Every year at Remembrance Day and Peace Sunday, Canadian Mennonites are torn between honouring those who lost their lives through war and entering into a ritual that celebrates violence as a way of resolving international conflict. In doing one, do we negate the other?
Leis family ‘victimized by tragedy
“Lord, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I need to be, I am not what I am going to be, but, thank God Almighty, I am not what I used to be.” --Prayer from an African leader
December 24. Late morning. I am in the kitchen, making a pot of soup, savouring its scents and colours. Lovely Christmas music pours from the radio. I’m hoping this domestic activity will centre me in the wake of the stormy currents that accompany the season. How do we ponder all these things, like Mary did, when we are assaulted by such a crush of busyness?
Some time ago, during a morning walk, I found a wallet a few blocks from my house. I looked around, hoping the owner might still be close by, but there was no one. Just me. A peek inside revealed a library card, a health card and $25 in bills. That was it. No credit cards. No driver’s licence. Nothing with an address or a phone number.
The weeks leading up to Christmas brought an overwhelming spirit of anticipation to our household when I was growing up. In fact, the intensity of waiting to open our gifts on Christmas morn was too much for my brother and me to bear.
Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) made headlines this fall when it was revealed that workers at its CMU Farm had successfully grown an ancient variety of squash from seeds shared with them by the White Earth Seed Library in Minnesota. The squash was grown in collaboration with members of Manitoba’s Métis community.
When a provincial election brought a wave of optimism to Manitoba—or at least parts of it—in 1999, a colleague said, “Yep, the reign of God should descend upon us any time now.”
“You maybe can’t save all the lives, but you can save some.” With these words, Doha Kharsa encouraged her audience to sponsor refugees. Kharsa, herself a Syrian refugee who arrived in Canada a year ago, spoke at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan’s Encounter and annual general meeting, held Nov. 7 at Parliament Community Church.
Coffee for Peace won a certificate of achievement from the United Nations Development Programme. It was one of six winners in the UN’s IIX N-Peace Innovation Challenge for “sustainable, scalable, inclusive peacebuilding, that has long-term and transformative impact.” The award was presented to Coffee for Peace founder and CEO Joji Pantoja in New York City on Oct. 23, 2015.
My partner Suzanne Braun and I spent three years as Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) service workers in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho from 2011-14. As the connecting peoples coordinator and planning, monitoring and evaluation coordinator, we worked to support a wide variety of MCC partner organizations throughout the SwaLeSA area.