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Volume 19 Issue 17

The future of MCC

In 1967 Gary Dewarle of Saskatoon (in the checked shirt) helped to build a road at a refugee camp near Saigon, South Vietnam. (Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo)

Viewpoints | By Will Braun | Sep 09, 2015 | 3 comments

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has long been part of the DNA of the North American Anabaptist church, linking us to the world and providing a sense of relation to “the least of these.” It has served as an informal seminary, immersing thousands of us in realities that have enriched us and, in turn, enriched our friends, family and the church. But that is changing.

MCC is placing fewer North Americans abroad.

Cover Date: August 31, 2015

Young people—our national treasure

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Aug 26, 2015 | 1 comment

Chris Brnjas, a young pastor from Ontario and a delegate to the Global Youth Summit held prior to Mennonite World Conference assembly last month, came back with a reminder that we are changing from an old, well-worn paradigm that “young adults are the future of the church” to the new and more encompassing “young adults are the present and the future of the church.”

Can sex with a pastor be an affair?

Cameron Altaras (second from left at the table) was among the speakers from around the world who addressed topics of sexual abuse at a two-day conference held in Washington, D.C. July 30 to Aug. 1, 2015. Representatives of the Anabaptist-Mennonite chapter of SNAP then met in Alexandria, Va. where the author, Barbra Graber and Ruth E. Krall were among those doing the de-briefing. 


Feature | By Cameron Altaras | Aug 26, 2015 | 8 comments

(The following article discusses a difficult topic in story form. All characters are fictional, although the events referred to are based on an amalgamation of true experiences.)

She went to her pastor for advice, not sex.

Another woman accepted her pastor’s invitation to chair a committee he oversaw, not an invitation to be sexually preyed upon.

And still another woman was encouraged by her pastor to enter the ministry, not to enter a sexual relationship with her seminary professor, who was also the on-campus pastor.

Readers write: August 31, 2015 issue

Viewpoints | Aug 26, 2015

Mennonites should denounce Canadian arms sales

Peter McKenna, chair of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island, questions the Canadian arms deal with Saudi Arabia in an article in The Chronicle Herald published June 9. He quotes from Michael Harris’s polemical book, Party of One that Preston Manning said, “Words don’t mean much to Stephen [Harper].”

Engaging change, pursuing the Spirit

Dave Bergen
Viewpoints | By Dave Bergen | Aug 26, 2015

Life is never static. As I transition from eleven years of leadership with Mennonite Church Canada into a season of semi-retirement and new opportunities, I’m struck by the parallels between the endemic and essential aspects of change in personal life and in church life.

In fond farewell, I offer a few reflections on change for the church.


Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Aug 26, 2015

On a recent visit to extended family, I greeted my nephew’s wife Emily and their year-old son Kenneth. She immediately thrust her child out to me, introducing him to his “auntie from away.” Like a thirsty desert traveller, I drank in the sweetness of the youngest family member, who settled without protest into my eager arms, stranger though I was to him. “Family,” I thought, “this is what it means to be in the tribe.” Where else do parents trustingly give over their babes with such openness?

Ripples of generosity

Peter Dryden
Viewpoints | By Peter Dryden | Aug 26, 2015

Hollywood loves a good surprise ending. My wife and I experienced that first-hand when we recently watched the Nicholas Sparks film, The Longest Ride. It is a romance with parallel storylines involving a modern-day young couple whose lives are interrupted by the discovery of each other, and an old man, who recounts his undying love for his late wife, Ruth, an avid art collector with an eye for the avant-garde.  

Sunday School in 1980

Photo provided by the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies.

God at work in the Church | By Kate Regier | Aug 26, 2015

A group of children from Orchard Park Bible Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., carry signs celebrating the 200th birthday of Sunday school as Kathy and Alfred Guenther present keepsakes to the children. In 1780, Robert Raikes started Sunday school in Gloucester, England, as a way to teach lower-class children morals and religion. Although Sunday school is standard practice today, its development was slow in some Mennonite circles due to their understanding of adult baptism and church membership. The first Canadian Mennonite Sunday school was established in 1840 in Waterloo County, Ont.

Fast food church isn’t good for our health

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Aug 26, 2015

There seems to be a growing interest in the “slow church” movement as an alternative to “fast food church.” What is fast food church?

Sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1993) claims the fast-food industry has become the defining paradigm for more and more sectors of western society and increasingly the rest of the world. He highlights four primary components of McDonaldization:

1. Efficiency – utilizing the best method for accomplishing a task quickly. Every aspect of the organization is geared toward the minimization of time.

Getting youth to World Conference four years in the making

Among the activities the Canadian youth were engaged in during the MWC assembly was finding and chatting with someone they didn’t know. (Photo courtesy of Dave Bergen)

God at work in the Church | By Dick Benner | Aug 26, 2015

Thanks to a great deal of planning, the 310 Canadian young people and their sponsors had the “global experience of a lifetime,” according to Kirsten Hamm-Epp, area church minister in youth and administrative planning for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, who was the prime mover behind the efforts to get the youth to Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly held in Harrisburg, Pa., last month.  

