Volume 21 Issue 18

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Jacob’s ‘imaginary’ struggle

‘Jacob wrestling with the angel’ by Gustave Doré, 1855

Emma Pavey is a former member of Langley Mennonite Fellowship, BC. She now lives in Birmingham, U.K., and works for ForMission College and the Susanna Wesley Foundation.

“The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids and his 11 children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.

A huge challenge

It’s a big year for Lutherans—the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. So it struck me as significant that I was invited to present a sermon and serve communion alongside a synod bishop at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s national convention in July.

Paddling down the river

To celebrate our wedding anniversary, my husband and I canoed on our neighborhood river. Due to extremely low water levels, the first stretch was quite challenging, not unlike some stretches of marriage. This was abundantly clear when the stern yelled, “Draw!” and the bow replied, “What’s a draw?” Immediately after, the canoe lodged on a rock.

Mary Ann Cressman

 (Photo by James Reusser / Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Do you recognize this “Mennonite centre”? Mary Ann Cressman, second from left, her husband Menno C., and others stand outside the family’s dry goods store at 82 King Street East, Kitchener, Ont., circa 1905. Mary Ann lost an arm in a buggy accident, but that did not deter her from becoming the “founding mother” of the Mennonite Women’s Missionary Society in Ontario during the First World War.

A legacy of giving

A few weeks ago, we welcomed our first grandchild into the world. Amid my great joy, I have recently found myself reflecting on the incredible responsibility of raising children. Scripture advises that if we “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Tears shed over the closing of Riverdale Mennonite

Troy Watson, former pastor of Riverdale Mennonite Church, points out into the congregation, naming congregants who had welcomed and discipled him when he began to ministry there 19 years ago. Watson was one of the guests speaking at the congregation’s closing service on Aug. 20, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Mark Cressman, left, Daniel Penner, Katie Steckly, Karen Steckly, leader Alice Grove, Katy Cressman, sing “Jerusalem” at the closing service of Riverdale Mennonite Church on Aug. 20. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Kyong-Jung Kim, a Korean Christian who studied at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg in the 1990s, tells the story of his summer placement at Riverdale Mennonite Church under Glenn Zehr, the pastor at the time. Looking on is Doug Amstutz, intentional interim at Riverdale, who preside over the congregation’s closing service on Aug. 20. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

After 71 years of faithful service, Riverdale Mennonite Church closed its doors on Aug. 31, 2017. The building is being taken over by the Berean Community Church, which assumed ownership and took over the charter of the congregation on Sept. 1.

Meeting the Creator in creation

Wendy Janzen at one of the locations Burning Bush Forest Church has worshipped in Breithaupt Park in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Burning Bush Forest Church at worship. (Photo by Wendy Janzen)

Burning Bush Forest Church at worship. (Photo by Wendy Janzen)

Burning Bush Forest Church at worship. (Photo by Wendy Janzen)

Wendy Janzen at one of the locations Burning Bush Forest Church has worshipped in Breithaupt Park in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Burning Bush Forest Church at worship. (Photos by Wendy Janzen)

Burning Bush Forest Church at worship. (Photos by Wendy Janzen)

Imagine deciding on Saturday that you want to begin a new congregation the next day. Then add to that the plan to meet outdoors in Canada on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.

Raising peacemakers

Children, along with their leaders Gabby Martin, far left, and Kerstyn Liddle, far right, participate in MCC Saskatchewan’s 2017 Raise the Peace 2017. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

Raise the Peace Camp participants learn about environmental stewardship. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

Penelope poses with a postcard she will send to her pen pal in Bethlehem. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

Kaytee Edwards Buhler, left, a community engagement coordinator with MCC Saskatchewan, watches as program participants write letters to pen pals in a Palestinian refugee camp. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

Myriam Ullah, at right in black outfit, a community engagement coordinator with MCC Saskatchewan, talks to Raise the Peace Camp participants about solidarity and the situation in Palestine and Israel. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

MCC Saskatchewan’s Raise the Peace Camp gives participants the opportunity to engage in team-building activities such as the climbing wall at Shekinah Retreat Centre. (Photo by MCC Saskatchewan)

Summer camp is a great experience for many children. For participants in Raise the Peace Camp, it is an opportunity to have fun while learning about peacebuilding.

Raise the Peace is a day camp for children between 9 and 13. It’s offered by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan, and is primarily for children from Saskatoon’s Meadowgreen neighbourhood.

Principal hits mid-life, takes to pulpit

Cheryl Braun (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Braun)

After 23 good years as a teacher and principal, Cheryl Braun asked herself a simple question: “What does the last part of my career look like?” Would she stay the course or risk change?

As Braun (no relation to the author) considered this over several months with a small support group, she eventually asked herself, “If I’m going to make a change, why not explore a big change?”

Syrian ‘souls’ at the Edmonton Fringe

Cast members of Souls at the Edmonton Fringe Festival pictured from left to right: Shawn Prasad (Eli), Amena Shehab (ghost), Ginin Alyousef (Ginin)  and playwright, Aksam Alyousef. Missing: Sarah Spicer (Hanna). (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Smuggled Stories from the Holy Land by Carmen Taha Jarrah is a book of short stories drawn from the author's travels in the Middle East. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Sometimes bridges built between faith communities are quite literally dramatic.

Hard work pays off

Chloe Penner competed in mountain bike and road bike competitions at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo by Paul Reimer)

Chloe Penner competed in mountain bike and road bike competitions at the Games. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo by Marc Nedelec)

Thomas Friesen worked for the Canada Summer Games Host Society as a sports and venues coordinator. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo)

Manitoba’s 18-and-under girls’ volleyball team beat Alberta to win gold. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo by Denis Drouin)

‘I don’t think we went in expecting we would win,’ said Evelyn Kampen, standing at far left. (2017 Canada Summer Games photo by Denis Drouin)

One of the biggest events in Winnipeg in recent months was the 2017 Canada Summer Games. From July 28 to Aug. 13, 2017, 4,000 young athletes from across the country competed in a variety of sports. It was the 50th anniversary of the Games, and drew an estimated 20,000 visitors to the city. Canadian Mennonite spoke with three young people from Winnipeg about their involvement.

‘Over and over again, day by day’

Sarah Moesker, front row right, and her fellow companions share the daily rhythm of the sisters’ life. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)

Sarah Moesker spent the first half of the Companions on the Way program working in the convent’s kitchen. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)

One of the biggest highlights for Sarah Moesker, front row second from left, was living a prayerful, contemplative life with others. (Photo courtesy of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine)

Sarah Moesker describes her time living in an Anglican convent as ‘good and hard.’ (Photo courtesy of Sarah Moesker)

When Sarah Moesker began asking herself how she could deepen her faith, living in an Anglican convent for almost a year was the answer.

Imitating Jesus on the Migrant Trail

David Bonilla, a former Mennonite Brethren pastor from Colombia, walks the Migrant Trail in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, bearing a cross to bring attention to the deaths of migrants traversing the U.S.-Mexico border. See story on back cover. (Mennonite World Conference photo by Saulo Padilla)

“Our Anabaptist history is intrinsically tied to migration, and so is our Christian story,” says Saulo Padilla, immigration education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. “We must keep challenging the narratives that separate us, build borders and invite us to dehumanize others.”

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