I was recently invited with a handful of other clergypersons to lunch at a local seniors home. Between the main course and dessert, the conversation turned, predictably, to the decline of the church.
Streetscape of Nipawin, Sask., in the 1920s. Mennonites first began moving to Lost River in the Rural Municipality of Nipawin in the early 1900s. By 1906, they were meeting in homes for worship. In 1913, Bishop Abraham Doerksen of the Manitoba Sommerfeld Mennonite Church travelled to the Nipawin area, where he baptized 42 people and ordained Aron Doerksen and Abram R. Bergen as pastors.
Nearly 20 years ago, my husband accepted a job offer in Winnipeg that resulted in our family’s move from Ontario, a place we had called home for 22 years.
It was at the baseball diamond on my 36th birthday that I stumbled upon a breaking point. It came as a deep gut conviction, a weary heartfelt and tear-filled prayer, and a holy call from my Lord.
When you live on the west side of the Rocky Mountains and sometimes feel isolated from the rest of the country, what does it mean to be part of our nationwide family of faith?
As the saying goes, “Confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation.”
Timothy King found himself addicted to opioids when complications after surgery led to intense pain and serious illness. In Addiction Nation, he describes what it feels like to be trapped in a cocoon of addiction and how he was able to achieve recovery with the help of a kind doctor and a supportive family.
Summer is a time when many set aside time to explore. Pictured are five men on their motorcycles on Railway Street in Morden, Man., in 1913. From left to right on the motorcycles are: Isaac G. Brown, George G. Brown, Jacob E. Dyck, John J. Braun, and an unknown rider. New and familiar places are visited, old friends get reacquainted and new memories and relationships are made.
This year, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan has been “deepening our walk with one another” as part of a three-year initiative to call us to deeper life with Christ, ourselves and our neighbours.
Recently, I attended a provincial court session. A released offender friend, “Clifford” (a pseudonym), had messed up rather significantly. It wasn’t a violent offence, but it was the third breach of his conditions. It was a reasonable assumption that the system would not see Clifford’s actions as “cute.”
So I’m out walking in the beautiful spring sunshine and I pass a church that has a large empty parking lot with a sign that says “No Parking.” As I turn the corner, I see the official church sign that states “Everyone is Welcome.”
We “both have white uniforms,” joked Harold Schmidt in a letter to his girlfriend (later, wife) Enid Culp in 1942. Schmidt, left, was a cook at the Seymour Mountain conscientious objector (CO) service camp in British Columbia; Enid was in nursing training in Ontario. The Second World War disrupted normal life in many ways, including traditional gender roles, as historian Marlene Epp has noted.
At a recent gathering of pastors, one man spoke of “a woman’s right to choose” with respect to pregnancy, then added, “I assume everyone here would agree with that.” In a room of Mennonite pastors, I was not so confident that all would be “pro-choice.”
It was a year ago now, when we were packing up our life in Manila, embracing in tearful goodbyes and embarking on a new path. On our departure day, our home was still full of our dear Filipino friends who had become our family over the span of six years.
Confession is primarily between the individual and God, as I wrote about last month. Yet Scripture encourages us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). Why is this important, and how do we do this in healthy and helpful ways?
Mennonite camps exist outside of Ontario and Manitoba
Re: “Focus on Camping,” Feb. 18, pages 23-28.
One might think from reading these stories that no Mennonite camps existed west of Manitoba. We know that’s not the case, so maybe a better title would have been “Focus on Camping in Eastern Canada.”
In 1893, Kitchener, Ont., businessman Jacob Y. Shantz secured land from the government and railway, and he promoted the Didsbury, Alta., settlement to eastern Mennonites.
“It isn’t the authority which is given to me, but the authority under whose I am,” was the answer of a friend when I asked, “So what is it like to wear a clerical collar?” In other words, it isn’t so much who I am, but whose I am, to whom I belong and under whose authority I reach out and speak from.
Towards the end of 2006, I burned out as a full-time minister. I had failed to find adequate supports for my introverted spirit in an extroverted role. I chose not attend the church while it made decisions about future directions and leadership.
“Women walking together in faith“ is such a fitting theme as I observe life around me this Easter season. The “walking together” part, which carries echoes of the two disciples sharing concerns on the road to Emmaus, draws me in and certainly includes upholding our sisters in prayer, particularly during challenging times.
I have many fond memories of attending our annual national events over my lifetime, beginning in my youth at Great Treks and then as a young adult at assemblies. I remember creative and inspiring worship; animated, even heated, business meetings; and, most significantly, making personal connections with my faith community from across the country.
How should Christians respond to the technology that seems to be taking over our lives? Should we welcome new technology as beneficial or should we be afraid of the future it will bring? Two new books, Braving the Future by Douglas Estes and Deus in Machina by Daryl Culp, explore these questions.
Thoughts for the Easter season
The season of Lent and Easter is a time of mystery and power.
God is much bigger and more than a warm security blanket wrapping the Earth, and bigger than the whole solar system.