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In the cross-hairs of change

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Today

“The times, they are a-changin,” belted out singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in the mid 1960s.

While Dylan made the words a hum-them-all-day-long habit for many of his fans, those of us living more than a half-century later smile to ourselves and ask: “What’s new about that?” Change has been constantly a part of our lives if we are awake and taking nourishment every day. Get used to it, sister. Adjust your lenses regularly.

Who’s winning at church?

People are looking for good old-fashioned biblical truth, not all that liberal mumbo-jumbo. Put most crudely, this study proves that conservatives are winning. What else could pews full of young people possibly mean? (Photo © istock.com /scottmarblephotography)

Feature | By Ryan Dueck | Today

Over the past while, a number of people have inquired about my thoughts on a recent “Theology matters” study conducted by Canadian scholar David Haskell that draws a strong connection between theological conservatism in Canadian mainline Protestant churches and church attendance.

Readers write: February 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Today

Visit to the West Bank might enlighten letter writer

Re: MC Canada should retract BDS resolution and apologize to Israel letter, Jan. 2, page 10.

‘The darkness of the womb’?

Deborah Froese
Viewpoints | By Deborah Froese | Today

“[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . . ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

In defence of masks

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Today

The subject of masks came up in the adult Sunday school class. Not literal ones, but the invisible ones we wear in an attempt to hide that which we don’t want to be seen. I ventured that such masks are unhelpful barriers, interfering with connectedness and intimacy.

Quickly a woman responded, “We wear masks because other people don’t want to hear our troubles; they don’t want us burdening them with our whining.”

Journey of generosity

Marlow Gingerich
Viewpoints | By Marlow Gingerich | Today

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. . . . [I]nstead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ ” (James 4:13-15)

Elmer Martens

Photo: Mennonite Brethren Bible College Photo Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Today

Elmer Martens, kneeling bottom left, was born in 1930 in Main Centre, Sask. He went on to become a leading authority on the Old Testament. His career was based at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, but he also taught at numerous seminaries in North America and beyond. In addition to books, articles, preaching and pastoring, he was involved with the translation work for the New American Standard and the New King James versions of the Bible. Martens had a cooperative approach, as seen in this 1975 photo of the Mid-East Seminar, a two-week archeological dig near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 5)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Today

The king was looking for someone possessing great wisdom to join his council of advisors. So he contacted the elders of the 12 regions of his kingdom and asked them to send their wisest man or woman to his palace to participate in a challenge. The winner would then be invited to join his council.

The elders selected and sent 12 people of great wisdom to the palace. When they arrived, the king summoned them to his royal court, where there were 12 desks in a row, each with a pen and stack of paper on it.

New name, different ownership

The Mennonite Heritage Centre, including its archival and art gallery programs, is being reorganized. The Mennonite Heritage Archives will operate under a new partnership, while Canadian Mennonite University will take over the art gallery. (Canadian Mennonite University photo)

The Mennonite Heritage Centre, including its archival and art gallery programs, is being reorganized under a new partnership and name.

Is Future Directions a First-World problem?

Dann Pantoja, left, Joji Pantoja and Tim Froese pose for a photo when the Pantojas visited the Mennonite Church Canada offices in Winnipeg. Froese, the executive minister of MC Canada Witness, wears the ‘tubao,’ a head gear of the Maguindanao tribe in the southern Philippines. (Peacebuilders Community Inc. file photo)

God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Today

The Future Directions process is moving slowly and surely forward with a specific restructuring proposal and a timeline for downsizing proposals. Meanwhile, the notion of refocussing on the local congregation, which is central to the transition narrative, is generating vital questions about the importance of global perspectives in an increasingly nationalistic world.

An historical treasure

Holding the 1930 volume of the Saskatchewan Valley News, Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan members, from left, Jake Buhler, John Reddekopp and Susan Braun, pose with Terry Jensen, the paper’s owner. Jensen is donating all of the paper’s archival material to the society’s Archives. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Today

Jake Buhler knows an historical treasure when he sees one. That’s why he’s so excited that the Saskatchewan Valley News is donating all of its back issues to the Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan Archives in Saskatoon.

The Valley News, as it has been simply known, quit publishing after 114 years. The final edition rolled off the presses on Jan. 26, 2017. Owner Terry Jensen, who purchased the weekly community newspaper in 2014, cited a lack of advertising revenue as the major reason for the paper’s demise.

Biblical response to colonial legacy

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Today

Last November, Vic Bartel and John Ilg pulled into the northern Manitoba Cree community of Cross Lake with a thousand Bibles. The Bibles had been requested by the local Pentecostal church and supplied by Canadian LifeLight Ministries. Neither Bartel nor Ilg had made such a delivery before.

Talking with our cousins

Karl Koop

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Today

A public panel discussion on the relationships between the three Abrahamic religions couldn’t have come at a more opportune time, occurring as it did on the heels of the opening of the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery’s showing of “Synagogues in Germany: A virtual reconstruction” and the recent Quebec City mosque shooting. (See more on the exhibit at “‘Never again’?”)

Matt Epp helps ‘grow hope’

Matt Epp sings at a fundraising concert at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary on Feb. 3, 2017, for Mennonite Central Committee Alberta’s Grow Hope campaign to assist the Canadian Foodgrains Bank with its food security initiatives. (Photo by Angela Bennett)

God at work in the World | By Allison Goerzen | Today

The soulful voice of Matt Epp serenaded a crowd at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary on Feb. 3, 2017. Epp partnered with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta and Canadian Foodgrains Bank for a fundraising concert to launch the Grow Hope campaign.

