Subscribe to Syndicate
Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

You are here

Viewpoints

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.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 4)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Jan 25, 2017

How does one define wisdom? It’s difficult to put into words.

Herman Hesse, in his classic novel, Siddhartha, writes: “Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish. . . . Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

Readers write: January 16, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Jan 11, 2017

Being pro-Palestinian is not being anti-Jewish

Re: “A better way than BDS?” letter, Nov. 21, 2016, page 10.

All aboard for the future

David Martin
Viewpoints | By David Martin | Jan 11, 2017

The timing was tight. I had made it to the airport parking lot and was then shuttled to Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to catch my flight to Winnipeg for yet another round of meetings with executive staff and moderators from each of the five area churches and Mennonite Church Canada. Security went smoothly and I just had enough time to grab a coffee and get to the gate in time for boarding.

Strengthen what remains

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Jan 11, 2017 | 2 comments

I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of those seven letters to the churches named in Revelation 2 and 3. The words of Jesus to fellowships in present-day western Turkey were both encouraging and at points sharp with direct challenge. Jesus is serious about the health and vitality of his body, no matter where they are or what they are staring down.

Sharing baked goods by the dozen

Although Frieda Woelk didn’t spend much time in the kitchen when she was young, she quickly learned to cook and bake when her children came along. (Photo by Ruth Boehm)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Jan 11, 2017

Frieda Woelk loves to bake. When she gets up in the morning, she thinks, “What can I bake today?” Although she is in her mid-80s and lives in a seniors apartment in the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home complex, she keeps very busy with cooking, baking and socializing. She is so busy that when her children want to spend time with her they ask, “When can we pencil you in?”

Funk crop

Photo: Samuel McRoberts photo collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jan 11, 2017

Cornelius R. Funk shows plant growth in his new home in Menno Colony, Paraguay. In 1926, Funk and 1,785 other Mennonites from Saskatchewan and Manitoba left for Paraguay because they did not trust the Canadian government. New York banker Samuel McRoberts helped them sell their land and acquire new land. McRoberts saw successive waves of immigration as a financial opportunity. A series of 252 photos were taken from 1926 to 1929, showing the progressive and successful farms of the new immigrants. Conflict arose over the use of the photos.

What’s in a name?

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jan 11, 2017

We eyed each other’s books and wondered who would ask the “Mennonite” question first. Our names, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld and K.V. Doerksen, were emblazoned across our books (Thirty Bucks and Blessed are the Dead, respectively), and since book sales were slow at the library, we had time to talk.

Staying afloat in a sea of change

Viewpoints | By John Longhurst | Jan 11, 2017

For some in Mennonite Church Canada, this might be a frightening time, as the denomination faces an uncertain future. It might be cold comfort, but you are not alone; most denominations in Canada are facing the same uncertainties today.

I know this because last year I interviewed people who do fundraising for 15 Canadian denominational non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that represent 30 denominations. Everyone I spoke with agreed that this is a challenging time for denominations and the programs they support.

And what are those challenges facing denominations today?

Deepening our faith journeys

Shirley Stauffer Redekop, front row centre, is pictured with some of the 24 Canadian participants at last fall’s ‘Deep faith’ conference at AMBS. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Stauffer Redekop)

Viewpoints | By Shirley Stauffer Redekop | Jan 11, 2017

“Jesus calls us to life-long journeys of faith—shaped in part by our age and stage in life. Faith practices are deepest and richest when our Christian community embraces and nurtures all these different ages and stages of our lives in a variety of contexts.”

Readers write: January 2, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Dec 21, 2016

‘A timely rebuke’ to MC B.C.’s ‘professional’ church leaders

Re: “No more closed doors” editorial, Nov. 7, 2016, page 2.

Hope across generations

Calvin Quan
Viewpoints | By Calvin Quan | Dec 21, 2016

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40: 30-31).

In my new role as moderator of Mennonite Church Canada, I’ve been privileged to meet people of all ages who make up our church family. (See “‘New moderator brings ‘non-anxious presence’.”)

Going home

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Dec 21, 2016

One of the sweetest phrases in the Bible, “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), is often heard at Christmas. With joy and gratitude, we celebrate the incarnation, God taking on human flesh in Jesus, and making a home with us. Similarly, the vision of Revelation 21:3 proclaims in The Message: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making his home with men and women!” Images of home—God making a home with and for us, and our making our home in God—abound in the Bible.

Generosity superheroes

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Dec 21, 2016

Superhero movies are all the rage. One website says it is the most popular movie genre around. We all want someone to put things right in turbulent times. Even Lego Batman might do.

When we feel like things are spinning out of our control, we tend to hold on tighter to what we have. What happened to the right always prevailing, we ask? Oh, to have heroes put things back in order the way we expect them to be.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 3)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Dec 21, 2016

One of the most overlooked fruits borne in the life of someone who genuinely follows the way of Jesus and lives in the Spirit, is wisdom. If we put into practice what Jesus teaches us, we will become increasingly wise.

Wisdom was central to Jesus’ identity, even as a child. The only passage of Scripture about Jesus’ early years is found in Luke 2:40-52. Luke begins this childhood vignette saying, “The child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.” Then Luke tells a story, the only story the gospels record about Jesus as an adolescent.

CMBC choir

Photo: Rudy Regehr / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Dec 21, 2016

George Wiebe conducts the Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) choir in an impromptu song on a B.C. ferry while on tour in May 1966. The choir gave 24 performances in 17 days, and 39 of the 43 singers also spoke at these events. The tour was an important community-building event for the choir members, but also for the school and supporting congregations. In spite of a minor vehicle accident, all had an enjoyable time.

Readers write: December 12, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Dec 07, 2016

Is the Doctrine of Discovery yesterday’s news?

Re: “Discovering humility” column, Sept. 26, page 7.

It seems Pope Paul III may have spoken to the Doctrine of Discovery already, in his 1537 papal encyclical:

The new normal now

Ken Warkentin
Viewpoints | By Ken Warkentin | Dec 07, 2016

For the past two months I have been living with post-concussion syndrome after an incident that involved a bear, a rock and the rain.

Are we living in the last millennium?

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Dec 07, 2016

No one would doubt that Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge University theoretical physicist and cosmologist, is one of the more brilliant minds of recent times. The guy forgets more in a day then I’ll learn in a lifetime. The Theory of Everything, the movie of his marriages, his journey with early-onset Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS—more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and his rise to fame, is a great watch and stirs much thought about the nature of love, faith and science. Hawking intrigues and he has wide influence.

Pages