Volume 22 Issue 04

Dying well

Within Mennonite denominations, the closure of churches is also a reality that requires acknowledgement and careful planning, so that their legacy might be a blessing. (Photo: © istock.com/hal990)

In Alberta, Faith Mennonite Church and Vauxhall Mennonite Church closed their doors in 1996 and 2000, respectively. Both congregations gave some funds to Camp Valaqua, a ministry of Mennonite Church Alberta. The contributions enabled the construction of the Faith Retreat Centre, above, and the Vauxhall Cabin, increasing the usability and accessibility of the camp for all. (Camp Valaqua photo)

Camp Valaqua received funds from two Alberta churches when they closed their doors. (Camp Valaqua photo)

After 71 years of faithful service, Riverdale Mennonite Church in Millbank, Ont., closed its doors on Aug. 31, 2017. The building was sold to the Berean Community Church for a dollar the next day. (Photo by Sheryl Frey)

Every living thing eventually dies, including churches. Just as people who do not plan for death may complicate things for their families, churches that do not plan for eventual closure can leave a mess for congregants and their surrounding communities.

Receiving is important

Ryan Siemens

The tale “The Christmas Guest,” as told by Johnny Cash on his album Christmas with Johnny Cash, is a fable about an old man, Conrad, who receives a message from an angel that the Lord will appear to him on Christmas Eve. Conrad readies his place, expectant for Jesus to knock at his door. But throughout the night, Jesus doesn’t appear as expected.

Learning to let go

Four generations of women at various stages of learning to let go. Pictured from left to right: Margaret Brubacher, Erma Birky, Sophia Heidebrecht and Carmen Brubacher. (Photo by Ray Brubacher)

End of an era. The author has mixed feelings about letting go of the family stroller that transported her four children: left to right, back row: Nathan, Sophia and Conrad; and Jesse Heidebrecht in the stroller. (Photo by Carmen Brubacher)

It takes me a long time to learn a lesson.

Hauling strawberries

Photo: Jacob J. Doerksen Family Photo Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

In February 1928, the first trainload of Mennonite farmers from the Prairies arrived in Yarrow, British Columbia, with prospects of farming the newly accessible land in the Fraser Valley. The introduction of raspberry and strawberry farming in the early 1930s increased the viability of these farms. The photo shows Len Doerksen (b. 1936) with his little brother Dan (b.

The skill and soul of listening

Matthew Bailey-Dick, left, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop coordinator, gives instructions to panel members Tanya Dyck Steinmann, Roberson Mbayamvula and Jim Loepp Thiessen. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Matthew Bailey-Dick, left, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop coordinator, give instructions to panel members Willie Taves, Vic Krahn and Josie Winterfeld. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Laura Enns, coordinator of worship and neighbourhood engagement at Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, leads her seminar group in an exercise of wondering who is speaking to whom at various points in a worship service. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Listening to God in worship, contemplatively in a labyrinth, or in the Bible. Listening to each other across cultures, when your hearing is impaired or when with the elderly.

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada pastors, chaplains and congregational leaders gathered for a daylong seminar on listening on Jan. 20, 2018, at Redeemer College.

Seeking reconciliation through jubilee

Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-settler relations for Mennonite Church Canada, presents a workshop at Rosthern (Sask.) Mennonite Church entitled ‘Unsettling discipleship: The cost of colonialism, the joy of jubilee.’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Steve Heinrichs, left, invites workshop participants to stand on an imaginary spectrum identifying their views on reconciliation, ranging from advocates for land reparation to those advocating education and friendship. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

What does the ancient Levitical concept of jubilee have to do with reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and their settler neighbours? Plenty, according to Steve Heinrichs.

Seeking reconciliation through multicultural art

Art by Ovide Charlette of the Opaskwayak First Nation. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Rosanna Deerchild, host of CBC Radio One's Unreserved, reads a poem from her book Calling Down the Sky. The book tells the story of residential schools in Canada and her own mother's experiences and struggles as a generational survivor. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Bryn Friesen Epp of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, adds a leaf to a collaboratively decorated tree. Each leaf contains a gallery visitor's hope for reconciliation and commitments to taking part in it. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Clairissa Kelly and Marlene Gallagher organized the Reconciliation Through the Arts exhibition. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Clairissa Kelly, right, her mother Marie, and her Grandmother Lorraine, seated, are pictured in front of 'Granny Lorraine.' Kelly, coordinator of the Peguis Post-Secondary Transition Program at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), and Rick Unger, a CMU maintenance technician, used acid on metal and etching techniques to create the rusted portrait. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Jochebed Giesbrecht, Laura Carr-Pries and Allegra Friesen Epp stand around Tracy Fehr's installation of clay bowls. Fehr encourages visitors to take a bowl in honour of an important woman in their life and leave a note about the woman in its place. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

A collection of photographs and pieces of abandoned Canadian residential schools. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

A dream catcher by exhibition co-organizer Marlene Gallagher. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Clairissa Kelly smudges the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in preparation for the exhibition's opening event. (Photo by Ray Dirks)

Clairissa Kelly gives roses to the many different artists involved in the Reconciliation through the Arts exhibition. Over 15 artists were involved in creating the many diverse pieces on display. (Photo by Ray Dirks)

Clairissa Kelly’s daughter, Chloe Mallett, dances for a large audience at the exhibition’s opening event. (Photo by Ray Dirks)

Art by Ojibwe artist Trip Charbs. (Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Around 200 people gathered at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery on Jan. 26 to celebrate the opening of Reconciliation Through the Arts, an exhibition of Indigenous and settler art that explores the history and present reality of colonization in Canada and different visions of reconciliation.

An openness to learning is the first step

An ally holds a sign at the Winnipeg Women’s March in January 2018. ‘We need to acknowledge the fact that we are not presently equal,’ Kim Penner says. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Kim Penner holds a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Kim Penner)

Kim Penner with Marilyn Legge, her PhD advisor, at Penner’s graduation last November. (Photo courtesy of Kim Penner)

Participants make their way along Main Street as part of the Winnipeg Women’s March. ‘There is clearly a lot to learn right now, and it’s really being open to learning that is the first step,’ Kim Penner says. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Kim Penner graduated last November with a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Canadian Mennonite called Penner at her home in Waterloo, Ont., to ask her about her dissertation, “Discipleship as erotic peacemaking: Toward a feminist Mennonite theo-ethics of embodiment and sexuality,” and what her work has to offer the Mennonite church.

Unfiltered Falk

The Generational Gaps DVD features 70 minutes of material Matt Falk developed after the release of his first album, Apple Pie & Scars. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

Comedian Matt Falk’s first-ever DVD, Generational Gaps, is in stores on Feb. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

Matt Falk has performed across North America with veteran comics like Gilbert Gottfried and Dave Coulier. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

‘It feels amazing,’ Matt Falk says of the upcoming release of Generational Gaps on DVD. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

For most comedians, delivering unfiltered material means cursing a blue streak. For Matt Falk, it means something else entirely.

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