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Readers write: January 16, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Jan 11, 2017

Being pro-Palestinian is not being anti-Jewish

Re: “A better way than BDS?” letter, Nov. 21, 2016, page 10.

All aboard for the future

David Martin
Viewpoints | By David Martin | Jan 11, 2017

The timing was tight. I had made it to the airport parking lot and was then shuttled to Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to catch my flight to Winnipeg for yet another round of meetings with executive staff and moderators from each of the five area churches and Mennonite Church Canada. Security went smoothly and I just had enough time to grab a coffee and get to the gate in time for boarding.

Strengthen what remains

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Jan 11, 2017 | 2 comments

I wonder what it was like to be on the receiving end of those seven letters to the churches named in Revelation 2 and 3. The words of Jesus to fellowships in present-day western Turkey were both encouraging and at points sharp with direct challenge. Jesus is serious about the health and vitality of his body, no matter where they are or what they are staring down.

Sharing baked goods by the dozen

Although Frieda Woelk didn’t spend much time in the kitchen when she was young, she quickly learned to cook and bake when her children came along. (Photo by Ruth Boehm)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Jan 11, 2017

Frieda Woelk loves to bake. When she gets up in the morning, she thinks, “What can I bake today?” Although she is in her mid-80s and lives in a seniors apartment in the Leamington (Ont.) Mennonite Home complex, she keeps very busy with cooking, baking and socializing. She is so busy that when her children want to spend time with her they ask, “When can we pencil you in?”

Funk crop

Photo: Samuel McRoberts photo collection / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jan 11, 2017

Cornelius R. Funk shows plant growth in his new home in Menno Colony, Paraguay. In 1926, Funk and 1,785 other Mennonites from Saskatchewan and Manitoba left for Paraguay because they did not trust the Canadian government. New York banker Samuel McRoberts helped them sell their land and acquire new land. McRoberts saw successive waves of immigration as a financial opportunity. A series of 252 photos were taken from 1926 to 1929, showing the progressive and successful farms of the new immigrants. Conflict arose over the use of the photos.

What’s in a name?

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Jan 11, 2017

We eyed each other’s books and wondered who would ask the “Mennonite” question first. Our names, Donita Wiebe-Neufeld and K.V. Doerksen, were emblazoned across our books (Thirty Bucks and Blessed are the Dead, respectively), and since book sales were slow at the library, we had time to talk.

Staying afloat in a sea of change

Viewpoints | By John Longhurst | Jan 11, 2017

For some in Mennonite Church Canada, this might be a frightening time, as the denomination faces an uncertain future. It might be cold comfort, but you are not alone; most denominations in Canada are facing the same uncertainties today.

I know this because last year I interviewed people who do fundraising for 15 Canadian denominational non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that represent 30 denominations. Everyone I spoke with agreed that this is a challenging time for denominations and the programs they support.

And what are those challenges facing denominations today?

Deepening our faith journeys

Shirley Stauffer Redekop, front row centre, is pictured with some of the 24 Canadian participants at last fall’s ‘Deep faith’ conference at AMBS. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Stauffer Redekop)

Viewpoints | By Shirley Stauffer Redekop | Jan 11, 2017

“Jesus calls us to life-long journeys of faith—shaped in part by our age and stage in life. Faith practices are deepest and richest when our Christian community embraces and nurtures all these different ages and stages of our lives in a variety of contexts.”

Play tells stories in refugees’ own words

The cast of disPLACE is composed of Uliana Akulenko, Emmett Hanly, Jane Oliphant, Keenan Marchard and Kate Nundal. (Displace Productions photo by Jef Gibbons)

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Jan 11, 2017

One of today’s most pressing social issues came to life onstage late last year at Trinity Western University (TWU) with the world premiere of the original drama, disPLACE: Refugee Stories in their Own Words. The play was presented through Dark Glass Theatre in association with the university’s Humanitas Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre.

University theatre personnel sifted through more than 20 hours of audio interviews in order to find the words to use in the drama.

Letting his spirit grow

Larry Krause says his music is a reflection of his faith. (Photo courtesy of Larry Krause)

Artbeat | By Donna Schulz | Jan 11, 2017 | 1 comment

Like many Mennonites, Larry Krause grew up singing in Sunday school and church choirs. Music has always been an important part of his life, but in the past decade it has taken on greater dimensions.

As a singer/songwriter in the roots, western and country gospel traditions, Krause has recorded four albums. His most recent effort, entitled Let Your Spirit Grow, features gospel music. An earlier gospel album, The Gate is Open, won the Saskatchewan Country Music Association Gospel Album of Year Award in 2007.

A year of re-visioning

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Dec 21, 2016

This year—2017—will bring changes for members of Mennonite Church Canada, a denominational entity to be reconfigured into a proposed structure of five area churches doing the work of a denominational centre in Winnipeg. It is uncharted territory, to say the least.

Readers write: January 2, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Dec 21, 2016

‘A timely rebuke’ to MC B.C.’s ‘professional’ church leaders

Re: “No more closed doors” editorial, Nov. 7, 2016, page 2.

