Subscribe to Syndicate
Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

10 things to know about Mennonites in Canada

There are several varieties of Mennonite and Amish groups in Canada. (Photos by Barb Draper)

Web First | By Barb Draper | Jan 12, 2017 | 1 comment

You may have seen traditionally dressed Mennonites at farmers’ markets or on TV, but you may not know that these are only a segment of the Mennonite population in Canada. There are several varieties of Mennonite and Amish groups in Canada, and—although they all share the same roots—each group practises its faith in unique ways. Here are some things you should know about your Mennonite, Old Order and Amish neighbours.

1. Why are there so many kinds of Mennonites?

Top 10 online stories of 2016

Web First | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Jan 11, 2017

In 2016 popular online stories on the Canadian Mennonite website dealt with gender identity, cohabitation, church institutions, and Mennonite history. Readers wanted to know about the growth of Old Order Mennonites communities in Ontario and the question of Mennonite historical involvement with Aryan ideology. They were interested in real people and their experiences with dementia, intergenerational living, and the quest for mental health.

Here are the top stories, based on the number of page views at canadianmennonite.org.

Making the list

Aaron Epp
Editorial | By Aaron Epp | Jan 11, 2017

At the end of every year, I get together with a group of friends and we discuss our favourite music that came out in the previous 12 months. As a starting point for the discussion, each of us creates a list of our 10 favourite albums of the year.

When we began this music night many years ago, I was tempted to come up with an objective list of the Top Ten Best Albums of the Year. It would be a definitive list of the undeniably best music released in all of the world.

10 under 30

Feature | By Aaron Epp | Jan 11, 2017

We asked and you responded.

This past fall, Canadian Mennonite put out a call to readers. We wanted to hear about the young adults who are making a difference in your community—the emerging Mennonite leaders from across Canada who care about and support the church.

Readers write: January 16, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Jan 11, 2017

Being pro-Palestinian is not being anti-Jewish

Re: “A better way than BDS?” letter, Nov. 21, 2016, page 10.

All aboard for the future

David Martin
Viewpoints | By David Martin | Jan 11, 2017

The timing was tight. I had made it to the airport parking lot and was then shuttled to Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to catch my flight to Winnipeg for yet another round of meetings with executive staff and moderators from each of the five area churches and Mennonite Church Canada. Security went smoothly and I just had enough time to grab a coffee and get to the gate in time for boarding.

Strengthen what remains

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Jan 11, 2017 | 1 comment

I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of those seven letters to the churches named in Revelation 2 and 3. The words of Jesus to fellowships in present-day western Turkey were both encouraging and at points sharp with direct challenge. Jesus is serious about the health and vitality of his body, no matter where they are or what they are staring down.

Sharing baked goods by the dozen

Although Frieda Woelk didn’t spend much time in the kitchen when she was young, she quickly learned to cook and bake when her children came along. (Photo by Ruth Boehm)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Jan 11, 2017

Frieda Woelk loves to bake. When she gets up in the morning, she thinks, “What can I bake today?” Although she is in her mid-80s and lives in a seniors apartment in the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home complex, she keeps very busy with cooking, baking and socializing. She is so busy that when her children want to spend time with her they ask, “When can we pencil you in?”

Frieda’s raisin bread

Frieda's raisin bread (Photo by Barb Draper)

Web First | By Barb Draper | Jan 11, 2017

Frieda Woelk, who lives in a seniors apartment in Leamington, Ont., put together a “Special Cookbook for my Children, Grandchildren, Family and Friends,” with editions in 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2011. She had one copy left at the end of 2016, which she shared with Canadian Mennonite. It is full of delightful hand-written notes that she added to subsequent editions over the years.

Funk crop

Photo: Samuel McRoberts photo collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jan 11, 2017

Cornelius R. Funk shows plant growth in his new home in Menno Colony, Paraguay. In 1926, Funk and 1,785 other Mennonites from Saskatchewan and Manitoba left for Paraguay because they did not trust the Canadian government. New York banker Samuel McRoberts helped them sell their land and acquire new land. McRoberts saw successive waves of immigration as a financial opportunity. A series of 252 photos were taken from 1926 to 1929, showing the progressive and successful farms of the new immigrants. Conflict arose over the use of the photos.

