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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.

Suffering from Bach withdrawal?

Sean Gortzen, founder and conductor of Winnipeg’s new Pax Cantata Chorus, right, is pictured with other members at a rehearsal before their first concert, held April 2, 2017, at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

Artbeat | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Apr 05, 2017

Sean Gortzen got his first taste of baroque cantata repertoire during his time at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), both on campus and through his involvement with local groups like the Mennonite Festival Chorus.

Captivated by the music, it became a dream of his to sing in a chorus in which he could explore the full range and depth of the genre. Following his graduation in the spring of 2016, he learned that many of his colleagues were also looking for groups to sing with, like they had during their university days.

Readers write: April 10, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Apr 05, 2017

‘The faith of our fathers lives on’
There used to be a hymn we sang in our congregation: “Faith of our Fathers, Living Still.”

As a person ages, one has more memories from the past. Often in the present, we make decisions for the future with knowledge from the past. So from the past to the present, we have had many dedicated servants in our Mennonite congregation: ministers, pastors, teachers and active committee members.

A parting blessing

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Tim Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 05, 2017

At my first Mennonite Church Alberta assembly as area church minister, one of my official tasks was to offer a prayer of release to Calgary Vietnamese Mennonite Church. It was one of two congregations that had withdrawn its membership from the area church in response to the Being a Faithful Church decision at MC Canada’s 2016 Saskatoon assembly.

Reclaiming Scripture

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Apr 05, 2017 | 4 comments

We must not hand them back.

Others before us fought long and hard to get them back into our hands. Through blood, sweat and tears, they were returned to the rightful owners. And now, slowly but surely, we are returning the Holy Scriptures to those who hoarded them for so long.

Ailsa Craig Boys Farm

Ailsa Craig boys (Photo from Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Apr 05, 2017

Boys on horseback pose in front of the main entrance to the Ailsa Craig Boys Farm, a home for troubled boys, in the 1960s. The farm, begun in 1955, was the brainchild of Jack Wall. With the help of Harvey Taves at Mennonite Central Committee and a handful of families eager to start mission work with a social welfare focus in Ailsa Craig, Ont., he gained support for the project from Ontario Mennonite churches. This was just one example of Canadian Mennonites looking for ways to demonstrate God’s love by setting up organizations to serve their local communities in the post-war era.

Farewell, my friends

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 22, 2017 | 3 comments

It’s been a good eight-year ride, my friends, with a few bumps along the way. I will miss this biweekly meeting with you on the second page of Canadian Mennonite. While it’s been a monologue, I have felt it had the makings of a dialogue, of one friend sharing thoughts with another friend. I have tried to make it more of a conversation than a lecture.

Readers write: March 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Mar 22, 2017

That’s not who we are . . . as Mennonites or Muslims

Re: “A not-so-pure depiction of Mennonites,” Feb. 13, page 20.

I read with interest the various online responses by Mennonites concerned about how Mennonites are depicted in the CBC drama series Pure.

The power of imagination

Tim Froese
Viewpoints | By Tim Froese | Mar 22, 2017

When communicating about the ministries of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, my former colleague Al Rempel used to tell me, “Help your listeners imagine the work that is being done.”

Unveiling secrets

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Mar 22, 2017

One day my normally cheerful, no-nonsense coworker surprised, or I should say shocked, me. She suddenly and briefly opened the door to her past, a dangerous time of war and famine.

“Those days were horrible,” she said fiercely in a low voice. “Things were so bad, they ate people. We never speak of them.”

Just as suddenly, the door swung shut, and she turned away from me and toward other tasks. I was young and curious, but I knew not to pursue her or the topic.

Giving as protest

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Mar 22, 2017 | 1 comment

Does the headline for this article pique your curiosity or does it irritate you? The word “protest” often evokes strong positive or negative emotions. Like it or not, we seem to be in a time marked by protests of one kind or another.

Beyond giving as duty, the Bible offers us an array of metaphors for giving that can move us to live more generously. The story of the widow’s offering told in the gospels of Mark and Luke offers us one of those metaphors.

Coaldale Nurses

Photo: MB Herald Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Mar 22, 2017

This photo of six nurses from Coaldale, Alta., and the surrounding area was taken in the 1950s. Pictured from left to right: M. Willms, H. Toews, M. Dick and H. Reimer of Coaldale, with M. Janzen of Pincher Creek and M. Dyck of Grassy Lake. Can anyone provide first names of the people pictured? The medical field was an area in which Mennonite women found public service careers. Aiding people in need fit well with Mennonite sensibilities for service.

archives.mhsc.ca/coaldale-nurses

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 6)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Mar 22, 2017

Fourteen years ago, I asked my handy friend, Carm, if I could hire him to do a flooring renovation. He said, “No. But I’ll teach you how to do it for free.”  

The past as prologue

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 08, 2017

“While Anabaptists affirm the inspiration and trustworthiness of Scripture, we are not strict literalists,” writes Palmer Becker in his just-released book, Anabaptist Essentials. This Canadian pastor, educator and missionary makes his point from no less than our Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, a document being held up as something of a Mennonite creed by some biblical literalists.

Readers write: March 13, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Mar 08, 2017

A holy challenge to become living bodies of Christ

Re: “A year of re-visioning” editorial, Jan. 2, page 2.

Thank you for challenging Mennonite Church Canada to give priority to re-visioning over re-structuring. You may be correct in suggesting that we are in danger of perishing for lack of vision (Proverbs 29:18).

A leadership lens on I Corinthians 13

Rick Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Rick Neufeld | Mar 08, 2017

What would the Apostle Paul say to leaders today? This was the question posed to participants at the recent Values-based Leadership Program that I attended. I offer one perspective of what Paul might be saying:

1. If I have the gift of wisdom and the ability to shape my words in eloquent sentences, but have not love, my words are just that: words.

2. If I have the gift of leadership and can implement all six thinking hats, if I’ve mastered all five leadership practices or eliminated all dysfunction from my team, but have not love, I am nothing.

What music rankles you?

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Mar 08, 2017 | 1 comment

Do you ever have a Sunday when the church music stinks? In your opinion, at least? Well, that’s the way it should be from time to time.

Even though I love singing old hymns, there have been Sundays when I’ve prayed to God that the friend I invited will come next week instead. I’m afraid that if he comes on this particular Sunday, when we’ll be singing out of the hymnal, he’ll think we’re stuck in 1952. I worry his suspicion will be confirmed that the church is out of touch with current reality. I know it’s foolish, but that’s how I feel at times.

Sharing food with my two families

Natasha Krahn, right, is pictured with members of the Jaber family. (Photo courtesy of Natasha Krahn)

Viewpoints | By Natasha Krahn | Mar 08, 2017

One of the privileges of living and travelling overseas is that you get to become a part of many different families. I’ve been fortunate to spend significant amounts of time with families in Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, just to name a few. But one of the most special families I have had the honour of being “adopted” by is the Jaber family in Palestine-Israel.

Upside-Down Company Platter

This traditional dish recalls the hospitality of Palestinian friends. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | Mar 08, 2017

In her story about hospitality, “Sharing food with my two families,” Natasha Krahn describes being served a traditional Palestinian dish turned upside down on a large platter. Here is the recipe as found in the Extending the Table cookbook.

In large, heavy saucepan, heat:

1-2 tablespoons / 15-30 ml oil (preferably olive)

Bethesda Home

Penner Photo / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Mar 08, 2017

Staff outside the Bethesda Home in 1965 in Campden, Ont. Bethesda, the first Mennonite mental health facility in North America, was begun in the early 1930s by Henry and Maria Wiebe to serve the Russian Mennonite immigrant community. The Wiebes had gained their experience working at Bethania in Russia, the first Mennonite mental health hospital in the world. Mennonite immigrants to Canada in the 1920s were required to pay hospital costs or risk deportation. Mennonite Brethren Church leaders recognized the need for care, and approached the Wiebes to start Bethesda.

A latecomer’s discovery of MW Canada

Viewpoints | By Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel | Mar 08, 2017

For the many years I worked as an educator in several Mennonite institutions, I did not participate in, nor identify with, organized activities of Mennonite Women Manitoba or the national MW Canada.

As a young mother who needed the fellowship of other women, I found great meaning in a congregational women’s fellowship group and appreciated the Bible study materials we received from our Mennonite women’s organization. But that was long ago.

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