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Walking toward wellness

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | May 17, 2017

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.—Various attributions

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20 percent of all Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Those statistics apply to people in our congregations as well, even if we don’t always like to talk about them in church. One in five of us sitting in a Sunday worship service has experienced—or will experience—our own mental health crisis. And many more of us will walk in the valley of darkness with a family member, friend or colleague.

Readers write: May 22, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | May 17, 2017

Alberta is an example to us all

Re: “A season of change and a search for vitality,” April 10, page 16.

I would like to commend Mennonite Church Alberta, the Calgary Chinese and Vietnamese Mennonite churches, and Edmonton Vietnamese Mennonite Church.

Hope in a dark-sky world

Karen Martens Zimmerly
Viewpoints | By Karen Martens Zimmerly | May 17, 2017 | 1 comment

I grew up with a prairie view of wide open sky and grain fields dotted with cattle. In the living room, however, hung a painting of fishermen hurriedly pulling their boat to shore, racing against turbulent waves and a storm-blackened sky. My father, a life-long farmer, chose the painting for the hope of rain that it portrayed.

Something is brewing in the church these days, too, but we aren’t sure what to expect. How can we find a future of hope in our current reality?

Spanish lessons

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | May 17, 2017

Walking to my conversational Spanish class, I rehearsed phrases in my head, hoping practice would strengthen my fledgling skills. In spite of my efforts, I knew I would stumble to find and pronounce the right word. Sure enough, in class I attempted to say I had eaten lunch with friends, but instead said I had eaten my friends for lunch. We all chuckled, commiserating about our incompetence.

What is your passion?

Pamela Miles
Viewpoints | By Pamela Miles | May 17, 2017

How often have you heard the question, “Will you sponsor me?” I’m sure you’ve heard it many times, from a family member, a colleague or someone in your church. For many charitable organizations, organizing events in which their supporters can actively participate is a wonderful way to raise funds, get people engaged and create awareness of their causes.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 8)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | May 17, 2017

Doubt has a good public relations manager these days. The world seems awash with books, articles, sermons, even a few TED talks, praising its beneficial goodness. I too have tried to redeem the sullied reputation of doubt in the church with my preaching and writing. Over the past year I’ve started to wonder if the pendulum has swung too far though. Have we naively overestimated and championed the virtue of doubt without fully appreciating its destructive power?

The book of James (1:6) names one thing that will prevent us from receiving divine wisdom. Doubt.

Isaac Wiens

Photo: Isby Bergen Photograph Collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | May 17, 2017

The Isaac S. Wiens real estate office in Herbert, Sask., is pictured in 1911. Wiens (1874-1958), left, was born in Russia and came to Canada as an infant. His family became part of the Bergthaler Mennonite Church and lived in the Gretna, Man., area. He married Katharina Friesen in 1897, and they had 10 children. The family joined other Mennonites who moved to Saskatchewan looking for land and opportunities. Wiens settled in the community of Herbert. By 1911, Wiens was the village secretary.

Beyond guilt and lament

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | May 03, 2017 | 2 comments

Years ago, I needed some practical help. A person close to me—someone who had the ability to lend a hand—saw my need and said repeatedly, “I wish I could help, but I can’t. I feel so guilty.” That guilt did me no good. Instead of feeling supported, I felt resentful.

Today we are learning about ways in which our ancestors—and we—have deeply wounded the indigenous peoples of this land: the historic taking of land and the residential schools, and also the present inequalities in health, education and community support, along with the insidious racism of our society.

Readers write: May 8, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | May 03, 2017

An appeal from MennoMedia’s Canadian board members

At our most recent MennoMedia board meeting, executive director Russ Eanes predicted that our organization is at the forefront of the transformation that is taking place in our denominations. Both Mennonite Church Canada and MC U.S.A. are undergoing significant changes in size and structure. Because MennoMedia supplies faith resources to congregations, it is the first barometer registering the winds of change.

Freedom powered by love

Garry Janzen
Viewpoints | By Garry Janzen | May 03, 2017 | 2 comments

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of his dream. His dream was that people would be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. His dream was that there would be equality for all, that the ground would be level for everyone. His dream was that all would work together in peace and nonviolence until there is freedom for all.

Honouring the bride of Christ

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | May 03, 2017

A bride walking down the aisle to meet her groom is always a moment of anticipation and honour. The groom beams with joy. Perhaps he gives her a wink or sheds a tear. The bride gazes into his eyes. The assembly stands, craning their necks for a better view. Smiles abound. Arrayed in all her splendour, the bride is adored.

Rice pudding is comfort food

For the month of January, Terry Martens cooked for Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers in a well-equipped kitchen in California. (Photo courtesy of Terry Martens)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | May 03, 2017

Terry Martens believes that rice pudding is comfort food. It reminds her of her childhood when she would arrive home from school on winter afternoons to the smell of rice pudding cooking in the oven.

“We could barely wait for this delicious dessert to be ready so we could indulge,” she says.

Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

For Terry Martens, rice pudding is a comfort food. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | May 03, 2017

Terry Martens of Hoffnungsfelder Mennonite Church, Sask., volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) as a cook. She often uses this recipe when cooking for MDS volunteers. She supplied the recipe for the column, Gathering Around the Table. The story that goes with it can found here.

