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Procrastination with a Purpose

By Cheryl Woelk | Feb 03, 2013

Procrastination happens for a reason. A quote I saw once suggested that often, it's because I don't give ourselves enough between projects to fully rest and enjoy the sense of accomplishment before starting the next. I feel reluctant to begin something, not because I'm not interested, but because I'm still not finished with the past project. A project is not complete until it includes the rest.

Rewriting History

By Cheryl Woelk | Jan 27, 2013

I've been borrowing books from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre and highly recommend their "recommended titles."

Engaging the Next Generation

By Cheryl Woelk | Jan 16, 2013

At a seminar on cooperative organizations in Saskatchewan, Harold Chapman, a 93-year-old professor, historian, and writer, told us the history from the inside of his involvement in cooperative organizations as a consultant. He talked about values and principles at the heart of this organizational model, and the challenge that it evolved in response to.

Spirituality of Living Lightly

By Cheryl Woelk | Jan 08, 2013

"Nowhere to lay his head..." We've been living lightly, moving lightly. Not that it's been a bad experience, but we've been lay our heads down in a variety of places over the last six months. 

The Hope of Hope

By Cheryl Woelk | Jan 05, 2013

It was hard to know this Christmas how to hear the familiar story. Every year I look forward to advent, to hearing about Mary and Joseph and the new baby, to reflect again on what this story means for me and my community -- and how I live my life differently because of it.

Salt in the Fire

By Cheryl Woelk | Dec 18, 2012

Over the last year or so, I've appreciated the paintings, poetry, and musings of Jan Richardson on her blog, paintedprayerbook.com. Recently, one post caught my attention, "Salted with Fire." In a space of transition and waiting in my life, with many uncertainties as to what life will look like even a year from now, her description of salt in a potters' fire resonated with me. 

At the Table

By Cheryl Woelk | Nov 21, 2012

Pastor Ishiya met us at Fudoin station and we drove the ten minutes up the hills, through the back streets, until we arrived at a traditional Japanese house - Hiroshima Mennonite Church. Although only 9:15am, the sun was hot and bright on our necks, and with relief we stepped inside the cool building. 

Tied to One Another

By Cheryl Woelk | Oct 30, 2012

We sat in a large circle in the lounge, some sitting straight with legs crossed, others stretched out on the carpeted floor. One by one we passed the "talking piece" and we invited to say a few words about the experience of the last few weeks.

Creating a Space for Peace

By Cheryl Woelk | Oct 26, 2012

Looking back, it was one of the most energizing and renewing courses that I've taught so far. The combination of my co-facilitator, the participants, and the content was great, but more than that was the space that we created together.

Forgiveness in all its Complexity

By Cheryl Woelk | Oct 09, 2012
Mr. Koh's story powerfully demonstrates the complexity of forgiveness. On Oct 9, his house was broken into and his mother, wife, and son were brutally murdered. Later, the person who committed the murder, a man named Young-Chul Yoo, was caught. It was discovered that he was actually a serial killer who had committed a series of cruel murders of other innocent victims than Mr.

Chemical Weapons and Just Peace

By Cheryl Woelk | Oct 09, 2012

Most of us had never heard of the tiny island off the coast near Hiroshima called Okonoshima. In fact, we discovered, it was also erased from many maps on purpose. Yet in this tiny space of just 4km across, things happened which still affect lives around the world today. 

Faith Formation

By David Driedger | Sep 25, 2012

Many churches are exploring the what 'formation' means in their life and work.  At First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg we are doing the same.  Here is a sermon I preached on the theme.  I would welcome any comments or feedback.

The texts were 2 Samuel 12:1-7a (Nathan confronting David); 1 Kings 3:16-28 (Solomon's judgment between the two mothers)

Introduction to NARPI

By Cheryl Woelk | Sep 07, 2012

NARPI stands for Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute and is run through collaboration among several organizations across South Korea, Japan, and China.

