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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 | Yesterday

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.

The Bible still speaks, say Renewal 2027 speakers

At the Renewal 2027 event organized by Mennonite World Conference, participants read and interpreted scripture together in small groups. (Photo by Susanne Werner)

Web First | Yesterday

Regional Anabaptists and leaders from around the world gathered on February 12, 2017, for “Transformed by the Word: Reading Scripture in Anabaptist Perspectives,” the first in a 10-year series of events called “Renewal 2027” organized by Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The events will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, with appreciation and critical reflection on what is now a global movement within the larger body of Christ.

Working together in Ontario

Maria Bueckert with three of her eight children, Eva, Jacob and Helena in Aylmer, Ont., last fall. (Mennonite Community Services photo)

Web First | By Helen Bergen | Yesterday

When Maria and Heinrich Bueckert immigrated to Canada with their seven children in 2011, they looked forward to working together with their children and earning enough to feed their family.

“We’re just so very thankful. Coming to Canada and working together on the farm allowed me to get to know my husband again,” Maria says in Low German. In Mexico he had been too busy trying to make ends meet.

Having grown up on a farm in Mexico, Maria and Heinrich were especially interested in continuing to work in the agricultural sector in Ontario.

Lebanese thrift shop helps with winter needs

A new thrift shop run by MCC partner Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training in Baalbek, Lebanon, is stocked with warm clothes for the winter season. (MCC photo by Doreen Martens)

Web First | By Doreen Martens | Yesterday

A visit to Gift and Thrift Shop in Virginia, one of 108 Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift shops, was a revelation to Tarek Chebli, a peacebuilding student from Lebanon.

Thrift shops are an unknown concept in Lebanon, Chebli said, so he was intrigued by what he learned on a day trip there with other students attending the 2015 Summer Peacebuilding Institute at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

MCC Canada executive director announces retirement

Don Peters

Web-first | By Laura Kalmar | Yesterday

With a mixture of gratitude and sadness, the board of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) announces the retirement of Executive Director Donald Peters, effective September 30, 2017.

“Don has been an inspirational leader, demonstrating MCC's values in word and deed,” said board chair Peggy Snyder. “Don’s steady, servant leadership enabled the organization to weather joys and challenges, guiding the organization during polarizing times, both internally and externally. The board is grateful for the blessing Don has been to MCC.”

Thank You!

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 08, 2017

It is with heartfelt gratitude that we thank and recognize the generosity of the 835 donors, including 45 new ones, to our 2016 spring and fall fundraising drives that brought a record $119,403 into our coffers toward operating expenses and our endowment fund.

A new recipe for church

One day I had no lentils, so I used pearl barley, and liked it better, so I always made it with barley from then on. Somewhere along the way the main spice changed from marjoram to basil. But there was always sausage. I cooked Hearty Lentil-Sausage Soup for 20 years. (Flickr photo by Scott Teresi CC BY-SA 2.0)

Feature | By Carol Penner | Feb 08, 2017 | 1 comment

Why do you go to church? One of the main reasons is that there is something there that feeds your soul. If there was nothing nourishing there, you would find other things to do with your time.

Jesus fed people. He fed them literally . . . and he fed them with stories. They had to chew on the stories for a long time, and they kept coming back for more. Jesus told Peter, “Feed my flock.” If the church, like the apostle, is called to feed people, what is it cooking up these days? What recipes for church are congregants using?

Soup’s on

Feature | By Carol Penner | Feb 08, 2017

In the feature “A new recipe for church” pastor and professor Carol Penner reflects on how the “recipe” or model for the church is evolving and adapting to new realities. She finds the metaphor of soup a helpful one.

Readers write: February 13, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Feb 08, 2017

How much have funding losses affected Future Directions?

We have heard that the Future Directions process came primarily due to funding issues. We have also heard that it was not about funding, but about renewing vision. And we have heard that people have been laid off due to budgetary constraints. Although the messages about Future Directions may have been so confusing, there must be funding issues.