Hope across generations

Calvin Quan
Viewpoints | By Calvin Quan | Dec 21, 2016

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40: 30-31).

In my new role as moderator of Mennonite Church Canada, I’ve been privileged to meet people of all ages who make up our church family. (See “‘New moderator brings ‘non-anxious presence’.”)

Going home

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

One of the sweetest phrases in the Bible, “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), is often heard at Christmas. With joy and gratitude, we celebrate the incarnation, God taking on human flesh in Jesus, and making a home with us. Similarly, the vision of Revelation 21:3 proclaims in The Message: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighbourhood, making his home with men and women!” Images of home—God making a home with and for us, and our making our home in God—abound in the Bible.

Generosity superheroes

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Dec 21, 2016

Superhero movies are all the rage. One website says it is the most popular movie genre around. We all want someone to put things right in turbulent times. Even Lego Batman might do.

When we feel like things are spinning out of our control, we tend to hold on tighter to what we have. What happened to the right always prevailing, we ask? Oh, to have heroes put things back in order the way we expect them to be.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 3)

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

One of the most overlooked fruits borne in the life of someone who genuinely follows the way of Jesus and lives in the Spirit, is wisdom. If we put into practice what Jesus teaches us, we will become increasingly wise.

Wisdom was central to Jesus’ identity, even as a child. The only passage of Scripture about Jesus’ early years is found in Luke 2:40-52. Luke begins this childhood vignette saying, “The child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom.” Then Luke tells a story, the only story the gospels record about Jesus as an adolescent.

CMBC choir

Photo: Rudy Regehr / Mennonite Heritage Centre

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Dec 21, 2016

George Wiebe conducts the Canadian Mennonite Bible College (CMBC) choir in an impromptu song on a B.C. ferry while on tour in May 1966. The choir gave 24 performances in 17 days, and 39 of the 43 singers also spoke at these events. The tour was an important community-building event for the choir members, but also for the school and supporting congregations. In spite of a minor vehicle accident, all had an enjoyable time.

More-with-Less cookbook gets a new look

Artbeat | By Barb Draper | Dec 21, 2016

The 40th-anniversary edition of the More-with-Less cookbook, with its many full-page photographs, has an updated and more sophisticated look. Rather than simple black-and-white pages, it has moved to a full-colour format, designed to appeal to the eye. Although most of the recipes are the same, the layout has been reorganized, and the tips for eating in a healthy and eco-friendly way have been shortened and streamlined. I wonder how much our homes and churches have also moved from basic and practical to more decorative in the last 40 years.

Mennonite academic launches new book on theology and popular literature

Paul Doerksen reads from his new book, Take and Read, at a Dec. 4 book launch in Winnipeg. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

Artbeat | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Dec 21, 2016

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) professor Paul Doerksen launched a new collection of essays, Take and Read: Reflecting Theologically on Books, at McNally-Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg on Dec. 4, 2016.

We need ‘Emmanuel’ like never before

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Dec 07, 2016 | 1 comment

If ever we needed to hear “Emmanuel” (God with us), it is during this Advent season as we wind up the year 2016. With violence prevailing in war-torn countries, and political upheaval changing the face of our neighbour to the south, not to mention changes in our own denominational structure, we seem to be groping for a divine peace like never before.

Readers write: December 12, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Dec 07, 2016

Is the Doctrine of Discovery yesterday’s news?

Re: “Discovering humility” column, Sept. 26, page 7.

It seems Pope Paul III may have spoken to the Doctrine of Discovery already, in his 1537 papal encyclical:

The new normal now

Ken Warkentin
Viewpoints | By Ken Warkentin | Dec 07, 2016

For the past two months I have been living with post-concussion syndrome after an incident that involved a bear, a rock and the rain.

Are we living in the last millennium?

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

No one would doubt that Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge University theoretical physicist and cosmologist, is one of the more brilliant minds of recent times. The guy forgets more in a day then I’ll learn in a lifetime. The Theory of Everything, the movie of his marriages, his journey with early-onset Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS—more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), and his rise to fame, is a great watch and stirs much thought about the nature of love, faith and science. Hawking intrigues and he has wide influence.

Church wants to spread the ‘Living Word’

Pastor Getachew Woldeyes, left, and Elder Rediet Lemichael of Church of the Living Word in Ottawa, an Ethiopian emerging congregation in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo by Dave Rogalksy)

Viewpoints | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 07, 2016

Church of the Living Word in Ottawa became an emerging church in Mennonite Church Eastern Canada in 2009, although it was founded four years earlier.

Church of the Living Word has some members, including Pastor Getachew Woldeyes’s wife, who belonged to Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia, a Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church.

Understanding opponents of LGBTQ inclusion

Will Braun
Viewpoints | By Will Braun | Dec 07, 2016 | 2 comments

Officially, the resolution creating greater openness to LGBTQ people received 85 percent support at the Mennonite Church Canada assembly. That number is incomplete—more on that below—but it establishes a new narrative in which a majority within MC Canada expresses a degree of openness toward LGBTQ inclusion. So what about the people excluded from that narrative?

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