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Volume 21 Issue 17

Cover Date: September 11, 2017
Volume 21 Issue 17 (PDF available in 24 days)

Dare to dream again

Willard Metzger
Editorial | By Willard Metzger | Sep 06, 2017

Many of the stories in the pages of this magazine reflect the dreams of the people in our church family. There are stories of successful ministries, families reunited, young voices full of energy and hope. We also read stories of broken relationships, unanticipated outcomes, and of God at work in miraculous, unplanned and unexpected ways.

These stories of personal achievement, defeat, hope and surprise are also the stories shared by the wider church.

What is the Spirit saying to our churches today?

Westview Christian Fellowship, a Mennonite Church Eastern Canada ‘emerging congregation’ in St. Catharines, Ont., operates during the week as the Westview Centre4Women, offering a place of respect, dignity and safety for women in the neighbourhood. Erika Klassen, the centre’s executive director, left, is pictured with Engie, who heard of the centre when she was feeling suicidal because of chronic pain. After receiving love, acceptance and support there, Engie offered her photographic talents to the neighbourhood women, taking portrait pictures of each of them. The event has become so popular it is now held annually. (Photo courtesy of Centre4Women)

Feature | By David Martin | Sep 06, 2017

“Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Revelation 3:22).

These words of John from the Island of Patmos are as relevant for us today as they were to the seven churches in the province of Asia who were struggling to adapt to the ever-changing realities of living under the rule of Roman emperors.

‘We need to learn to dream as a church’

Sharing their hopes and dreams for the church, left to right: Lisa Carr-Pries, Gabby Martin, Colin Reimer, Claire Hanson, Melanie Kampen, Rebecca Janzen, Annika Krause.

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Next month, those gathered at Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly will make major decisions about the structure of the church based on proposals from the Future Directions Task Force.
With that in mind, Canadian Mennonite asked young adults from across Canada: What are your hopes and dreams for MC Canada in the next 10 years?

Youth wanted

There will be room at the table for youth at next month’s Assembly 2017. (Photo courtesy of MC Canada)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Members of the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) are hoping that financial assistance and special events aimed specifically at high school students will encourage youth to attend Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly next month.

EVI members will lead special discussions and debriefing sessions for youth at the assembly, which takes place from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Youth will also have the opportunity to integrate with adult delegates during table discussions.

A new song for Special Assembly 2017

Phil Campbell-Enns’s song ‘May Your Spirit Give Life’ will feature prominently at the assembly along with the selected theme song, ‘New Earth, Heavens New’ (Hymnal: A Worship Book, No. 299) by Harris J. Loewen. (Photo courtesy of Phil Campbell-Enns)

Artbeat | By Deborah Froese | Sep 06, 2017

Planning Special Assembly 2017 worship might be a daunting task, but with the right team—and the right music—the spirit of the event will follow people home.

With that idea in mind, the worship committee for Mennonite Church Canada’s special assembly in Winnipeg, to be held from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, is bringing to the event a new song written by Phil Campbell-Enns.

“May Your Spirit Give Life” will feature prominently at the assembly along with the selected theme song, “New Earth, Heavens New” (Hymnal: A Worship Book, No. 299) by Harris J. Loewen.

Readers write: September 11, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 06, 2017

Why aren’t Mennonites holding federal Liberal government to account?
I have been waiting for the deluge of reader letters and opinion columns expressing shock and disappointment that the current federal Liberal government has announced massive increases in military spending, but the silence is deafening.

Pay attention to each other

Viewpoints | By Abe Janzen | Sep 06, 2017 | 2 comments

I am soon transitioning out of a leadership role with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta. Before this, I was a country rep in Bolivia, and before that a director with Fairview College. I was asked to write an Alberta piece for this space and was told it doesn’t need to be about leadership. Maybe it isn’t. I think it’s about community.  

When coffee replaces swords

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Sep 06, 2017

Five hundred years ago, our spiritual ancestors were on the cusp of an extended bloodbath of religious violence. In marked contrast, I just enjoyed a three-hour conversation over coffee. Our time was filled with laughter, joy and mutual sharpening. We parted ways with warm hugs. What a difference half a millennium has made. Thanks be to God!

