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.
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.
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.
I was 7 when Rushi (a pseudonym) and his family moved into our neighbourhood. They were the first people of colour to move into the community, and nobody rolled out the welcome mat for them.
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.
‘Expect the unexpected’
When asked a few months ago what advice they would give about aging, a group of seniors responded, “Expect the unexpected.” That advice is relevant to all of us this spring!
As we emerge from our cocoons of self-isolation, what revelations will inform us as we move through the stages of our collective pandemic response?
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 . . .
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.
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.
I’m reading through the Chronicles of Narnia with my girls at bedtime. We recently finished Prince Caspian and then watched the movie. Narnia has definitely influenced my Scripture reading lately.
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 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. . .
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!
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.
In 1993, my friend Myron Penner introduced me to Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. I haven’t been the same since.
Although our world is facing the challenge of COVID-19, I am so glad for the parts of life that remain unchanged. Every day brings press conferences with appalling numbers of the losses we endure, talk of restrictions and life that seems like it’s in a state of flux. Yet, peanut butter, Netflix, and, of course, the Revised Common Lectionary remain.
The Canadian Foodgrains Bank had its beginnings in 1975 as the Mennonite Central Committee Food Bank. In November 1982, representatives of 10 Christian denominations met to discuss plans for an inter-church foodgrains bank. Among those at the meeting, pictured left to right facing the camera, were Frank H. Epp, J.M. Klassen and C. Wilbert Loewen.
In late January, Eric Harder died at age 74. He was my friend.
I became acquainted with Eric 25 years ago, when I moved to Prince Albert to begin my ministry work. Both he and Velma were strong presences in the church. They offered leadership and encouragement in all the ways that a new pastor desperately needs.
We were in the midst of the Christian season of Lent as I wrote this. Shortly after Lent ended and Easter came, Muslims began the season of Ramadan. The month-long period of daily fasting launched on April 23. The couple of years I have observed the season of Ramadan have been of stunning benefit for my Christian faith.
I’m really not sure what to pray or how to feel these days. I’ve become a strange blend of anxious and relaxed, concerned and content, grateful and restless, ambitious and listless.
There is a post-resurrection story that I find helpful this Easter as I contemplate the changing world around me.