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Inspired by ‘my second dad’

Taken in North Battleford, Sask., this photograph is Chai Bouphaphanh’s first for National Geographic. It’s on display at the nationalgeographicstock.com.

Inspired by Western Canada’s prairie landscape and the ever-changing light in the sky there, Chai Bouphaphanh spends his leisure time exploring his surroundings through the lens of a camera. His most recent success is having a photograph that he entered in a contest selected for the National Geographic collection of photographs.

A refugee helping refugees

Ref-Nyota president and CEO Serge Kaptegaine and vendor Freddy Mahoungou, centre, are joined by Manitoba Liberal leader Jon Gerrard, left, and Ben Rempel, assistant deputy labour and immigration minister, right, at the grand opening of Winnipeg’s new refugee centre on April 23.

For Serge Kaptegaine, the opening ceremonies for Ref-Nyota, a new business venture that promotes the skills and talents of refugees, was an answer to prayer. The event was held at Le Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, Winnipeg, on April 23.

Stories to tell

Tak-Chhing and Khantry Cheng at their 30th anniversary in Canada celebration, May 22, 2010.

Johanna Dyck welcomes Ana Rosibel Avalos at Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ont., in 1990.

Suad Saidam, right, explains to translator Noha Abdul Ghaffar how she feels about life in Canada.

After welcoming us into her new home, Suad Saidam promptly excuses herself, re-emerging with ice-cold water bottles on a silver tray. In Arab cultures, guests are always served refreshments in this way, one of the many hallmarks of their unending hospitality.

For discussion

1. What is the relationship between the Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church Canada congregations in your community? Do you agree that the relationship between the MBs and other Mennonites has changed over the years from one of tension to cooperation?

Jacob D. Reimer’s tombstone discovered in Ukraine

The tombstone with English translations of the etchings.

On a tour in Ukraine in October 2006, Gert and Katherine Martens experienced an emotional moment when a farmer in Oktaybreskoe removed a few planks from his wall and uncovered the tombstone of Jacob D. and Wilhelmine Reimer. It didn’t take them long to decipher the deep etching on the large granite stone and realize it was Gert’s great-great-grandparents.

From tension to cooperation

Winkler MB Church with the smaller Burwalde MB Church that was moved beside it.

This year the Mennonite Brethren Church is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a week-long celebration in B.C. in July. What have the MBs contributed to the wider Mennonite community during the past century-and-a-half? What has been its relationship to Mennonite Church Canada, or to the General Conference Mennonite Church, which also began in 1860?

How green is my MCC?

Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s Winnipeg headquarters had geothermal heating installed in October 2008 in order to reduce the carbon emissions it takes to heat the office building.

While Will Braun applauds Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for its commitment to shrink its carbon footprint by 20 percent over the next 10 years, he wonders whether it is just “belt-tightening” or setting a new environmental paradigm, whether it is “leading or following.”

Anabaptism provides a map in the post-Christendom wilderness

It is becoming undeniably clear that western civilization has entered a post-Christian age.

Whereas Christians once believed the world would eventually be brought within the expanding empire of Christendom, it is now obvious this will never happen. To the contrary, Christendom has been losing its influence on western culture for several hundred years.

For discussion

1. What have been some of the more effective and less effective ways that you have heard Scripture read during worship? What are the advantages and disadvantages of reading longer passages? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a wide variety of people in reading Scripture?

For discussion

1. How does your congregation commemorate the pain of the cross and celebrate the joy of Easter? What do you find most meaningful? Peter J. Dyck describes a papier-maché drama that he experienced in Poland. How would that drama be received at your church?

On the road to Emmaus

“Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio (1601). National Gallery of London, England.

On that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about 11 kilometres from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them, but they were kept from recognizing him.

For discussion

1. How are country churches different from city churches? Do you agree with Phil Wagler that country churches are more traditional? What are the advantages of living in the city or living in the country? What might make a large urban church more attractive than a small rural one?

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