3 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup rice
pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ cup raisins
1 tsp. vanilla

Jeremiah Ross

Photo: Ike and Margaret Froese

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | May 03, 2017

Mennonite Church Canada has created lasting relationships with indigenous communities such as Cross Lake, Man. In 1943, Henry Gerbrandt served the community in fulfilling his commitment as a conscientious objector to war. In 1956, Otto and Margaret Hamm moved to the community. A church was built in 1957, and a new one in 2005. Pictured, Jeremiah Ross (1909-2002) of Cross Lake was ordained as minister of the congregation in 1968; he retired in 1998. With the many changes to Mennonite Church Canada programs over the years, today no workers remain in indigenous communities.

Levelling the playing field

Pictured from left to right: Maria Angela Peinado; Hannah, Fred and Shirley Redekop; Maricela Jimenez; and Pierre Shantz. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)

Viewpoints | By Shirley Redekop | May 03, 2017

The saying goes, “There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.” My husband and I encouraged our children to fly and prayed we gave them roots.

One day in a sermon my husband said, “I believe in what Christian Peacemaker Teams [CPT] does, but I also fear one of our sons will join them,” referring to its placing of teams in communities confronted with situations of life-threatening conflict.

Laying it on the line

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | May 03, 2017

Bruxy Cavey is unapologetic about particularism. In his new book, the pastor/author sums up the good news in one word (Jesus), three words (Jesus is Lord) and 30 words (Jesus is God with us, come to show us God’s love, save us from sin, set up God’s kingdom and shut down religion, so that we can share in God’s life).

Particularism—the focus on one way to being right with God, rather than universalism, which would suggest that there are many ways to be right with God—is both this book’s strength and weakness.

Change, I welcome you

Tobi Thiessen
Editorial | By Tobi Thiessen | Apr 19, 2017 | 1 comment

Anxiety about change abounds. It is a natural response to uncertainty, but I tire of reading about it. Newly taking up my role as publisher of this magazine, I would like to be bold and announce, “Change, I welcome you.” I would also like to praise the staff at Canadian Mennonite for taking our new leadership structure in stride, welcoming me in and being open to new ideas and possibilities.

Readers write: April 24, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Apr 19, 2017 | 1 comment

‘Apocalyptic threshold’ is more than a few degrees

Re: “Are we living in the last millennium?” Dec. 12, 2016, page 8,

Phil Wagler’s column is a reminder that apocalyptic predictions are still out there after a history of more than 2,500 years. Sadly for the would-be prophets, to date every one of them has been dead wrong.  

A church in transition

Willard Metzger
Viewpoints | By Willard Metzger | Apr 19, 2017

The times we live in seem to change more rapidly with each passing day. In North America, Europe and elsewhere, protectionist sentiments, growing nationalism and increased border controls are becoming commonplace.

Party with piecaken

The dessert is called a ‘piecaken,’ simply meaning a pie baked into a cake.

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Apr 19, 2017

“This isn’t really working out the way I imagined,” I mused, as my mother slept in her chair while I worked on her birthday dessert. I had just ended a phone call with my son, my consultant on the somewhat complicated-to-assemble treat. He was a relative expert, having made two of them compared to my none. I had imagined that my mother, no slouch in the bakery department, would be at my side adding her helpful advice to the process. But a long morning trip to Walmart (her request) had sapped her energy, so she snoozed quietly as I soaked up advice and fortitude from my son.

Just imagine

Sherri Grosz
Viewpoints | By Sherri Grosz | Apr 19, 2017

Just imagine you are there, sitting on the hillside, listening to Jesus. It’s past mealtime and your stomach starts to rumble, but his words mesmerize you and you don’t want to leave. You notice the disciples talking together and gesturing to the crowd. Then you see a boy approach and offer a small bundle. You watch Jesus open the bundle, offer a prayer and begin to pass out the food. You know it won’t reach all the way to you; it’s just a small bundle after all. What a surprise when your neighbour passes some bread and then some fish! Then more comes. Then still more.

B.C. Firefighting

Photo: Katie Funk Wiebe Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Apr 19, 2017

Firefighting in British Columbia was one of the tasks assigned to Canadian conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War. They were ‘the best firefighters we ever had,’ according to Jim Pedly from the forestry service. From spring 1942 to spring 1944, the COs spent 4,875 days training and on standby, and 8,470 days fighting 234 forest fires. Fighting fires in the B.C. forests with simple equipment such as that pictured must have been hot, dirty and tiring work.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 7)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Apr 19, 2017

So how does one enrol as an apprentice in the School of Divine Wisdom? The Bible tells us there are a few prerequisites.

The first one is found in Proverbs 4:7: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”

The first time I really paid attention to this verse, I thought, “Are you serious? Thanks for the detailed map to wisdom you’ve drawn for us there, Solomon!”

Jan Fretz wins two U. of W. art awards

Jan Fretz explains ‘Unveiling Misogyny’ to a group of friends on April 5, 2017, in the University of Waterloo’s East Campus Hall main art gallery. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 19, 2017

Jan Fretz has been working at her honours four-year fine arts degree at the University of Waterloo for a long time. But the incubation period has paid dividends.

She loves to work in colour, so her faculty advisors encouraged her to work in black and white. And they challenged the painter and printer at heart to work sculpturally.

Fretz had two pieces in the university’s 43rd annual senior undergraduate exhi-bition and came away with two awards and their accompanying cash prizes.

Church lessons

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Apr 05, 2017 | 2 comments

My church experience has included at least 13 Mennonite churches, a Baptist church, an inter-denominational church and two Catholic schools. That represents more worship services and Sunday school lessons than I can count! Not many details from the sermons and classes stick in my mind, but those experiences taught me many lessons over the years. Here are a few.

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