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Volume 19 Issue 20

Cover Date: October 12, 2015

The downside of digital

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Oct 07, 2015

Some days I would like to just unplug my computer, walk out into the sunshine and warmth of an autumn day, breathe in the clear air and pretend I was living in a time before the Internet. Find a close friend and chat face to face, rather than “like” his thoughts on Facebook.

A tale of two ethnic groups

Arrival of the first group of Russian Mennonite immigrants in Rosthern, Sask., on July 23, 1923. (Photo from Mennonite Archival Image Database: Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies)

Feature | By Kira Olfert | Oct 07, 2015 | 7 comments

To start, a little bit of history.

The Mennonites evolved out of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. As Anabaptist pacifists who practised adult baptism, they often held themselves apart from the surrounding communities, and in turn often had trouble finding safe havens. They were persecuted by Catholics and Protestants alike, but in this persecution they found strength of conviction.

Readers write: October 12, 2015 issue

Viewpoints | Oct 07, 2015

Relationships in an age of ‘impacts and outcomes’

Re: “The future of MCC,” Aug. 31, page 11.

Certainly relationship has been at the core of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for many years. But is that still really the case?

Recapturing the momentum of reconciliation

Brander Raven McDonald
Viewpoints | By Brander Raven McDonald | Oct 07, 2015

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission events, there has been limited movement and engagement for local churches with regard to first nation relationship development. Many have been asking, “What can we do next?” The better question is, “How can we be better in walking out this talk of reconciliation with our indigenous neighbours?” There are three levels of engagement we should pursue.

Jesus in a world in upheaval

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Oct 07, 2015 | 2 comments

A number of weeks ago I boarded a plane in Toronto for Istanbul. It’s a long flight—more than nine hours—and I secretly hoped that the seat beside me would remain empty so I could stretch out and sleep. It wasn’t to be. A young man in his late 20s plopped down beside me. I did the polite thing and introduced myself. “I’m Armi,” he replied.

Adopted and given my wings

Noah Ishaka
Viewpoints | By Noah Ishaka | Oct 07, 2015 | 3 comments

I was born in Bukavu in Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaïre). My parents were polygamous so I didn’t have a great family structure. I grew up Roman Catholic and then, at age 17, I was baptized in the Pentecostal church. As a child, life in Congo was extremely difficult. I lived under the dictatorship of president Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled for 32 years, and I witnessed the fall of his regime in 1997 to rebels led by Laurent Kabila with the support of Rwanda and Uganda.

Keeping alive stories of hope

A children’s choir sings as part of the Abbotsford celebration of 40 years since refugees fled Vietnam for a new life in Canada. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Oct 07, 2015

Forty years after refugees fled Vietnam and communist oppression for Canada’s shores, the Vietnamese community in B.C. expressed gratitude to God at a celebratory evening on Aug. 30, 2015.

The event was co-sponsored by Vancouver Mennonite Church and Abbotsford’s Emmanuel Mennonite and Vietnamese Christian churches, and was hosted by Emmanuel.

In welcoming the guests, April Yamasaki, Emmanuel’s pastor, posed the question, “Is ‘celebration’ really the right word? This is a story of loss, a story of exile, painful in many, many ways.”

Leon Kehl campaigns for Syrian refugees

God at work in the World | By Barb Draper | Oct 07, 2015

For years, Leon Kehl of Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church, has been working to build understanding and friendship between Christians and Muslims in Waterloo Region.

Let the children come!

On Aug. 28, Bergthal Mennonite Church celebrated the opening of a community playground on its rural property. The equipment was donated by the new owners of the local Midway School property. The school closed in 2013. (Didsbury Review photo by Frank Dabbs)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 07, 2015

Why would a church of predominantly greying members build a playground for children?

Betty Brown was thinking about children as she drove past the abandoned playground at Midway School in the summer of 2014, so she stopped in to ask a few questions. A year later, at a dedication celebration on Aug. 28, 2015, 46 children under the age of 12 were at Bergthal Mennonite Church in Didsbury, Alta., to enthusiastically cut the ribbons tied all over the equipment that had been relocated to the church grounds.

‘A way of life’ celebrated on Cow Sunday

Osler Mennonite Church recently celebrated Cow Sunday in recognition of the impact dairy farming has had on the congregation. These animals were part of the herd owned by Harry and Eva Martens, who retired in August. (Photo by Adeline Cox)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Oct 07, 2015

“Dairy farming is not just a job,” said Lloyd Sawatzky, “It is a way of life.”

For members of Osler Mennonite Church, dairy farming is a way of life that has come to an end. In August, Harry and Eva Martens sold their 150-cow herd to join the ranks of the retired. They were the last remaining dairy farmers in a congregation that once boasted up to 30 of them.

‘We are in a heap of trouble’

Will Braun
God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Oct 07, 2015 | 4 comments

Two hundred people spent a sunny Saturday at Morden Mennonite Church in southern Manitoba to look squarely at how the church can deal with its same-sex crisis.

“Biblical marriage texts clearly envision marriage as a relationship between man and woman. Some of us believe . . . we must embrace such texts in a straightforward way,” read the booklet prepared for the Sept. 26, 2015, event.

“Some of us believe these convictions reflect the culture of ancient times,” the booklet continued, “and that therefore we need not be bound by them.”

Making space for God

David Martin offers his ‘faith journey’ at this spring’s Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual church gathering. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in Us | By David Martin | Oct 07, 2015

In the words of David Martin, executive minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, at the 2015 annual church gathering, “Since our habit is to normally talk about God in the abstract or to reflect on how my intellectual beliefs impact my values or actions, I have chosen to share with you more concretely how I have experienced the presence of God in my life.” We share his story as the first of an occasional series called “Faith Journeys.”

Indigenous artist unsettles Winnipeggers

Indigenous artist Edgar Heap of Birds speaks at Neechi Commons in Winnipeg. ‘We should find empathy in all massacres, whether they are white massacres or native massacres,’ he says. (Photo by J. Neufeld)

Artbeat | By J. Neufeld | Oct 07, 2015

There’s nothing comfortable in the artwork of Edgar Heap of Birds. Especially for people whose ancestors came to this continent as settlers.

Heap of Birds has described his art as sharp rocks or weapons that puncture First World worldviews. Some felt the prick of that message on Sept. 16, 2015, at Neechi Commons, an upstairs café in Winnipeg’s North End, as they listened to the world-renowned Cheyenne Arapaho artist—who also goes by his indigenous name, Hock E Aye Vi—speak about art, violence, resistance and reconciliation.

Ready to take a leap of faith

Chic Gamine’s new album, Light a Match, marks a musical departure from its previous releases. (Photo courtesy of Chic Gamine)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Oct 07, 2015

With its propulsive rhythm and alluring harmonies, “Light a Match”—the new single and title track on Chic Gamine’s latest album—seems like a simple pop song at first. That simplicity is deceptive.

Cutting, burning, starving and forgiving

Upneet Bala was tormented by a bully who sent her hateful e-mails. (Photo courtesy of Upneet Bala)

Young Voices | By Rachelle Girard | Oct 07, 2015

Upneet Bala was bullied online to the point that she attempted suicide, but she rose above the hurt by meeting her tormentor and relying on two foundations of her faith: forgiveness and love.

Bala, who graduated this past spring from a private high school in Abbotsford, B.C., received her first e-mail stuffed with hate three years ago. “At the time I had the confidence to delete them, ignore them even,” Bala says. “I didn’t even consider the possibility that something like cyber-bullying could happen to me.”