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Rolled away

‘All levels of belief—or lack of it—are present in our churches and the world on Easter morning, and they hear the proclamation, “He is risen indeed,” ’  (Photo:  Image © istock.com/RomaloTavani)

Feature | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Mar 08, 2017

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.

I always love this joyful affirmation of life and hope on Easter morning. When it is still grey and cold outside, when the world news is so overwhelmingly negative, when many are dealing with losses and heartache, it is so amazing to be able to say: “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.”

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

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.

MC B.C. wrestles with tough issues

Discussing issues at the MC B.C. annual general meeting are, from left to right: Rob Brown of Eden Mennonite Church in Chilliwack, Henry Neufeld of Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver, and Mary Braun of Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church in Abbotsford. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Mar 08, 2017 | 1 comment

Despite meeting under the theme of “Building healthy connections,” many delegates who gathered for Mennonite Church British Columbia’s annual general meeting on Feb. 25, 2017, wondered how the future might look for their connections as an area church family when the day was done.

The meeting at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford was the third gathering in four months at which potentially divisive issues surrounding the Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 resolution were on the agenda, putting the future unity of MC B.C. in uncertainty.

WEW wows Waterloo women

Helen Loftin, senior vice-president of marketing and communications for Mennonite Economic Development Associates, tells the Waterloo chapter of Women Empowering Women that, by empowering women, whole families and communities benefit in ways that empowering men does not. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Mar 08, 2017

Exuding excitement and purpose, Nancy Mann, associate pastor of Floradale Mennonite Church, exclaimed “WEW!” for the newest chapter of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) Women Empowering Women organization. The kick-off event, at which 75 women were in attendance, was held on Feb. 2, 2017, at 50 Kent Avenue, the “Mennonite hub” in Kitchener.

Personal-care home will fill gap in care for seniors

Construction will begin this spring on a 20-bed personal care home adjoining the existing Mennonite Nursing Homes facility. The architect’s rendering shows the chapel on the left. (Artist's rendering courtey of Mennonite Nursing Homes Inc.)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Mar 08, 2017

Joan Lemauviel recalls her aging father needing more care than he received with assisted living, yet not qualifying for long-term care. “He was falling through the cracks,” she says.

As administrator of Mennonite Nursing Homes, Lemauviel knows that her father’s experience is far from unique. “About eight to 10 years ago it became evident that people in assisted living who didn’t qualify for long-term care were really living at risk,” she says. “We were able to keep them in assisted living with increased homecare.”

Signs of welcome in Ontario

Laila and Zafar Ismaili stand in their print shop in UpTown Waterloo, Ont., printing a large sign to give as a gift to Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Mar 08, 2017 | 2 comments

“No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbour.”

Kitchener (Ont.) First Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada are promoting “welcome signs” with this message in English, French and Arabic in the community and beyond.

Rebecca Yoder Neufeld of First Mennonite first saw the sign in Elkhart, Ind., last November. A trip to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in January by a group from the church galvanized their desire to bring the signs to the area church.

Trump reality spills over into Mennoland

A fallen blanket on the U.S. side of a path taken by asylum seekers headed to Canada near Emerson, Man. The border lies just beyond the buildings barely visible in the background. (Photo by Jennifer DeGroot)

God at work in the World | By Will Braun | Mar 08, 2017 | 2 comments

The potent Trump phenomenon is rippling around the globe and Mennonites in southern Manitoba are not immune.

Waves of mostly Somali asylum seekers, driven in part by fear of deportation under the Trump administration, cross covertly from the U.S. into a region of Manitoba heavily populated by Mennonites.

Field of dreams

Kalynn Spain's  interest in agriculture led her to visit 130 small farms throughout Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Kalynn Spain)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Mar 08, 2017

What are the risks and rewards for people who choose a life on the farm? Young Voices spoke with three young Canadian Mennonites who work in agriculture to find out.

Jedidiah Morton, 23
Didsbury, Alta.

Jedidiah Morton isn’t the first person in his family to work in the dairy industry. His great-grandfather, Abram Lowen, settled in the Beaverlodge area in northern Alberta in the late 1920s and shipped cream.

“I guess you could say I’m bringing dairy back to my family,” Morton says.

Finding belonging

Katrina Woelk is looking for a new church home in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Katrine Woelk)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Mar 08, 2017

Finding a new church to belong to can be difficult. Just ask Katrina Woelk.

Woelk grew up at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Winkler, Man., but now lives in Winnipeg, where she is studying social work at the University of Manitoba. After four years of commuting home for weekends, the 22-year-old is ready to deepen her roots in Winnipeg, and that includes finding a church home in the city.

