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The downside of digital

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 07, 2015

Some days I would like to just unplug my computer, walk out into the sunshine and warmth of an autumn day, breathe in the clear air and pretend I was living in a time before the Internet. Find a close friend and chat face to face, rather than “like” his thoughts on Facebook.

A tale of two ethnic groups

Arrival of the first group of Russian Mennonite immigrants in Rosthern, Sask., on July 23, 1923. (Photo from Mennonite Archival Image Database: Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies)

Feature | By Kira Olfert | Oct 07, 2015 | 1 comment

To start, a little bit of history.

The Mennonites evolved out of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. As Anabaptist pacifists who practised adult baptism, they often held themselves apart from the surrounding communities, and in turn often had trouble finding safe havens. They were persecuted by Catholics and Protestants alike, but in this persecution they found strength of conviction.

Readers write: October 12, 2015 issue

Viewpoints | Oct 07, 2015

Relationships in an age of ‘impacts and outcomes’

Re: “The future of MCC,” Aug. 31, page 11.

Certainly relationship has been at the core of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for many years. But is that still really the case?

Recapturing the momentum of reconciliation

Brander Raven McDonald
Viewpoints | By Brander Raven McDonald | Oct 07, 2015

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission events, there has been limited movement and engagement for local churches with regard to first nation relationship development. Many have been asking, “What can we do next?” The better question is, “How can we be better in walking out this talk of reconciliation with our indigenous neighbours?” There are three levels of engagement we should pursue.

Jesus in a world in upheaval

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Oct 07, 2015

A number of weeks ago I boarded a plane in Toronto for Istanbul. It’s a long flight—more than nine hours—and I secretly hoped that the seat beside me would remain empty so I could stretch out and sleep. It wasn’t to be. A young man in his late 20s plopped down beside me. I did the polite thing and introduced myself. “I’m Armi,” he replied.

Adopted and given my wings

Noah Ishaka
Viewpoints | By Noah Ishaka | Oct 07, 2015

I was born in Bukavu in Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaïre). My parents were polygamous so I didn’t have a great family structure. I grew up Roman Catholic and then, at age 17, I was baptized in the Pentecostal church. As a child, life in Congo was extremely difficult. I lived under the dictatorship of president Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled for 32 years, and I witnessed the fall of his regime in 1997 to rebels led by Laurent Kabila with the support of Rwanda and Uganda.

Keeping alive stories of hope

A children’s choir sings as part of the Abbotsford celebration of 40 years since refugees fled Vietnam for a new life in Canada. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Oct 07, 2015

Forty years after refugees fled Vietnam and communist oppression for Canada’s shores, the Vietnamese community in B.C. expressed gratitude to God at a celebratory evening on Aug. 30, 2015.

The event was co-sponsored by Vancouver Mennonite Church and Abbotsford’s Emmanuel Mennonite and Vietnamese Christian churches, and was hosted by Emmanuel.

In welcoming the guests, April Yamasaki, Emmanuel’s pastor, posed the question, “Is ‘celebration’ really the right word? This is a story of loss, a story of exile, painful in many, many ways.”

Leon Kehl campaigns for Syrian refugees

God at work in the World | By Barb Draper | Oct 07, 2015

For years, Leon Kehl of Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church, has been working to build understanding and friendship between Christians and Muslims in Waterloo Region.

Let the children come!

On Aug. 28, Bergthal Mennonite Church celebrated the opening of a community playground on its rural property. The equipment was donated by the new owners of the local Midway School property. The school closed in 2013. (Didsbury Review photo by Frank Dabbs)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 07, 2015

Why would a church of predominantly greying members build a playground for children?

Betty Brown was thinking about children as she drove past the abandoned playground at Midway School in the summer of 2014, so she stopped in to ask a few questions. A year later, at a dedication celebration on Aug. 28, 2015, 46 children under the age of 12 were at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta., to enthusiastically cut the ribbons tied all over the equipment that had been relocated to the church grounds.

