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Viewpoints

Hope in a dark-sky world

Karen Martens Zimmerly
Viewpoints | By Karen Martens Zimmerly | May 17, 2017 | 1 comment

I grew up with a prairie view of wide open sky and grain fields dotted with cattle. In the living room, however, hung a painting of fishermen hurriedly pulling their boat to shore, racing against turbulent waves and a storm-blackened sky. My father, a life-long farmer, chose the painting for the hope of rain that it portrayed.

Something is brewing in the church these days, too, but we aren’t sure what to expect. How can we find a future of hope in our current reality?

Spanish lessons

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | May 17, 2017

Walking to my conversational Spanish class, I rehearsed phrases in my head, hoping practice would strengthen my fledgling skills. In spite of my efforts, I knew I would stumble to find and pronounce the right word. Sure enough, in class I attempted to say I had eaten lunch with friends, but instead said I had eaten my friends for lunch. We all chuckled, commiserating about our incompetence.

What is your passion?

Pamela Miles
Viewpoints | By Pamela Miles | May 17, 2017

How often have you heard the question, “Will you sponsor me?” I’m sure you’ve heard it many times, from a family member, a colleague or someone in your church. For many charitable organizations, organizing events in which their supporters can actively participate is a wonderful way to raise funds, get people engaged and create awareness of their causes.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 8)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | May 17, 2017

Doubt has a good public relations manager these days. The world seems awash with books, articles, sermons, even a few TED talks, praising its beneficial goodness. I too have tried to redeem the sullied reputation of doubt in the church with my preaching and writing. Over the past year I’ve started to wonder if the pendulum has swung too far though. Have we naively overestimated and championed the virtue of doubt without fully appreciating its destructive power?

The book of James (1:6) names one thing that will prevent us from receiving divine wisdom. Doubt.

Isaac Wiens

Photo: Isby Bergen Photograph Collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | May 17, 2017

The Isaac S. Wiens real estate office in Herbert, Sask., is pictured in 1911. Wiens (1874-1958), left, was born in Russia and came to Canada as an infant. His family became part of the Bergthaler Mennonite Church and lived in the Gretna, Man., area. He married Katharina Friesen in 1897, and they had 10 children. The family joined other Mennonites who moved to Saskatchewan looking for land and opportunities. Wiens settled in the community of Herbert. By 1911, Wiens was the village secretary.

Readers write: May 8, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | May 03, 2017

An appeal from MennoMedia’s Canadian board members

At our most recent MennoMedia board meeting, executive director Russ Eanes predicted that our organization is at the forefront of the transformation that is taking place in our denominations. Both Mennonite Church Canada and MC U.S.A. are undergoing significant changes in size and structure. Because MennoMedia supplies faith resources to congregations, it is the first barometer registering the winds of change.

Freedom powered by love

Garry Janzen
Viewpoints | By Garry Janzen | May 03, 2017 | 3 comments

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his dream. His dream was that people would be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. His dream was that there would be equality for all, that the ground would be level for everyone. His dream was that all would work together in peace and nonviolence until there is freedom for all.

Honouring the bride of Christ

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | May 03, 2017

A bride walking down the aisle to meet her groom is always a moment of anticipation and honour. The groom beams with joy. Perhaps he gives her a wink or sheds a tear. The bride gazes into his eyes. The assembly stands, craning their necks for a better view. Smiles abound. Arrayed in all her splendour, the bride is adored.

Rice pudding is comfort food

For the month of January, Terry Martens cooked for Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers in a well-equipped kitchen in California. (Photo courtesy of Terry Martens)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | May 03, 2017

Terry Martens believes that rice pudding is comfort food. It reminds her of her childhood when she would arrive home from school on winter afternoons to the smell of rice pudding cooking in the oven.

“We could barely wait for this delicious dessert to be ready so we could indulge,” she says.

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

For Terry Martens, rice pudding is a comfort food. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | May 03, 2017

Terry Martens of Hoffnungsfelder Mennonite Church, Sask., volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) as a cook. She often uses this recipe when cooking for MDS volunteers. She supplied the recipe for the column, Gathering Around the Table. The story that goes with it can found here.

3 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup rice
pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla

Jeremiah Ross

Photo: Ike and Margaret Froese

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | May 03, 2017

Mennonite Church Canada has created lasting relationships with indigenous communities such as Cross Lake, Man. In 1943, Henry Gerbrandt served the community in fulfilling his commitment as a conscientious objector to war. In 1956, Otto and Margaret Hamm moved to the community. A church was built in 1957, and a new one in 2005. Pictured, Jeremiah Ross (1909-2002) of Cross Lake was ordained as minister of the congregation in 1968; he retired in 1998. With the many changes to Mennonite Church Canada programs over the years, today no workers remain in indigenous communities.

Levelling the playing field

Pictured from left to right: Maria Angela Peinado; Hannah, Fred and Shirley Redekop; Maricela Jimenez; and Pierre Shantz. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Viewpoints | By Shirley Redekop | May 03, 2017

The saying goes, “There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.” My husband and I encouraged our children to fly and prayed we gave them roots.

One day in a sermon my husband said, “I believe in what Christian Peacemaker Teams [CPT] does, but I also fear one of our sons will join them,” referring to its placing of teams in communities confronted with situations of life-threatening conflict.