What’s in a name?

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jan 11, 2017

We eyed each other’s books and wondered who would ask the “Mennonite” question first. Our names, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld and K.V. Doerksen, were emblazoned across our books (Thirty Bucks and Blessed are the Dead, respectively), and since book sales were slow at the library, we had time to talk.

Staying afloat in a sea of change

Viewpoints | By John Longhurst | Jan 11, 2017

For some in Mennonite Church Canada, this might be a frightening time, as the denomination faces an uncertain future. It might be cold comfort, but you are not alone; most denominations in Canada are facing the same uncertainties today.

I know this because last year I interviewed people who do fundraising for 15 Canadian denominational non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that represent 30 denominations. Everyone I spoke with agreed that this is a challenging time for denominations and the programs they support.

And what are those challenges facing denominations today?

Deepening our faith journeys

Shirley Stauffer Redekop, front row centre, is pictured with some of the 24 Canadian participants at last fall’s ‘Deep faith’ conference at AMBS. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Stauffer Redekop)

Viewpoints | By Shirley Stauffer Redekop | Jan 11, 2017

“Jesus calls us to life-long journeys of faith—shaped in part by our age and stage in life. Faith practices are deepest and richest when our Christian community embraces and nurtures all these different ages and stages of our lives in a variety of contexts.”

‘Everything turned into a sea for three days’

A local North Korean official takes a moment to survey the reconstruction efforts in Yonsa County following Typhoon Lionrock last fall. (Photo: John Lehmann, Mennonite Central Committee)

God at work in the World | By Rachel Bergen | Jan 11, 2017

Partners of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, are working to provide relief assistance for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by flooding and landslides in the isolated country.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 of 2016, heavy rains caused by Typhoon Lionrock pounded six counties of Hamgyong Province in the northeast part of the country. According to the United Nations, 138 people were killed, more than 100,000 were displaced and 600,000 others are in need of assistance.

Questions for an uncertain year

Donald Trump at the New Hampshire Town Hall at Pinkerton Academy, Aug. 19, 2015. (Wikimedia photo)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Jan 11, 2017

The year we left behind created big uncertainty for the year that lies ahead. Here is a glance at key questions that hang over what is sure to be an interesting and consequential year.

What will Trump do?

He is the most “un-ignorable” guy in the world. He dominated the news in 2016—including the year-end reviews of religious news outlets—and the biggest question of 2017 is how the decisions of his administration will play out in the U.S. and abroad.

‘Consult or consent’

Pictured from left to right, front row, at the ‘Consult or consent’ panel discussion in Winnipeg on Nov. 12, 2016: Grandma Shingoose, an elder who gave an opening welcome and prayer; Quebec MP Romeo Saganash; Sylvia McAdam, a co-founder of Idle No More; and Winnipeg MP Robert Falcon-Ouelette. (Photo by Rachael Howgate)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Jan 11, 2017

Mennonite organizations played a large role in putting on a public panel discussion on indigenous land rights in Canada and how they impact social groups at the community level, held late last year at Winnipeg’s Circle of Life Thunderbird House. Entitled “Consult or consent,” the event was sponsored by Mennonite Church Canada, the Canadian Mennonite University Student Council, and Kairos (of which Mennonite Central Committee is a member), along with three other organizations.

No longer alone

Ottawa Mennonite Church is located at 1830 Kilborn Avenue in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Jan 11, 2017 | 2 comments

In past years, there were only two Anabaptist congregations in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, one Mennonite Brethren and the other, Ottawa Mennonite Church, a member of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

But there has been an explosion of congregations of late: two new Mennonite Brethren associate congregations; a Brethren in Christ satellite of Oakville’s Meeting House; and four more MC Eastern Canada congregations: Church of the Living Word and Oromo Evangelical Church (both Ethiopian), Chin Christian Church, and Village International Mennonite Church.

