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Walking with God through canvas and steel

Buffalo Creek sculptor Ken Loewen is pictured with his metal work, “Soaring.”

Artbeat | By Southern Manitoba’s Buffalo Creek Artists reflect a ‘sense of place’ | May 17, 2010

A “sense of place” is what the Buffalo Creek Artists are all about. Ray Dirks, curator at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery in Winnipeg, describes the 11 artists in the collective as “a dedicated group . . . who are part of an artistic awakening in Manitoba’s southern Mennonite belt.”

Put on those shoes of peace

Those Shoes of Peace playwright Barb Draper (playing Grandma Katie), left, Steve (Ort) Bauman (playing Grandpa Peter), and Robb Martin (playing Kevin), discuss peacemaking around the family kitchen table.

Artbeat | By Review and Photo by Dave Rogalsky | May 17, 2010

Applause broke out in the audience at Floradale Mennonite Church when Kevin Bauman (played by Robb Martin), a recently returned Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) member from Palestine, responded to his uncle Trevor, a Zionist Christian: “But the land belongs to the Palestinians!”

To ‘clothed’ Anabaptists

Editorial | By Dick Benner | May 03, 2010

Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell us quiet, unassuming Mennonites that we do indeed have clothes.

Exposing the ‘bare essentials’ of Anabaptism

Feature | By John Longhurst | May 03, 2010

Anabaptism has been around for almost 500 years. For much of that time, it has been clothed in Mennonite and Amish traditions and culture. But what does it look like without Mennonite and Amish clothing? That’s what Stuart Murray wondered. The result is The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials Of A Radical Faith (Herald Press).

For Murray, who helps direct the Anabaptist Network in Great Britain and Ireland, Anabaptism is a way of following Jesus that challenges, disturbs and inspires, summoning Christians to lives of discipleship and worship.

Anabaptism provides a map in the post-Christendom wilderness

Feature | By By Gregory A. Boyd | May 03, 2010

It is becoming undeniably clear that western civilization has entered a post-Christian age.

Whereas Christians once believed the world would eventually be brought within the expanding empire of Christendom, it is now obvious this will never happen. To the contrary, Christendom has been losing its influence on western culture for several hundred years.

Join ‘Naked Anabaptists’ on Facebook

Feature | By By John Longhurst | May 03, 2010 | 1 comment

No, it’s not what you might be thinking—nobody is nude. At least, not literally, although more than 300 people have joined the Naked Anabaptist group on the Facebook social media site to metaphorically explore what it means to strip down to the bare essentials of the Anabaptist faith.

The new group was formed by Winnipeg Mennonite pastor and blogger Jamie Arpin Ricci, to discuss issues raised by Stuart Murray in The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith.

Specializing in a Google world

Viewpoints | By Arlyn Friesen Epp | May 03, 2010

In a Google world where millions of written works are at your fingertips, it’s tough for the average user to discern appropriate resources for Christian formation, leadership, peace and mission. And it’s an even greater challenge to keep Anabaptist and related resources as visible and accessible as we’ve come to expect them to be.

Fortunately, there are circles of partnership in our wider Mennonite world that help us tailor bibliographies and help widen their accessibility:

They call it ‘couple-love’

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | May 03, 2010

A season of weddings. That’s what I see as I look ahead to the next few months. Many of the children born in the 1980s are now young adults falling in love, pledging their troth and bravely preparing to marry.

Several invitations for these weddings dot our family bulletin board, some of which include photos of the engaged couple. They are young, full of promise and good intention. With sparkling eyes and sweet smiles, they radiate joy and eagerness to declare their love. They are beautiful and so is the love that spurs them forward.

Take good care of your children

Viewpoints | By Take good care of your children | May 03, 2010

“Who will take care of our children if something happens to us?”

The decision about guardianship of minor children is one of the major hurdles facing parents when writing a will. Often it is because parents can’t agree on whom to name. Each parent may want his or her side of the family to be responsible. Sometimes they are in a new area and don’t yet have a lot of close friends to choose from. It may be that they have a special-needs child and have no one who could take on this responsibility.

