Volume 21 Issue 23

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Significant tidings

What are the significant stories in this issue? When I asked this question in the office, the answer came back: “They’re all significant.” This, our Christmas issue, is chock-full of stories to pay attention to—with our prayers and actions. 

Two international stories stand out—some good news and some heart-breaking news.

God with us with God

‘The Flight into Egypt,’ an icon from the late 15th century, currently housed in the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece.

So I end with the question Ed asked me: ‘Are you ready for Christmas? (Photo sourced from ©istock.com/Manuel Faba Ortega)

Ryan Dueck

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

The question came from Ed, a cheerful clerk at Save-On-Foods, as I was picking up some milk.

What kind of response was he seeking? Was he asking if I had I finished all my Christmas shopping? If so, the answer would be, yes, mostly, meager though my efforts are.

Abraham Dick

Photo by Sarah Dyck, Mennonite Archives of Ontario

When Abraham Dick broke his back in 1938, the family struggled to keep up with the work on their farm near St. Agatha, Ont. Then one day in early November, they were surprised to hear the roar of tractors. Many neighbours had shown up unannounced to do the fall plowing.

Congo crisis grinds on

Highlighted in grey is the conflict zone within the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country of Rwanda, to the east, is also affected by the conflict. (Canadian Mennonite map by Betty Avery)

Christine Ndaya, who is displaced from Mbuji-Mayi in the Kasai region, is holding a tarp that is part of supplies distributed in Kikwit District of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She is pregnant and has three children, who also are benefitting from food, which is also part of the supplies. (MCC photo by Rachel Bergen)

“As many as 250,000 children could starve in Kasai in the next few months unless enough nutritious food reaches them quickly,” says David Beasley, World Food Programme’s executive director, in an Oct. 30 release.

‘Our need for weed’

A police officer, rehabilitation counsellor, medical cannabis producer and Mennonite pastor present their thoughts on the implications of the Canadian government’s plan to legalize marijuana at ‘Our need for weed? Sparking conversations in the church and community,’ the Nov. 15 Face2Face event at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

It’s not often that you see the words Mennonite, church and university in the same sentence as marijuana. Yet, “Our need for weed? Sparking conversations in the church and community” was the title of the Nov. 15 Face2Face event at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).

Two friends, two faiths

Scholars Muhammad Ali Shomali, left, and Irma Fast Dueck enjoy a break at the fifth annual Christian-Muslim dialogue in Edmonton during the last week of October. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

David Goa, formerly of the Chester Ronning Centre for the study of Religion and Public Life centre, moderates a dialogue between scholars Chris Huebner, left, and Muhammad Ali Shomali, right at Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church on Oct. 29, during the fifth annual Christian-Muslim dialogue. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Nuura Mohamoud said of the Christian-Muslim dialogue, ‘An event like this changes my life!’ She was amazed at how much there is to learn about each other, even when, and perhaps especially when, people believe they have their life and faith all figured out. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

At a time when world news seems to set nations against each other, the chatter and laughter of an obviously diverse crowd can be inspiring.

Breaking bread together

While Palmer Becker, right, looks on, Maahin Khan and Aroob Asheaf from the Kitchener Masjid and Stephanie Janzen-Martin, from Waterloo North Mennonite Church exchange contact information at the end of Waterloo North Mennonite Church’s open house with the masjid on Oct. 22. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Ray Brubacher, left, Ahmed Kaawea, Mirsad Kaplani and David Neufeld visit over dessert at Waterloo North Mennonite Church’s open house with the Kitchener Masjid on Oct. 22. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Palmer Becker began to attend the Kitchener (Ont.) Masjid when he returned from teaching at Bethlehem Bible College in 2009. While in Bethlehem, he had heard the daily calls to prayer and had gone to pray at the mosque.

Recognizing potential in an uncertain future

Mennonite Church Canada executive director Willard Metzger, standing left, explains changes to the structure of the new nationwide church to congregational leaders gathered for MC Saskatchewan’s fall leadership assembly. Standing beside Metzger is Ryan Siemens, MC Saskatchewan’s area church minister of congregational and pastoral relations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Potential. That word kept surfacing at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s fall leadership assembly, as pastors and congregational leaders met with MC Canada’s executive minister, Willard Metzger, to learn about their regional church’s role in the newly covenanted nationwide body.

Finding shelter from the cold

What started as a simple book club has become a place of deep friendship and support for a group of Winnipeg women. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

‘The novels, essays, memoirs and graphic novels I’ve read this year have challenged me immeasurably, and I’ve grown as a result,’ Rachel Bergen writes. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

The Feminist Book Club took a trip to a friend’s cabin in May to rest, recharge, connect and talk about Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Some members of the Feminist Book Club took part in a women’s march in Winnipeg this past January to raise awareness about violence against women and to protest Donald Trump’s presidency. (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Rachel Bergen never anticipated that the Feminist Book Club would become such an important part of her life. (Photo by James Souder)

I remember the day well. It was Nov. 8, 2016. Donald Trump, whose behaviour as a sexual predator has been widely reported, had just been elected as president of the United States. I felt the wind knocked out of me and, honestly, it felt like the world was ending. 

The time is now

Attiya meets with Steve, her abusive ex-boyfriend, in the documentary A Better Man. (National Film Board photo)

Steve and Attiya, pictured here in the early 1990s, show in A Better Man that all men can become better if they choose to. (National Film Board photo)

In the remarkable documentary, A Better Man, released earlier this year, filmmaker Attiya Khan documents her meeting with Steve (no last name), her ex-boyfriend who abused her daily more than 20 years ago.

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