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An urgent search for water in Mozambique

Doga Jose washes clothes with water drawn from the well drilled in 2014 in Ndoro, Caia District. (Photo: Matthew Sawatzky, for Mennonite Central Committee)

Feature | By Julie Bell | Apr 22, 2015

Six men grasp the long metal handle of the drill and walk slowly in a circle. They lean into the task, using body weight to drive the shaft of the drill into the dry soil of Mozambique’s Caia District.

They have hand-drilled some five metres down and have farther to go, possibly four metres or more. Even then, there’s no guarantee the water will be potable. An attempt at a nearby location was abandoned after three days of drilling when workers found water too salty to be used.

The practical side of discernment

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Apr 22, 2015

“Discernment” has been a much-used word and concept in interpreting the Bible over the past number of years. Mainly we have defined it as a working tool to determine what God in the person of Jesus would have us do about difficult issues facing us in the 21st century.

Mennonite me

Feature | By Robin A. Fast | Apr 22, 2015 | 11 comments

My grandmother’s church is, like all Old Order Mennonite churches, plain. The white walls are bare. There are no stained-glass windows, no gilded altars and no images of saints or martyrs. Pews of hard, blonde oak sit in tight rows on worn linoleum.

Readers write: April 27, 2015 issue

Viewpoints | By | Apr 22, 2015

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Bible’s answers were ‘cut and dried’?

While I haven’t got any answers, I have been reading with interest the articles and letters about sexuality issues in Canadian Mennonite. All seem to be written with a biblical base by Spirit-led Christians but with widely differing and sometimes polar oppo-site points of view.

I think it’s good that God sometimes sends us questions like this that show us that we are not really up to the task of figuring everything out, hard as we try and as well meaning as we can be.

A unique synergy

Viewpoints | By Arlyn Friesen Epp | Apr 22, 2015

“Yep, I have to get an annual membership.” That customer comment reflects growing excitement over CommonWord, the new resource venture of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), launched in January.

What kind of God do you believe in?

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Apr 22, 2015

On a lovely summer day while walking down the street, a young woman approached me and politely asked if she could show me a magic trick. Given a host of cues, I assumed she would lead into a conversation on Christian faith. Sure enough, after the magic trick with cards had been successfully, if a bit awkwardly, performed, she asked, “Do you mind if I ask you some questions?” And then when I confirmed my willingness to participate, she asked, “May I ask you questions about religion?” Given her sweet and respectful attitude, how could I decline?

Developing our generosity skills

Viewpoints | By Marlow Gingerich | Apr 22, 2015

An early sign of spring in southern Ontario is seeing sports teams move their practices outside. The sight of children and youth in colourful uniforms on the soccer pitch is a sure sign that May is here. I am actively involved in our local soccer club and both my children have played for years. I have enjoyed watching youngsters develop their skills over time. For the very young, this is a time of learning fundamentals from patient coaches and parents. More experienced players receive instruction to help fine-tune their skills and tactics.

Moving thinward (Pt. 3)

Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Apr 22, 2015

One of the many fascinating events to occur in the Book of Exodus is God “leaving” the mountain of God (Mount Sinai) to travel with the Hebrews to the Promised Land in a portable sanctuary called the tabernacle.

Yahweh tells Moses: “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you”
(Exodus 25:8-9).

God is at work in the church in China

George and Tobia Veith, left and centre, visit with Denise Epp following one of the Veiths’ presentations on the church in China held at Rosthern Mennonite Church recently. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Apr 22, 2015

“This is about what God’s doing,” said George Veith. “We want all the glory to go to God.”

He was referring, during a series of four presentations hosted by Rosthern Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church Canada on April 10 and 11, to the vibrancy which he and his wife Tobia have witnessed in the Chinese church from their vantage point as Witness workers in Macau for the past 18 years.