A kidney for a guitar

Gerald Neufeld prepares to donate one of his kidneys in the Paired Kidney Exchange Program last year. (Photo courtesy of Gerald Neufeld)

God at work in Us | By Amy Dueckman | Today

Gerald Neufeld of B.C. and Russ Sawatsky of Ontario have several things in common: they both served as missionaries in Japan, where they met their wives; and they both attended Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg at the same time. But the donation of a kidney for one and the receiving of a kidney for the other gives the two a life-transforming connection like no other.

Saint or sinner?

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Today

“There’s a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in,” is often quoted by Christians as hope that God will “get in” to any situation. But the quote has a strange source, penned and sung as it was by Canada’s own beat poet, Leonard Cohen, that Jewish? Christian? Buddhist? lady’s man, from the song “Anthem” on his 1992 album The Future, which contains references to drug use and sex acts. Leonard Cohen: Is he a saint or sinner?

Silver Lake takes steps to deepen faith formation

Jake Scott, Silver Lake Mennonite Camp’s ‘outtrip’ leader, takes a leap of faith from a rock while guiding a canoe trip through Killarney Provincial Park.

Focus on camping | By Silver Lake Mennonite Camp | Today

How can we deepen Christian faith formation at camp?

In wrestling with this question, the leadership team at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, located near Sauble Beach, Ont., launched a new initiative last summer to take its longstanding faith-building tradition to another level. The team created a new position called “spiritual life coordinator” and hired David Penny for the position, made possible by financial support from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

A special faith-based community

In addition to master classes, ensemble practices, chapel services and lots of camp games and activities, Ontario Mennonite Music Camp campers prepare an entire musical for their final concert. In 2016, campers put on Godspell for their families and friends.

Focus on camping | By Katie Steckly | Today

Attending Ontario Mennonite Music Camp at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., has benefitted me in ways that I never could have imagined when I registered in 2012.

I made some incredible friendships and developed important life skills in my two weeks at camp. I was pretty nervous going into Music Camp, being a beginner musician and not very confident with my singing voice. However, I was quickly comforted by the encouraging counsellors and the kindness of my fellow campers.

A front-row seat

Pictured from left to right: Katie Wiebe, Curtis Wiens and Kristy Hosler.

Focus on camping | By Curtis Wiens | Today

A highlight of each summer at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask., is the coffee house during our senior-teen camp for ages 15 to 18. Campers come out of their shell and display talents that we didn’t know they had. It is a special time of vulnerability.

Peace Camp 2016 was a huge success!

Peace Camp campers make watercolour cards using handmade, fair trade paper, as part of a 2016 activity prepared by guest speaker Ryan Jacobs, then of Ten Thousand Villages Canada, top left.

Focus on camping | By Rebekah DeJong | Today

Conrad Grebel University College’s sixth annual Peace Camp was an opportunity to inspire young lives, strengthen community ties and make peace happen in Waterloo Region.

‘I can’t wait for summer’

A young camper climbs the rock wall at Camp Valaqua in order to ring the bell at the top.

Focus on camping | By Jon Olfert | Today

The sun is shining through the tall trees today at Camp Valaqua near Water Valley, Alta., and the a hint of spring is in the air. This time of year brings hiring, planning and anticipation into our little corner of the camp world. Sometimes it is tough to keep track of why we work at this all year long and so I tell myself stories to remember. Here is one of my favourites:

A few years ago in the middle of a challenging week a camper tromped up to me with a confident look on her face and announced, “I know you.”

The beauty in difference

Yun Lin is a staff member at Fraser Lake Camp near Bancroft, Ont., and brings joy to everyone she meets.

Focus on camping | By Yun Lin | Today

I’m an archetype. My family immigrated to Canada when I was 6, and while I went to school, my parents worked tirelessly to support me. They uprooted their lives in hope of a better tomorrow for their child. My story is that of millions of immigrant children in Canada and around the world. At 10, unfortunate circumstances led to my placement in the foster-care system for six months. I became distrustful and resentful of those around me.

‘So supported’

Andrew Zettel
Focus on camping | By Andrew Zettel | Today

The summer of 2016 was one the most memorable summers of my life.

When the opportunity to work as a camp counsellor first came up, I was admittedly a little apprehensive. Having never counselled before, I was unsure of what to expect. What I experienced, however, was nothing short of spectacular.

Camp farm program invites delight in God’s creation

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe served as nature instructor at Camp Assiniboia, one of three camps that make up Camps with Meaning, a ministry of Mennonite Church Manitoba. (Camps with Meaning photo)

Web First | Today

Picture gleeful campers chasing squawking chickens back into their pen, and others exclaiming with delight as they bite into freshly picked tomatoes, juice dribbling down their chins. This is what a typical day at camp looked like for me this summer—days that were never actually typical but always full of new adventures.

‘I eat your garbage’

This meal brought to you by dumpster diving. (Photo courtesy of Nathaniel De Avila)

Young Voices | By Nathaniel De Avila | Today

I am a thief. I steal our food system’s waste.

Let’s be clear. Grocery stores throw edible food into their dumpsters. I go to those dumpsters and jump in. I dig through boxes and bags, and salvage everything I can find. I take it to my house and painstakingly sort through it. I cut and clean vegetables and fruit. I repackage damaged and open packages of dry goods. I rinse and re-label canned goods. I dry herbs and peppers. I freeze bread, meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit and almost everything else.

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