Opinion

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Partners in the body of Christ

Participants at the Mennonite World Conference Renewal 2027 event in Costa Rica in 2019 hold hands and pray together. (Photo by Ebenezer Mondez)

Strange, I know, but I like to read financial statements. I remember, in my early 20s, listening to the treasurer in our Toronto congregation explain how to understand financial statements when they were meaningless to me. Since then, I have learned that financial statements show us how we think about our priorities and relationships. Numbers and their labels tell lots of stories.

The snowball effect

'The snowball effect is about momentum...' (Image by Benoit Hamann/Pixabay)

The snowball effect refers to a situation in which something starts off small or insignificant and increases in size or importance at an accelerating rate. Like when you roll a small snowball through wet snow and it accumulates more and more snow until it becomes so large and heavy that you can’t move it anymore.

Dear MC Saskatchewan:

In 2018, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan began a three-year journey called 'Deepening our walk.' (Image by ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay)

In 2018, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan began a three-year journey called “Deepening our walk.” In year one, we opened ourselves to encounters with God’s presence by “Deepening our walk with Christ.” This theme grew out of an awareness that, if we desire to live well in this day of turmoil and uncertainty, we need to re-centre ourselves on Jesus Christ, the one who invites us to the table and tr

David Neufeld

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / David P. Neufeld Fonds

You can find all kinds of things in the archives, including humour.  In a report dated Jan. 25, 1963, Rev. David P. Neufeld wrote, “During the course of the last year I have come to sympathize with a man who was called to be the executive secretary of one of our larger denominations [U.S. Protestant Episcopal Bishop, Stephen F. Bayne Jr.]. . . .

‘Unusual kindness’

'I thought of the Sunday brunch that this tiny Lutheran congregation creates annually. Church that day becomes a time for frying sausages and scrambling eggs.' (Image by Holger Langmaier/Pixabay)

On Feb. 2, I attended a worship service that mattered.

It was an ecumenical service, held as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Here in Laird, Sask., population somewhere south of 300, three churches participated. All are, by most standards, laughably small. And yet, there we were, crowded into tiny St. John’s Lutheran Church. 

Slow down for nature

'If we pay attention to creation, we have to move at slower paces, paces more amenable to being gentle and caring in all our relations.' (Image by Johannes Plenio/Pixabay)

One of the most profound experiences of my life was when I bought a bicycle at the police auction at the precise midpoint of my two-year term of service with Mennonite Central Committee.

Lessons from the wheel

'My best friend, Mike, is a potter. Our friendship has afforded me the occasional opportunity to sit at his wheel and try my hand at pottery. I’ve learned that it isn’t easy.' (Image by Pexels/Pixabay)

My best friend, Mike, is a potter. Our friendship has afforded me the occasional opportunity to sit at his wheel and try my hand at pottery. I’ve learned that it isn’t easy.

Expressions of encouragement

Activist Victoria Redsun stands among the symbolically dead at the Manitoba Youth for Climate Action’s Die-In on Sept. 20, 2019. (Photo by Josée Levesque)

Over the years, I’ve attended many youth gatherings, even organized a few. But none were like the one I attended on Sept. 20, 2019, when the Manitoba Youth for Climate Action called students to gather for a Die-In in Winnipeg.

Cornelius Penner

Photo: Joel Landau, United Press International

In 1944, Cornelius Penner was separated from his wife and four children in Poland. He was sent to a German work camp while the rest of the family was taken to Siberia and later Tajikistan. Cornelius came to Winnipeg in 1949, and worked at the Mennonitische Rundschau newspaper.

Giving up a dream

‘We came incredibly close to buying our dream house, and then we gave it up.’ (Image by Comfreak/Pixabay)

I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions this year but I definitely jumped into this new decade with a challenge to choose what matters most to our family.

'We discuss and we divide'

(Image by OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay)

In early December, I received an email from Jeremiah Choi, our Mennonite World Conference (MWC) regional representative for Northeast Asia, about the situation in Hong Kong, where he lives and pastors: “Please pray for Hong Kong churches for unity. We were not used to discussing political issues. Now we discuss and we divide.

Dwell in, not on

'Prayer is more like a game of Jenga than releasing a genie.' (Photo by Antony Mayfield/flickr.com)

Scripture encourages us to bring our requests to God in prayer. The problem is when we get attached to our desired outcome, which we usually do, resulting in our joy, peace and contentment becoming dependent on things turning out the way we want them to.

No longer predictable

'Our church family has expanded and, with it, our diversity.' (Image by truthseeker08/Pixabay)

The church we inhabit today is a lot different than the one I grew up in. Whether it was an English congregation or a German one, the worship services tended to have a familiar look and feel. “Mennonite” was somewhat predictable. 

MCC annual meeting

Photo by Charmayne Denlinger Brubaker / Mennonite Heritage Archives.

In 1984, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) held its annual meeting in Richmond, British Columbia. Pictured from left to right are board members Hugo Jantz, Leo Driedger, Henry P. Yoder, Bruce Janzen and Florence Driedger. Money is a form of power. With it, a person or organization can fulfill needs and wants. How does God want us to use this power?

Transformative experiences

'A ragged and stained potholder has hung next to my kitchen stove ever since 1988.' (Photo courtesy of Randy Haluza-DeLay)

A thoroughly ragged and stained potholder has hung next to my kitchen stove ever since 1988. It was stitched together from scraps of cloth by some unknown Pennsylvania Mennonite. In those days, a group of women made potholders for every person who came through Akron, Pa., for a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) orientation before a term of service.

An incessant demand

'I stare at my work wall and pray. It’s plastered with pictures of martyrs and sayings of saints.' (Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

“Where are you, Mennonites?”

A colleague and I are in a Winnipeg café discussing the current land struggles of many Indigenous peoples. I listen intently as she speaks of the Unist’ot’en, Muskrat Falls and the Tiny House Warriors. I nod my head in understanding and offer affirming murmurs. But then, halfway through tea, she looks at me impatiently.

Westgate students at rally

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

In 1968, 115 Westgate Mennonite Collegiate students joined 2,000 members of Students for Educational Equality and Democracy (SEED) for a rally at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg. These students of private and parochial schools were seeking provincial funding, as recommended by a royal commission in Manitoba a decade before.

To the river

'In a short five-minute walk, I was filled with peace as I was enveloped by the beauty of the river and the mountains.' (Photo courtesy of Christina Bartel Barkman)

After the hour-long drive home from my sister’s with my four very energetic kids, I had had enough! Trying to quiet down hyper kids while driving is not an easy feat. Not wanting to yell at them over and over, I gave up and succumbed to their antics, eagerly longing for our driveway. I called my husband and said I would need serious backup upon arrival; I was spent!

Canadian turkey and Salvadoran turkey

'Our congregation’s tradition is to have both Canadian turkey and El Salvadoran turkey, mashed potatoes and rice, gravy and sauce. And tables full of special dishes of vegetables, salads and desserts, from traditions all over the world.' (Image by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay)

“The turkey tasted just like my mom’s turkey.” So said Sandra, a recent newcomer to Canada from Colombia. She was part of the First Mennonite Church (Kitchener) annual Christmas dinner. Our congregation’s tradition is to have both Canadian turkey and El Salvadoran turkey, mashed potatoes and rice, gravy and sauce.

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