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Without Love, We’re Dead

Keynote speaker Sue Johnson: “We are designed to live in community and in close relationships.”

MRI imaging of the brain shows that interpersonal relationships have a measurable impact on brain activity: James Coan.

It is good for us to live in community. It is exhausting for us to live in isolation from each other: Early

“We have cracked the code of love,” announced Sue Johnson, EdD, author of Hold Me Tight to 1,200 people attending “Conversations on Attachment – Integrating the Science of Love and Spirituality,” a three-day conference held Mar. 31-Apr. 2 at Eastern Mennonite University.

Blanket exercise plums the depth of injustice to aboriginals

Hilda Epp, holds a blanket symbolizing the exposure to new diseases (small pox, tuberculosis, measles) that arrived with the European settlers on Turtle Island—an aboriginal term for North America—as Diane Tiessen looks on. On the far left is Denise Bartel and on the far right is Eve Klassen.

Early relationships between European settlers and aboriginals were characterized by

For discussion

1. How was your spirituality formed as you grew up? In what ways has Mennonite spirituality been changing?

2. Do you feel that you encounter God through your current spiritual practice? How important is it for our congregations to work at renewing spirituality? Is this best done individually or as communities? How can we best work at renewal?

We don’t need to be more Anabaptist

Ray Martin, left, and Scott Brubacher-Zehr, centre, listen to a presentation by Arnold Snyder, retiring Conrad Grebel University College history of theology professor, on the history of Anabaptist-Mennonite spiritual formation beliefs and practices.

Over thirty pastors and lay people gathered earlier this year to hear Arnold Snyder, retiring Conrad Grebel University College professor of history, give two two-hour long lectures on Anabaptist-Mennonite spiritual formation in a historical perspective.

A way of life

However difficult this book is to read, Dawn Ruth Nelson has done the church a significant service in her study. Her effort to both diagnose the malaise in North American Mennonite spirituality and propose remedial measures suffers from a poor choice of title and could have benefited from tighter editing.

Encountering the living God

‘Kingdom spirituality’ is well suited to Mennonites. This is the ‘give me something to do for God’ spirituality that goes on peace marches, works with Mennonite Disaster Service, sits at the quilting frame or helps with building projects like the one at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, Ont., pictured.

God is a living God who encounters us in our daily lives.” So said Arnold Snyder, professor of history at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., during a Reformation Sunday sermon last fall at Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg.

Meet me at the Grand!

It is 1786. The first Swiss Mennonites have just arrived in Ontario, having travelled from Pennsylvania in Conestoga wagons. They crossed the mighty Niagara River by taking the wheels off their wagons, sealing the wagon boxes to make boats, and then floating across. Cattle and horses swam.

For discussion

1. When did your congregation first have a woman preach a sermon or first have a woman pastor? How open was the congregation to this change? Were there surprises in who resisted? How has the attitude toward women pastors changed since the 1970s?

‘I don’t have to prove anything’

Martha Smith Good, left, talks with Johanna Wall, pastor of the now-closed Warden Woods Church, Scarborough, Ont., in June 2009.

Throughout her childhood and youth Martha Smith Good believed her conservative Swiss Markham-Waterloo Mennonite church north of Toronto was all about rules and regulations. “In my spirit/soul I knew there was something more, and I wanted to find that,” she says.

Not a stereotype

Donita and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld are ordained in May 2006 by Jim Shantz, Mennonite Church Alberta conference minister.

As far as I know, I’m the only one. I’m the only home-grown Alberta woman who left the province, studied in Mennonite institutions, and is a pastor back here. Friends in other provinces wondered, “Why go back?” They knew Alberta’s redneck reputation. Happily, stereotypes are never the whole truth and sometimes they are lies.

From a closed community to an open heart

Wilf Dueck, moderator of First Mennonite Church, Burns Lake, B.C., presents Pastor Eve Isaak with flowers and an education bursary from the congregation at her ordination service last June.

Growing up in a very conservative Old Colony Mennonite home in the 1950s and ’60s, I soon learned that education was not encouraged. Church was meant only to attend. I was to keep anything I heard or learned to myself; the men would sort out what needed to be sorted out. My place was to marry, have children and submit unconditionally to my husband, to leadership and to authority.

For discussion

1. Do you remember comments about physical appearance from when you were young? What attitude did your parents and family have about physical appearance? How did they communicate that attitude? How many mirrors do you have in your house today?


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