‘A way of life’ celebrated on Cow Sunday

Osler Mennonite Church recently celebrated Cow Sunday in recognition of the impact dairy farming has had on the congregation. These animals were part of the herd owned by Harry and Eva Martens, who retired in August. (Photo by Adeline Cox)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Oct 07, 2015

“Dairy farming is not just a job,” said Lloyd Sawatzky, “It is a way of life.”

For members of Osler Mennonite Church, dairy farming is a way of life that has come to an end. In August, Harry and Eva Martens sold their 150-cow herd to join the ranks of the retired. They were the last remaining dairy farmers in a congregation that once boasted up to 30 of them.

‘We are in a heap of trouble’

Will Braun
God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Oct 07, 2015

Two hundred people spent a sunny Saturday at Morden Mennonite Church in southern Manitoba to look squarely at how the church can deal with its same-sex crisis.

“Biblical marriage texts clearly envision marriage as a relationship between man and woman. Some of us believe . . . we must embrace such texts in a straightforward way,” read the booklet prepared for the Sept. 26 event.

“Some of us believe these convictions reflect the culture of ancient times,” the booklet continued, “and that therefore we need not be bound by them.”

Making space for God

David Martin offers his ‘faith journey’ at this spring’s Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual church gathering. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in Us | By David Martin | Oct 07, 2015

In the words of David Martin, executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, at this year’s annual church gathering, “Since our habit is to normally talk about God in the abstract or to reflect on how my intellectual beliefs impact my values or actions, I have chosen to share with you more concretely how I have experienced the presence of God in my life.” We share his story as the first of an occasional series called “Faith Journeys.”

Indigenous artist unsettles Winnipeggers

Indigenous artist Edgar Heap of Birds speaks at Neechi Commons in Winnipeg. ‘We should find empathy in all massacres, whether they are white massacres or native massacres,’ he says. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

Artbeat | By J. Neufeld | Oct 07, 2015

There’s nothing comfortable in the artwork of Edgar Heap of Birds. Especially for people whose ancestors came to this continent as settlers.

Heap of Birds has described his art as sharp rocks or weapons that puncture First World worldviews. Some felt the prick of that message on Sept. 16, 2015, at Neechi Commons, an upstairs café in Winnipeg’s North End, as they listened to the world-renowned Cheyenne Arapaho artist—who also goes by his indigenous name, Hock E Aye Vi—speak about art, violence, resistance and reconciliation.

Ready to take a leap of faith

Chic Gamine’s new album, Light a Match, marks a musical departure from its previous releases. (Photo courtesy of Chic Gamine)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Oct 07, 2015

With its propulsive rhythm and alluring harmonies, “Light a Match”—the new single and title track on Chic Gamine’s latest album—seems like a simple pop song at first. That simplicity is deceptive.

Cutting, burning, starving and forgiving

Upneet Bala was tormented by a bully who sent her hateful e-mails. (Photo courtesy of Upneet Bala)

Young Voices | By Rachelle Girard | Oct 07, 2015

Upneet Bala was bullied online to the point that she attempted suicide, but she rose above the hurt by meeting her tormentor and relying on two foundations of her faith: forgiveness and love.

Bala, who graduated this past spring from a private high school in Abbotsford, B.C., received her first e-mail stuffed with hate three years ago. “At the time I had the confidence to delete them, ignore them even,” Bala says. “I didn’t even consider the possibility that something like cyber-bullying could happen to me.”

MCC cyclathon raises $1 million for Syrian refugees

Cyclists Len Block, Reimar Goetzke and Gerd Bartel brave wet weather as part of the Pedaling for Hope Cyclathon that brought in over a million dollars to support Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)

Web-first | Oct 05, 2015

One-hundred-and-fifteen cyclists braved the rainy weather on Sept. 19, 2015, and brought in nearly a million dollars to support Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon.

