build team, speaks to the congregation in the new sanctuary of Shantz Mennonite Church. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Dwight Baer, Mae Baer and Norma Shantz enjoy the celebratory lunch in the new church gym. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Kathy and Andy Oja receive food from Liz Plumtree, at the celebratory lunch in the new gym. (Photo by Ken Ogasawara)
Shantz Mennonite Church held a dedication service on Sunday, June 5. It was intended to be for our new facilities, but in truth, it was primarily a rededication of ourselves. Like other followers of Christ, we have been aware that God is calling the church to a new beginning—one that reestablishes its centeredness in a way of life where all are beloved, welcome and authentically known.
The Ontario Mennonite businessman Jacob Y. Shantz established rough housing for newcomers and promoted immigration to a place he called Didsbury, N.W.T., in 1893. In the following two years, Mennonites from Ontario and Manitoba arrived to what became known as Didsbury, Alta. The Bergthal Church was established there in 1903 and became part of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada in 1910.
A busy weekend at the end of May resulted in some reflections on family. In this case, the family referenced is “the George and Helens” (the Olferts that include my siblings and me, and all those attached).
Even if Gandhi is reputed to have said, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” it is clear he did not mean to stop at personal change! Read most histories of this quote, and personal change is the interpretive emphasis. But we all know that Gandhi aimed to change the social and political environment of India, even as he became a spiritual leader who transcended his Hindu foundation.
History really is unfair to the common people. In a previous column (“Becoming the enemy you hate,” April 18, page 13), I noted that Solomon essentially enslaved 153,600 men in order to build God’s temple, emulating the oppressor Israel had once longed to be liberated from.
Solo dancer Jade Davis-Smoke performed at the Indigenous Mennonite Encounters conference, held at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., from May 12 to 15. (Grebel photo by Margaret Gissing)
Group dancing was led by the Haudenosaunee Voices and leader Kelly Fran Davis. (Grebel photo by Margaret Gissing)
Composer-cellist Cris Derksen and hoop dancer Myranda Spence perform at the “ka-nîmihitocik: They Who Are Dancing” concert that was part of the Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters conference, held at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., from May 12 to 15. (Grebel photo by Margaret Gissing)
I didn’t realize what I was signing up for when I agreed to write about Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters in Time and Place, a conference held at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., from May 12 to 15.
Life is complicated. And this means “issues” are complicated.
The Bible doesn’t give us as “black and white” a picture of life and faith as some of us might wish. In fact, that’s one of the beautiful things about the Bible: It presents human experience in all its messiness. The older I get, the more I realize this truth: Life is complicated.
In 1966, Christianity Today magazine sponsored the World Congress on Evangelism, held in West Berlin from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4. It brought together 12,000 invited delegates from a hundred countries. The events were chaired by Carl F.H. Henry and Billy Graham. John M. Drescher reported on the event in a series of articles in The Canadian Mennonite.
My father cleaned out his bookshelves recently, and I acquired some more books about Mennonite history. One is a book I read with great interest when it came out in 1988, Why I Am A Mennonite. Almost every chapter is written by a Mennonite with a very traditional Russian or Swiss Mennonite last name.
With the new Mennonite hymnal Voices Together (VT) recently released, many are eager to learn about the context of pieces within the collection. This column will tell the stories behind resources in VT.
“Godfidence” is trusting God is in control and that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”