1. How concerned would you be if you had Muslim neighbours? How fearful are most North Americans of Muslims? Is this fear justified? What would you say to those who oppose the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York City? Do you think Muslim refugees are less welcome in Canada than other refugees?
Islam is one of the two largest religions in the world, with the other being Christianity. Figures differ, but it is clear that Islam is an alive and growing religion.
Ray and Susan Martin of East Zorra Mennonite Church, Tavistock, Ont., visit with Fauzia Mazhar and her daughter Mehar Nayyar at the Floradale potluck.
Grade 12 Rockway Mennonite students Zainab Ramahi, left, and Leanna Wigboldus lead a school chapel this spring.
Documentary filmmaker Burton Buller, back row centre in white shirt, joins the multiracial/multi-faith potluck line at Floradale Mennonite Church.
Burton Buller came to Ontario’s Waterloo Region this spring to explore the many Mennonite-Muslim activities taking place in the community for a new documentary exploring peace traditions in both the Christian and Muslim faiths.
1. How homogeneous is your congregation? How long does it take for “outsiders” to feel welcome? What extra challenges does someone from a visible minority have to feel accepted? What should Mennonite congregations do so that people from other cultures can feel welcomed and included?
The “What makes a Mennonite” brochure has been translated into Spanish, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Chin, while other language translations, such as Hmong and Laotian, are planned. These resources are available from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre, Winnipeg
Once upon a time, Mennonite congregations in Canada could largely define themselves by German or Swiss Mennonite heritage, but no more.
According to research conducted by sociologists Curtiss Paul Deyoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey and Karen Chai Kim, 92.5 percent of Catholic and Protestant churches throughout the U.S. can be classified as “monoracial.” This term describes a church in which 80 percent or more of the individuals who attend are of the same ethnicity or race.
In 1981, the newly formed Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew on Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 to express its purpose as a congregation: “To make disciples of all nations.” At the time, the intention was simply to begin an English-speaking church, but, in the years since, it seems to me that those words have proven to be more prophetic than anyone might have realized at the time.
Following are questions for reflecting on and discussing the Canadian Mennonite stories on the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission events in 2010:
Delegates to Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2010 struggled with just how to confess systemic complicity in the Indian Residential School (IRS) survivors issue while not admitting to being directly abusive in non-existent Mennonite residential schools.
Leann Sleigh, painfully sharing how three generations of residential school forced family separation, sexual and physical abuse leading to alcoholism and parental abuse, offers her moccasins to a collection of native artifacts “for those who walked before us.” A read cedar box holding artifacts and documents was commissioned by the TRC as a “lasting tribute” to school survivors. (Photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau)
In the Learning Tent at The Forks, Jamie Monkman was one of the many poring over photo albums of class pictures from many of the Indian Residential Schools. “I am looking for pictures of my mom and granny, who went to the Norway House school,” she explained. The Learning Tent outlined the history of the Indian Residential Schools with phot displays and historical accounts. (Photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau)
As the Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners begin their five-year sojourn across Canada to hear the stories of those who suffered under the Indian Residential School (IRS) system, Mennonites may well ask if or how they should be involved in this process.
The Poplar Hill (Ont.) Development School—the only Mennonite-affiliated school being officially looked at by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) currently making the rounds of Canadian communities—has been out of the news for more than two decades.
1. How involved is your congregation with Mennonite Church Canada? How do you get information about what MC Canada is doing? What would strengthen the connection between MC Canada and your congregation?
Congregational giving is up, so why are donations to area and national church bodies falling?
What started out as a small Saskatchewan church’s 2008 resolution to take acts of peace public has become a fairly widespread Canadian campaign with people all over the world getting on board.
After leading three study sessions on Colossians 3:15-17, the Bible theme text for Assembly 2010—Reclaiming Jesus: Gladly Wear the Name—retiring general secretary Robert J.
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is changing how it does its work, but not the work itself.
1. How much does your congregation support Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)? Has this changed over the years? What MCC projects have you participated in? How satisfied are the people of your congregation with the mission and program emphases of MCC?
Here are multiple stories of how Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) began. One tells of Clayton Kratz, a young man who went to Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, to attempt to distribute aid to starving people in 1920, but disappeared and was never found.
Another details how Mennonites worked with the U.S. government to finally deliver relief supplies beginning in 1922.