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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dealing with mental illness is ‘hard enough already’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”)
We have abandoned the battleground.
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.
Use land for food production, not burying the dead
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.
“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.
In my childhood home, we had a unique red velveteen bag. When you pressed on the bag in the right place, you heard the sound of someone laughing, really guffawing. The recording went on for at least a full minute and you could almost hear the person wiping the tears from his eyes.
American architect Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The truth is more important than the facts.”
I agree, although I’m not sure that I could explain why. What is the difference between truth and fact?
‘Testing,’ ‘nudging’ on sexual issues has already occurred
The Being a Faithful Church document being presented at the Mennonite Church Canada assembly recognizes that “we differ dramatically in our biblical interpretations,” and that we should “learn to honour those persons with whom we disagree.”
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.
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.