I’m surrounded by a legion of internal voices telling me I am not the pastor I should be. I’m not enough of a leader, not caring enough, not informed enough, not clear, not decisive, not doing enough. My soul cowers at the possibility that the roaring cacophony in my head is correct. Our current moment in history has laid bare my insecurities, deficiencies and anxieties of being a pastor.
Breaking with its usual formal style, The Canadian Mennonite decided to print a candid photo of church leaders in 1958. While lining up for the typical serious group photograph, men gathering at St. Catharines United Mennonite Church in St. Catharines, Ont. were interrupted by a young girl unselfconsciously swinging a hula hoop.
Susan Olivier, left; Cyndy, Joel, Gemma and Gareth Brandt; and John Dawson stop to have their picture taken during the Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation event on May 29. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)
Gemma Brandt learns about residential schools on the May 29 Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation event along a portion of the Discovery Trail beside the Fraser River in Mission, B.C. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)
Just days before the Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation began, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation discovered the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The news made the walk all the more poignant for those who participated, including me and my husband John.
This year marks a devastating milestone. It is the 10th anniversary of the war in Syria. This dreadful war has resulted in the deaths of a half-million people and is the largest displacement crisis since the Second World War.
We have gone to places yet unknown, trusting in a God who leads and a Spirit who prays when our own words cease. Mother’s Day 2020 was the beginning of many outbreaks at the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home, where I serve as chaplain.
We wish we knew more about George Hamm of Didsbury, Alta., and his egg collection. This photo was found in The Canadian Mennonite files from the 1960s, but it was not published in the newspaper. His collection was later listed in the Royal Alberta Museum inventory. Even in this side view, we sense his pride and passion for these marvels of the natural world.
Several months ago, I bleated piteously about a diabetes diagnosis. That has moved forward well, managed by diet, exercise and pills. Alongside, however, has come a new struggle with balance, dizziness and nausea. (To you medical folks, no, it’s not a sugar low.) A doctor and a therapist are working with me. Again, moving forward quite well.
Of course, a story comes out of that.
It’s too bad Christianity became a European religion. At the beginning of the seventh century, only about a quarter of the world’s Christians were on that continent. The majority were strewn across vibrant communities in Africa and Asia. It’s that way again.
Are you ever afraid to say something because it might not be the popular opinion? Do you struggle to muster the courage to speak out within your congregation because you’re worried you’ll offend someone’s well-intentioned but misinformed idea?
Author Natalie Frisk brings her own parenting experience as well as years of pastoring children and youth into this engaging book, full of practical points on how to be intentional about teaching our faith to our children. She is the curriculum pastor of the Meeting House, an Anabaptist church with headquarters in Oakville, Ont.
I have grown accustomed to our regular Sunday morning live-streamed worship services and the Zoom call that follows. Oh, I might try to change it up occasionally and take the computer to the kitchen, but I am somehow predestined to end up on the couch like it was my regular pew.
Helene (Heese) Toews, seated, is honoured by Katie Dyck with a fruit basket, circa 1972. At a Conference of Mennonites in Canada meeting in 1945, Toews read a paper to a gathering of women on “the true role of women” in which she argued that women could work for God’s kingdom outside the realm of the family.
Where or when is the next Mennonite World Conference? This was the question posed to all of us as Mennonite World Conference (MWC) staff and volunteers at a recent Zoom gathering. Some people quickly figured out it was a trick question. The next MWC assembly will be in Indonesia in July 2022. But MWC is right now, everywhere, all the time!
You are at the centre of every experience you’ve ever had. You’re hard wired to be self-centred. It’s your default setting because, from your relative position, you are the centre of the universe.
To some, rest is a four-letter word. There are a myriad of reasons why people avoid sleep: some restrict it in a counterproductive attempt to increase work output; others devalue sleep for the preference of entertainment; still others are reluctant to acknowledge their limits and they push through when their body signals it’s time to sleep.
To celebrate Manitoba’s 150th birthday, the Trailblazer’s Award was established. Helena Reimer (1905-1993) of Steinbach, Man., was a recipient. Reimer was a nurse, educator, administrator and a pioneer. She was one of the first nurses in Canada selected to participate overseas in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration during the Second World War.
From 1992 to ’95 I worked at Rosthern (Sask.) Junior College as dean in the men’s dormitory. It was my first step away from the farm. I was 40 when I moved there, and the experience was rich and challenging. It was rich in that I was reminded that we are created in the holy image of God, that each one carries that core of goodness that waits to be recognized and affirmed.
Some of us are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, and more are on lists, anxiously waiting for supplies to become more robust, and hoping dearly that the end of the pandemic is in sight. Imagine being the Indigenous people of a land where the government doesn’t provide for you to get vaccinated, but it provides for settlers.
It was the first Sunday of Advent and we had lit a single candle in our living room as part of our online worship service. Our Advent wreath was neatly set up on the coffee table, safely away from anything flammable, and our children are old enough to know to be careful with fire.