Industrial or Ecclesiastical?

By Cheryl Woelk | Sep 06, 2012

It took two weeks and some intense times together, but by the second "cultural night" of NARPI (Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute), groups were no longer isolated by country or regional cultures. A Mongolian and Japanese team did a dance, Korean and Japanese women led a song, and Chinese and Mongolian participants were the emcees. Yet the richness of each person's identity was clearly present.

Akido and The Jesus Way

By Cheryl Woelk | Aug 24, 2012

Akido is sometimes described as a nonviolent martial art. At the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute in Hiroshima, Japan, I had the privilege of learning a bit from a Japanese Mennonite professor and akido practitioner.

Legacies of Hiroshima

By Cheryl Woelk | Aug 17, 2012

It's hard to hear the stories. The images are sickening. My imagination cannot grasp the kind of suffering the people of Hiroshima endured and even survived. My faith in humanity shakes when thinking of what humans did to each other and to creation.

War and Peace through Taxes

By Cheryl Woelk | Aug 16, 2012

While studying in Harrisonburg, Virginia, I was fortunate to have work on campus. What I didn't realize when taking the job that I would have an ethical dilemma. If I received a paycheque, I would also have to pay taxes. 

Patterns of Empire

By Cheryl Woelk | Aug 14, 2012

While living in the United States, I thought a lot about J.

Removing Mountains

By Cheryl Woelk | Aug 05, 2012

Mountaintop removal. Tar sands. Mass destruction of earth and creation for sake of getting at the coal and oil underground. While there are inevitably complexities for each community facing companies that look for energy sources in their neighbourhoods, and there are no simple stories, on an instinctive level I know it's wrong.

An affective fellowship

By David Driedger | Jul 27, 2012

A statement made by Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Executive Director Ken Warkentin concluding a recent Canadian Mennonite piece “We’re Sorry” caught me off guard.  In it he took, what I understood to be, a moderating posture between the two ‘sides’ of those addressing sexual diversity and the church.  He concluded with the words “I want to challenge both groups to be able to say, ‘We might be wrong.’”  I was left wondering why the comment lingered with me.  Wha

Out of practice

By David Driedger | Jul 20, 2012

I wanted to share something in my sermon this Sunday that reflected my experience at Assembly 2012.  I decided to reflect on the two passages that conclude Being a Faithful Church document 4 (BFC 4).  Here is the sermon I came up with.  It focused on Hebrews 5:12-14

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

And Now, Over Three Years Later...

By Cheryl Woelk | Jul 20, 2012

The time has come to move again. We were in Harrisonburg, Virginia longer than I thought we would be, and it's been good. But the end always comes and somehow we say goodbye. 

The Wounded Heart of God

By Cheryl Woelk | Jun 12, 2012

"The Wounded Heart of God: The Asian Concept of Han and the Christian Doctrine of Sin" by Andrew Sung Park is not light bedtime reading. Yet, I think this is one of the most influential theological books that I have read. The thorough articulation of the concept of "han" fills the gap of what I have noticed in trauma studies and trauma healing resources.

Anabaptist Educators Speak Up!

By Cheryl Woelk | Jun 09, 2012

Now that I've finished my master's in Education and a certificate in Peacebuilding from a Mennonite university, I suppose I should know something about Anabaptist education. In truth, though, from my experience, studying, and research, Anabaptist education seems very similar to just "good" education. 

Resonance

By Cheryl Woelk | May 31, 2012

He poured the bowl full of water, then held it out, balanced on his palm, fingers angled down and away from the thick bronze base. Slowly, he moved the wooden mallet around the edge. Expecting the resonance of the singing bowl, I was shocked to see sparkles of water emerge from the rim. As he continued, water suddenly splashed up, bursting into the space above the bowl, and drenching his face and front. Laughing, he pointed out the obvious: with water in the bowl, the energy of resonance became visible.