Being authentic has always been important to me. However, what authenticity means or looks like isn’t always as straightforward as I’d like. Especially as a pastor.
Going right back to Menno himself, Mennonites have valued simplicity. But to what extent has this ethos survived the age of gadget-saturation, relentless advertising and soul-numbing consumption?
How can Mennonite historical sites become sites of decolonization and reconciliation? This question has challenged and inspired my husband Joshua and me for the past four years, as we have served as hosts of Brubacher House Museum.
Winston Churchill, Great Britain’s Second-World-War-era prime minister, famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Or maybe it was Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff and mayor of Chicago. The internet is unsure.
David Hunsberger’s photos are normally more well-composed. But it appears he saw the expression of expectation and joy on the face of music teacher Doris Moyer and he couldn’t wait to capture it. She grew up in Pennsylvania and taught at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont., in 1954, when this photo was taken.
“Who says they have enough money? We’ve never heard such a thing!” blurted the students at a Christian college at which I used to teach. I had just told them that I was going on an international human-rights delegation. After asking about funding, they vocalized their surprise that I was paying my own expenses. “I have enough money,” I had said.
Occasionally, if my wife Rebecca doesn’t get home when I was expecting her, my mind will become morbidly creative.
There is no question that COVID-19 has been disruptive. We, like the Israelites, found ourselves wandering in the wilderness, anxious to get back to normal.
We have realized that “normal” will not happen anytime soon so, like the Israelites, we made our home in this new place, building houses (carving out offices) and planting gardens (noticing and practising what is life-giving).
I’m not naturally a morning person; it usually takes a lot to get me started at the beginning of my day. But this last Wednesday, I set my alarm a little earlier and bounced up from bed like a child on Christmas morning.
He discretely looked to the left, then to the right and said quietly, “Why don’t we talk about evangelism in this denomination?”
I grinned and replied, “Ever seen the movie A Thief in the Night?”
“No”, he said.
I briefly described the 1970s era Christian film depicting a rapture, tribulation and the second coming of Christ.
The German-language periodical Der Bote was begun in Rosthern, Sask., in 1924, to connect Mennonites in Russia, Canada, the United States and Latin America. It had generations of faithful readers, like Mrs. Lepp, pictured. Der Bote recorded the pain and loss of home and loved ones. It provided advice on how to improve farming practices in times of drought.
Church is not the building. We’ve heard that often over the last 18 months. But now that some congregations are back in their building, with the rest trying to figure it out, I wonder who will come back? And what will we come back to?
I have heard a variety of opinions around me, which may be a microcosm of many of our congregations.
I was about to take a shower, and for some reason, I looked at myself in the mirror. Rookie mistake. You see, I’ve gained 5.5 kilograms in the last year and, without access to my local gym and trainer for the past 13 months, I’ve lost some muscle mass.
A long time ago I told God that I was his, and that I would follow him wherever he led me. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to decipher God’s leading!
Does that still small voice belong to God, or is that just my own will whispering loudly? Closed doors and open windows are often a sign but, sometimes, as you crawl through the window, you wonder if this is really the best way.
On a cold wintry night in the middle of February around a decade ago, I arranged five chairs at the table for our committee meeting. One person came in looking wretched; she blew her nose and sneezed through the whole meeting. I felt like moving my chair away, as I was sitting next to her, but I didn’t want to be rude.
“It is so good to connect with each other.” In my role as executive minister of Mennonite Church Alberta, I have heard this sentiment expressed many times in many different ways. It is a feeling I heard expressed again on a Monday evening in late June as I met with the church chairs from the congregations of the regional church.
Hochstadt, Man., near Altona was the location of the first delegate meeting of the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC) in 1903. A cairn was unveiled in July 1978 at that location to mark the 75th anniversary. On the left is Peter J. Hamm, but who is the man with the beard on the right?
It’s Friday. I drive to Rosthern, Sask., and pull in at the Good Neighbours Food Centre, where I will spend the day volunteering. My task, besides praying before the doors are opened, is to deliver groceries to cars, and to offer relationships to everyone I encounter. It’s a good fit.
What is a bike to you: Exercise? A commuter vehicle? Opportunity for a family outing? Tool for close-by errands? A connection to simple living? Related to your spirituality?