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Viewpoints

Giving as protest

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Mar 22, 2017 | 1 comment

Does the headline for this article pique your curiosity or does it irritate you? The word “protest” often evokes strong positive or negative emotions. Like it or not, we seem to be in a time marked by protests of one kind or another.

Beyond giving as duty, the Bible offers us an array of metaphors for giving that can move us to live more generously. The story of the widow’s offering told in the gospels of Mark and Luke offers us one of those metaphors.

Coaldale Nurses

Photo: MB Herald Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Mar 22, 2017

This photo of six nurses from Coaldale, Alta., and the surrounding area was taken in the 1950s. Pictured from left to right: M. Willms, H. Toews, M. Dick and H. Reimer of Coaldale, with M. Janzen of Pincher Creek and M. Dyck of Grassy Lake. Can anyone provide first names of the people pictured? The medical field was an area in which Mennonite women found public service careers. Aiding people in need fit well with Mennonite sensibilities for service.

archives.mhsc.ca/coaldale-nurses

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 6)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Mar 22, 2017

Fourteen years ago, I asked my handy friend, Carm, if I could hire him to do a flooring renovation. He said, “No. But I’ll teach you how to do it for free.”  

Readers write: March 13, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Mar 08, 2017

A holy challenge to become living bodies of Christ

Re: “A year of re-visioning” editorial, Jan. 2, page 2.

Thank you for challenging Mennonite Church Canada to give priority to re-visioning over re-structuring. You may be correct in suggesting that we are in danger of perishing for lack of vision (Proverbs 29:18).

A leadership lens on I Corinthians 13

Rick Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Rick Neufeld | Mar 08, 2017

What would the Apostle Paul say to leaders today? This was the question posed to participants at the recent Values-based Leadership Program that I attended. I offer one perspective of what Paul might be saying:

1. If I have the gift of wisdom and the ability to shape my words in eloquent sentences, but have not love, my words are just that: words.

2. If I have the gift of leadership and can implement all six thinking hats, if I’ve mastered all five leadership practices or eliminated all dysfunction from my team, but have not love, I am nothing.

What music rankles you?

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Mar 08, 2017 | 1 comment

Do you ever have a Sunday when the church music stinks? In your opinion, at least? Well, that’s the way it should be from time to time.

Even though I love singing old hymns, there have been Sundays when I’ve prayed to God that the friend I invited will come next week instead. I’m afraid that if he comes on this particular Sunday, when we’ll be singing out of the hymnal, he’ll think we’re stuck in 1952. I worry his suspicion will be confirmed that the church is out of touch with current reality. I know it’s foolish, but that’s how I feel at times.

Sharing food with my two families

Natasha Krahn, right, is pictured with members of the Jaber family. (Photo courtesy of Natasha Krahn)

Viewpoints | By Natasha Krahn | Mar 08, 2017

One of the privileges of living and travelling overseas is that you get to become a part of many different families. I’ve been fortunate to spend significant amounts of time with families in Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, just to name a few. But one of the most special families I have had the honour of being “adopted” by is the Jaber family in Palestine-Israel.

Upside-Down Company Platter

This traditional dish recalls the hospitality of Palestinian friends. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | Mar 08, 2017

In her story about hospitality, “Sharing food with my two families,” Natasha Krahn describes being served a traditional Palestinian dish turned upside down on a large platter. Here is the recipe as found in the Extending the Table cookbook.

In large, heavy saucepan, heat:

1-2 tablespoons / 15-30 ml oil (preferably olive)

Bethesda Home

Penner Photo / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Mar 08, 2017

Staff outside the Bethesda Home in 1965 in Campden, Ont. Bethesda, the first Mennonite mental health facility in North America, was begun in the early 1930s by Henry and Maria Wiebe to serve the Russian Mennonite immigrant community. The Wiebes had gained their experience working at Bethania in Russia, the first Mennonite mental health hospital in the world. Mennonite immigrants to Canada in the 1920s were required to pay hospital costs or risk deportation. Mennonite Brethren Church leaders recognized the need for care, and approached the Wiebes to start Bethesda.

A latecomer’s discovery of MW Canada

Viewpoints | By Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel | Mar 08, 2017

For the many years I worked as an educator in several Mennonite institutions, I did not participate in, nor identify with, organized activities of Mennonite Women Manitoba or the national MW Canada.

As a young mother who needed the fellowship of other women, I found great meaning in a congregational women’s fellowship group and appreciated the Bible study materials we received from our Mennonite women’s organization. But that was long ago.

Readers write: February 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Feb 22, 2017

Visit to the West Bank might enlighten letter writer

Re: MC Canada should retract BDS resolution and apologize to Israel letter, Jan. 2, page 10.

‘The darkness of the womb’?

Deborah Froese
Viewpoints | By Deborah Froese | Feb 22, 2017

“[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . . ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

In defence of masks

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

The subject of masks came up in the adult Sunday school class. Not literal ones, but the invisible ones we wear in an attempt to hide that which we don’t want to be seen. I ventured that such masks are unhelpful barriers, interfering with connectedness and intimacy.