CMU recognizes grads with Distinguished Alumni Awards

Larry Plenert

Web First | By Kevin Kilbrei | Oct 05, 2015

An Olympian-turned-lawyer, an English language educator, a businessman with a passion for international development, and a couple who have ministered for more than 45 years in Winnipeg’s North End are the recipients of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) 2015 Blazer Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Helping businesses connect with customers with social media

Jeff Horst in the echosims’ former offices in Kitchener, Ont. Waterloo Region is now touted as the second-largest new-media centre in North America. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky) 

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 05, 2015

At 26, Jeff Horst already has five years of entrepreneurial experience behind him.

That’s long enough to know that starting two companies at once is too much; that volunteering in many different social and community agencies can lead to burn out; and while he gains energy from relationships and community, he needs boundaries or levels of relationships with an inner core that is fully mutual.

Promise of peace returns to Burkina Faso after coup

Residents of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, are venturing out into the streets again, with talks between conflicting groups underway. The promise of peace once again holds out hope. (Mennonite Church Canada file photo by Deborah Froese)

Web First | By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen | Sep 28, 2015

A coup d’état in Burkina Faso brought the lead-up to democratic elections to a halt for a week filled with fear and shooting in the streets.

Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Mission Network personnel in the country and leaders of Eglise Evangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso) are “cautiously hopeful” that the worst of the violence has been resolved.

Profile surveys Mennonite World Conference churches

The Global Anabaptist Profile consultation group surveyed 24 church conferences of Mennonite World Conference concerning their demographics, beliefs, and practices. (Goshen College photo)

Web First | By Elizabeth Miller | Sep 24, 2015

Sociological surveys may be uncommon evangelistic tools, but Damien Pelende of the Democratic Republic of Congo testified that the Global Anabaptist Profile survey had drawn new people into his church.

The survey, a joint initiative of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism (ISGA-Goshen College) and Mennonite World Conference (MWC), is a two-year project profiling the demographics, beliefs and practices of 24 church conferences in MWC.

Back to class

Focus On Education | Sep 23, 2015

Miraya Groot follows Mac Wallace, Zack Strike, and Brendan Paetkau as Conrad Grebel University College students unload the last of their residence room furniture before the first week of classes. Just as Grebel students share their treasured school traditions, well-loved skybunks and couches also get passed along from one year to the next. (Photo by Jennifer Konkle)

Seeking redemption and peace

Joyce Gladwell
Editorial | By Joyce Gladwell | Sep 23, 2015

Canadian Mennonite received a copy of a letter sent to David Martin, executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, as a response to its releasing the story on the alleged sexual misconduct of the late Vernon Leis (Sept. 14, 2014, page 16). We have offered MC Eastern Canada space in our next issue to present its case.

Cooking up discipleship

Doris Janzen Longacre, author of the More-with-Less Cookbook and Living More with Less

Feature | By Susie Guenther Loewen | Sep 23, 2015

When I was a small child, my parents took our family on assignment to Chile as church workers. In a country which at that time had no Anabaptist-Mennonite churches, our ties to the Mennonite community took other forms. Among these, my parents’ use of Doris Janzen Longacre’s More-with-Less Cookbook was perhaps the most tangible.

So, although I didn’t understand it then, as our family ate our Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes, Curried Lentils and West African Groundnut Stew, we were in a sense in fellowship across the distance with our Mennonite faith-family as well.

Readers write: September 28, 2015 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 23, 2015

Mennonite museum can help redress grievous wrongs of the past

Global gifts

Tim Froese
Viewpoints | By Tim Froese | Sep 23, 2015

Mennonite Church Canada’s history of engaging our global neighbours in mission and international church relations began more than 100 years ago. Since that time, the worldwide church has grown significantly. Almost two-thirds of the global Anabaptist community today is African, Asian or Latin American.

That diversity is reflected within congregations across MC Canada that are home to people from a variety of backgrounds and worship in 20 different languages. Our ministries and relationships are blessed with a number of ongoing global gifts: