Number 14

Let’s celebrate!

Gertrude Nickel (nee Janzen) admires her beautiful birthday cake on May 31, 2014.

There were 144 women who joined in the festivities celebrating the 75th anniversary of Mennonite Church B.C. Women’s Ministry Inspirational Day on May 3 at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C.

Honor your father and mother’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt. 19:19 NIV)

‘They will know we are Christians by our love’

During the 2013-14 academic year, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) was engaged in intense conversations on and off campus regarding its hiring policy concerning individuals in covenanted same-sex relationships. Research professor Lisa Schirch sent the following letter to the university’s student newspaper, The Weather Vane, representing some of that conversation.

Trouble with summer reading

I write this from what must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. We’re on a family holiday on one of the small Gulf Islands in British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia.  I know; you’re already feeling sorry for me. I’m enjoying rest, playing with my kids, conversation with my wife and, sandwiched in small bites on this full table of grace, a good book.  

Diversity 101

This past spring, from March to May, I attended a series of classes at Spirit of Life Lutheran Church in Vancouver. The classes or “gatherings,” as they were called, were part of a program titled Caring for All Creation: Land, Water, and Our Communities. My partner Glenn was attending for class credit and since it was free for the public, I thought I’d go, too.

Mennonites learn about hospitality and living for others

The Goreme open air museum near Cappadocia, Turkey, includes rock-cut chapels that are part of an ancient Byzantine monastic settlement. A group of Ontario Mennonites visited the site in May as part of an intercultural learning tour.

The group who visited Turkey in May appreciated the warmth and hospitality of their host family, the Dogans. (From left): Mandy Witmer, Phil Witmer, Pat Manske, Josie Winterfeld, Leon Kehl, their host’s brother and his wife, the Dogan family with their daughter, the grandfather, a friend, guide Sezai Yeter, Steve Manske, Ross Weber and Carol Weber. Also included in the tour were: Fred Martin, Wanda Wagler-Martin, and Will Winterfeld.

On May 5, a group of eleven Mennonites from Kitchener-Waterloo area churches embarked on a ten day intercultural study tour of Turkey, sponsored by the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI). The tour was co-led by Leon Kehl of Floradale Mennonite Church and Sezai Yeter, a member of the Turkish community in Kitchener.

Authority and influence

Cultural norms and values from one generation to the next are a moving target. While this isn’t a new concept, there are many challenges associated with the increased rate of change. Perceptions of authority and the shifting realities of influence are important as we consider the present and future church.

MCC Summerfest Relief Sale

Hannah Martens (left), Cindy Klassen, and Rebecca Janzen enjoy each other’s company at the “GO” booth where Martens and Janzen earned money for MCC by running and biking on the stationary equipment.

“Mustache friends” Natalie Rosenberg (left), and Bronwyn Bergen had their faces painted by professional face painter, Val Martens.

Alberta Mennonites have few opportunities for large fellowship gatherings. While the annual Mennonite Central Committee relief sale is a huge amount of work, when the weekend arrives, the atmosphere is decidedly celebratory.

Retelling the Story

In his new book Rewriting the Break Event, Robert Zacharias identifies a major theme running through four works of Canadian Mennonite literature. The author is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo and is connected to Conrad Grebel University College.

Killing her softly

It’s Sunday morning, and you greet Sandy* and Bob* as they sit in the pew behind you. You smile and shake hands. What you see is a nice couple, good parents who are active in the church. What you miss are the emptiness and pain in Sandy’s eyes because her husband is abusing her.

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