Discovering my dross

(flickr.com photo by Mike Sayfang)

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.

What makes you happy?

(Photo courtesy of Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

“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.)

Members from MC Canada delegation share what they learned

Justin Sun is a pastor of Peace Mennonite and Peace Chinese Mennonite Churches in the traditional and unceded territories of the Musqueam Indian Band (Richmond, B.C.).

José-Luis Moraga is pastor of discipleship at Springfield Heights Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

Members of a Mennonite Church Canada delegation attended the virtual conference hosted by NAIITS—An Indigenous Learning Community from June 3 to 6.

A pastor’s struggle

(Photo by arash payam/Unsplash)

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.

Hula hoop

(The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

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.

Lament and love

(Photo by Nick Fewings/Unsplash)

Once again news headlines are about how the church has failed.

News about residential schools fill our newsfeeds, schools generally run by churches and funded by the government, with decades of separating families and leaving wounds of trauma for seven generations.

More than just a walk in the park

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)

Angelika and John Dawson at the site of the former St. Mary’s Residential School 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.

The Damascus Road Initiative

Katherine Kandalaft and Samih Saltah are pictured in Byblos, Lebanon, in December 2018. (Photo courtesy of Katherine Kandalaft)

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.

Courageous stories

(Image by congerdesign/Pixabay)

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.

Egg collection

Photo: The Canadian Mennonite Collection / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

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.

A sign of the presence of God

(Photo by David Marcu/Unsplash)

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.

False false prophets

(Image by Carlos Lincoln/Pixabay)

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?

Fruit basket

(Photo: Ontario Women in Mission / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

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.

A communion in communion

Mennonite World Conference's YABS (Young Anabaptists) committee poses for a picture. The committee includes a representative from each continent. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Perdian Tumanan)

Where or when is the next Mennonite World Conference? This was the question posed to all of us as Mennonite World Conference (MWC) staff and volunteers at a recent Zoom gathering. Some people quickly figured out it was a trick question. The next MWC assembly will be in Indonesia in July 2022. But MWC is right now, everywhere, all the time!


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