Readers write: September 12, 2016 issue

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September 7, 2016 | Viewpoints | Volume 20 Issue 18

Feature on seasonal workers ‘very timely’

Re: “The lucky struggle,” July 4, page 4.

Will Braun’s feature article is very timely for us at the farm where I work, in that we have hired a group of Mexican workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to help us in our harvesting and packing operations. Similar to the challenges facing the Kroeker Farm, we, too, find it difficult to employ local seasonal workers with experience to help with our harvest.

Braun’s article brings into sharp focus the significant sacrifice these workers make to improve life for their families and the huge benefit they bring to our farm operations. I also realize that it must be very lonely for many of these men, and that their lives become almost entirely focussed on work.

The story of how Jane Andres is reaching out to these workers comes to me both as an encouragement and a challenge. I am trying to get to know these men personally. I am trying to learn Spanish. And in my awkward way of trying to communicate with them, we are both able to laugh at my mistakes. (Their English is far better than my Spanish.)

My hope is that I can find a way for those interested to play some pick-up baseball or soccer, or other social events for them to engage in, and to share the love of Jesus with them.

Thank you for bringing to our attention the plight of these seasonal foreign workers.

Murray Nash, Pickering, Ont.

 

Eight prayer meetings vs. seven years of discernment

Over 50 years ago, David Schroeder taught that the Bible is the record of God’s Word.

Safwat Marzouk’s address to Assembly 2016 (“Covenant and law: A matter of relationship,” July 25, page 8) guides us as a discerning church.

In her article “Hope Mennonite withdraws from MC Saskatchewan,” June 20, page 18, Donna Schulz quotes Pastor Gerhard Luitjens as saying, “There is a very, very big split in all Christian circles between the belief in what God says and the idea that I can decide what God has to say.”

The more helpful observation is that after eight prayer meetings, his congregation decided to leave, and after seven years of discerning, Mennonite Church Canada decided “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” to create safe space for testing alternatives to traditional beliefs.

I trust that Hope Mennonite continues to walk in the Spirit open to God’s leading. I was part of the North Battleford church’s youth service group in the summer of 1968, when we volunteered with first nation youth—a worthwhile outreach in a pretty, well-treed town.

Howard Wideman, Sudbury, Ont.

 

‘Seriously missing the point’ on LGBTQ inclusion

Re: “Canadian Mennonite: A lighthouse” editorial, Aug. 15, page 2.

Please stop diminishing the importance of the inclusion of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers with statements such as, “[I]t is taking our attention away from other issues that ought to consume us more . . . .” Young people are taking their own lives because of the hatred and exclusion they are experiencing, including in our churches. What could be more important than that?

Racism, sexism and homophobia are not secondary issues. They are the touchstones by which we can demonstrate that we embrace Jesus’ example of unconditional love and inclusion, and that we are credible in our desire to “extend . . . hospitality beyond our enclaves to our neighbours,” or, rather, that we are precisely the club of self-righteous bigots that many outside our congregations increasingly believe we are.

Those who feel that this is an annoyance—or a distraction from doing the “real” work—are seriously missing the point.

Barry Ésau, Gatineau, Que.

 

Our challenge: ‘To bring healing and harmony to the whole body’

Re: “Hope through lament and loss,” July 25, page 4.

The God story begins with a divine desire for relationship. Paul states in Ephesians 1: 4: “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love” (The Message).

His plan included a home in a place of extravagant beauty and abundant resources. God would authorize and entrust the human to take care of the human community and everything he created—an all-inclusive body, all interdependent, with each member of the body totally dependent on God.

But the relationship that God desired could not be demanded, thus the need for freedom of choice. God warned that rejecting God’s authority would be the death of their relationship with God, each other and all of creation. Knowing this would happen, God’s plan also included the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross to restore relationships.

In Genesis 1:26, God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of the earth” (The Message).

In God’s Shalom Project, Bernhard Ott wrote: “It is not the individual human but the human community that is created in God’s image, it is not the individual but the human community that is entrusted with the role of custodian of God’s creation.”

Our challenge now is to work together with God to bring healing and harmony to the whole body.

Enos Kipfer, London, Ont.

 

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