In a time of great uncertainty, do we give up on worldly concerns, or try to return to a storied past? Or do we look ahead to what we can do for the future?
I was recently tasked with writing a “giving catalogue” that will highlight various activities of Mennonite Church Canada International Witness.
Peter J. Dyck was recognized with an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo on Oct. 18, 1974. Dyck was born in 1914 and immigrated with his family to a farm near Laird, Saskatchewan, in 1927. During World War II, he and his wife, Elfrieda were part of the MCC work in Europe helping refugees emigrate. Dyck studied and served as a pastor in the U.S.
As a preteen more than 50 years ago, I remember asking my mom about the difference between Baptists and Mennonites, given that we were members of a Fellowship Baptist church while all our relatives were Mennonite Brethren. My mom stumbled to find an answer.
If you have flipped through Voices Together, you have likely found that visually it looks like many other worship and song collections, with one noticeable difference: the inclusion of visual art. Unlike previous collections, the new hymnal contains 12 works of art which are interspersed throughout the collection, depicting acts of worship and aspects of the Christian story.
In my April column, I invited Canadian Mennonite readers to email me their experiences, thoughts and questions about the Holy Spirit. I’m humbled and grateful to the many people who took the time to formulate responses and send them to me. Thank you for trusting me with your stories. I have been encouraged.
In his 2003 book, One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches, George Yancey shares the results of a major study funded by the Lily Endowment and conducted by Michael Emerson, Karen Chai and Yancey.
The researchers discuss four distinctive types of multiracial churches. Below, I analyze these types from a Mennonite perspective.
In Mark 2:1, Jesus teaches the word to crowds gathered at his home. (Most readers don’t realize this was likely Jesus’s house). Jesus didn’t want the crowds. In the previous verses he healed a leper and told him not to tell anyone. However, the healed leper couldn’t keep his mouth shut, which resulted in large crowds forming at Jesus’s house.
In 1976, Jake and Trudy Unrau bought a home at 171 Walnut Street in Winnipeg and opened it up for Indigenous people visiting Winnipeg for medical appointments. In 1977, the Conference of Mennonites in Canada bought the home, and the Walnut Receiving Home became part of its ministry.
Tourism is often promoted for the sake of economic development and toward the goal of breaking down stereotypes and barriers. A companion and I just returned from the Holy Land. My thoughts are filled with how our travel promotes or hides our values concerning peace and the good we wish to see in the world.
Would you rather drink from the fountain of youth or the fountain of life?
This spring it dawned on me that our front yard occasionally functions as a safe-ish consumption site.
During a Mennonite Church gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina, some years ago, I decided to go to a local restaurant for lunch. I left my name tag and swag bag behind so that I would look less vulnerable to thieves, but I was so successful at hiding my foreign identity that I attracted another kind of unwanted attention.
Menno House was formed by a group of young Mennonite students and recent graduates living in Toronto in 1956. The aim was to provide support and community to Mennonite students in the city. The group became involved in youth leadership at Toronto United Mennonite Church. Young Mennonite women attended events, though the residence remained open only to men.
I recall sitting through church services as a child, being even more bored with the pastor’s long prayer than I was by the sermon. During the sermon I could look around at people and out the windows, but during the prayer I had to sit even more still, with my head down, looking only at the floor.
In response to various recent articles and letters about banning and cancel culture: Most of what I’ve seen, heard or read about cancel culture appears to define it as the denigration of those whose actions or ideas may fall short of perfection, by those who believe they have attained it.
—John Hildebrand, Mississauga, Ont.
These days I’ve been thinking about youth and the church. Connecting youth to the church is a passion of mine, and I’m fortunate that the wonderful people of Saskatchewan see fit to pay me to do this work. I am also fortunate to have had a number of people invest significant time encouraging me to live into my passion and work for the church.
By 1961, men’s groups in General Conference churches had proliferated to the point where a national organization, “Mennonite Men of Canada,” was formed. Here, in 1962, are executive members Henry M. Dick (Calgary), Carl Ens (Saskatoon) and Ted Friesen (Altona, Manitoba). Men’s groups met for fellowship, service projects and to run boys’ clubs.
Recently, another of my old aunts died. Aunt Anne was my dad’s sister. The Olfert family was a large one, with six boys and six girls. Three sisters and a brother remain.
Aunt Anne was a grand old lady, who carried the family trait of great determination. Her life was often not easy. A long-time widow, she had also buried two of her children.
This column is going to attempt two tasks, because, well, everything is connected! As usual, I may be trying to do too much—let’s see!
First of all, May is mental health month. Several years ago, I wrote about my own mental health struggles. Of all the columns I have written, it was the scariest of all to send to readers, but also generated the most public and private responses.