Quickly a woman responded, “We wear masks because other people don’t want to hear our troubles; they don’t want us burdening them with our whining.”

Journey of generosity

Marlow Gingerich
Viewpoints | By Marlow Gingerich | Feb 22, 2017

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. . . . [I]nstead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ ” (James 4:13-15)

Elmer Martens

Photo: Mennonite Brethren Bible College Photo Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Feb 22, 2017

Elmer Martens, kneeling bottom left, was born in 1930 in Main Centre, Sask. He went on to become a leading authority on the Old Testament. His career was based at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, but he also taught at numerous seminaries in North America and beyond. In addition to books, articles, preaching and pastoring, he was involved with the translation work for the New American Standard and the New King James versions of the Bible. Martens had a cooperative approach, as seen in this 1975 photo of the Mid-East Seminar, a two-week archeological dig near Tel Aviv, Israel.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 5)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Feb 22, 2017

The king was looking for someone possessing great wisdom to join his council of advisors. So he contacted the elders of the 12 regions of his kingdom and asked them to send their wisest man or woman to his palace to participate in a challenge. The winner would then be invited to join his council.

The elders selected and sent 12 people of great wisdom to the palace. When they arrived, the king summoned them to his royal court, where there were 12 desks in a row, each with a pen and stack of paper on it.

Readers write: February 13, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Feb 08, 2017

How much have funding losses affected Future Directions?

We have heard that the Future Directions process came primarily due to funding issues. We have also heard that it was not about funding, but about renewing vision. And we have heard that people have been laid off due to budgetary constraints. Although the messages about Future Directions may have been so confusing, there must be funding issues.

Making the heart stronger

Kirsten Hamm-Epp
Viewpoints | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Feb 08, 2017

For once, I know what I’m giving up for Lent early this year: social media.

Why aren’t we telling these stories?

Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Feb 08, 2017

It has been my experience that the church of Jesus Christ is chock-full of glorious stories of the power and presence of our Lord. It’s also my experience that many of these stories remain untold. The church is poorer for this silence. Why aren’t we telling these stories?

Lend me a moment to share a few that I’ve been able to unearth:

Heinrich Winter

Photo: Johann Wichert / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Feb 08, 2017

This photo tells the story of a congregation’s diaspora. The last ältester (ordained elder) of the Chortitza Mennonite Church in Ukraine was Heinrich Winter. The church was the first Mennonite congregation organized in Imperial Russia, and thrived up until the Soviet era, when the government made religious activities extremely difficult. In 1943, most of the congregation fled to Germany. Ältester Johann Wichert took this photo of Winter with the church’s last communion cup in 1948. The Winter family emigrated to Leamington, Ont., that same year. Where the cup is now is a mystery.

Readers write: January 30, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Jan 25, 2017

Reader lauds ‘brilliant’ Christmas feature

Re: “Spirit-heat to thaw your freezing blood” feature, Dec. 12, 2016, page 4.

As my dental hygienist would say: “brilliant!” Thank you, Layton Friesen. May you enjoy a long and fruitful ministry.

Wayne Nafziger, Alliston, Ont.

 

Church goes nowhere when mired in talk of sexuality and abuse of power

Unexpected consequences

Dan Dyck
Viewpoints | By Dan Dyck | Jan 25, 2017 | 2 comments

When we as a church agree to help those in need and place our trust in God, we should anticipate unexpected consequences. As we serve, we might make new friends, learn a new skill or enrich our spiritual lives.

God has unexpectedly blessed us by arranging us into congregations, area churches, a national church, schools, and organizations like Mennonite Central Committee and Abundance, among others, so that we can more effectively and efficiently use our resources to follow Jesus.

Healthy humility lightens the journey

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Jan 25, 2017

I am in my 60s, as are many of my friends. Our parents, if they are living, are in their 80s and 90s, with the accompanying challenges and rewards of that season of life. The experiences of the parents impact their children significantly. Now, when I gather with my peers, we often talk about our parents. The stories we tell may be distressing or inspiring, funny or heartbreaking. Mostly I am thankful for companions who listen and commiserate.

Preventing prodigals

Mike Strathdee
Viewpoints | By Mike Strathdee | Jan 25, 2017

Many of us are familiar with the the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. There are great lessons in this story about grace and forgiveness, but I’ve never heard it used in the context of warning about giving children gifts before they are emotionally or spiritually mature enough to handle them properly.

Peter Toews

Photo: Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jan 25, 2017 | 1 comment

For much of Mennonite history, leaders were called from within the group to serve. This was in addition to working on their own farm or business to pay the bills. One of the longest-serving bishops of the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church, centred in Manitoba, was Peter A. Toews (1877-1961), pictured with his wife Maria Toews (1880-1970). He was elected minister in 1929 and served as bishop from 1931 to 1951. This non-salaried leadership model continues in the more traditional Mennonite groups.

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