It is June 20, World Refugee Day. Near the Mexico-U.S. border, thousands of people are waiting. Fleeing conflict and violence in their own countries, they are seeking safety. Reports emerge of refugee children being detained and separated from their parents, who are also locked up. These families are torn apart by a policy of “zero tolerance” for so-called “illegal immigrants.”
Communion, the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist; whatever the name, it has been an integral part of the Christian faith since its beginnings. (Photo © istock.com/ipggutenbergukltd)
“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood’” (Luke 22:19-20 NRSV).
I have been thinking a lot about transition. Since early 2017, transition has been the theme of my life. When the expiry date of my work visa in the U.S. was nearing, and there was no clear path or short timeline to a new visa, my husband Allan and I faced many decisions about what we would do next, none of which offered completely satisfactory options.
Recently I spent a weekend at a discipleship retreat with a team of seven others from my church. It was great fun! As we learned and prayed, our inspiration for making disciples grew. We dreamed and planned for how we might develop leaders in our congregation. Truthfully, while it was energizing, it also felt more than a little overwhelming.
Cooking for one or two people can be a challenge, but Betty Ann Martin found that taking Food Fit courses at the Local Community Food Centre in Stratford, Ont., expanded her food repertoire. She learned that roasted vegetables are delicious and that sweet potatoes are very versatile—and they don’t need added sugar.
Breakfast should be interesting, not boring! Betty Ann Martin expanded her food repertoire and gained new ideas for breakfast menus through her involvement with the Local Community Food Centre in Stratford, Ont. See more of her story here.
Old black and white photos often leave us with the impression that past generations were dour and rigid, and had no fun. But life was lived in full colour, was complex with multiple hues, people had a sense of humour, and they had fun. This photo came from John P. Dyck of Winnipeg and it depicts a group of young men goofing off during their forestry service in Russia in 1912.
Henry Paetkau, this year’s speaker at the Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training fundraising banquet, and Eileen Lebold share a quiet moment at the final banquet at Conrad Grebel University College on June 5, 2018. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
The Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training met its goal of $1 million a few years ago, when Mennonite Church Eastern Canada used monies from the Schmidt bequest to top it up from $750,000. The banquet that had been a major fundraiser for the fund continued, however, with funding now going to support the Anabaptist Learning Workshop.
Mennonite Church South Korea youth participate in a peace walk in April 2018. (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)
A group gathers for the Mennonite Church South Korea assembly in September 2017. (Photo courtesy of Bock Ki Kim)
In her entire life, Hyun Hee Kim never imagined that Donald Trump, president of the United States, and Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, would one day meet and shake hands.
Cutting the ribbon at the dedication of Mennonite Disaster Service Canada’s new office on June 15 are: (from left) Harold Friesen (MDS Canada board chair), Ross Penner (director of Canadian operations), Kevin King (MDS executive director), Grace Loeppky (MDS Canada board secretary and volunteer) and Gerald Loeppky (MDS volunteer). (Photo by Kelsey Friesen)
On June 15, 2018, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada hosted a dedication for their new office space located on the second floor of 600 Shaftesbury Blvd. at the Canadian Mennonite University campus, followed by a lunch and open house.
MDS Canada decided to move to a bigger space when they added several staff to their team and their lease at 1325 Markham Rd. was coming to an end.