‘From farm to fork’

Concepts they learned at Osler Mennonite Church, Sask., have helped Kevin and Melanie Boldt form the basis of their Pine View Farms All Natural Meats operation. (Photo by Karin Fehderau)

God at work in Us | By By Karin Fehderau | May 03, 2010

So many people spend their time and energy accumulating things, but what they really want are simpler lives and deeper connections with others. Knowing that reconnecting with friends and family always involves food, the owners of Pine View Farms All Natural Meats near Osler offer grain-fed, hormone-free food products to those living in their small corner of the world.

When faith collides with academic freedom

Gerbrandt

God at work in the Church | By By Ross W. Muir | May 03, 2010

After stories went national earlier this year announcing that Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley, B.C., had fallen afoul of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) over issues of academic freedom, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg now finds itself implicated in the same controversy.

CAUT vs. TWU

Church growth, expansion lauded by B.C. delegates

Garry Janzen, executive minister of Mennonite Church B.C., right, welcomes into membership Western Hmong Mennonite Church, represented by church chair Ge Yang. Janzen is wearing a tie handcrafted by a member of the Hmong congregation. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By By Amy Dueckman | May 03, 2010

Beginnings, endings and growth marked the Mennonite Church B.C. annual meetings at Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack, on April 10, under the banner of “The hope of the reconciling gospel of Jesus.” Delegates welcomed one congregation while saying goodbye to another, witnessed the passing of the leadership torch from one moderator to another, and heard about new ministries in the province.

Canada a ‘hard soil’ for the gospel

Suderman

God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | May 03, 2010

Being the church in the 21st century is no easy task, Robert J. Suderman told the delegates and pastors gathered at Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack early last month for the annual gathering of Mennonite Church British Columbia. It was a sort of Pauline farewell for the retiring general secretary of MC Canada.

“Some writers suggest that Canada is a country with ‘very hard soil’ for the gospel of Jesus Christ—one of the hardest in the world,” said Suderman, who took time to personally visit all 230 congregations of the denomination during his tenure.

The next step: Helping to build infrastructure in rural Haiti

A young girl draws water from a cistern at a Mennonite Central Committee-supported water distribution site in Cité Soleil, part of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city. MCC’s priority on emergency assistance, like this, is gradually refocusing on self-sustaining priorities.

God at work in the World | By By Linda Espenshade | May 03, 2010

The response of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake will gradually shift from the capital city of Port-au-Prince to rural communities that are expected to play an integral role in rebuilding the country.

By 2011, MCC’s work will centre in the Artibonite Valley, about 90 minutes north of Port-au-Prince. Eight MCC staff members live in Desarmes, a town in the Artibonite Valley, where MCC already has an established program.

Sophomore CD released to much applause

The Friesen Family Band released its sophomore CD, Dappled Things, at a concert in Edmonton. Pictured from left to right: Silas 15; Simone 13; Godwin 11; Amos, nine; mother Louise and father Chris. Not pictured: Junia, three, who earlier wowed the crowd with her rendition of “Jesus Loves Me.” (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

Artbeat | By Reviewed by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | May 03, 2010

The Friesen Family Band just keeps getting better! As quickly as the children grow, the seven-member family grows in its music, adding instruments, expertise and new material.

On March 24, 2010, the band released its second CD, Dappled Things, at a concert at St. Andrews United Church, Edmonton.

The music is fresh and often surprising in its complexity of harmony and variety of instrumentation. Lively lyrics send the ancient words of faith singing into contemporary life. “We do a lot of writing from the Psalms,” says father Chris.

Filling the Kohma

Lisa Heinrichs of B.C. is pictured with her cookbook and family history that she wrote. Inset: Jane Heinrichs of London, England, helped design and illustrate the book. (Photo courtesy of Jane Heinrichs)

Focus On | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | May 03, 2010

New cookbooks are ubiquitous, and family histories have become popular, but a cookbook that is a family history—or a family history that is a cookbook—is a curious hybrid.

Lisa Heinrichs, who lives in Langley, B.C., loves to cook. She was well into research on her family’s history when she realized she could incorporate her culinary passion into her genealogical interests. “My idea was to gather a collection of recipes from my mother’s family, both recipes that my grandmother would have made and also favourites within each family unit,” she explains.

