Opinion

Inspired by ‘this ground’

An aerial view of Camp Assiniboia. (Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/campswithmeanin)

In 2015, some of the summer staff at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Camps with Meaning wrote a song called “This Ground.” The song makes the simple observation that nature inspires us to pray. It encourages us to notice the beauty of creation all around us, hinting that there’s much to learn about God in the natural world.

‘Bring what you have’

(Photo by flo222/Pixabay)

I was driving the night shift that week, hauling wood chips to the pulp mill in The Pas, Man.

I pulled into the Esso C-Store in Nipawin, Sask., a little after 11 p.m., closing time. As I filled my mug, I apologized for keeping the clerk around so late.

“Oh, no,” he assured me. “The fair closes tonight, so we’re staying open till midnight to catch the traffic going home.”

The waiting place . . .

(Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge/Unsplash)

In Dr. Seuss’s book Oh the Places You’ll Go there is a section about “the waiting place.” It is depicted as an undesirable and useless place to be. I wonder if our Advent waiting sometimes feels like that kind of waiting. I wrote a little poem in the style of Dr. Seuss about Advent waiting:

Oakella Prison Farm

Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Herb Wiebe, facing camera, visits with an inmate at the Oakalla Prison Farm in Burnaby, B.C., in 1970. A growing number of British Columbia Mennonite men volunteered to befriend inmates through the M-2 (Man to Man) program, a prison visitation program then in its early days in Canada.

Every tribe and language

(Photo by Amador Loureiro/Unsplash)

I expect everyone has forgotten what I had to say when I spoke at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s chapel a few years ago. But I know some remember that I asked students to read Scripture in their own languages. For a few international students it was the first time they heard the Bible read in their mother tongue. That has not been forgotten.

Gluten free

(Photo: Waterloo North Mennonite Church / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

“Gluten free” proclaims the sign on one of these desserts at a Waterloo North Mennonite Church potluck in 2011. How have the offerings at your congregational potluck changed over the years? What traditions have endured? If you could convey the history of your congregation through a potluck table, what dishes would be on it?

Remembrance, regret, resolution

(Photo courtesy of Joshua Penfold)

I miss my Opa.

A few years ago, my daughter Ellie had a school assignment for Remembrance Day to to write about someone she remembered that served in the armed forces. She wrote about her great-grandfather (Opa). Helping her write a few short sentences about his life made me realize just how little I knew about his story, specifically his time in the war.

No limits

'I walked into my curling club for the first time in 11 months...' (Photo by Francis Bouffard/Unsplash)

I walked into my curling club for the first time in 11 months and saw my team preparing to go out on the ice. I immediately teared up, telling them, “I’m so happy to be here, I think I’m going to cry!” We shared a laugh and hugs, and revelled in the moment of our mutual love of a sport and the camaraderie associated with it.

Plymouth Victory

(Photo: Joseph Vale / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Look way off in the distance behind the North American Mennonite and Brethren farm boys (looking rather dazed at their surroundings) and you will notice the ruins of ancient Athens. These young men volunteered to tend horses and other livestock on ships sent to Europe to replenish herds following the Second World War.

Grace Lao

Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Women at Grace Lao Mennonite Church sing at a “ladies’ revival” in 1999. This was an important year for the congregation of about 90 people, as they also dedicated their own independent church building in Kitchener, Ont. Previously, they worshipped nearby at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church. The church grew from the efforts of refugee families sponsored by St.

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