Welcome to Canada . . . because of Jesus

A sign greets Syrian refugees at Edmonton International Airport, where approximately 60 Mennonites and Muslims were gathered to welcome them to their new home on March 31. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the World | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 22, 2015

Ahmad Al-Jamal, his wife Ghada, and their three young children were visibly excited as they waited at Edmonton International Airport on the evening of March 31.

Ahmad hadn’t seen his brother Mohamed for seven years, and now they would finally be reunited and able to meet each other’s children. As they waited, they were surrounded by approximately 60 other people, including 30 Mennonites. A few family members circled around to offer baklava, take pictures, and Skype family in Lebanon who were waiting for news of the arrival.

Ethical businesses make good money

One of the products available at Fresh From the Farm. (Photo by Will Braun)

God at work in Us | By Will Braun | Apr 22, 2015

If you want Tamworth heritage bacon or Golden Guernsey milk, Jacqui Schmucker can provide them. If you want maple syrup from a horse-and-buggy farm or honey from a black-bumper Mennonite farm, she’s got that too. If you want to know who grew your food, where and how, she can do that too, with an energetic smile to boot.

For most of two decades, Jacqui and her husband Tim have run Fresh From the Farm, an alternative grocery store that serves as a bridge between Toronto consumers and Amish and Mennonite farmers.

Seeking peace in Iraqi Kurdistan

Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, centre, with a group of workshop participants in Suleimani, Northern Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Moorhead Thiessen)

God at work in Us | By J. Neufeld | Apr 22, 2015

Refugee camps around the city of Suleimani in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq have become pressure cookers of cultural and religious tension. Thousands of people displaced by Syria’s civil war and the violence of Islamic State (IS) are living shoulder to shoulder, unable to return to their homes.

“Many of them, their homes are trashed or there’s landmines and unexploded ordinances all over the place,” says Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, a Winnipeg woman who works with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in northern Iraq. “They’re stuck here, so how do you live together?”

Cookbook reflects old-style Menno cooking

Focus On Books & Resources | By Barb Draper | Apr 22, 2015

In the 1940s, Mary Emma Showalter began a cookbook project, collecting old Mennonite recipes that were handwritten in notebooks because she feared that soon the notebooks would be discarded. As Mennonites began moving beyond their home communities during the Second World War, they were learning to cook new foods and were less apt to use the old recipes learned from home. She also noticed that Mennonite communities in various states and provinces had similarities, so she assumed they had common roots and were old favourites.

Listening to the characters’ voices

Author Carrie Snyder chats with the evening’s moderator Rob Zacharias before her reading at the 2014-15 New Mennonite/s Writing series at Conrad Grebel University College on March 4. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Focus On Books & Resources | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 22, 2015

John Siebert had two things to say to Carrie Snyder as she finished her readings from her latest book, Girl Runner, at Conrad Grebel University College on March 4.

The executive director of Project Ploughshares, who had read the book while travelling on business, said, “First, you made me cry,” referring to the ending of the book. “Second, can you imagine a male character with the same amount of clarity?”

Spring 2015 List of Books & Resources

Theology, Spirituality

Christian, Muslim, Friend: Twelve Paths to Real Relationship. David W. Shenk. Herald Press, 2014, 187 pages.

Using many examples from his own experience, Shenk gives advice on developing friendships with Muslims. He describes some of the teachings of Islam so that Christians can be respectful as they talk about the gospel. Each of the 12 chapters includes questions for discussion.


Further east of Edensville

Maurice Martin signs a copy of I’m so Glad for Sunday . . . When I can go to Church.

Focus On Books & Resources | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 22, 2015

Spurred by requests from his thoroughly modern children to tell them stories of his growing-up years in the Ontario Swiss Mennonite homeland of Waterloo County, Maurice Martin, a retired pastor and area church worker, wrote One Mile East of Edensville and self-published it in 2013. His home on the farm was “the centre of innocence,” as he remembers it.


