Kitchener resident Patty Dorsey was at a crossroads in life. After raising five children and working with mentally challenged individuals for twenty years, Dorsey needed a change in direction. At the encouragement of her husband, she returned to school as a student in Social Development Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS). Dorsey felt like life was perfect.
On a warm summer evening in Winnipeg there is lots of laughter, picture-taking, and food—it’s very much a typical “girls’ night out.” But this party is unique as more than half the women are Shia Muslims from Iran and they’re celebrating the end of an intense week of the study of Christianity. They’re also celebrating the friendships they’ve formed.
The theatre was dim. A projection screen showed an animated scene of a farm yard by night. The wind rippled through the trees and grass. Clouds blew across the moon. Crickets chirped in the background as the low voices of the patrons sounded like the voices of farm dwellers on the porch in the cooling evening after a hot day on the fields.
“Our people have to walk 50 miles to buy an aspirin and pregnant mothers have to walk 100 miles for pre-natal and medical care in birthing,” Bishop Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) told reporters and students here at Emmanuel College as part of a tour to raise international awareness of the re-emerging war on its borders.
Store manager, Bryan Heidebrecht (L), and board member Harvey Friesen, hold a ribbon made of thrift store ties at the grand opening of the new location for Edmonton’s Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Store.
Even with a 50-percent-off deal store-wide, Edmonton’s Mennonite Central Committee Thrift store had record sales at its official grand opening. On an average day 60 customers walk through the door and spend about $550.00. On Sept. 15, 211 customers left $1,965.00 at the till. Operating in North Edmonton since 2003, the store moved to its current location at 9251, 34 Avenue, in June of 2012.
Pierre Trudeau was Canadian prime minister for the first time. Jimmy Carter was president of the United States and Leonid Brezhnev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Gasoline sold for under 50 cents a litre and the Canadian Constitution had not been repatriated when Don and Dorothy Friesen moved to Ottawa so he could begin pastoring the Ottawa Mennonite Church (OMC).
When I was eighteen I participated in a “street evangelism” campaign at the Boston University campus as part of a Bible course I was enrolled in. A few of the BU grad students decided to have a little fun and interrogate us with some questions of their own. We were steamrolled by their merciless intellectual superiority. My ignorance was not bliss on this particular occasion.
We often greet each other with a question like, “Keeping busy?” For many of us the answer is yes, and we may add a summary of our current tasks or activities to the one who greeted us. Or we may mentally review the kinds of things that are keeping us busy. As we do so, we could feel stimulated by these pursuits and well-engaged with life. Or possibly we feel overloaded and stressed.
Sailboats seemed so idyllic—until I went sailing. I discovered that what looked peaceful from a distance was physically vigorous. It involved constant alertness, team work, and careful attention to the instructions of my friend. Only then could we align the sails of our boat with the powerful prairie wind and experience the exhilaration of being caught and propelled!
Church is called to minister to pagans
1. What has been the history of how a pastor is chosen in your congregation? How many people from your congregation have entered the pastoral ministry? How did the congregation help them develop leadership skills?
When a church is in need of a lead or associate pastor, do they nurture these characteristics in the youth and young adults in their congregation or search for ready-made pastors outside of their congregation? The trend among Mennonite churches is to search for pastors who are educated in seminary or at one of the many Mennonite schools in Canada and abroad.
Which is better for the church, a pastor with seminary training or a layperson groomed for the role and invited from the local context? While a seminary-trained pastor may be regarded as more professional, in some settings there are advantages to other models of leadership.