Oakella Prison Farm

Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Herb Wiebe, facing camera, visits with an inmate at the Oakalla Prison Farm in Burnaby, B.C., in 1970. A growing number of British Columbia Mennonite men volunteered to befriend inmates through the M-2 (Man to Man) program, a prison visitation program then in its early days in Canada.

Every tribe and language

(Photo by Amador Loureiro/Unsplash)

I expect everyone has forgotten what I had to say when I spoke at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s chapel a few years ago. But I know some remember that I asked students to read Scripture in their own languages. For a few international students it was the first time they heard the Bible read in their mother tongue. That has not been forgotten.

Gluten free

(Photo: Waterloo North Mennonite Church / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

“Gluten free” proclaims the sign on one of these desserts at a Waterloo North Mennonite Church potluck in 2011. How have the offerings at your congregational potluck changed over the years? What traditions have endured? If you could convey the history of your congregation through a potluck table, what dishes would be on it?

Remembrance, regret, resolution

(Photo courtesy of Joshua Penfold)

I miss my Opa.

A few years ago, my daughter Ellie had a school assignment for Remembrance Day to to write about someone she remembered that served in the armed forces. She wrote about her great-grandfather (Opa). Helping her write a few short sentences about his life made me realize just how little I knew about his story, specifically his time in the war.

No limits

'I walked into my curling club for the first time in 11 months...' (Photo by Francis Bouffard/Unsplash)

I walked into my curling club for the first time in 11 months and saw my team preparing to go out on the ice. I immediately teared up, telling them, “I’m so happy to be here, I think I’m going to cry!” We shared a laugh and hugs, and revelled in the moment of our mutual love of a sport and the camaraderie associated with it.

Plymouth Victory

(Photo: Joseph Vale / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Look way off in the distance behind the North American Mennonite and Brethren farm boys (looking rather dazed at their surroundings) and you will notice the ruins of ancient Athens. These young men volunteered to tend horses and other livestock on ships sent to Europe to replenish herds following the Second World War.

Grace Lao

Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Women at Grace Lao Mennonite Church sing at a “ladies’ revival” in 1999. This was an important year for the congregation of about 90 people, as they also dedicated their own independent church building in Kitchener, Ont. Previously, they worshipped nearby at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church. The church grew from the efforts of refugee families sponsored by St.

An enemy of hope

'Nostalgia is an enemy of hope...' (Photo by Josh Hild/Unsplash)

Three years after graduating from Bible college on the prairies, I returned for a one-week complimentary alumni seminary course. I was excited to be back in the classroom again, but if I’m completely honest, I was just as, if not more, excited to return to a place that held so many good memories.

‘Whatever happened to simple living?’ - Part 2

More-with-Less Cookbook author Doris Longacre Janzen (pictured) is 'one of our best theologians,' says Kenton Lobe, who teaches a course on simple living at Canadian Mennonite University. (MCC Canada photo/Mennonite Heritage Archives)

For 45 years, the More-with-Less Cookbook has been a beacon of the Mennonite legacy of simple living. The popular, and much more recent, cookbook, Mennonite Girls Can Cook, is rooted in a decidedly more First-World spirituality. The divergent books illustrate something of the tension faced by Mennonites living in a land of plenty.

Holy space

(Photo by Photo by De an Sun/Unsplash)

When I was director of Person-to-Person, a prison visitation program started by Mennonite Church Saskatchewan in the early 1970s, the V&C Room (Visitors and Correspondence Room) was often a place of holy space. While the prison system has a strict policy of nothing in and nothing out, God seemed to have little interest in following those guidelines.


(Photo: Mennonite Heritage Archives / Walter Bergen)

On the heels of the Second World War, the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church were concerned about scouting programs that promoted patriotism to boys and girls. In 1957, the Wayfarers girls club was begun and in 1958, Mennonite Publishing House published a Torchbearers guide book and manual for boys.


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