“When I was 17 years old I dedicated my hands to the Lord. I was going to play his music in the church,” said Lydia Derksen, whose hands have been a blessing at Bergthal Mennonite for 65 years and counting. She plays the piano for the congregation, the choir and a variety of musical groups.
God at work in Us
If you want Tamworth heritage bacon or Golden Guernsey milk, Jacqui Schmucker can provide them. If you want maple syrup from a horse-and-buggy farm or honey from a black-bumper Mennonite farm, she’s got that too. If you want to know who grew your food, where and how, she can do that too, with an energetic smile to boot.
Refugee camps around the city of Suleimani in the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq have become pressure cookers of cultural and religious tension. Thousands of people displaced by Syria’s civil war and the violence of Islamic State (IS) are living shoulder to shoulder, unable to return to their homes.
Gerry Loewen runs her fingers along a row of books and moves toward a clothing rack packed with sweaters and cardigans. She is explaining what sort of donations come in to the thrift shop when a customer approaches her. He holds out a business card and tells his story. She listens patiently and, once he’s finished, asks if this is his first time visiting the shop. He answers yes.
In his own words, Reverend Ibrahim Nsier, a pastor of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, tells about his ministry in Syria. Mennonite Central Committee, through the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches, supports the work of Nsier’s church as it addresses the urgent needs of the most vulnerable.
Ruth Zehr believes that everyone has a story worth telling.
A decade ago, Zehr overheard a conversation involving Norma Iutzi, program assistant coordinator at the Nithview Community in New Hamburg, about the many stories she heard when she visited the residents of this Tri-County Mennonite Homes multi-stage facility.
Marianne (Dyck) Thiessen, a charter member of Pineridge Christian Fellowship, Calgary, died on Nov. 8, 2014. Professionally a nurse, yet she was much more than that: a flower that never faded, a softener of hearts, an exemplary mother and wife, a gentle spirit who eased tensions and warmed relationships.
How does a South Korean soldier become a teacher of peace?
Delegates at Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan’s Encounter and annual general meeting heard the answer to that question through the life stories of keynote speaker Jae Young Lee.
“Everything I’ve done has been a team sport,” quips Ray Funk as he reflects on his life’s achievements.
Kevin Peters Unrau, right, sits with Stephan Barton, his teacher, on the day Unrau achieved his first-level black belt in Aikido. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Unrau Peters)
Kevin Peters Unrau thinks that the Mennonite Church has gotten Jesus wrong. When Jesus calls on his followers to “not resist evildoers” in Matthew 5:39, many Mennonites have turned to nonviolent resistance. Unrau, however, has turned to Aikido, the martial art of using someone else’s energy to move past them.
Bryan Moyer Suderman (SmallTallMusic.com) sees his music work over the past 11 years as an outgrowth of his desire to have Scripture alive in the church.
He has been active in Community Mennonite Church, Stouffville, Ont., as a youth and adult Bible teacher for years, and has worked to have singable music for young and old to join in those Bible stories.
Peter Nguyen and Kim Bui received an anniversary gift on August 10 that they never got at their wedding 40 years ago: a church ceremony with a marriage licence.
Ruth Klahsen, left, and Francis Evans stand at the counter of the Monforte on Wellington osteria in downtown Stratford, Ont. Klahsen is fond of saying that she would not open the restaurant until Evans signed on as a hostess (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Rosy Neale removes cheeses from their moulds at the Monteforte Cheese Factory in Stratford, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
“I’m not a very good Mennonite,” says Ruth Klahsen as she sells her Monforte cheeses at the New Hamburg (Ont.) Mennonite Relief Sale, where all sales go to support Mennonite Central Committee relief projects.
As a young boy, Elmer Hildebrand enjoyed selling greeting cards and garden seeds to his neighbours in the farming community near Altona. He had no idea where these interests and skills of his would lead. All he knew was that he didn’t want to farm.
LaVerna Klippenstein will be remembered by many Canadian Mennonite readers for the columns she wrote in the Mennonite Reporter, precursor to this publication. She was also a regular columnist for 30 years for Christian Living magazine. Being a strong supporter of Christian education and the nurturing of Christian faith, she wrote many devotionals for Rejoice! and other publications.