Opinion

Igniting flames of hope in the midst of ending

(Photo by June Miller)

MW Canada members vote to dissolve the organization and turn the assets over to the five regional churches for future women’s ministries. (Photo by June Miller)

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(Photo by June Miller)

Susan Martens Kehler (Photo by June Miller)

Elsie Rempel, left, and Shirley Redekop pack up MW Canada’s logo following the meeting to dissolve the organization at MC Canada’s Gathering 2019 in Abbotsford, B.C., on June 30. (Photo by June Miller)

On June 30, at our annual general meeting in Abbotsford, B.C., Mennonite Women Canada elected to dissolve our nationwide ministry for the purpose of releasing energy and assets to the regional churches so that they can grow stronger in their ministry with and through women within their contexts.

Leon’s ‘fifth step’ to sobriety

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“Step 5 is a time when they acknowledge [their] transgressions to God and to one other person. Frequently, I am the one other person.” (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

Throughout my years of ministry, being involved in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. No, I am not an addict. But at times I’m called on to help addicts through their “fifth step.”

Two big surprises, two big questions

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An encounter with the Stanley Cup led columnist Troy Watson (right, kneeling) to wonder: "What do I ‘live out loud’ to my neighbours and the people at places I frequent?"

Recently, a Kubota utility vehicle pulled into my driveway where my sons and their friends were playing hockey. Out popped Tim Taylor, a former NHL player and two-time Stanley Cup champion, holding the Stanley Cup. He put it in the middle of our driveway where we all took turns touching it, kissing it and drinking from it.

Things I noticed at Gathering 2019

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Members of the worship team lead the singing at Gathering 2019. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

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.

Centennial celebration

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Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Lawrence Klippenstein photo collection

New Canadian initiatives around multiculturalism in the 1970s—celebrating anniversaries like Canada’s centennial in 1967, Manitoba’s in 1970, and the arrival of Mennonites in Manitoba in 1974—created a new energy and appreciation for history in Canada. During these years, the Mennonite Heritage Centre and the Archives of Ontario hired permanent staff.

Walking with youth toward a fearless faith

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At a youth ministry visioning event in April, MCEC participants explored new possibilities for walking with youth “towards a fearless faith in Christ Jesus.”

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.

7 digital tools for discipleship

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Digital tools harness the technology we already have at our fingertips and they invite the Holy Spirit to continue guiding us on the road of discipleship. (Image by Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay)

With mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers within easy reach, Christians have many ways in which to learn, ponder their beliefs and strengthen their faith. Here are some ways you can cultivate your digital discipleship.

 

From darkness to light

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Thousands of Indian people are placing their faith and trust in Jesus and being baptized daily, including Muthulakshmi, Selvi and Evangeline. (Photo courtesy of Paul Phinehas)

No matter how many times you visit India, the overcrowded cities, hazy air and animal-people-vehicle-jammed streets of this country with more than 1.3 billion people are an assault to your physical senses and inner spirit.

Building resource connections

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CommonWord is partnering with Herald Press to make 'The Bible Unwrapped' available for small-group study at a discounted price. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

CommonWord is just over four years old. In that short time we have doubled our sales (reaching more than 10,000 retail customers last year), more than doubled the number of website users, and have continued to circulate half of our loan materials outside Manitoba—and increasingly to people outside our immediate Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University communities.

Cayuga church

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Photo: James Reusser / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

From halfway across the world, a loyal MAID watcher noticed an error. This was not the Rainham church in 1965, as originally labelled by the photographer, but South Cayuga Mennonite Church, Dunnville, Ont. Comparing it to another photo of South Cayuga, he urged us to “look at the west end of this meetinghouse.

Passionate about front-yard living

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"The front-yard life of loving our neighbours, sharing with those in need and being open and vulnerable in our friendships will create the caring communities we all need." (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

My pastor husband co-preached about living a front-yard life at a large joint worship service at the park last weekend. With three churches gathered together and probably half of our town at the park, the message of interacting with our neighbours in the front yard, instead of keeping isolated in a fenced-off backyard, rippled through our town this week.

202 columns later

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Melissa Miller is ending her column. "I have been grateful for the opportunity to place my heartfelt reflections before you, and will miss the monthly commitment... From the bottom of my heart, I say thank you."

Some years ago, I screwed up my courage and sent off an email to the editor of Canadian Mennonite. I offered to write a column on family relationships. 

Reaching out requires letting in

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"Our 'success' in faithful outreach is... evidenced by the ongoing transformation in our own lives as we genuinely connect with others and let them in." (Image by StockSnap/Pixabay)

A recent CBC news article projected that 9,000 Canadian churches will close over the next 10 years. That’s approximately one-third of Canadian churches gone in a decade. It’s not news that the church in Canada is dying, but it is shocking how fast it’s happening. 

Confronting the fear of our history

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University students participate in a KAIROS blanket exercise in 2015. (MCC photo by Leona Lortie)

“Yet we Christians have also been called to take a good hard look at ourselves. To reflect on our Christian beliefs, to scrutinize our missional practices. And to decolonize. It’s not that Christianity is inherently colonial, but for generations the church and its faith have been used —wittingly, unwittingly, and far too often—as instruments of dispossession in the settler colonial arsenal.

Church relations on so many different levels

'If we look far enough we can all find similarities among each other.' (Image by Christine Schmidt/Pixabay)

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You are what you eat, or can it be said you are who you work with? There’s also the phrase, “two peas in a pod,” but this time there’s three of us.

On the surface, it could be said that Kevin Barkowsky, Garry Janzen and I are nothing alike, but, as Mennonite Church British Columbia staffers, we certainly can relate to each other in our personal lives.

Namaka cutting wheat

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Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives

A farmer cuts wheat on a farm in Namaka, Alta., in the 1920s. Food and its production continues to be a central driving force in society, affecting our health, quality of life and where we live. Forces such as mechanization, urbanization, and globalization have impacted the food matrix and our connection to the food we grow and eat.

No 'happy clappy Christians' for Blake

"Blake’s history didn’t allow him to give much respect to the work of Christian ministry... A frequent derisive term was 'happy clappy Christians.'" (Image by rawpixel/Pixabay)

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My friend Blake Rooks died in early May. 

He was large, unkempt, unhealthy, opinionated and occasionally rude. He was an atheist. His kidneys didn’t work. He loved people. He carried a measure of English charm. All of these were qualities, along with others, that made him important in my life.

Layers of faithfulness

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Intergenerational hands are layered at Waterloo North Mennonite Church. (Photo by Carmen Brubacher)

A mentor once told me that, in her view, a female preacher should wear “straight lines” behind the pulpit. That is, a suit. Straight lines command greater authority, which means people are more likely to give your words credit. As someone who has never worn a suit in her life, this didn’t sit well with me and would make me feel like an imposter.

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