Making the heart stronger

Kirsten Hamm-Epp
Viewpoints | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Feb 08, 2017

For once, I know what I’m giving up for Lent early this year: social media.

Why aren’t we telling these stories?

Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Feb 08, 2017

It has been my experience that the church of Jesus Christ is chock-full of glorious stories of the power and presence of our Lord. It’s also my experience that many of these stories remain untold. The church is poorer for this silence. Why aren’t we telling these stories?

Lend me a moment to share a few that I’ve been able to unearth:

Heinrich Winter

Photo: Johann Wichert / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Feb 08, 2017

This photo tells the story of a congregation’s diaspora. The last ältester (ordained elder) of the Chortitza Mennonite Church in Ukraine was Heinrich Winter. The church was the first Mennonite congregation organized in Imperial Russia, and thrived up until the Soviet era, when the government made religious activities extremely difficult. In 1943, most of the congregation fled to Germany. Ältester Johann Wichert took this photo of Winter with the church’s last communion cup in 1948. The Winter family emigrated to Leamington, Ont., that same year. Where the cup is now is a mystery.

‘Departure conversations’

Will Braun
God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Feb 08, 2017

Henry Neufeld’s feature last summer (Aug. 29, 2016, page 4) about the firing and layoff practices of some Mennonite organizations touched a nerve. Only one Canadian Mennonite story last year was viewed more times online, and numerous people responded with letters to the editor. (See “When your services are no longer required.”)

Making space for disagreement

Erwin Warkentin, a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, one of only a couple of member congregations that have named themselves openly ‘affirming,’ explains that even having adopted this label as a congregation, between individual members ‘disagreements on biblical interpretation are common, but we are still one church.’ (Photo by Beth Downey)

God at work in the Church | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Feb 08, 2017

After stormy weather prevented many rural members from attending a Mennonite Church Manitoba meeting in Winnipeg on Jan.12 on how to implement the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 resolution passed last summer in Saskatoon, Morden Mennonite Church hosted a second gathering late last month.

‘Moving forward together’

Amy Dueckman
God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Feb 08, 2017

Option A: Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 remains and Mennonite Church B.C. chooses to have congregations trust each other.

Option E: MC B.C. rejects BFC 7 and chooses to leave the national church. (The background to this option is the view that BFC 7 overturns the area church’s re-covenanting process done in 2006 and 2007, as well as the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.)

Taking the road less travelled as children of God

Youth and sponsors rise to the challenge of an ice-climbing wall at the annual senior-high retreat. (Photo by Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

God at work in the Church | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Feb 08, 2017

“I am ______ (fill in the blank).” This was how speaker Amy Peters began the 2017 Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization’s senior-high retreat at Camp Kadesh, held from Jan. 27 to 29, 2017.

Pastoral transitions in Ontario

Dave Rogalsky
God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Feb 08, 2017

• Hans Peters began as the minister of Milverton Mennonite Fellowship on Jan. 1. He spent the past seven years at Jane Finch Faith Community Church in Toronto as pastor. During that time he took Jane Finch from a “service ministry doing work in the community, to a church doing work in the community.” That church is now being led by three young adults from the congregation.

Breakthrough for Shoal Lake 40’s ‘Freedom Road’

Across Manitoba, Mennonite congregations are celebrating the recent victory for Shoal Lake 40. Jeff Friesen, associate pastor of Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, says that for member congregations of the Churches for Freedom Road Campaign, ‘this is good news,’ but there is still a long way to go. (Photo by Jeff Friesen)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Feb 08, 2017

The project that took Manitoba churches by the heartstrings nearly two years ago is finally making major gains. Early last month, the federal and provincial governments struck a financing deal with Chief Erwin Redsky of Shoal Lake 40 (SL40) First Nation that sealed the future of Freedom Road, an all-weather route that will link the community with the Trans-Canada Highway, enabling residents to access jobs, medical care and improved infrastructure.