Midwestern recipe has surprising origin

Willa and Ken Reddig (Photo courtesy of Ken Reddig)

Viewpoints | By Ken Reddig | Sep 06, 2017

The intercultural migration of foods is very interesting. My mother-in-law, Helen (Faul) Fadenrecht, who lived in North Dakota, regularly made a recipe she called Bean Sprouts, because that was the primary ingredient. Helen was a good cook, considered one of the best in the community, and her Bean Sprouts dish was unusual and delicious. It became one of her specialties.

Bill Koop

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Sep 06, 2017

Bill Koop sits on a stack of Mennonite history books, leaning against the Fort Garry (Man.) Mennonite Brethren Church sign. Recently deceased Canadian storyteller and broadcaster Stuart McLean wrote in Vinyl Café Turns the Page: “Choosing a hero is a delicate business, one that shouldn’t be undertaken frivolously. For the heroes we choose, whether real or imagined, whether from the world of fact or from the pages of fiction, will determine, to a greater or lesser degree, the things that we do, and if we allow them the privilege, the lives that we lead.” Who are your heroes?

Embracing traditions

Mel Harms takes a selfie on Vancouver Island this summer. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Viewpoints | By Mel Harms | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

Have you ever wondered about your family traditions? What are they and when did they come to be? That’s been me this summer. Every summer we have our “must do” plans, and my girls go along without question because it’s tradition. This year, it became clear that some of our habits have become family traditions.

‘We sing the same songs’

Mennonite choir members, first nations drummers and dancers, and recent immigrants from the Saskatoon Open Door Society gather for a group photo at the “Shared Land, Shared Song” event. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

“Next to food as a gift from God . . . song pulls us together.” With these words, Harry Lafond welcomed singers, dancers and audience members to a very special concert.

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation hosted the culture-sharing event, which took place Aug. 20 in a large outdoor shelter known as the Arbour. The people of Muskeg Lake and Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s Walking the Path Committee worked together to plan the event.

Back to school around the world

Guarderia Moises: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
MCC partners with Stansberry Children’s Home. The children’s home has been a refuge for abandoned children since 1954. It also runs a daycare program called Guarderia Moises, providing a safe, educational environment in which children can learn and grow while their parents are focussed on sustaining their families. Pictured, students in the pre-Kindergarten class attend classes at the daycare program. (Stansberry photo by Juliane Kozel)

God at work in the World | By Rachel Bergen | Sep 06, 2017

When a child learns, communities benefit and lives change. From Afghanistan to Canada, and Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is promoting education in order to foster leadership capabilities and help young people overcome obstacles locally and around the world. By working alongside local communities and partners, MCC hopes to increase access to education, improve the quality of learning, support vocational training and promote peace. Welcome to class.

—Corrected Sept. 27, 2017

A life well lived

God at work in Us | By Joanna Reesor-McDowell | Sep 06, 2017

A large group of family members and friends gathered in Markham, Ont., on March 18 to remember the life of Harold Reesor, who died at the age of 86, six days previous. Although his early and later years were lived in the Markham/Stouffville area, where his Reesor ancestors settled 200 years ago, he lived in Quebec for more than four decades, working as a mission worker and farmer.

Celebrating 125 years of God’s faithfulness

Mary Krause, left, Barb Froese and Mel Siemens reminisce over a display of old photographs at Eigenheim Mennonite Church’s 125th-anniversary celebration. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017

When members of Eigenheim Mennonite Church realized it had been 25 years since the church’s centennial, they decided it was time for another celebration. To mark the congregation’s 125th anniversary, planners chose “Celebrating God’s faithfulness” as their theme.

Spiritual lessons learned from wood

Ken Roth with some of the many dishes he has made in his retirement. The Trinity bowl, front row right, is prominent. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 06, 2017

When Ken Roth retired, he was looking for a hobby that would be creative, be a blessing to himself and others, and needn’t be profitable.

A member of East Zorra Mennonite Church near Tavistock, where he lives, Roth has served on the pastoral care team there for many years. Having worked in construction and as a cabinet maker and carpenter, he struck on woodworking, mostly lathe-turned bowls and platters, with some wooden serving dishes carved with an angle grinder when the piece doesn’t suit the lathe.

Review: Refugees grow faith from seeds of hope

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 06, 2017

Episcopalian priest Michael Spurlock has a problem. His diocese has ordered him to oversee the closing of the dying All Saints Church in Tennessee, but then a group of Karen refugees from Southeast Asia start attending. Michael senses God’s call and sees an opportunity for both the congregation and the immigrants to prosper through farming a small plot of land adjoining the church. The crops grown can both feed the congregants and be sold to pay the bills.