Spring 2010 List of Books & Resources

Focus On | By Canadian Mennonite | May 03, 2010

Theology

1 & 2 Timothy, Titus. Paul M. Zehr. Herald Press, 2010, 406 pages.

This is the 22nd volume of the Believers Church Bible Commentary Series. Zehr has many years of experience as a pastor and teacher, including at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics and Devotion in the Book of Revelation. J. Nelson Kraybill. Brazos Press, 2010, 224 pages.

Caught between dice and a hard place

Feature | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 19, 2010 | 1 comment

I’ve never resisted selling chocolates or magazines for my children’s school, but this time was different. “Would you volunteer a few hours of your time at our casino fundraiser?” the letter asked. Only two nights of parent volunteers at a local casino and our school could earn about $40,000 towards computer equipment or playground upgrades.

What do Mennonites do with gambling donations?

Feature | By By Deborah Froese | Apr 19, 2010

Mennonite organizations tend to agree that gambling is wrong, but few policies are in place to respond to donations of gambling revenue. Perhaps this is because of a prevailing sense that such donations are rare or non-existent, and could be dealt with on a case by case basis if the need arises.

Chances are . . . you worship with a gambler

Feature | By By Deborah Froese | Apr 19, 2010

They’re advertised on billboards, on radio and television. The kiosk in your local grocery store or shopping mall sells them. Your local charity wants you to buy one to help it out? Buy what, you ask. A lottery ticket, of course.

Or your daughter’s basketball team needs money for new jerseys? Just join the game pool.

Bored, perhaps? Check out live entertainment at the casino—and while you’re there drop some money into a video lottery terminal (VLT) or try your hand at blackjack.

Or if you really want to be discreet, check out poker.com.

Seated among the unsettled

Viewpoints | By Will Braun | Apr 19, 2010

There are people who feel entirely settled in their lives. They feel confident about their location, occupation and calling in life.

Then there are the rest of us. We’re not so sure. We’re not sure where to live, what to study, who to marry, where to work, when to retire, which church to attend, whether to apply to Mennonite Central Committee or what our calling is. We spend an inordinate amount of time pondering these decisions, possibly wishing for audible directions from on high.

The gospel in three parts . . . times three

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Apr 19, 2010

Before reading any further, answer this question: What is the gospel?

You didn’t do it, did you? You just kept reading. Bad reader. Return to line one.

Thanks.

Many Christians go into blushed silence when asked to articulate the good news of God’s reign. However, if we are to be cracked pots spilling out this glorious message, the gospel must be understood and lived. To that end, let’s look at three unique, yet interrelated biblical images of the gospel.

Not a Christian . . . just a ‘follower of Jesus’

Richard Twiss, a Lakota First Nation “follower of Jesus,” speaks animatedly during an address at Peace Mennonite Church, Richmond, B.C, last month.

God at work in Us | By By Angelika Dawson | Apr 19, 2010

Mitakuye Oyasin (“All my relations”). With these words of greeting, Richard Twiss, a Lakota First Nations speaker, author and “follower of Jesus,” began two evenings of teaching and inspiration in communities in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

From ‘life support’ to ‘blessed’

God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | Apr 19, 2010

In his welcoming comments to the 2010 Mennonite Church Alberta delegate sessions, Erwin Wiens, pastor of the host Trinity Mennonite Church, described the area church, made up of 16 congregations spread across the province, as a “patient on life support.”

But as the assembly progressed, it became apparent the patient was very much alive and sometimes kicking. The theme “Reclaiming Jesus, gladly wear the name,” was on nametags with “Jesus” in bold print. At first glance, it appeared all delegates were named Jesus, a vivid reminder of whom Christians are called to emulate.

Slain soldiers not Canada’s only heroes

God at work in the World | By By Karin Fehderau | Apr 19, 2010

A University of Regina professor caused a commotion last month when he spoke out against the practice of paying the full tuition of children of slain Canadian soldiers. Jeffery Weber, a political science professor, has gathered support from 15 other university staff in a petition against the practice known as Project Hero, which was started by an Edmonton businessman two years ago.

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