More should be expected from the CBC

Artbeat | By Royden Loewen | Feb 08, 2017 | 1 comment

Many of you will have watched the first episode of CBC’s mini-series Pure last night (Jan. 9). As a spectator, I was mildly entertained. As a Canadian who loves this culturally diverse country, I was troubled. As an historian who has written extensively about both the Old Order horse-and-buggy Mennonites of southern Ontario and the Low German Mennonite migrants from Mexico, I was deeply dismayed.

Is our indignant response to Pure righteous?

Dan Dyck
Artbeat | By Dan Dyck | Feb 08, 2017

Since the first couple of episodes of CBC’s Pure depicting Mennonites as drug runners from Mexico aired on Jan. 9 and 16, 2017, the temperature of our community’s righteous indignation has reached a fever pitch. The loudest voices so far are appalled at the conflation of two distinct groups (Old Colony Mennonites from Mexico and Old Order Mennonites in Ontario), poor research, a lack of accuracy and, perhaps most of all, strong objection to stereotyping us as drug-running murderers.

‘Never again’?

Collage of a synagogue burning during ‘the night of broken glass.’ (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

Artbeat | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Feb 08, 2017

Until March 4, 2017, the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery is hosting an important exhibit of new art entitled “Synagogues in Germany: A virtual reconstruction.” First imagined by a group of German university students following the arson of a local synagogue in 1994, the project consists of digital reconstructions of dozens of the extraordinary synagogues that were lost to history in the 1938 Reichspogromnacht, in the year before the Second World War began.

New ways of doing good

Artbeat | By Will Braun | Feb 08, 2017

I had to make my way past the sombre line-up of people waiting for welfare cheques at the band office. It was awful. I worked in the office of a northern first nation, and once a month I had to squeeze past the indignity, shame and hopelessness that silently clogged the front entrance.

That highlighted two things for me. First, welfare is not a solution; it is a dreadful lack of creativity. Never did I think “the solution is bigger cheques.” Second, people need jobs, with exceptions for those who are unable to work.

Bringing courage and hope to Burundi

Jackson Nahayo started a clinic in the East African country of Burundi that helps thousands of people. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Feb 08, 2017

Jackson Nahayo knows a thing or two about turning tragedy into triumph.

Left for dead as a child in the jungles of his native Burundi by the rebel soldiers who kidnapped him, he eventually made his way to Canada. After receiving his education, he returned to the East African country from which he hails to start a community hospital.

“When I came back [to Burundi] . . . I asked myself, ‘How can I help with issues like malaria? How can I bring courage and hope?’ Because no one was doing anything,” he says.

Songs about growing up, climate change and empowerment

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Feb 08, 2017

In the last issue of Canadian Mennonite, we introduced you to Sparky and the Plugs, a bluegrass quartet from the Saskatoon area that got its start playing music in church. Read about three more music acts with Mennonite roots who have new albums out.

Rosebud

You guessed it. Winnipeg music duo Rosebud takes its name from the sled belonging to the titular character in Orson Welles’ classic 1941 film, Citizen Kane.

How it feels to give a house away

Ramia Sraa and Omar Falah Hindawi with their children Hala, 1, Dima, 9, Mohammed, 8, and Rahaf, 4. The house where they live in Saskatoon is owned by Canadian author Yann Martel. Working with MCC and Mount Royal Mennonite Church, Martel offered his house for use by the family when they arrived from Lebanon last year.

Web First | By Yann Martel | Feb 07, 2017

Yann Martel is known to many as the author of Life of Pi, an international best seller that became an Oscar-winning movie. But at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, he is also known as the man who welcomed a Syrian family of six into the home he owns in Saskatoon. The family arrived in 2016, and he wrote about the experience for the London Sunday Times. What follows is an excerpt from that story.

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