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Becoming Mennonite

Patrick Kwame Kukanu
Viewpoints | By Patrick Kwame Kukanu | Oct 05, 2016

When I reflect on how I became a Mennonite, I find myself agreeing with what a peasant once told an Irish priest. The priest, who approached the peasant praying by the roadside, said, “You must be close to God!” The peasant replied in a way that points to the precedence of God’s love over our faith (I John 4:19), saying, “Yes, he is fond of me.”

Henry Neufeld

Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada Photo Collection /
Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Oct 05, 2016

Henry Neufeld, right, spent a lifetime building positive relationships among Mennonite and indigenous peoples. He is pictured standing beside Pastor Jeremiah Ross from Cross Lake, Man., at a Conference of Mennonites in Canada (now Mennonite Church Canada) conference in Vancouver in 1981. In 1968, Neufeld was given permission to build a house and to live with the people of Little Grand Rapids. A letter signed by 49 residents of the community demonstrating support for this relationship is preserved in the Heritage Centre archives.

Readers write: September 26, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 21, 2016

Braun criticized for using ‘the language of euthanasia proponents’

Re: “The right to die and the art of suffering,” Aug. 15, page 20.

I deeply sympathize with author Will Braun in the loss of his friend to suicide, and I appreciate his recognition of the need to include community in addressing the euthanasia issue. However, his treatment of this topic, which follows mainstream media patterns, suggests that he supports autonomy more than community.

Discovering humility

Steve Heinrichs
Viewpoints | By Steve Heinrichs | Sep 21, 2016 | 3 comments

It’s Sunday night, I’m in a coffee shop, and I’m soaking wet. Thirty minutes earlier I was at home reading about the Doctrine of Discovery and found the content so painful that I headed out to grab a decaf. Then the rain hit. Thank God. The water dripping from my hair hides the tears running down my cheeks.

Healthy leadership

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

As his seven-year-old daughter gambolled away, my nephew reflected on the negotiation that I had just witnessed, where she asked repeatedly for something to which he had each time responded no.

“It’s frustrating when she or any of the kids keep asking,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t want to shut them down. I want to listen to their reasons, and take them seriously. And . . . sometimes they’re right,” he concluded.

Consider the possibilities

Darren Pries-Klassen
Viewpoints | By Darren Pries-Klassen | Sep 21, 2016

In our transformation from Mennonite Foundation of Canada to Abundance Canada, we have received several responses from our clients and constituency. While most of the feedback has been positive, there have been others who have expressed opposition to our rebranding. The most common concern is that by changing our name we are changing our values.

The pursuit of truth (Pt. 9)

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

Consider the possibility that truth is not a thing or group of things (e.g. ideas, facts, doctrines, etc.) but a Spirit. This seems to be the apostle John’s understanding. For instance, he repeatedly calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth (Jn. 14:17, Jn. 15:26, Jn. 16:13 1 Jn. 4:6) and in 1 Jn. 5:6 he says “the Spirit is the truth.”

Fenian defence

Photo: Mennonite Archives of Ontario


Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Sep 21, 2016

The Fenian Invasions, in which Irish American Civil War veterans used raids into pre-Confederation Canada to further the cause of Irish independence, were launched in 1866. Christian Eby (pictured), grandson of Mennonite Bishop Benjamin Eby of Berlin (now Kitchener), Ont., was purported to be among the thousands of young men in Canada West (now Ontario) to answer the call to arms. In the largest of the raids, the Battle of Ridgeway, Canadians experienced industrial-era battle conditions for the first time.

Readers write: September 12, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 07, 2016

Feature on seasonal workers ‘very timely’

Re: “The lucky struggle,” July 4, page 4.

Will Braun’s feature article is very timely for us at the farm where I work, in that we have hired a group of Mexican workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program to help us in our harvesting and packing operations. Similar to the challenges facing the Kroeker Farm, we, too, find it difficult to employ local seasonal workers with experience to help with our harvest.

All must learn to discern

Dan Jack
Viewpoints | By Dan Jack | Sep 07, 2016 | 1 comment

Assembly 2016 was an excellent example of a very integral aspect of the life of our national church, our area churches and our congregations. The process of discernment was on display during the event. This is one of the gifts we have received which flows from our congregational discernment work to our work in peacemaking and mediation, and to Mennonite Central Committee and all its “children.”

Jesus loves his bride . . . to the point of death

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

So, after 22-and-a-half years of marriage to an incredible woman and friend, I may finally be starting to get it. She is a treasure, but, truth be told, I don’t always treat her that way. I do, of course, in principle see her that way, but, in practice, when it’s about dishes and diapers and dandelions, well, all those sentimental realities are not always on the foremost part of my manly frontal lobe.

Going to J-school: my walk of protest

Katie Doke Sawatzky
Viewpoints | By Katie Doke Sawatzky | Sep 07, 2016

The time has come. At the beginning of September, I began full-time journalism studies at the University of Regina. Our family moved back to Regina for this reason, and after a year of staying at home with our two young kids, I’ll be off studying for the majority of the week.

I’ve gone through a roller-coaster of emotions over the past year, wondering if this is the right decision, but then get excited about learning new skills and making new friends. I wonder if I’ll have enough energy for homework in the evenings, and when Glenn and I will find time for ourselves.


