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Church wants to spread the ‘Living Word’

Pastor Getachew Woldeyes, left, and Elder Rediet Lemichael of Church of the Living Word in Ottawa, an Ethiopian emerging congregation in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo by Dave Rogalksy)

Viewpoints | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 07, 2016

Church of the Living Word in Ottawa became an emerging church in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada in 2009, although it was founded four years earlier.

Church of the Living Word has some members, including Pastor Getachew Woldeyes’s wife, who belonged to Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia, a Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church.

Understanding opponents of LGBTQ inclusion

Will Braun
Viewpoints | By Will Braun | Dec 07, 2016 | 2 comments

Officially, the resolution creating greater openness to LGBTQ people received 85 percent support at the Mennonite Church Canada assembly. That number is incomplete—more on that below—but it establishes a new narrative in which a majority within MC Canada expresses a degree of openness toward LGBTQ inclusion. So what about the people excluded from that narrative?

Viewpoints: Calls for understanding and repentance

Viewpoints | Dec 07, 2016 | 4 comments

These are two responses to Will Braun’s ‘Understanding opponents of LGBTQ inclusion’ column.

No. 1: Seeking ways to move forward

By Lois Epp

Coaldale baptism

Photo from Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies/Mennonite Archival Image Database-

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Dec 07, 2016

This classic baptism photo from Coaldale Mennonite Brethren Church has been incorrectly dated as from the 1940s. Dedicated volunteers, who have a long-standing passion for the history of the church and a long institutional memory, believed there was an error in the description. With some effort, they found two newspaper reports that gave the details of the event. Now the record can be corrected: This photo is of a joint baptism service of the Lethbridge and Coaldale Mennonite Brethren churches. The service was held on Sept.

Readers write: November 21, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Nov 16, 2016

Reader supports Mennonite call to ‘speak up’

Re: “Mennonites should speak up about Muslim head coverings” letter, Oct. 10, page 10.

This letter is right on. We have had a business in a non-Mennonite area for many years. Our customers came from every origin. Our employees never distinguished between the ethnic dress of anyone.

On being Martha

Coreena Stewart
Viewpoints | By Coreena Stewart | Nov 16, 2016

Hospitality makes my heart sing. Preparing a comfortable space, serving up new dishes, conversing with guests and attending to their individual needs: these are among my greatest joys.

Maybe that’s why the story of sisters Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 has always troubled me. I confess that, as one who loves to host, it’s easy to side with Martha, who complains to Jesus that she does all the work while Mary sits at his feet. It’s just as easy to be puzzled by Jesus’ response: “Mary chose the better task.”

Healthy citizens

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Nov 16, 2016

My husband and I decided to live in the United States this fall. Flexible work made it possible to move temporarily to a small town near where we grew up, with a primary goal of providing support to my 85-year-old mother. Belatedly, we realized that meant we would be immersed in a presidential election, a prospect that was, by turns, intriguing or unsettling.

Thinking outside the gift box

Marlow Gingerich
Viewpoints | By Marlow Gingerich | Nov 16, 2016

As our family sat around the Thanksgiving dinner table discussing our plans for Christmas and the virtue of giving gifts, someone piped up and said: “We already have too much stuff. Please don’t buy us anything for Christmas this year. We don’t need anything!”

Have you heard this statement before? When people complain that individuals are hard to buy for, this surely could be one of the reasons.

Goodbye Berlin

Photo by Gordon Eby / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Nov 16, 2016

Gordon Eby captured the moment when families in Berlin, Ont., said goodbye to local troops at the start of the First World War in 1914. In 1916, concerned that its Germanic name was bad for business, the city would say ‘goodbye’ to Berlin and ‘hello’ to Kitchener. The Berlin Mennonite Church faced a dilemma. Should it adopt the name of the ‘warlord’ war hero Lord Kitchener?

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 2)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Nov 16, 2016

A school teacher asked her class of first graders, “What colour are apples?”

Some children said “red!”

Others exclaimed “green!”

A few said “yellow.”

Then one little boy raised his hand and said, “Apples are white.”

The teacher patiently explained that apples could be red, yellow or green, but never white. However, the boy insisted. Finally the teacher asked him, “Where did you see a white apple?”

“Every apple is white” he explained. “Look inside!”

Readers write: November 7, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Nov 02, 2016 | 1 comment

Philpott deserves better from us

Re: “Put not your trust in ‘princesses’ ” letter, Sept. 26, page 10.

I am irritated when the press and the public berate our government ministers for spending money on hotel rooms and taxis.

‘ReLearning’ community

Brian Bauman
Viewpoints | By Brian Bauman | Nov 02, 2016

As a Mennonite baby boomer, going to church was family reunion, Christian faith and social life all rolled up into one tight-knit package. Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church was my community.  

Our heritage is . . .

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Nov 02, 2016

Our family was invited to an Indo-Canadian family birthday celebration. A one-year milestone, particularly for a son, is a monumental occasion in our friend’s culture. The colourful dress, curried-sensations and dancing were a little overwhelming and invitingly beautiful for a white bloke like me who grew up in southwestern Ontario, where dancing was verboten and curry was “hurry” pronounced incorrectly.

