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.
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.
After a month in the woods by myself, my sabbatical plan is to spend three months listening to people who aren’t a part of church culture, to see how they view church and understand why they don’t go to church.
“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?
Our lives—Holly’s and mine, that is—changed to a significant degree. Our oldest granddaughter, Maeve, who is 19, has moved into our home. Maeve comes to us from Ontario, where she left her family behind to begin the next portion of her life.
What is the most dangerous place in your community? The speaker at a large gathering of Christian university students queried us. “It is the library!” he answered.
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.
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.
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.
I am pondering yet again the “Mennonite” label, and what it means for us today in Canada. There are three things that recently provoked these questions.
Tomorrow I’m driving to a log cabin in remote northern Quebec to spend a month in the woods by myself. That said, I’m not exactly roughing it. The cabin has electricity, a kitchen, a bathroom and what looks like a comfortable bed.
No one would dispute that our world has become intercultural. Culture meets culture and languages are exchanged randomly on streets, in restaurants, in classrooms and even during Sunday church worship. “Intercultural” is being used at a massive rate. But this is being done without the faintest idea of what it means to be truly intercultural.
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.
Someone suggested I apply for a pastoral position in a church in a large Canadian city. My ego liked that quite a lot. Then I gave it some thought.
Learning happens because learners do something, not because teachers teach. Education is not about teaching—it is about learning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Long ago I studied both sociology and theology, and I remain intrigued by the relationships between culture and faith. We can’t have one without the other. Which influences the other more?