Engraved on the heart of God

With the moon still peeking over the mountains and the stars twinkling in the clear sky, more than 60 people gathered together in the wee hours of Christmas morning at the Epp family farm in Yarrow, B.C., to celebrate Christmas with a sunrise service. (Photo by Angelika Dawson)

God at work in the Church | By Angelika Dawson | Jan 11, 2017 | 1 comment

With the moon still peeking over the mountains and the stars twinkling in the clear sky, more than 60 people gathered together in the wee hours of Christmas morning at the Epp family farm in Yarrow to celebrate Christmas with a sunrise service.

The service, entitled “While by my sheep,” was written by Heidi Epp, and included singing, monologues, Scripture reading and fireworks. Epp was very intentional about having the service outdoors and at sunrise.

Play tells stories in refugees’ own words

The cast of disPLACE is composed of Uliana Akulenko, Emmett Hanly, Jane Oliphant, Keenan Marchard and Kate Nundal. (Displace Productions photo by Jef Gibbons)

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Jan 11, 2017

One of today’s most pressing social issues came to life onstage late last year at Trinity Western University (TWU) with the world premiere of the original drama, disPLACE: Refugee Stories in their Own Words. The play was presented through Dark Glass Theatre in association with the university’s Humanitas Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre.

University theatre personnel sifted through more than 20 hours of audio interviews in order to find the words to use in the drama.

Letting his spirit grow

Larry Krause says his music is a reflection of his faith. (Photo courtesy of Larry Krause)

Artbeat | By Donna Schulz | Jan 11, 2017 | 1 comment

Like many Mennonites, Larry Krause grew up singing in Sunday school and church choirs. Music has always been an important part of his life, but in the past decade it has taken on greater dimensions.

As a singer/songwriter in the roots, western and country gospel traditions, Krause has recorded four albums. His most recent effort, entitled Let Your Spirit Grow, features gospel music. An earlier gospel album, The Gate is Open, won the Saskatchewan Country Music Association Gospel Album of Year Award in 2007.

Worship and song submissions, recommendations sought for new hymnal

An international music group leads singing at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in 2015. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

Web First | Jan 11, 2017

What songs connect you to God and your community, and empower you to serve? What songs do you turn to in joyful or difficult times? What are your heart songs?

These are questions the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee is asking, inviting Mennonites to fill out a survey as it embarks on a listening and study phase toward developing a new hymnal collection, to be released in 2020.

Australians speak for the stranger

Bible in hand, Love Makes A Way organizer Justin Whelan is removed by police from occupying the office of Malcolm Turnbull, who was Australia’s Minister for Communications, in May 2015. (Love Makes A Way photo)

Web First | By Rachel Stella and Mennonite World Review | Jan 11, 2017

Christian activists in Australia repeatedly risk arrest when they call attention to the plight of asylum-seekers suffering mistreatment in indefinite detention.

One of the activists is Matt Anslow, vice president of the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand. With some friends, he co-founded the organization Love Makes A Way (LMAW) in 2014 to take action on behalf of the detained asylum-seekers.

Third Way’s 2016 top 10 quirky queries

Angela and Erwin Rempel volunteer on the annual Everence Day of Generosity for MennoMedia, and year round answering questions at the Third Way website. (MennoMedia photo)

Web First | Jan 10, 2017

Millions of people will never pick up a book or magazine about Mennonites or enter any Mennonite church. But they will drop in anonymously to the Third Way website (thirdway.com) to get a quick glimpse of what Mennonites are about. The website averages more than one thousand hits a day, nearing a third of a million annually.

A year of re-visioning

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Dec 21, 2016

This year—2017—will bring changes for members of Mennonite Church Canada, a denominational entity to be reconfigured into a proposed structure of five area churches doing the work of a denominational centre in Winnipeg. It is uncharted territory, to say the least.

‘I should ask Dad’

Photo: IStock.com/Kunwu_Feng

Feature | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 21, 2016

“It was here somewhere,” I said to my son Allan. “The Boese canning factory was over here, and over there was an orchard where we lived in our trailer until about 1962. It was near the dormitory for the workers. At least I think. I should ask Dad.” (Dad was Peter Rogalsky. He and Leona [Unger] Rogalsky, my mom, had both worked for Boese in the late 1950s and early ’60s.)

Pages