Expressing love with food

Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church expressed love to long-time pastor Fred Redekop and his family with a farewell faspa, a traditional Russian Mennonite meal. (Photo by Roy Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Nov 02, 2016

Fred Redekop often reminded his congregation that preparing food for others who may be struggling with illness or a death in the family is a way of showing love and care.

So when it came time to say farewell to him after 25 years as our pastor, we wondered what food was appropriate for our farewell meal. Agreeing on a menu proved to be challenging, but after many conversations we finally decided to honour our out-going pastor with a faspa, a traditional “Russian” Mennonite Sunday meal.

‘Swiss Mennonite’ cherry platz

Fruit platz (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Nov 02, 2016

When Floradale Mennonite Church planned a farewell event for our pastor Fred Redekop, this is a recipe we prepared.
(For the story that goes with this recipe, see “Expressing love with food.”)

The recipe originated from Annie Redekop (Fred’s mother), and I adapted it for a 10’’x15” cookie sheet. I call it “Swiss Mennonite” platz because it calls for cooked filling rather than the raw fruit used in the traditional Russian Mennonite recipe.


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

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Nov 02, 2016

A 1978 car wash at Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg, Man. Pictured, Don Wiens, right, soaks Adrienne Wiebe, left. Car washes, bake sales, quilt raffles, pie auctions, coffee houses, work days, cookbooks, and chocolate and cookie drives are methods that churches and church-related institutions have used to raise funds. There are so many good causes to financially support.

Making diamonds out of us

Phyllis Ramer pictured with her husband Jim

Viewpoints | By Phyllis Ramer | Nov 02, 2016

Often in the morning as I awake, God gives me songs which become prayers. Usually, it’s just a phrase or tune that causes me to search out the rest of the song and leads to a time of worship in the shower, or as I wait for the kettle to boil. I praise God for this gift. It was not always so.

Readers write: Oct. 24, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Oct 19, 2016

‘Minister’s handbook to reproductive loss’ available online

re: “coping, grieving, remembering,” Sept. 12, page 4.

I’m writing to express my appreciation for Beth Downey Sawatzky’s thoughtfully written piece on pregnancy loss. I was particularly drawn to “Holly’s” natural inclination towards ritual when she asked her doula to bless one of her babies during his burial.

Stories: yours, mine, ours

Deborah Froese
Viewpoints | By Deborah Froese | Oct 19, 2016

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, the late Harper Lee captures the complex reality of relationship: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Sounds messy and uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

Although we can’t literally climb inside someone else’s skin, we have the opportunity to capture other points of view if we share our stories.

Healthy truth

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Oct 19, 2016

“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

Jesus’ oft-repeated axiom from John 8 lifts up the value of truth-telling. The living out of it, though, is not simple. As one poster riffed: “The truth will make you free, if it doesn’t kill you first.” In the accompanying picture, a two-dimensional figure with a worried face is being squeezed through the wringer of an old-fashioned washing machine. Yep, the truth can be freeing. It can be transforming. Or it can be as devastating as death.

A lesson on sharing

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Oct 19, 2016

A father often took his five-year-old son to the local minor hockey league games. Each time they went, they saw the same homeless man in the parking lot asking for donations. The first time, the son asked his dad why the man was asking for money, providing an opportunity for the dad to explain homelessness. The second time, the son asked why everyone didn’t give the homeless man money, which gave the dad a chance to share a lesson on charities and generosity.


Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Oct 19, 2016

This is no ordinary 1960s family reunion photo. Thousands of Mennonites fleeing the Soviet Union after the Second World War were forcibly repatriated. With the doors closed on mass migration, Mennonite Central Committee focussed on making efforts to reunite families, one at a time. Some of these men, women and children had arrived in Canada soon after the war; others had arrived only recently. These families were adjusting to new lives together after decades of separation. My grandparents are in this photo! Are yours?

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 1)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Oct 19, 2016

One of the devil’s tactics in the temptation of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, intrigues me. In this story, Satan takes Jesus to the holy city of God, into the house of God, and uses the Word of God to distort the truth of God and oppose the will of God.

The devil essentially takes Jesus to “church” and recites Bible verses to tempt him. This should be a warning for us today. Just because we’re looking to the church and to the Bible for answers, doesn’t mean we aren’t being misled.

Readers write: October 10, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Oct 05, 2016

‘Affluenza’ should trump ‘gender’ issue for Mennonites

As community-oriented Anabaptists, we should be spending more time on “affluenza” than on the “gender” issue.

Learning to follow the Jesus way

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Oct 05, 2016

You obey every day. You obey the legislations of government—even those you don’t agree with. You obey an employer, school teacher or parent. Some have to heed all three on the same day. Much of life seems to be about some form of compliance, doesn’t it? And, as a general rule, we are more ready to obey an authority we trust, respect and love.