Photo: MCC Canada Photo Collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Sep 07, 2016

Rad and Pat Houmphan, centre, have a long history of working in the Mennonite church. When they came to Canada as refugees in 1979, Otto and Florence Driedger of Regina, far left and far right, helped them settle in Regina. Pat attended Swift Current Bible Institute and Mennonite Brethren Bible College, and eventually graduated from Trinity Western University in B.C. He served as pastor and church planter at Grace Mennonite Church in Regina from 1982 to 1986 and from 1987 to 1992.

Embracing transition in our lives

Besides her other changes, Liz Koop right, will be spending more time with her 92-year-old mother, Catherine (Regier) Gortsen, formerly of Vineland, Ont., now of Niagara Falls, who is experiencing transitions of her own. ‘I am being challenged as I walk alongside her,’ Koop says. (Photo courtesy of Liz Koop)

Viewpoints | By Liz Koop | Sep 07, 2016

Transition is something that we all face! From the time we are born until we breathe our last breath, we are transitioning from one stage of life to another. Some of these transitions are almost imperceptible, and we adjust to them with ease, while others, such as events outside of our personal world, may throw us off-balance, as they often do. It is especially at such times that we need to remain connected to God in whom our identity rests.

Readers write: August 29, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Aug 24, 2016

Dealing with mental illness is ‘hard enough already’

Thank you for the recent special issue of Canadian Mennonite on “mental health.” It is an important topic if we are to love each other well. Mental differences are invisible but they can lead to very different ways of interacting with other people and the world around us.

Ride for a ‘dream’

Daniel Horne
Viewpoints | By Daniel Horne | Aug 24, 2016

In October 2014, Wame Chiepe invited us to dream.

Wame lives near an abandoned park in Gaborone, Botswana. Young children play on a rusty, broken-down slide. Surrounded by drinking establishments, the park is an unsafe place. Night-time robberies and stabbings are not unusual. Eventually, the playground kids graduate to the nearby bars.

Wame dreamed of transforming the park and the lives of kids who play there. His dream has grown to inspire a local cadre of investors—and supporters in Mennonite Church Canada.

Healthy families adapt

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Aug 24, 2016

It’s an exciting time for many people in my extended family. Three nieces are university students, preparing for careers in education or medicine. One niece, with BA newly in hand, has entered an intense one-year fellowship, halfway across the continent from her family and friendship supports. Two nephews are marrying this year. Others of that generation are starting new jobs or searching for employment, raising children or serving in international ministry.

A big change

Viewpoints | By Darren Pries-Klassen | Aug 24, 2016

Mennonite Foundation of Canada (MFC) is about to make a big change. In October, we will become Abundance Canada.

This decision did not come easily. Our process was both cautious and comprehensive. Long before we considered rebranding, the board and management began strategizing for the future. Through this process we affirmed a number of core values. Among them is our commitment to serving the church with biblical stewardship education and the facilitation of charitable giving.

The pursuit of truth (Pt. 8)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Aug 24, 2016

In John 14:6, Jesus claims that he is the truth. What does this mean?

I used to think that the truth of Christ was a set of doctrines I needed to believe in, but I’ve become convinced that it is actually his state of consciousness and his way of life that we are now called to participate in.

An open letter to MC Canada

Ervin R. Stutzman
Viewpoints | By Ervin R. Stutzman | Aug 24, 2016

I was grateful for the opportunity to attend your biennial meeting in Saskatoon in early July. As always, I was impressed by the creativity expressed in your worship services and the focussed, thoughtful discussions in your business sessions, along with the comic relief I’ve come to expect in your gatherings.


Photo: C.F. Klassen / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies | Aug 24, 2016

When Mennonites came to Ontario and western Canada in the 1920s, they were helped by the “Swiss” Mennonites, such as those from The First Mennonite Church in Vineland, Ont. The poor farming conditions and low commodity prices of the 1930s made the financial situation very difficult. In these circumstances, Mennonite Brethren and Mennonites worshipped together in communities such as Vineland. Within a few years, after they were more established and had more resources, Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren decided to separate and build their own churches.

Readers write: August 15, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Aug 10, 2016 | 1 comment

What about the pastors who are forced to refrain from moonlighting?

Re: “Meet the pastors who moonlight,” June 20, page 4.

Creating space

Ryan Siemens
Viewpoints | By Ryan Siemens | Aug 10, 2016 | 1 comment

After nine years of working together on the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) process, by an 85 percent majority, delegates at Assenbly 2016 in Saskatoon approved the BFC7 recommendation. (See “Delegates vote to allow space for differences.”


Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Aug 10, 2016

We have abandoned the battleground.

India crate

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Aug 10, 2016

Helen Warkentin was a long-term missionary to India from 1920 to 1957, and took many orphans ‘under her wing.’ She received support from family and friends back in Winkler, Man. Pictured, Manitobans proudly gather around a large crate of goods they are sending to Warkentin, to be used for the care of the poor in India. The sending address on the crate is #1116, Dyck & Kroeker, Winkler, Man., CPR. How do we support our mission workers today?