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Intentional with our time

'My husband and I have been very mindful of what we will fill our schedules with... We have time for father-son mountain biking, weekend morning Lego time, and running over to the neighbours to play with their kittens.' (Image by Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay)

With fall schedules now well underway, I sense the pressure of a “busy” lifestyle creeping in on our days and cramping our summer style. I’ve chatted with many friends who have hopped right into the overwhelming patterns of rushing out the door to yet another soccer practice or piano lesson.

How to talk about money at your church

'Christians give in grateful obedience to a generous God. Gratitude provides a wonderful pathway to the spiritual discipline of giving.' (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Christians give in grateful obedience to a generous God. Gratitude provides a wonderful pathway to the spiritual discipline of giving. God’s mercies to us are new every morning, and we have so much to be grateful for.

Imagine that one or two Sundays every month, someone from the congregation shares a moment of gratitude during worship. I’ll call the church Peach Blossom.

Revolutionary hospitality

'Radical hospitality became a central practice for the early church. Congregations intentionally welcomed those who were unwelcomed by others.' (Image by Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay)

When you search “hospitality” online, Google auto-fills with words like industry, services and tourism. You will find links to lodging, food and beverage establishments, entertainment and travel services, and hospitality management training institutions. What you don’t find, unfortunately, are links to Christianity or the church.

Finding spiritual fruits in Mennonite orchards

'We found that the sweetest spiritual fruit had grown in the Mennonite communities, so we wanted to plant that seed in our backyard.' (Image by Marco Roosink/Pixabay)


When Ly Vang was growing up on a farm in Laos, her family planted it own fruits, and her parents always said, ‘Whenever you eat fruit that tastes good, save the seed so you can plant it. That way you will have more delicious fruit!’

A collaborative leadership approach

"For Jesus... There would be no hierarchy, no coercive power, no one person ruling over and above another person. His model is mutual, shared leadership under one Lord." (Image by rawpixel/Pixabay)

We have a lot of pastoral transitions happening at the moment in Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is a time that has given me pause to think about how we do church ministry and what our pastoral ministry positions look like.

‘Camps make church come alive’

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe, left, with campers from her cabin at Camp Koinonia’s youth week. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe, centre, with fellow Camps with Meaning staffers Matthew Sawatzky and Emma Berg. (Photo courtesy of Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe, right, with camper Carlynn Davidson at Camp Koinonia’s youth week. (Photo by Darryl Neustaedter Barg)

It’s 10:30 on a sunny August morning and the lodge at Camp Koinonia, near Boissevain, Man., is bursting with shouts and harmonies. People dance and laugh together. The group radiates energy.

If the church is the body, then camp is the heart that pumps life into every corner.

Valaqua: A place where people express God’s love

"Conversations about God, Jesus, love, life and other big topics are abundant" at Camp Valaqua, Michael Taves writes. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

I have worked at Camp Valaqua for a total of six summers, and this summer I am back on staff after being away for a few years.

Valaqua is a place where I learned many things. It was my first job. I learned how to work with a large group of people cooperatively. Valaqua is a very isolated place, so I got a taste for what it is like to live in close community.

Creating a wardrobe to match your values

Elise Epp’s sneakers are ethically and sustainably made and sourced. (Photo by Elise Epp)

Elise Epp’s socks are made of certified organic cotton. (Photo by Elise Epp)

Elise Epp’s shirt, jeans and shoes are ethically and sustainably made and sourced. (Photo by Krista Hawryluk)

If you wear clothes, then you need to care about how they were made and who made them. Even if you aren’t interested in “fashion.” Even if it means giving up your favourite stores and finding new ones. Even if you think it won’t be available in your budget, style, or size (it is). 

How do you get over these hurdles? Connect it with something you’re already passionate about.

The most important word

"With" may be the most important word in the Christian faith, Sam Wells argues in his book, "Incarnational Ministry." (Photo courtesy of stmartin-in-the-fields.org)

“With” may be the most important word in the Christian faith. So argues Sam Wells, an Anglican priest-theologian, in Incarnational Ministry, a book about being with the church.

The divine flame

"If the fire in your heart is out, pay attention to this deeper flame of God within you by spending lots of time in spacious prayer." (Image by Elias_S/Pixabay)

The song “Wonderwall” by Oasis came on the radio. I was about to change the station when these lyrics hit me, “Backbeat, the word is on the street that the fire in your heart is out.”

There are many fires that burn in one’s heart over a lifetime:

Igniting flames of hope in the midst of ending

(Photo by June Miller)

MW Canada members vote to dissolve the organization and turn the assets over to the five regional churches for future women’s ministries. (Photo by June Miller)

(Photo by June Miller)

Susan Martens Kehler (Photo by June Miller)

Elsie Rempel, left, and Shirley Redekop pack up MW Canada’s logo following the meeting to dissolve the organization at MC Canada’s Gathering 2019 in Abbotsford, B.C., on June 30. (Photo by June Miller)

On June 30, at our annual general meeting in Abbotsford, B.C., Mennonite Women Canada elected to dissolve our nationwide ministry for the purpose of releasing energy and assets to the regional churches so that they can grow stronger in their ministry with and through women within their contexts.

Leon’s ‘fifth step’ to sobriety

“Step 5 is a time when they acknowledge [their] transgressions to God and to one other person. Frequently, I am the one other person.” (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

Throughout my years of ministry, being involved in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my work. No, I am not an addict. But at times I’m called on to help addicts through their “fifth step.”

Two big surprises, two big questions

An encounter with the Stanley Cup led columnist Troy Watson (right, kneeling) to wonder: "What do I ‘live out loud’ to my neighbours and the people at places I frequent?"

Recently, a Kubota utility vehicle pulled into my driveway where my sons and their friends were playing hockey. Out popped Tim Taylor, a former NHL player and two-time Stanley Cup champion, holding the Stanley Cup. He put it in the middle of our driveway where we all took turns touching it, kissing it and drinking from it.

Things I noticed at Gathering 2019

Members of the worship team lead the singing at Gathering 2019. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

I didn’t used to get nervous leading singing. There were times before leading at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019 when I was nervous. I was less nervous leading 6,500 youth and sponsors at the St. Louis ’99 Youth Convention than some points before leading a few hundred in Abbotsford, B.C., last month.

Centennial celebration

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Lawrence Klippenstein photo collection

New Canadian initiatives around multiculturalism in the 1970s—celebrating anniversaries like Canada’s centennial in 1967, Manitoba’s in 1970, and the arrival of Mennonites in Manitoba in 1974—created a new energy and appreciation for history in Canada. During these years, the Mennonite Heritage Centre and the Archives of Ontario hired permanent staff.

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