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‘A window into our shared local history’

‘Barn raising,’ an iconic image by David L. Hunsberger of mutual aid, has come to define the essence of community for many, including Governor General David Johnston. (Photo by David L. Hunsberger, The Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

With his camera and notepad, David L. Hunsberger captured on film Mennonite life in Waterloo Region in the 1950s and ’60s. (The Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Pastor Wilfred Ulrich greets his congregation at Stirling Ave. Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont., on a Sunday morning  in 1958. (Photo by David L. Hunsberger, The Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Abner Martin, founder of the Menno Singers, examines one of David L. Hunsberger’s photographs on display at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., at the show’s opening on Feb. 27, 2015. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

The 1962 Mennonite World Conference assembly at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, Ont. (Photo by David L. Hunsberger, The Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

According to Paul Heidebrecht, director of Conrad Grebel University College’s MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement, “Advancing peace requires many hands. It requires shoulders to lean on, and to stand on. It is sustained by the mundane tasks that make daily life possible. Peace becomes possible when we experience genuine community.”

‘A place in the kingdom’

Artist Lynda Toews is pictured in her studio with some of her works from ‘A place in the kingdom: Paintings and heritage stories celebrating farm animals,’ on display at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in Winnipeg until June 20. (Photo by Gary Brown)

‘Supper Chores’ by Lynda Toews (acrylic on canvas) - ‘I recently learned that there was a time when cows were milked right on the field, instead of being herded into barns,’ says artist Lynda Toews. ‘Of course the farmer may only have owned a few cows. The housebarn in the background was my great grandfather’s in Blumenhof, Man., and the late autumn afternoon landscape is invented.’

‘Equally Yoked’ by Lynda Toews (acrylic on canvas) - ‘I obtained permission from Janet Kehler, the graphic artist for the South East Manitoba Draft Horse Association, to use her photograph of Mark and Tracy Bergen’s Percheron mares,’ explains artist Lynda Toews. ‘Many of my paintings are based on photographs that members of this association have allowed me to take of their horses and this is much appreciated.’

‘Border Action’ by Lynda Toews (acrylic on canvas) - ‘We found this border collie running circles around the horse-jumping practice ring at Birds Hill Park,’ says artist Lynda Toews.

With brilliant and detailed clarity, Manitoba artist Lynda Toews has painted a series of farm animal portraits that will be on display at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in Winnipeg from March 13 to June 20.

‘Bring the wall down’

Rhonda Harder Epp stands beside the final panel of ‘Green Lines,’ where the image of barbed wire unravelling leaves observers with hope for the eventual removal of barriers.

“Walls became an obsession when I went to Berlin in 2010,” artist Rhonda Harder Epp told the crowd at the opening of her Walls: Arbitrary Impediments art exhibition at King’s University College, Edmonton, last month.

Normal people doing normal things

The Rosco boys, from left to right: Trevor Hunsberger, producer; Ken Ogasawara, writer/actor; and Jonathan Steckley, writer/director. (Photo courtesy of Rosco Films)

Ken Ogasawara, right, hangs out with a friend in The Volunteer, exchanging stories and working through bad relationships. (Photo courtesy of Rosco Films)

When filmmakers get around to showing their work to their family and community, it is usually a past project for them.

Such was the case for Rosco Films, whose principals—Jon Steckley, Ken Ogasawara and Trevor Hunsburger—grew up at Shantz Mennonite Church, Baden, Ont.

No time to give up on Planet Earth

After travelling through a wormhole, Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) lands on a potentially habitable planet in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. (Paramount Pictures photo)

“We’re not meant to save the world; we’re meant to leave it.” So says the protagonist of Interstellar, a grand science fiction epic from Christopher Nolan. One of Hollywood’s best ‘blockbuster’ directors (Inception, the Dark Knight trilogy), he has created the best film to come out of Hollywood this year. It may also be the most dangerous.

‘Portraits of perseverance’

Aden Bauman sits at his home work bench after retiring from 46 years of running a watch repair business. His photo and story are part of the ‘Portraits of perseverance’ project by Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen. (Credit: Karl Kessler)

Photographer Karl Kessler of Erb Street Mennonite Church, Waterloo, Ont., stands in the City of Waterloo Museum at the Conestoga Mall, where his and Sunshine Chen’s ‘Portraits of Perseverance’ are on display until Jan. 30. (Credit: Dave Rogalsky)

Karl Kessler and Sunshine Chen openly admit to being inspired by Harvey Wang’s New York, a 1990 book of photographic “portraits of men and women in vanishing jobs and professions.”

