God at work in the Church
Both Jessica Reesor Rempel and Chris Brnjas are fond of puns, as perhaps only geeks are.
Self-professed “church geeks,” they kicked off their new ministry, Pastors in Exile (PiE) at the Queen Street Commons café in downtown Kitchener on Sept. 27, 2015, with many pies being consumed by the 85 people who attended.
What does it look like when two churches and Camp Valaqua partner toward a common goal? It looks like 18 enthusiastic campers!
This past summer, the Service and Outreach branch of Edmonton’s First Mennonite Church learned that a number of young people from the city’s South Sudanese Mennonite Church were interested in going to Camp Valaqua in Water Valley, Alta., for the first time.
“Dairy farming is not just a job,” said Lloyd Sawatzky, “It is a way of life.”
For members of Osler Mennonite Church, dairy farming is a way of life that has come to an end. In August, Harry and Eva Martens sold their 150-cow herd to join the ranks of the retired. They were the last remaining dairy farmers in a congregation that once boasted up to 30 of them.
Two hundred people spent a sunny Saturday at Morden Mennonite Church in southern Manitoba to look squarely at how the church can deal with its same-sex crisis.
Kuen Yee was ordained at a worship celebration of God’s leading, diversity and giftedness at Edmonton Vietnamese Mennonite Church on Sept. 6. Area church minister Dan Graber led the ordination ceremony and welcomed Yee into the company of Mennonite Church Alberta pastors. Yee is Chinese and has an Alliance Church background.
Michelle Koop grew up going to Vineland (Ont.) United Mennonite Church, next to the Vineland Mennonite Home. She worked at the Home and helped care for the father of Ed Janzen, chaplain at Conrad Grebel University College (CGUC). In part, it was her stories of that care that convinced Janzen of Koop’s “heart for the aged and seniors—living out the love of God.”
Conscientious objector (CO) Sang-Min Lee, a member of Grace and Peace Mennonite Church in Seoul, South Korea, is free. He was released from prison on July 30, after serving 15 months of an 18-month sentence for refusing military service. The time he spent as a barber in the prison system was credited as additional time served.
A group of children from Orchard Park Bible Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., carry signs celebrating the 200th birthday of Sunday school as Kathy and Alfred Guenther present keepsakes to the children. In 1780, Robert Raikes started Sunday school in Gloucester, England, as a way to teach lower-class children morals and religion.
Thanks to a great deal of planning, the 310 Canadian young people and their sponsors had the “global experience of a lifetime,” according to Kirsten Hamm-Epp, area church minister in youth and administrative planning for Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, who was the prime mover behind the efforts to get the youth to Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly held in Harrisburg, Pa., last month.
All the youth name tags at Mennonite World Conference assembly in Harrisburg, Pa., had “#J178” on them. Nobody gave much thought to it until 600 youth from around the world were gathered in a 24-acre space under the arena in the morning while the adults listened to the sermon in one of two daily worship services.
A chapter of 20th-century German Mennonite history that has been predominantly glossed over, received attention in back-to-back workshops by historians on July 22 at the Mennonite World Conference assembly.
A campaign of church signs supported by Juno-award-winning musician Steve Bell is calling on the federal government to address the longstanding injustice of Winnipeg’s water system.
In August 2015 Bell joined the chorus of voices asking the federal government to do its part in building a road that would connect the isolated community of Shoal Lake 40 with the Trans-Canada Highway.
Lenore Mendes of Guatemala addresses Mennonite World Conference 12 in Winnipeg in 1990. She thought she would be speaking to a few hundred people, but was surprised to see thousands. The Winnipeg gathering was the biggest to date with 13,000 registrants. Her sermon in Winnipeg was an important stepping stone to her election to the Executive Committee of MWC.
The Commons is starting to slow down. No, we are not retiring as a church, we just think it is time for a little different pace. The plan is to switch things up in the fall for our Sunday worship gatherings. We plan to use our gathering time to dig a little deeper into liturgy, spiritual practices, hospitality, old traditions and new creative expressions.
A group of 18 young men and women travel in the back of a truck on their way a Sängerfest or song festival in the Didsbury, Alberta, area in 1934. No seatbelts used here! Song festivals were popular in Mennonite circles as a way of gathering to see old friends, enjoy singing four-part harmony music, and a way for young men and women to meet in controlled environments.
Mike Martin (second from right) and his siblings (from left), Steve, Ron, Willard, Gloria and Terry Martin sang at the 25th anniversary celebration for Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont., on May 23, 2015. Mike, who is the chair of church council, wrote a special song for the event. (Photo courtesy of Community Mennonite Fellowship, Drayton)
The roots ran deep in both the Berea and Moorefield Mennonite Churches, north of Kitchener-Waterloo. Berea, first known as the Parker Mission, was founded in 1941 and joined the Ontario Mennonite Conference in 1947. That same year a congregation was founded less than 10 miles away at Moorefield, using a disused Anglican church building.
Pick a category of people at the Mennonite Church USA convention, and you could identify their pain.
It might have been the pain of exclusion due to sexual orientation. Or of feeling the church has agreed to tolerate sin. It might have been the pain of sexual abuse. Or of concern for the future of a church sharply divided on how to relate to sexual minorities.