Opinion

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. 

The presence of Christ

‘Let us receive the blessing of the presence of Christ yet again.’ (Image by MikesPhotos/Pixabay)

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. 

Canadian Foodgrains Bank meeting

Photo: Robb Nickel / Mennonite Heritage Archives / MCC collection

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.

Holy curious living

Life for Eric Harder ‘was a mystery to savour rather than a load to carry,’ Ed Olfert writes. (Photo illustration by Betty Avery)

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.

What I learned from Ramadan

A decorative lantern crafted specifically for Ramadan in Egypt. (Image by Ahmed Sabry/Pixabay)

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.

‘You listened to my cry’

‘I’m reading the story of Jonah, one of your servants who also left you behind, or tried to… I think I can share in his prayer.’ (Image by Jeff Jacobs/Pixabay)

Dear God:

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.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Opinion