Fifty years ago, in June 1973, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Waterloo region. What gift could she be given to represent the area? These two bronze figures of an Old Order couple by Waterloo artist Renie Ellis were chosen. At the time, Mennonites constituted about 10 percent of the area’s population.
One of the identified priorities for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) is embracing diversity. With this priority, we articulate our intention to:
In January I was tasked with providing a meditation on Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday at a local church. As I peck out this column, that day has not yet arrived and I’m spending my time welding up a sermon.
I’m not an historian, nor a learned interpreter of our faith heritage, so I am grounded in nothing . . . but reality.
Scripture credits King Hezekiah for reestablishing Passover. Apparently, the temple had been shut down and it had been a while since any regular worship routines had been practiced. So, good king Hezekiah decided to turn things around and get Passover back on the menu.
A major sociological study of American youth concluded that their understanding of faith could be called “moralistic therapeutic deism.” On page 16 of the magazine, Ryan Dueck makes a related observation about “therapeutic church” and says it’s a problem.
One of my abiding critiques of the progressive church circles I inhabit is that they often lack what I call existential urgency.
In 1893, Maria Kroeker married Johann Neufeld in Reinland, Man. The couple moved to Lost River, Sask. in 1911. Then, in 1926, when the Saskatchewan government insisted that Mennonite children attend government schools, Maria and Johann moved their 11 children to Paraguay, where they helped establish the village of Bergthal.
Annual congregational meetings are just around the corner, a time when budget lines designated for regional churches are often queried. I’m reminded that many people do not have the history or know the people who stand behind the dollar figures.
I was a young adult in the time of the boycotts of South Africa. They were debated at length among my friends. How could it be right to boycott oranges from South Africa when that would negatively impact the masses of farm labourers in the country?
In 2017, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship awarded members of the Voices Together hymnal committee a grant to explore Mennonite worship in communities that worship primarily in languages beyond English.
My youngest son, Cai, has developed a passion for working out, so for Christmas he asked for a home gym. More specifically, an Olympic barbell, bumper plate weights, an adjustable bench and a power rack. It was pretty expensive, so he offered to pay for half, and said, “You can use it too, Dad! It would be something we could do together.”
When Sofia Samatar took an American literature class at Goshen (Ind.) College more than 20 years ago, she wrote a paper about Walt Whitman, who is sometimes called the “good grey poet.” Among the thousands of student papers I read, this one stands out.
“I spy with my little eye, something . . . .” Most of you probably know the game. It’s one that has become a fun and important little ritual for me and my three-year-old daughter while I drive her and her sister to daycare in the mornings before work.
I’ve probably preached half a dozen sermons on “Doubting Thomas” over the last decade or so. Thomas shows up faithfully in the lectionary readings each year after Easter Sunday. Thomas, the recalcitrant empiricist.
Vern Ratzlaff, centre, worked much of his life within Mennonite institutions in western Canada and internationally, serving as a church pastor, Bible school teacher and radio preacher. From 1982 to 1987, Vern and his wife Helen served as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) country representatives in Egypt.
Christmas is a difficult season for many people, myself included. As a Christian, I “should” be celebrating the birth of Jesus. The angels sing of “great joy” as the lowly and the mighty come to bend the knee at the crude bedside of the baby. The Incarnation is what makes Christianity profoundly different from all other religions.
As I read through the accounts of the kings in the Bible, Uzziah’s story doesn’t strike me as being overly unique. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, at least for a while. Eventually, his own power and pride did him in. He overstepped, and it cost him.
There is a lot to take in on this photomontage of the Mennonite Brethren Church Choir from Badamsha, Kazakhstan—in Soviet parlance, a “closed city”—in 1971.
In a conversation with an educated religious scholar, Jesus agreed that the most important thing is to love God and love one’s neighbour as oneself. Then the scholar asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” In typical Jesus fashion, instead of answering directly, he told a story: the parable of the Good Samaritan.
On a Monday in the fall of 2014, Christopher Clymer Kurtz was supposed to be teaching middle-school English, but was distracted with an idea for a song. On Tuesday of that week, he worked out a melody. On Friday, his spouse Maria dove into older Christmas songs, like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “Joy to the World,” gleaning ideas for the text.