Faith is so much more

Andrew Root speaks at Canadian Mennonite University in February 2020. (Instagram.com/cmuwpg)

The youth of the Mennonite church are often on my mind, and over the years, they have secured a place in my heart. It has been total joy and privilege to share time and space with them at national gatherings, regularly in my ministry within Mennonite Church Manitoba, and through the sharing of stories in Canadian Mennonite.

LaVerna Klippenstein

(Photo: Lawrence Klippenstein / Mennonite Heritage Archives)

LaVerna Klippenstein (1934-2014) fulfilled many roles, including mother, wife, teacher and author. After her marriage to Lawrence Klippenstein in 1956, the pair began working in the Métis community of Matheson Island, Man., for two years with Mennonite Pioneer Mission. She is pictured hanging laundry on Matheson Island.

Living well together

A wall at Netiv HaAsara facing the Gaza border reads the words “Path to Peace” in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Netiv HaAsara is a moshav in southern Israel. Located in the north-west Negev, it nearly borders the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Cole Keister/Unsplash)

Whether you know the word or not, shalom is central to the way most Mennonites think of what it means to be disciples faithful to Jesus. “Peace” is how the Hebrew word shalom is often translated.

Praying for the prophets

'I pray that my daughters will continue to blossom in their faith...' (Photo by Ben White/Unsplash)

I was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to read amidst my children having breakfast and building with Lego, and I read this verse: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people, Your sons and daughters will prophesy. . .” (Joel 2:28).

Our need for community

(Photo by Vonecia Carswell/Unsplash)

In my work with high-risk single mothers, I’ve been meeting one-on-one this summer with women, as our weekly group program was put on hold due to the pandemic. Over and over, I’ve seen the positive effects that a caring community has on individuals and how vastly important it is.

‘A little mercy now’

(Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash)

In early August, I heard about the devastating impact of floods and a landside on a Mennonite congregation in Kerala in southern India, with mud covering the building and many church members missing. Paul Phinehas, head of the Anabaptist conference there, asked for prayers for:

Grinding gears

(Photo by Wayne Bishop/Unsplash)

This summer, our neighbours had a total of four trees taken down that bordered either side of our property. I really miss those big, beautiful trees. One tree was at least 50 years old, the other three were probably closer to 100, but it took only a few hours to reduce them to small piles of stump shavings scattered on the ground.

It’s been a feast!

A family from Morden Mennonite Church in Manitoba shares a song during Mennonite Church Canada's Sept. 6 online worship service. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

“Find us empty and wandering . . . find us in the wilderness, and fill us with your feast.”

This lyric by Phil Campbell-Enns, pastor of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, is from a song that was chosen for the first Mennonite Church Canada online worship service on March 22. At the time, it perfectly described where we found ourselves and how we felt.

Bethel moments

'Wonder and awe are held in an open palm, where they can be considered but never grasped tightly.' (Image by Radoan Tanvir/Pixabay)

A story in Genesis 28 describes the patriarch Jacob stopping for the night while on a journey. His sleep includes a dream of a visit from God. In the morning, Jacob awakes and offers the profound observation, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I didn’t know it! This is none other than the house of God!”

As a result of that experience, Jacob names the spot “Bethel.”

Learning from Quakers

(Photo by Gift Habeshaw/Unsplash)

Because of my Christian friends I’m taking a hiatus from social media. One has repeatedly posted a meme of Jesus with an AK-47 assault rifle. I tried hard to explain in detail why I thought this was horrible. What I mean, of course, is that we argued.

A spiritual disruption

'For the first few months of 2020, I’d developed a pretty regular routine of reading my Bible, journalling and praying...' (Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash)

Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God” (Hosea 14:1).

In this final chapter of Hosea, God bids the Israelites return to God and acknowledge their waywardness, but also to be assured they will find compassion and fruitfulness in God.

White Mennonite static

Photo © istock.com/llyast

The Mennonite church has the opportunity to become a dependable partner in the work of dismantling racism.

The church as a whole has a record of racism—both overt and covert—that has been attested to by generations of Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) community members both within and outside the church.

Practising prayer with the Psalms

'I have been praying one psalm a day, and it hasn't been a smooth road for me...' (Photo by Aaron Burden/Unsplash)

My kids are old enough to start playing ball, and weekly practices and physically distanced games are a regular part of the Barkman routine. In high school, I was a catcher, and Christina played third base, so we want our kids to grow into confident athletes. That means they are learning to practice. Continuous repetitions teach my kids how it feels to throw and hit a ball.

Musings of a CM board member

Since I was a young boy, I’ve been fascinated by words, stories and ideas.

So when I heard that I had an opportunity to be a regional representative for Alberta on the Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS) board of directors, which acts in an advisory capacity for the direction of the Canadian Mennonite periodical, I took them up on it.

Potluck faith

'Every household contributes to the plentiful potluck lunch.' (Photo by Spencer Davis/Unsplash)

Every year around this time, the congregation I belong to makes plans for Gathering Sunday. After a summer of sparser attendance at worship services, our gathering on the first Sunday after Labour Day is always a celebration, a reunion for those of us who vacationed outside the area and for those who stayed put during the summer.

‘The long wait’

‘Unless we are taken quickly in some senseless tragedy or sudden illness, those who are dying and those who accompany the dying enter into ‘the long wait.’’ (Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez/Unsplash)

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: A time to born and a time to die . . . .” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2).

Volleyball game

Photo: Lorne W. Friesen / Conference of Mennonites in Canada Photo Collection

The Conference of Mennonites in Canada annual session was held in July 1975, in Swift Current, Sask. Hot weather put participants’ “cool” to the test. The assembly was not only about business but also about relationships and, as such, there was time for work and play, including a game of volleyball, pictured.

Why ‘third way’?

‘What does ‘third way’ mean and how does it relate to my family?’ (Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

I’ve been asked recently why my column is called “Third Way Family.” The question has prompted me to share my reasoning behind choosing this title and what it means to me. 


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