Opinion

Public school teachers

Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Public school teachers Samuel B. Nafziger, Dick Neufeld, Sara (Lehn) Harder, Martin Goerzen, Grace Harder, John C. Harder and C. Boldt, are pictured in the most northerly Mennonite farm community in the world, at Fort Vermilion, Alta,. in 1958.

Why I’m not a Canadian

'We all have to travel on some nation’s passport...' (Image by Pam Patterson/Pixabay)

I am an immigrant. After serving with Mennonite Central Committee in Canada, I chose to stay in this amazing country. The Canadian way was closer to the “thousand points of light” to which one of the leaders of my left-behind country called his own people. (I’ll leave you to guess what country.) 

A living metaphor

'Oh that my life might be less concerned about my own image...' (Image by Med Ahabchane/Pixabay)

It’s outlandish really, what God asks Hosea to do. To think that someone known for his holiness and intimate relationship with the divine would take up residence with a woman everyone knew was promiscuous.

I am my brother’s keeper

“The way of Jesus sounds very much like embracing a social contract. He is called ‘the Man for others.’ Early Christians were known by how they loved one another.” (Pixabay photo by Caniceus)

Many years ago now—I’m getting a bit long in the tooth—I took what I thought would be a bird course in my second year at what was then known as Waterloo College. It turned out to be anything but, and I remember more from that course than from any other in my seven years of university education. It was a course on political philosophy.

Len Bechtel

(Photo: Len Bechtel / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Len Bechtel, front, is pictured with a portable saw he and other conscientious objectors (COs) designed near Vancouver during the Second World War. As oil supplies dwindled due to the war, this group of workers with mechanical aptitude in the Alternative Service program were pulled aside from forestry work to help supply Vancouverites with wood for the winter.

Learn, love, advocate

The Barkman family takes part in a rally in Manila on Feb. 24, 2018 to protest the police brutality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. (Photo courtesy of Christina Bartel Barkman)

I was in Whistler, B.C., last week with my husband and kids, and we joined a Black Lives Matter protest in the village. My eight-year-old reminded us that we used to do this often when we lived in Manila in the Philippines.

Disillusionment and hope

People dance at a Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C. on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Clay Banks/Unsplash)

When I preach I often reference verses in the Bible that talk about God’s intention that all nations, languages and tribes are called to worship God through Jesus. The Book of Acts is the story of the Jewish disciples relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and learning that the new church is relevant to a world much bigger than they ever imagined. 

Walking together at a distance

Al Friesen, left, Marlene Friesen, Charlotte Siemens and Jon Nofziger, who all attend Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C., take part in the Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation. (Photo by Al Friesen)

Following current physical-distance guidelines, the fifth annual Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation was held in various parts of British Columbia over the final weekend of May.

Although we walked apart, we did so in solidarity with our First Nations brothers and sisters whose families have been affected by the residential school system for many generations.

George Brunk

Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario

In 2001, evangelist George Brunk II, left, reflected on his 65-year-long ministry. Brunk’s style of revival meetings disrupted Mennonite communities. In a public talk at Conrad Grebel College he recalled, “At a time when Mennonite preachers stood still behind the pulpit, I would wander across the stage, carrying the microphone . . .

Memories of Pa

Ed Olfert remembers his father, George Olfert (left), and his father-in-law, Harold Edmonds (right).

June is the month when we honour fathers. My pa was George, born in 1921, died in ’94.

Pa loomed large. I spent childhood years believing that I was a disappointment to him. The areas of his life where he was gifted, strong and confident, seemed always to correlate with my weaknesses.

What kind of father?

'Loads of research points to the important role of fatherly involvement for children.' (Image by peterjamesanthony/Pixabay)

Probably no father should risk writing a Father’s Day column. Obviously, one’s family is the first to say “Dad’s not perfect.” I hope I’ve been good enough. Parenting is a lesson in grace.

A column about plague columns

Plague columns, like this one in Linz, Austria, are a reminder that the source of salvation is God. (Image by Alfred Stier/Pixabay)

If you’ve travelled in central or eastern Europe, you may have come across a plague column holding a prominent place in a town square. Plague columns were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries as a display of public faith in the church and in God.

J.J. Thiessen

(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Conference of Mennonites in Canada Photo Collection)

J.J. Thiessen of Saskatoon served in many leadership roles at the congregational, provincial, national, and binational levels most of his adult life. He is quoted in A Leader for his Times: “What is the chief need of present day humanity? Depth! Truly, if anything increases from year to year, it is superficiality. . .

Sunday morning on Zoom

'I grieve the real faces and the real touch, yet I’m also thankful for this very real community.' (Image by Armin Schreijäg/Pixabay)

Church is about to start and the Zoom link doesn’t work! For some reason it keeps sending me to a YouTube video of “Seek Ye First,” and I can’t find my church!

Too much news?

'These are days of information overload.' (Image by Steve Buissinne/Pixabay)

These are days of information overload. There is so much news to follow! Local, regional, national, international, from this part of the country and from that part of the world. 

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