Readers write: April 24, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Apr 19, 2017 | 1 comment

‘Apocalyptic threshold’ is more than a few degrees

Re: “Are we living in the last millennium?” Dec. 12, 2016, page 8,

Phil Wagler’s column is a reminder that apocalyptic predictions are still out there after a history of more than 2,500 years. Sadly for the would-be prophets, to date every one of them has been dead wrong.  

A church in transition

Willard Metzger
Viewpoints | By Willard Metzger | Apr 19, 2017

The times we live in seem to change more rapidly with each passing day. In North America, Europe and elsewhere, protectionist sentiments, growing nationalism and increased border controls are becoming commonplace.

Party with piecaken

The dessert is called a ‘piecaken,’ simply meaning a pie baked into a cake.

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Apr 19, 2017

“This isn’t really working out the way I imagined,” I mused, as my mother slept in her chair while I worked on her birthday dessert. I had just ended a phone call with my son, my consultant on the somewhat complicated-to-assemble treat. He was a relative expert, having made two of them compared to my none. I had imagined that my mother, no slouch in the bakery department, would be at my side adding her helpful advice to the process. But a long morning trip to Walmart (her request) had sapped her energy, so she snoozed quietly as I soaked up advice and fortitude from my son.

Just imagine

Sherri Grosz
Viewpoints | By Sherri Grosz | Apr 19, 2017

Just imagine you are there, sitting on the hillside, listening to Jesus. It’s past mealtime and your stomach starts to rumble, but his words mesmerize you and you don’t want to leave. You notice the disciples talking together and gesturing to the crowd. Then you see a boy approach and offer a small bundle. You watch Jesus open the bundle, offer a prayer and begin to pass out the food. You know it won’t reach all the way to you; it’s just a small bundle after all. What a surprise when your neighbour passes some bread and then some fish! Then more comes. Then still more.

B.C. Firefighting

Photo: Katie Funk Wiebe Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Apr 19, 2017

Firefighting in British Columbia was one of the tasks assigned to Canadian conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War. They were ‘the best firefighters we ever had,’ according to Jim Pedly from the forestry service. From spring 1942 to spring 1944, the COs spent 4,875 days training and on standby, and 8,470 days fighting 234 forest fires. Fighting fires in the B.C. forests with simple equipment such as that pictured must have been hot, dirty and tiring work.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 7)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Apr 19, 2017

So how does one enrol as an apprentice in the School of Divine Wisdom? The Bible tells us there are a few prerequisites.

The first one is found in Proverbs 4:7: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”

The first time I really paid attention to this verse, I thought, “Are you serious? Thanks for the detailed map to wisdom you’ve drawn for us there, Solomon!”

Readers write: April 10, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Apr 05, 2017

‘The faith of our fathers lives on’
There used to be a hymn we sang in our congregation: “Faith of our Fathers, Living Still.”

As a person ages, one has more memories from the past. Often in the present, we make decisions for the future with knowledge from the past. So from the past to the present, we have had many dedicated servants in our Mennonite congregation: ministers, pastors, teachers and active committee members.

A parting blessing

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Tim Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 05, 2017

At my first Mennonite Church Alberta assembly as area church minister, one of my official tasks was to offer a prayer of release to Calgary Vietnamese Mennonite Church. It was one of two congregations that had withdrawn its membership from the area church in response to the Being a Faithful Church decision at MC Canada’s 2016 Saskatoon assembly.

Reclaiming Scripture

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Apr 05, 2017 | 4 comments

We must not hand them back.

Others before us fought long and hard to get them back into our hands. Through blood, sweat and tears, they were returned to the rightful owners. And now, slowly but surely, we are returning the Holy Scriptures to those who hoarded them for so long.

Ailsa Craig Boys Farm

Ailsa Craig boys (Photo from Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Apr 05, 2017

Boys on horseback pose in front of the main entrance to the Ailsa Craig Boys Farm, a home for troubled boys, in the 1960s. The farm, begun in 1955, was the brainchild of Jack Wall. With the help of Harvey Taves at Mennonite Central Committee and a handful of families eager to start mission work with a social welfare focus in Ailsa Craig, Ont., he gained support for the project from Ontario Mennonite churches. This was just one example of Canadian Mennonites looking for ways to demonstrate God’s love by setting up organizations to serve their local communities in the post-war era.

Readers write: March 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Mar 22, 2017

That’s not who we are . . . as Mennonites or Muslims

Re: “A not-so-pure depiction of Mennonites,” Feb. 13, page 20.

I read with interest the various online responses by Mennonites concerned about how Mennonites are depicted in the CBC drama series Pure.

The power of imagination

Tim Froese
Viewpoints | By Tim Froese | Mar 22, 2017

When communicating about the ministries of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, my former colleague Al Rempel used to tell me, “Help your listeners imagine the work that is being done.”

Unveiling secrets

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Mar 22, 2017

One day my normally cheerful, no-nonsense coworker surprised, or I should say shocked, me. She suddenly and briefly opened the door to her past, a dangerous time of war and famine.

“Those days were horrible,” she said fiercely in a low voice. “Things were so bad, they ate people. We never speak of them.”

Just as suddenly, the door swung shut, and she turned away from me and toward other tasks. I was young and curious, but I knew not to pursue her or the topic.

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