Famine ‘a tragic reality’ in South Sudan, according to UN

An internally displaced family in Mundri, South Sudan, prepares their dinner for the night. (Photo by Paul Jeffrey)

Web First | Mar 07, 2017

Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, where about 100,000 people are facing starvation, says a United Nations release dated February 20, 2017. In addition, a further one million people are on the brink of famine.

The ongoing civil war in South Sudan, now in its third year, has devastated the country’s economy, disrupting normal food transportation chains, and preventing countless small-scale farming households from growing their crops and tending their herds.

From Myanmar to Canada with dreams, gratitude and hope

A family Christmas 2016 photo in Canada. Pictured from left to right, front row: Htaw Meh and Mi Meh; and back row: Poe Reh, Su Reh, Lee Reh, Pleh Meh and Pheh Meh. (Photo by Arlene Hoke)

Web First | By Ferne Burkhardt | Mar 07, 2017

Settled in their new home in New Hamburg, Ont., Lee Reh and Pheh Meh constantly think of family members still in Ban Mai Nai Soi Refugee Camp in Thailand who the couple and their five children left behind when they came to Canada in April 2016. They wish their relatives could join them here and enjoy the safety and good life they have found in Canada.

Good news by the numbers in Botswana

Children play on a round-about in Bontleng Park, a local initiative supported by the energy and initiative of Mennonite Church Canada workers Nathan and Taryn Dirks. (Photo by Gonna Lewis)

Web First | By Deborah Froese with files from Nathan Dirks | Mar 07, 2017

For Nathan and Taryn Dirks, ministry in Gaborone, Botswana, is all about relationships. But ministry by relationship is hard to measure, so they’ve creatively translated some of their good news into numbers.

For almost five years, the Dirkses have served youth and young adults from local African Initiated Churches (AICs) through their role as Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers, in partnership with Mennonite Mission Network and local churches. Following community needs and initiatives, they focus on development and Bible teaching.

Online theology education opens doors

Spanish Anabaptist educators from Latin America and the United States during the gathering at SEMILLA. Back, left to right: Floyd Saner, Marco Alfredo Mahecha, Fernando Pérez, Linda Shelly, Luz Estela Cortes, Marco Guete, Willi Hugo Pérez, Oscar Jaime Dominguez. Front, left to right: Carlos Martínez, Rebeca González, Pablo Pérez, Joaquín Zazueta. (Photo by Jerry Higueros)

Web First | By Kelsey Hochstetler | Mar 07, 2017

Nora Marleni Martínez of Metapan, El Salvador, is in the first group of students in a regional Peace and Justice Institute program of the Seminario Anabautista Latinoamericano (SEMILLA). Many SEMILLA courses are taught in local centers across Central America and Mexico, but this program was designed for students from multiple countries to study together, so traveling to Guatemala for classes was still a requirement.

Mennonites plan pilgrimage for indigenous rights

Web First | By Dan Dyck | Feb 27, 2017

Houses. Toilets. Schools. These are basic human rights to which Canadians feel entitled—and which many vulnerable and disenfranchised indigenous people do not have.

Indigenous leader Leah Gazan says the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is really just the floor for human rights. The activist, policy analyst and educator at the University of Winnipeg says UNDRIP outlines “the minimum human rights to be healthy.”

In the cross-hairs of change

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Feb 22, 2017

“The times, they are a-changin,” belted out singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in the mid 1960s.

While Dylan made the words a hum-them-all-day-long habit for many of his fans, those of us living more than a half-century later smile to ourselves and ask: “What’s new about that?” Change has been constantly a part of our lives if we are awake and taking nourishment every day. Get used to it, sister. Adjust your lenses regularly.

Who’s winning at church?

People are looking for good old-fashioned biblical truth, not all that liberal mumbo-jumbo. Put most crudely, this study proves that conservatives are winning. What else could pews full of young people possibly mean? (Photo © istock.com /scottmarblephotography)

Feature | By Ryan Dueck | Feb 22, 2017

Over the past while, a number of people have inquired about my thoughts on a recent “Theology matters” study conducted by Canadian scholar David Haskell that draws a strong connection between theological conservatism in Canadian mainline Protestant churches and church attendance.

Readers write: February 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Feb 22, 2017

Visit to the West Bank might enlighten letter writer

Re: MC Canada should retract BDS resolution and apologize to Israel letter, Jan. 2, page 10.

‘The darkness of the womb’?

Deborah Froese
Viewpoints | By Deborah Froese | Feb 22, 2017

“[Y]ou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . . ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

In defence of masks

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

The subject of masks came up in the adult Sunday school class. Not literal ones, but the invisible ones we wear in an attempt to hide that which we don’t want to be seen. I ventured that such masks are unhelpful barriers, interfering with connectedness and intimacy.

Quickly a woman responded, “We wear masks because other people don’t want to hear our troubles; they don’t want us burdening them with our whining.”

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