MWC assembly was an amazing experience

Prabidhi Pandey worked on the Mennonite Disaster Service project while at MWC assembly. She is a 14-year-old from Danforth Mennonite Church, Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Prabidhi Pandey)

God at work in the Church | By Prabidhi Pandey | Aug 26, 2015

All the youth name tags at Mennonite World Conference assembly in Harrisburg, Pa., had “#J178” on them. Nobody gave much thought to it until 600 youth from around the world were gathered in a 24-acre space under the arena in the morning while the adults listened to the sermon in one of two daily worship services.

Historians address Nazi influence on Mennonites

Ben Goossen shows the photo, “Heinrich Himmler in Molotschna, 1942,” during his workshop, “From Aryanism to Multiculturalism: Mennonite Ethnicity and German Nationalism, 1871 to Today.” (Photo by Dale D. Gehman for Meetinghouse)

God at work in the Church | By Tim Huber | Aug 26, 2015 | 5 comments

A chapter of 20th-century German Mennonite history that has been predominantly glossed over, received attention in back-to-back workshops by historians on July 22 at the Mennonite World Conference assembly.

Ben Goossen of Cambridge, Mass., spent six years studying Mennonite identity and German nationalism. Using archival material in North America and Europe, the doctoral student at Harvard University says the rise in Mennonite ethnic identity was built on and supported the rise of Aryanism and the Nationalist Socialist (Nazi) movement.

Churches support Freedom Road

First Mennonite Church in Winnipeg doesn’t have a church sign with moveable letters, so they got creative in voicing their support for Freedom Road. (Photo by David Driedger)

God at work in the Church | By J. Neufeld | Aug 26, 2015

A campaign of church signs supported by Juno-award-winning musician Steve Bell is calling on the federal government to address the longstanding injustice of Winnipeg’s water system.

In August 2015 Bell joined the chorus of voices asking the federal government to do its part in building a road that would connect the isolated community of Shoal Lake 40 with the Trans-Canada Highway.

The life of an MCC thrift shop manager

Karen Steckly manages the MCC New to You shop in Milverton, Ont. (Photo by Katie Steckly)

God at work in Us | By Katie Steckly | Aug 26, 2015

There’s never a dull moment at the thrift shop. Whether it’s a truckload full of donations five minutes before closing or a till that needs balancing, Mennonite Central Committee thrift shop managers are always on the go. But sometimes there are unexpected duties to attend to at the local thrift shop. Just last week, my mother who manages the Milverton, Ont., MCC New to You, experienced one of the best, most story-worthy ones yet.

7th Cousins auto-mythography

Christine Brubaker (left) and Erin Brubacher walk the last kilometre of 700 as they approach the Brubacher house on the grounds of the University of Waterloo. An invitation had gone out and a number of people joined them for the last hour of the journey. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Aug 26, 2015

Erin Brubacher and Christine Brubaker are seventh cousins, more or less. Before their 700-kilometre walk from Brubaker Valley Road in Lancaster, Pa., to the historic John E. Brubacher House in Waterloo, Ont., they discovered a common ancestor, Hans Bruppacher, born in Switzerland in the 1600s. Erin comes from the Abraham Brubacher line and Christine from the Hans Brubacher line. As actors they joked that they were “learning their lines” as they spoke to the group gathered in Waterloo to welcome them “home” on Aug. 6.

Colombian refugees sponsored by Winnipeg Mennonites

Javier moved to Winnipeg in 2013 with his wife and three daughters. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Young Voices | By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe | Aug 26, 2015

Javier and his family arrived in Winnipeg in November of 2013, on the brink of Winnipeg’s coldest winter since 1898, a bone-chilling change from their Colombian homeland, where the temperature rarely drops far below zero.

The cold was a small price to pay for safety, though. The family fled Colombia to save their lives.

Come together

A selection of thematically diverse prints constitute Rudolph’s contribution to “Tandem: Going Places Together.” (Photo courtesy of Miriam Rudolph)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Aug 26, 2015

From Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Edmonton, Terry Hildebrand and Miriam Rudolph’s journey together as artists and life partners has taken them to a variety of different places.

Peace camp has rippling effect

Peace Campers learn the positive effects of communal agriculture with Patchwork Community Gardens. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Grebel University College)

Back Page | By Dave Rogalsky | Aug 26, 2015

Just as the ripples from a stone thrown into a body of water move outward from the centre, so too the effects of one person acting in and for peace affect many around them, sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways. Conrad Grebel University College’s fifth annual summer camp for youth between ages 11 and 14 ran August 10 to 15, 2015, at the college’s Waterloo campus.

One camper commented that “there are ways we can help issues that may seem bigger than us. It’s meaningful because. . .our opinions matter.”