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For discussion

1. According to Larry Miller, the last two decades have been a time of fundamental change for Anabaptists around the world. What changes have you seen in Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and in how Mennonites interact globally? Do you agree that the centre of gravity of the global church has shifted to the Global South?

Miller was a ‘migrant missionary’

Ecumenical dialogue was a passion of Larry Miller’s. Monsignor John A. Radano of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity leads a meeting of the Mennonite-Catholic Dialogue (1998-2003), of which he was co-chair. To his left are Bishop Joseph Martino and Miller.

“You were a new kind of ‘migrant missionary’ described in John Howard Yoder’s As You Go,” said Bert Lobe, in an evening of memories of Larry Miller at Rockway Mennonite Church, Kitchener, on Oct. 23, 2011.

‘A place that gives life’

Larry Miller’s tenure as MWC general secretary was marked by his gift of encouragement among other global leaders. In this 1991 photo, he stands behind his ‘big brothers’: Mesach Krisetya, left, of Indonesia, who was to become MWC president in 1997, and Reg Toews of Canada, then serving as treasurer.

The Millers and their children (now married) in Kolkata, India, in 1997, with the parents-in-law of Indian church leader Menno Joel, right. Pictured from left to right: Anne-Marie Miller Blaise; Elisabeth Miller Sommers, Menno’s parents-in-law, Larry Miller, Alexandre Miller, Eleanor Miller and Menno Joel.

At the 2011 Executive Committee meetings in Taiwan, Cisca Mawangu Ibanda of Congo, centre, presents carved animals to Larry Miller, left, now former MWC general secretary, and César García, who assumed the general secretary’s role on Jan. 1. More than curios, said Ibanda, the animals represent qualities important for their service to MWC: Miller ho

Larry Miller remembers one moment clearly when, as a 38-year-old, he was weighing whether or not to accept the nomination to lead Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The year was 1988 and he was sitting in a university library in Strasbourg, France, where he lived.

Christmas in Nazareth

Hinke Loewen-Rudgers, second from left, poses with the Arab Christian family that took her in as their daughter. From left to right: Rajaa, Andera and Eman.

“I felt a very intense homesickness and wanted to go home [to Manitoba] for Christmas. Christmas is a very important holiday to me.”

It was Christmas 2010 and Hinke Loewen-Rudgers had been in Nazareth since October 2008, working through the Witness program of Mennonite Church Canada.

For discussion

1. Why might the idea of learning from other faiths make us uncomfortable or fearful? What are the risks and benefits of honest dialogue with other faiths? What are the faith groups in your community with whom you could build relationships?

Learning from diverse faiths

A group of Muslim men gather for prayer at a mosque in Israel/Palestine. Palmer Becker wonders if Mennonites, through their example and witness, might eventually help both male and female Muslim believers to pray and worship side by side.

An instructor at the Kitchener, Ont., LDS church explains the consequences of trying to follow both the way of the world and the way of the Lord to a group of high school students who meet each weekday morning for 45 minutes of ‘seminary’ instruction over the course of four years. Do Mennonites have church communities where we might convene our you

Palmer Becker

In our increasingly multicultural and multi-faith society, can we learn from belief systems other than our own? I believe so, and offer what I have learned from two faiths—Mormonism and Islam—that have very diverse beliefs from each other and also from my own Mennonite faith. This has called for risk-taking, relationship-building and honest self-reflection.

For discussion

1. Keith Graber Miller says that until recently the Christian church has been negative towards sexuality and reluctant to talk about it. Is this true of your experience? What are the consequences of not talking openly about sexuality? Do the people in your church still find it difficult to talk openly about sexuality?

For discussion

1. Professional hockey is known for fighting and violence. Should this deter Mennonites from being avid hockey fans? Is hard hitting and fighting an essential part of the game? Is violence okay if it’s allowed in the rules of the game? Is this what David Driedger means by structured violence?

New logo a distraction to talking about peace and violence

It is nothing new to say that Winnipeg and southern Manitoba boasts an abnormally high concentration of Mennonites, although I suppose the Mennonites don’t boast. And given our historical and ongoing tension with how to respond to issues of peace and violence, it was also no surprise that more than a few eyebrows were raised at the unveiling of the Winnipeg Jets’ new logo.

For discussion

1. Ralph Lebold says that “the congregation is the central reality for gathered Christians.” Do you agree? What are some ways that people from your congregation engage meaningfully with each other? Why do we often resist being open about our questions, finances, mental and emotional struggles?

Strange and wonderful paths

Ralph Lebold, left, and Jim Lapp at the Purdue ’87 Mennonite Church assembly.

Ralph Lebold and Florence Driedger moderate the joint Mennonite Church/General Conference assembly at Normal ’89.

After 50 years in ministry I have discovered that there is a significant interplay between the divine and human when it comes to physical and emotional healing. All healing is a work of God’s grace, including medical, psychological and social interventions, whether the caregivers acknowledge it or not.

For discussion

1. How are the songs and music chosen in your congregation? How much thought is given to the words when songs are chosen? Do you agree that we focus on the style of music more than the words we sing? What might help us focus on the words?

Paying attention to the words we sing

With words on the big screens, thousands of Canadian and American youths join in spirited singing at the 2005 youth convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Christine Longhurst

"Let me write the songs of a nation. I don’t care who writes its laws.”

This statement attributed to 17th-century Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher about countries also applies to the church. Christians have long recognized the power of music to shape what we believe about God and the life of faith.


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