The Amish Project provocative and harrowing

Amy Keating, playing Velda, an Old Order Amish girl, tells the story of the Amish Mines shooting in 2006 through naïve chalk drawings on the floor of the stage in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)

Velda, an Older Order Amish girl (played by Amy Keating), lies dead on stage in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)

Amy Keating, playing Velda, an Old Order Amish girl, draws on her slate in the school house in The Amish Project. (Photo by Joel Mieske/courtesy of Green Light Arts)

In 2006, when the Amish of Nickel Mines, Pa., forgave the man who shot their daughters and offered assistance to his widowed family, the world was divided: Were they insane, misguided or holy beyond human reckoning?

Niska beadwork stitches relationships together

Josephine Sutherland shows off a small purse at the Sept. 11 launch of the sale of Niska Artisans beadwork products at the MCC Ontario complex in Kitchener.

Niska Artisans member Josephine Sutherland deftly works on a small purse.

The Niska Artisans cooperative, operating for the past seven years in Timmins, Ont., launched a beadwork display at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario complex at 50 Kent Avenue in Kitchener on Sept. 11.

Finding a sense of place

Churches should be rooted in neighbourhoods or parishes. That’s the claim of the authors, who represent Pentecostal, Anabaptist and Reformed traditions. Our lives and churches are fragmented, and many Sunday commuters pass other churches to meet with people who support their views and where everyone looks and acts similarly.

'Along the Road to Freedom'

Artist Ray Dirks, seated, and Hans (John) Funk looking over his easel. (Photo by Evelyn Petkau)

Seeking to honour the faith of Mennonite mothers who single-handedly brought their families through difficult and challenging experiences to safety, Winnipeg artist Ray Dirks has created “Along the Road to Freedom,” a travelling exhibit currently on display at Conrad Grebel University College’s new gallery in Waterloo, Ont.

Don’t hail Caesar

Fortunately for the humans, the apes are led by Caesar (pictured), who has many fond memories of humans.

The big blockbuster of the summer is the critically acclaimed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It is set in the near future, in which an epidemic—created by the same retrovirus that made apes as intelligent as humans—has wiped out most of the world’s human population.

Retelling the Story

In his new book Rewriting the Break Event, Robert Zacharias identifies a major theme running through four works of Canadian Mennonite literature. The author is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Waterloo and is connected to Conrad Grebel University College.

Music and the Environment—a locavore feast for ears and soul

Masie Sum, professor of music at Conrad Grebel University College, plays hand drum as part of the Grebel Gamelan players, at Sound in the Land on June 7. Gamelan are ensembles of Balinese percussion instruments. The Sound in the Land festival/conference was held at Grebel June 5-8, 2014.

Leanne Zacharias plays cello as R. Murray Schafer, seated on ground, plays his shoes in rhythm at Zacharias’ and Douglas Friesen’s workshop at Sound in the Land on June 7. The participants were invited to join in, making natural sounds they heard, remembered or could make on the spot.

Sound in the Land. Sound of the Land. Sound for the Land. Sound with and behalf of and from the Land. Sound. Land. Take your pick, there was something of all these in the 2014 Sound in the Land festival/conference, June 5-8 at Conrad Grebel University College.

Bethel Place residents host an art, craft and antique show

Henry Neufeld holds an ornamental walking stick that he carved from wood he picked up at Camp Assiniboia.

Ruth Heinrichs displays her mother’s wedding dress worn in 1911. Hanging beside it is her own wedding dress that she wore in 1951.

Lillian Toews holds a child-size violin she made in 1977. Beside her are portraits she has painted of her granddaughter and husband.

Mildred Giesbrecht pages through the diary kept by her grandfather, Abram Loeppky, born in 1844.

Susan Froese shows the red velvet tablecloth that once belonged to her grandmother, purchased in Russia over 100 years ago.

A buzz of excitement filled the common room at Bethel Place on June 5. A button collection with buttons dating as far back as the 1700s, photos over 100 years old, a beautifully polished samovar that was brought from Russia in 1923 and many other artifacts and artwork were among the items that evoked conversations and memories.

Faith explored through literature

Participants at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s continuing education seminar, ‘Faith and literature,’  held recently at First Mennonite Church in Saskatoon, explore the transformative nature of literature through Toni Morrison’s novel A Mercy.

“I’m hoping it’ll be like a three-day book club,” said one participant of the continuing education event offered by Mennonite Church Saskatchewan recently.


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