The theatre was dim. A projection screen showed an animated scene of a farm yard by night. The wind rippled through the trees and grass. Clouds blew across the moon. Crickets chirped in the background as the low voices of the patrons sounded like the voices of farm dwellers on the porch in the cooling evening after a hot day on the fields.
This painting by Ray Dirks tells the story of Agatha Harms Reimer who escaped from the Soviet Union with three sons after World War 2. It is part of the “Along the Road to Freedom” collection which opens at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 14. Agatha, the grandmother of Dirks’ wife, lived to be 103.
Ray Dirks, curator and artist, has embarked on a project to paint as many as twenty canvasses to tell the stories of Mennonite women who brought their families out of the Soviet Union amid the confusion and turmoil of the waning months of World War 2. The first selection will be ready for an opening on Oct. 14, at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery where Dirks is the curator.
Alan and Eleanor Kreider, recently “retired,” have had a full life of ministry, mostly in the United Kingdom, but with influences throughout the world. Working in post-Christendom and postmodern Europe has given them foresight into what has been developing in North America. Some would see this as God preparing North American Christians with the prophetic and pastoral voice of the Kreiders.
Elsie Rempel, Mennonite Church Canada Formation Consultant, launched her new book, Please Pass the Faith, at Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012 in Vancouver. The book explores “spiritual grandparenting” as an intentional way to share faith with the next generation in a world full of distractions and busy schedules.
Is the New Testament inherently violent? What does Jesus’ brutal death on the cross mean to persons holding a more passive view of non-resistance? How does one seriously read the text and make sense of Jesus’ teaching of non-violence and his behaviour with the money-changers in the Temple, for instance?
She has the best of lines; she has the worst of lines. I am referring to the dialogue of Catwoman in this summer’s mega-blockbuster film, The Dark Knight Rises, based very loosely on Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities(which concerns the French Revolution).
When an army of nasty aliens in giant reptilian ships threatens to take over the Earth and enslave all of its inhabitants, one superhero is not enough to stand in the way. For a threat of this magnitude, a group of six very diverse superheroes is called for, a group calling itself The Avengers, the title of what is already one of the biggest blockbuster films of all time.
Those who had the opportunity to see Gadfly: Sam Steiner Dodges the Draft will recall that this drama—based on the 1960s lives of Sam Steiner and Sue Clemmer—ends with the cast singing the Doxology. “Sam” joined in part way through the hymn. Some observers thought this an abrupt ending, and wondered how a draft dodger, alienated from his church of birth, returned to faith.
gad·fly - [gad-flahy]
1. any of various flies, as a stable fly or warble fly, that bite or annoy domestic animals.
Rohina Malik was 14 when her family moved from London, England, to Chicago. It was there that she lived through—and continues to live through—the misunderstandings about Muslims, veiled Muslim women in particular.
Canadian Mennonite is at an exciting place in its history, Larry Cornies told board members of the Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service (CMPS) at their annual meeting and fundraiser on March 24 at Toronto United Mennonite Church. “We’ve come to the intersection of Christendom’s decline, the rise of new communication tools and a new paradigm in leadership,” he said.
Although sailing troubled waters over the past 50 years, Mennonite novelists have taught Mennonite readers how to approach their texts with boldness and humility as “we learn more about ourselves through their works of art,” Paul Tiessen said last month in wrapping up a nine-week series of lectures by Mennonite writers at Conrad Grebel University College.
‘6.5 Weeks’ by Cliff Derksen (clay with patina finish). The artist tried to sculpt his murdered daughter’s bound hands, but couldn’t bear to. Instead, he sculpted his own because he wishes they would have been his hands bound, instead of hers.
‘70 x 7’ by Odia Derksen (100 percent felted wool, detail). The hanging represents tears and giving up hatred.
‘Evidence of a trial’ by Odia Derksen (100 percent felted wool, detail). Derksen crocheted nearly every day of the trial. Every time she felt a new emotion, she would change colours. Cream represents feeling neutral or doing fine. Red represents pain and black represents anger.
‘The Last Walk’ by Odia Derksen (series of photographs, detail). A patron of the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery views the collection of photos Derksen took as she walked her murdered sister Candace’s route from school to where she was abducted and then to where her body was eventually found.
It is indescribable, the feeling of losing a loved one, especially when that person is lost as the result of a murder.
Ancestral worship for Mennonite writers is a great temptation, Julia Spicher Kasdorf told a faculty forum at Conrad Grebel University College on Feb. 17 as part of the award-winning Mennonite poet’s three-day presence on campus as a visiting scholar sponsored by the Rod and Lorna Sawatsky Fund.
Émilie Durville (Claudel) and Marcin Kaczorowski (Rodin) dance in Peter Quanz’s ballet Claudel/Rodin at Les Grands Ballets Canadien in the fall of 2011.
At the age of 17, dancer Peter Quanz of Wilmot Mennonite Church was already living in Winnipeg on his own. Before heading to Winnipeg, he commuted to an arts high school in nearby Kitchener, instead of attending his local high school. His parents had always supported his interest in dance, although they all kept it quiet in the congregation and community.
I recently received two books by authors in their 90s: Nearing Home by Billy Graham, and Time for Outrage by Stéphane Hessel, a retired French diplomat and concentration camp survivor who helped draft the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Each book conveys a strong sense of mission and each is made more compelling by the author’s age.
Peter Etril Snyder is known the world over for his sensitive paintings of Old Order Mennonites in the Waterloo Region. Although he had just retired from his gallery and painting for health reasons, he was intrigued when Tundra Books came to him with Nan Forler’s poems of an Old Order girl’s life over the course of a year, feeling that they epitomized the world he knew so well.