Viewpoints

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Houmphan

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.

Ride for a ‘dream’

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.

Healthy families adapt

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.

Vineland

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.

India crate

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.

Delegates have spoken

In a much-anticipated assembly, delegates have clearly spoken on behalf of Mennonite Church Canada. After an eight-year Being a Faithful Church (BFC) process, delegates approved the BFC7 recommendation with an 85 percent majority. This is clear affirmation for seeking a way forward together in responding to committed same-sex relationships.

Healthy diversity

“What does a healthy congregation look like?” I asked a pastor friend recently. He responded by telling a story of how he had led his congregation through a contentious issue. In the process, people spoke openly of their views, listened carefully, and, in the end, came to a satisfactory understanding about how to live with their differences.

Listen to the Spirit

What direction will Mennonite Church Canada and its area churches be going into the future after the assembly in Saskatoon? Will we become a more faithful church?

Crucial to our future and our faithfulness will be our understanding of, and commitment to, the unity of the church, specifically to the unity of our denomination.

Are we missing the mark?

The team I serve with is blessed by the presence of an 80-year-old saint. He has lived a full life, including serving in high levels of government, so he’s garnered significant insight and healthy scepticism. In the last few years, he says he has realized the power of the Holy Spirit and the centrality of prayer far too late in life.

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