Number 19

New Master of Peace and Conflict Studies degree will equip visionary leaders

Patty Dorsey signs a beam, a sign of community at Conrad Grebel University College.

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.

Muslim and Mennonite women enjoy study and friendship

Muslim women spent a week at CMU this summer, learning about Christianity.

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.

Erin Brandenburg plays at Toronto’s Summer Works

A scene from Petrichor includes (from left): Andrew Penner (Dick), David Tompa (Peter), Monica Dottor (Susan), Shannon Taylor (Mary).

Erin Brandenburg with her husband Andrew Penner and their son Jack.

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.

Taking his ‘fight for peace’ to the international stage

Bishop Ntambo Ntanda admires the Congolese dress that Pamela Courture, wears in solidarity with the Congolese people, while Mama Emman Selemani, another of the DRC leaders looks on. Courture is currently doing ethnographic research on the peace building efforts of indigenous Congolese persons.

“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.

Edmonton thrift store grand opening

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.

Pastors from a variety of Mennonite churches read blessings as part of a service of dedication for the Edmonton Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Shop. Pastor Kerry Dyck, of the River West Christian Church, blesses store manager Bryan Heidebrecht in front of his office.

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.

Long pastorate provides stability in mobile congregation

Don and Dorothy Friesen enjoy the service of retirement, recognizing Don’s many years of pastoral service at the Ottawa Mennonite Church.

Friesen at the piano in the early years.

Friesen preaches in 1980. Over time, only the colour of his beard has changed.

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).

Is the Bible Reliable?

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.

When we’re not busy

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.

Spirit sent!

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!

Growing young pastors

Rebecca Steiner (left) and Serena Smith at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Vancouver.

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.

Choosing a pastor

Harold Peters Fransen, leading pastor at North Kildonan Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

Rob Wiebe of Burns Lake, B.C., works full-time at a sawmill and serves a church an hour away.

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.

Transition gifts

Henry Paetkau left his position as president of Conrad Grebel University College last year and entered into a new phase of life, which was not quite retirement, but left him wondering about his role and identity. He is now employed as area church minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada.

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