Sisters Jessica and Samantha Friesen enjoy having their faces painted in the children’s entertainment area at the MCC Alberta relief sale. The sisters are from Abbeydale Christian Fellowship in Calgary. The congregation donated half of the pies needed for the sale and the Friesen family delivered them to Didsbury. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Friday night’s auction opened with bids for a special peace quilt which cannot be taken home. The winning bid went to Rudy Wiens who made a $2,200 donation to MCC. He intends to display the quilt at Camp Valaqua this summer before it returns to MCC to be sold again next year. Wiens is a repeat camp volunteer who has warm friendships with staff and campers. He likes to offer a listening ear and encouragement to young people. “I connect well with the kids…they are ready to tell an 80-year-old things,” he said. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Three years ago Joyce Doran was working for Ten Thousand Villages in Calgary when she heard Abe Janzen (then MCC Alberta director) share some of his stories. “I was so touched by the work that was being done and I knew it was an organization I wanted to get involved with,” Doran said. In April 2018, Doran began working as thrift shop coordinator for MCC Alberta. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Two years ago, Bergthal Mennonite Church worked through MCC to sponsor a Syrian family, the Al Husseins, to come to Canada. On June 2 the family volunteered at the sale, wiping tables in the dining area and sorting coins. Pictured are: (from left) Nasayem, Delores Peters (Bergthal church), Mothana, Mariam, Jawaher, and Hatem. (Hatem was sponsored through the Trinity Mennonite Church in Calgary). (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Sarah Neufeld of Didsbury (left) and Neve Jeffery of Calgary met and visited while tying knots in a comforter. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Doris Veirgutz made a double donation when she had her hair cut. “God has given me this long hair, I can donate it for wigs for people [Locks of Love] and raise money for MCC.” Stylist Brittany Derksen donated her talents to the effort. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
For almost 40 years, John Wiebe’s welded art has raised thousands of dollars for relief work. The dove candle holder was inspired by well-known pastor Menno Epp (1932-2011). In the mid-1990s, Epp sent Wiebe a sketch of something he saw in Guatemala, asking if Wiebe could make it as an MCC project. Wiebe’s unique bookends, candle holders and other items can be found in many homes and churches across Alberta and beyond. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Matthew (5) and Aaron Friesen (6) are two of the youngest volunteers, taking turns pulling the school bus to collect change. Asked why they are helping, Matthew said, “because I like it.” Aaron added, “it is going to donate to other people.” (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Sisters Irene Baergen (left) of Edmonton and Hilda Baergen of Coaldale, along with siblings Alice Klassen of Coaldale and Margaret Froese of Canmore, have an eight-year tradition of getting together to make a quilt for the sale. “The highlight is to get together and have a project and a cause,” said Irene. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Pianist Phyllis Geddert remembers singing with her father when he asked her to “promise me that you will help people to remember the old songs.” Ten years after he passed away, friends helped Geddert record favourite hymns from old Mennonite hymnals. Her condition was that any money raised would be donated to MCC in memory of her parents, Frank L. Friesen who always supported MCC, and Katherine Zacharias Friesen, one of the people who began the Thrift store in Morris, MB. The CD is entitled Joyful. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
Josh Poland and Greg Sanderson of The Rosehill Auction Service pose with Bob Janzen (middle). Sanderson, who grew up in the Didsbury area, said; “I love selling and helping people, it’s fun to watch their face when they’ve got something.” Poland was keen to donate his time to the sale saying; “Everybody knows where the money is going.” (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)
The Mennonite Central Committee Relief sale is a more than a fundraiser for Alberta Mennonites, it is an anticipated social event. Creating an atmosphere of fellowship and common purpose, the annual sale unites Mennonites from LaCrete to Pincher Creek (a distance of 1,176 kms) as well as inviting local communities to join the fun.
Mennonite Church Canada recently released Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization, the latest of several publications that explore reconciliation and Indigenous-settler relationships.
Describing the gospel in seven words ‘gives us something to think about and chew on that I hope will bring us deeper into relationship with our creator,’ Moses Falco writes. (Photo by Aaron Epp)
In his book (Re)union, author Bruxy Cavey describes the gospel using one, three, and 30 words. (Photo courtesy of Herald Press)
As part of the discussions at the pastoral care team meetings at the church I pastor, we often talk about what the journey of faith is like. How can we walk with people? What does it mean to evangelize? What is faith really about? How would we even describe this good news (gospel) message of Jesus?
‘My classmates and I came to CMU as vulnerable newcomers, and . . . we will walk into many more situations that need vulnerable people,’ Jason Friesen says. (Photo courtesy of CMU)
Most of us don’t like to be in vulnerable spaces. The uncertainties of those spaces leave us with butterflies fluttering around in our stomachs. Conceding power is uncomfortable. Yet, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a place that exemplifies and guides us into those vulnerable spaces.
The May 7 and 21 issues of Canadian Mennonite deal in part with protests regarding the construction of pipelines. The editorial from May 21, “Questions of conscience,” asks us how we respond to concerns about pipelines and protests.