We are now family

'Anne was there from early morning until late afternoon. I made an observation about her obvious devotion to Bill...' (Photo by National Cancer Institute/Unsplash)

Some years ago, the person who shares my life experienced a blip in her physical well-being. This resulted in Holly spending several days in hospital.

Don’t be like Jonah

'Forget the fish! The book of Jonah is a comedic satire against ethnocentrism, nationalism and a narrow-minded exclusivity regarding God.' (Image by CCXpistiavos/Pixabay)

Jonah suddenly became a favourite book of mine after I went to Iraq.

Forget the fish! The book is a comedic satire against ethnocentrism, nationalism and a narrow-minded exclusivity regarding God. In the story, the whiny fellow is sent 900 kilometres to Nineveh, now the site of Mosul, the second-largest city of Iraq. Nineveh was the capital of the reigning superpower at that time.

Vaccine inequities

(Image by Jeyaratnam Caniceus/Pixabay)

I struggle often with my relative wealth and privilege. Working with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for 20-plus years helped give me something “to do” to address inequities in our world. Working with Mennonite World Conference (MWC) makes me even more aware of the inequities of wealth and privilege, and how we might respond as the church. 

Speculating about berry-filled trees

(Photo by Matt Holmes on Unsplash)

A few years ago I was trekking through a desolate, snow-filled forest, enjoying the spacious tranquility of a crisp winter hike, when I came upon a tree buzzing with activity and life. There were well over a hundred little birds gathered in and around a relatively small tree less than 10 metres ahead of me. It was striking both visually and audibly. Surreal even. 

Pain and potential

(Photo: flickr.com/Jennifer)

After a long period of waiting, we learned in December that a COVID-19 vaccine had been approved and distribution was beginning. We were told that, by the beginning of September, we all should have received the vaccine, and life can begin to return to “normal.”

Epp sisters

(Photo from Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Epp sisters Anna Klaassen (1904-1976) and Maria Nickel (1903-1957) work together on the family farm in Saskatchewan stooking sheaves of grain. Stooking required workers to gather the cut grain into sheaves and then to stand the sheaves upright to help dry the grain before it is threshed. It was back-breaking work.

Gary Snider

(Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

In 1984, a local reporter interviews Gary Snider, dressed in clothes his grandfather wore when he arrived as an immigrant from the Soviet Union 60 years before. Three hundred people took part in this commemorative walk, retracing the route of a group of 1924 Mennonite immigrants from a railway siding in Uptown Waterloo, Ont., to Erb Street Mennonite Church.

‘Our framing story’

(Image by Reuben Juarez/Unsplash)

The Jan. 10 bulletin at Tiefengrund Mennonite Church included the following church family news: “Ed Olfert has officially retired and is now living the good life! In other news, Ed was taken to hospital on Wednesday and was subsequently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and now has to alter his diet and take pills/insert needles for the rest of his retirement. . . .”

Living in the middle

(Photo by Luke van Zyl/Unsplash)

Life is full of spectrums, and I often struggle to find my place on them.

Some spectrums, like the light spectrum from infrared through the visible colours to ultraviolet, although fascinating, aren’t highly controversial. Other spectrums, like our political or theological views, can harbour very passionate and divisive lines.

The crowd

(Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

Many of us are taking crowds very seriously these days and avoiding them as much as possible. For the sake of public health, I cannot encourage this enough. But there’s a crowd we have been avoiding since long before the pandemic started.

Jacob Kroeker

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives)

Scarlet fever, cholera, diphtheria, smallpox, typhoid and whooping cough were some of communicable diseases that plagued communities in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Jacob Kroeker (1836-1914) came to Manitoba in 1876 and settled in the village of Schoenweise. From 1881 to 1885 halskrankeit (diptheria) was a significant communicable illness that affected many.


"We attended regional, nationwide and international conferences in person, where we learned to know people from 'out there.'" (Mennonite Church Canada photo by Matt Veith)

I believe it is important that we are called to belong to a faith community that is beyond our own congregation. My main question today is: “How do we belong, how do we connect with the people in our Anabaptist church (regional, nationwide, international) beyond our congregation? 

Losing freedom?

'I’m learning to pay attention to my gratitude level as a measure of my attunement with truth.' (Photo by Greg Rakozy/Unsplash)

I’m writing this on Jan. 18 and I’m wondering how tone deaf my article will seem by the time you read it. I have no idea what the world will be like in a few days, let alone a few weeks. Who knows what catastrophic event or pivotal moment in history will have occurred between now and early February?


(Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Why go to all the trouble of producing a new hymnal? The Gesangbuch commission of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada faced this question in 1961. The 1942 version, it was felt, lacked readability and a variety in tunes. Furthermore, the world of the early 1960s “demanded a broader witness,” with more vocational, youth and gospel songs. The conference needed a unifying hymnal.


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