“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.
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?
It’s Friday. I drive to Rosthern, Sask., and pull in at the Good Neighbours Food Centre, where I will spend the day volunteering. My task, besides praying before the doors are opened, is to deliver groceries to cars, and to offer relationships to everyone I encounter. It’s a good fit.
What is a bike to you: Exercise? A commuter vehicle? Opportunity for a family outing? Tool for close-by errands? A connection to simple living? Related to your spirituality?
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.
“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.)
Following the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops (B.C.) Indian Residential School by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) laments the loss of these young lives.
Members of a Mennonite Church Canada delegation attended the virtual conference hosted by NAIITS—An Indigenous Learning Community from June 3 to 6.
I’m surrounded by a legion of internal voices telling me I am not the pastor I should be. I’m not enough of a leader, not caring enough, not informed enough, not clear, not decisive, not doing enough. My soul cowers at the possibility that the roaring cacophony in my head is correct. Our current moment in history has laid bare my insecurities, deficiencies and anxieties of being a pastor.
Breaking with its usual formal style, The Canadian Mennonite decided to print a candid photo of church leaders in 1958. While lining up for the typical serious group photograph, men gathering at St. Catharines United Mennonite Church in St. Catharines, Ont. were interrupted by a young girl unselfconsciously swinging a hula hoop.
Susan Olivier, left; Cyndy, Joel, Gemma and Gareth Brandt; and John Dawson stop to have their picture taken during the Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation event on May 29. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)
Gemma Brandt learns about residential schools on the May 29 Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation event along a portion of the Discovery Trail beside the Fraser River in Mission, B.C. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)
Just days before the Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation began, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation discovered the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The news made the walk all the more poignant for those who participated, including me and my husband John.
This year marks a devastating milestone. It is the 10th anniversary of the war in Syria. This dreadful war has resulted in the deaths of a half-million people and is the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War.
We have gone to places yet unknown, trusting in a God who leads and a Spirit who prays when our own words cease. Mother’s Day 2020 was the beginning of many outbreaks at the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home, where I serve as chaplain.
We wish we knew more about George Hamm of Didsbury, Alta., and his egg collection. This photo was found in The Canadian Mennonite files from the 1960s, but it was not published in the newspaper. His collection was later listed in the Royal Alberta Museum inventory. Even in this side view, we sense his pride and passion for these marvels of the natural world.
Several months ago, I bleated piteously about a diabetes diagnosis. That has moved forward well, managed by diet, exercise and pills. Alongside, however, has come a new struggle with balance, dizziness and nausea. (To you medical folks, no, it’s not a sugar low.) A doctor and a therapist are working with me. Again, moving forward quite well.
Of course, a story comes out of that.
It’s too bad Christianity became a European religion. At the beginning of the seventh century, only about a quarter of the world’s Christians were on that continent. The majority were strewn across vibrant communities in Africa and Asia. It’s that way again.
Are you ever afraid to say something because it might not be the popular opinion? Do you struggle to muster the courage to speak out within your congregation because you’re worried you’ll offend someone’s well-intentioned but misinformed idea?
Author Natalie Frisk brings her own parenting experience as well as years of pastoring children and youth into this engaging book, full of practical points on how to be intentional about teaching our faith to our children. She is the curriculum pastor of the Meeting House, an Anabaptist church with headquarters in Oakville, Ont.
I have grown accustomed to our regular Sunday morning live-streamed worship services and the Zoom call that follows. Oh, I might try to change it up occasionally and take the computer to the kitchen, but I am somehow predestined to end up on the couch like it was my regular pew.
Helene (Heese) Toews, seated, is honoured by Katie Dyck with a fruit basket, circa 1972. At a Conference of Mennonites in Canada meeting in 1945, Toews read a paper to a gathering of women on “the true role of women” in which she argued that women could work for God’s kingdom outside the realm of the family.