The WhizBang Shufflers returned to Mennofolk after first performing at the event in 2005. From left: Donald Willms, Luke Enns, Curtis Wiebe and Rick Unger. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 22, 2015

When Jordan Weber began making visual art four years ago, he wanted a new way to express himself.

“I never expected my art to be on display for anybody to see,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s super exciting that people have been coming up to me and saying they like my work.”

Weber was one of 20 artists who displayed their work at Exchange Community Church in downtown Winnipeg as part of Mennofolk, an annual display of art and music stemming from the Mennonite community in southern Manitoba.

Living in limbo

Diana, Luis, and Jacobo Mata. (Photo courtesy of Luis Mata)

Young Voices | By Rachel Bergen | Apr 22, 2015

Hundreds of families in Canada live in limbo, not sure if they’ll ever be granted permanent resident status.

That’s the story for the Mata family. Jacobo Mata, who is now 17, moved from Colombia to Toronto with his mother and father when he was 4. Luis, his father, was an author and a human rights activist in Colombia. After years of working for peace and justice in their home country, the family felt their lives were in danger and sought refugee status in Canada, where the family now attends Toronto United Mennonite Church.

Countercultural mountain music

For Quiet in the Land, music is meant to be participatory and community-building, an approach that was shaped by the duo’s Mennonite upbringing. (Photo by Meg Harder)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 22, 2015

Dan Root and Laura Dyck quickly became friends after they met in the fall of 2009 and realized how much they had in common. Both were living in the Conrad Grebel University College residence in Waterloo, Ont.; both were studying international development at the University of Waterloo; and both had a deep love of folk music.

How much is a volunteer worth?

This group of volunteers worked in the High River, Alta., Mennonite Disaster Service rebuilding project. High River was flooded in June 2013, and MDS continues to rebuild for residents whose homes were damaged. (Photo courtesy of MDS)

Web First | By Mark Beach | Apr 16, 2015

The month of April is known for many things—April Fool’s Day, the first full month of spring, the start of baseball season, “April showers bring May flowers” and regrettably the onset of severe spring weather.

But, did you know that April is also “National Volunteer Month” in the United States, and that Canada celebrates National Volunteer Week, April 11 to 18. No fooling. April is also National Poetry Month, but we will get to that later.

When vacation becomes vigil: watch and pray

Steve Heinrichs invites guests to join him in a daily “Watch and Pray” vigil and sacred fire from Easter Sunday to Earth Day to reflect and meditate on scriptural directives to respect and care for the land. (Photo by Dan Dyck)

Web First | By Dan Dyck | Apr 15, 2015

Steve Heinrichs grew up in urban Vancouver, enjoying the nearby ocean, mountains and rivers of coastal Canada without giving much thought to their presence or condition.

“I don’t have an intimate relationship with the land,” he says. “I grew up an urban kid. Concern for the environment is a new learning experience for me.”

Part-time registration opens for PA 2015

Web First | By Phyllis Pellman Good | Apr 14, 2015

Part-time registration is now available for PA 2015, the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly slated for July 21-26, 2015 in Harrisburg, PA, at the Farm Show Complex.

“We’ve determined that there will be enough space to accommodate those who can attend PA 2015 only for a day or two,” said Liesa Unger, chief international events officer for MWC.

Siera Vercillo’s passions guide her choices

Siera Vercillo

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 09, 2015

In the fall of 2014, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) presented its inaugural 20 under 35: Young Professionals Changing the World Awards, honouring young adults from Canada and the U.S. for their "faith, entrepreneurial spirit and service." Ethan Eshbach, coordinator of engagement initiatives for MEDA, explains, "20 under 35 connects the values behind MEDA's work around the world to those of young professionals here in North America.” Canadian Mennonite is featuring profiles of the Canadian winners.

Changes coming to CM

J. Neufeld

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Apr 08, 2015

Some significant changes are occurring at Canadian Mennonite.

Out of control

Feature | By Anita Fast | Apr 08, 2015 | 1 comment

“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.