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Time to prioritize

Viewpoints | By Lisa Carr-Pries | Sep 01, 2010

It’s September again. I’m sure I’m not alone when I acknowledge the variety of feelings that accompany fall’s arrival. We move from a season that is relatively free from structure into one where schedules and activities shape the rhythm of each day for the next eight to 10 months.

For discussion

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Sep 01, 2010

1. How homogeneous is your congregation? How long does it take for “outsiders” to feel welcome? What extra challenges does someone from a visible minority have to feel accepted? What should Mennonite congregations do so that people from other cultures can feel welcomed and included?

2. Do you think all Mennonite congregations should be intentionally multicultural? Why is it important? Can a denomination be called multicultural if it has congregations of different ethnicities, or does it require that most congregations have a good variety in the racial mix?

Who are our multicultural Mennonites?

The “What makes a Mennonite” brochure has been translated into Spanish, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Chin, while other language translations, such as Hmong and Laotian, are planned. These resources are available from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre, Winnipeg

Feature | By By Deborah Froese | Sep 01, 2010

Once upon a time, Mennonite congregations in Canada could largely define themselves by German or Swiss Mennonite heritage, but no more. Mennonite Church Canada congregations now represent an increasing variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds; currently, 49 of them worship in 19 languages other than English or German, including Amharic (Ethiopian and Eritrean), Cantonese, Chin, Hmong, Japanese, Karan, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Spanish, Tamil, Thai and Vietnamese.

Essentials for building a multicultural church

Feature | By By Joon-hyoung Park | Sep 01, 2010

According to research conducted by sociologists Curtiss Paul Deyoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey and Karen Chai Kim, 92.5 percent of Catholic and Protestant churches throughout the U.S. can be classified as “monoracial.” This term describes a church in which 80 percent or more of the individuals who attend are of the same ethnicity or race. The remaining churches—just 7.5 percent—can be described as multiracial.

One church, many peoples

Feature | By By Samson Lo | Sep 01, 2010

I travelled throughout Europe in the early 1980s. I had the opportunity to come across some Mennonites and learn something about Anabaptist history and teaching, preparing me for God’s leading to Vancouver, B.C., in the late ’90s, where I began serving with Chinese Grace Mennonite Church. In this capacity I was then elected to serve for six years on the Committee of Church Ministries for Mennonite Church British Columbia.

Becoming a multicultural church

Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C., is an intentional multicultural congregation. Pictured from left to right: John Cheny, Shigali Dembede, Alayne Cheny holding Naomi Cheny, pastor April Yamasaki, Janice Redekop holding Callahan Redekop, and Masako Moriyama.

Feature | By By April Yamasaki | Sep 01, 2010

In 1981, the newly formed Emmanuel Mennonite Church drew on Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19 to express its purpose as a congregation: “To make disciples of all nations.” At the time, the intention was simply to begin an English-speaking church, but, in the years since, it seems to me that those words have proven to be more prophetic than anyone might have realized at the time.

How green is Canadian Mennonite?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Sep 01, 2010

In a letter to Canadian Mennonite on June 28, Angelika Dawson of Abbotsford, B.C., charged that when we challenged Mennonite Central Committee and congregations to be more environmentally responsible in a previous issue, we “failed to point the finger back at [ourselves].”

Here’s an attempt to answer her specific questions:

Is your magazine printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks? No. When doing informal bids recently on printing with recycled paper and soy-based ink, I discovered we would likely double our paper costs.

Russian Patriarch unveils Kremlin icon hidden since 1917

Web First - News from ENI | By By Sophia Kishkovsky | Aug 31, 2010

A fresco of Christ on the Kremlin Wall in Moscow rediscovered after being plastered over during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution has been presented in a ceremony attended by Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.

"The history of these icons is a symbol of what happened with our people in the 20th century," said Kirill at the 28 August ceremony. "It was claimed that true goals and values and genuine shrines were destroyed, and that faith had disappeared from the lives of our people."

Italian Protestant denominations approve same-sex blessings

Web First - News from ENI | By By Luigi Sandri | Aug 31, 2010

The joint synod of Italy's Waldensian and Methodist Protestant churches has, as the denominations' highest governing body, agreed to authorise the blessing of same-sex couples in church under certain conditions.

Synod president Marco Bouchard described the Aug. 26 decision as "a clear and firm step forward that needs to be placed into a context that will be better defined, especially the relationship between churches and homosexual couples".

US Presbyterian cleric to appeal same-sex marriage ruling

Web First - News from ENI | By By Chris Herlinger | Aug 31, 2010

A retired California Presbyterian minister, rebuked on charges that she violated her ordination vows by marrying same-sex couples, plans to appeal against a ruling that she said sent contradictory messages about the church's support of gay rights.

"Who does the Presbyterian Church think we are?" said the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, who is a lesbian. "We are they, they are us."

Kenyan church leaders say prayers for controversial law

Web First - News from ENI | By By Fredrick Nzwili | Aug 31, 2010

Kenyan Christian leaders said prayers at a national ceremony for the promulgation of a new constitution, although they strongly opposed the law in the referendum campaign that led to its adoption.

Church leaders campaigned against the acceptance of the new constitution, saying it permitted abortion, entrenched Muslim courts and limited religious freedom. They are now calling for the disputed clauses to be amended.

Express train carries Mother Teresa's message across India

Web First - News from ENI | By By Anto Akkara | Aug 31, 2010

More than 25 000 people gathered at Kolkata's Sealdah railway station for the launch of the "Mother Express" train, a highlight of the centenary celebrations of the birth of Mother Teresa.

"Mother has become a household name here and the people are proud that she belonged to this city," said Mamta Bannerji, a Hindu who is India's federal railways minister and who hails from Kolkata, before she flagged off the special train funded by the railway ministry.

To Africa and back, again

Elsie Cressman, foreground, the subject of the new documentary, Return to Africa: The Story of Elsie Cressman, is pictured with filmmakers Paul Francescutti, and Paula and Paul Campsall, at a screening in Waterloo, Ont., this summer.

Artbeat | By by Dave Rogalsky | Aug 26, 2010

On June 27, the Princess Twin Cinema in uptown Waterloo had to open up a second room to view the 2010 movie, Return to Africa: The Story of Elsie Cressman, with Cressman, now 87, in attendance.

Cressman was only in her 20s when she went to Africa in 1953. Although she was “just a nurse,” she was called on to set up an entire hospital, together with living accommodations for patients and staff. The leprosy hospital eventually served nearly 400 patients. She stayed in Africa for 23 years.

MCC, MEDA collaborate to help Haiti’s homeless

Homes that will be built through the collaboration of MCC, MEDA and Fonkoze will be similar to this one repaired for Isaac, Viola, and Estania Auguste, left to right, of Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.

God at work in the World | By By Wally Kroeker | Aug 26, 2010

Haitians left homeless by January’s earthquake are getting construction help from a collaborative venture of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA).

MCC contributed $1.43 million to rebuild and repair about 775 homes of microfinance clients of Fonkoze, the country’s leading microfinance provider, most of whom are women. MEDA will administer and monitor the 18-month project, expected to be completed by the end of November next year. Fonkoze has been a long-term partner of MCC and MEDA.

Tiefengrund Mennonite Church celebrates 100 years

Horse Lake Mennonite Church (left) and Tiefengrund Mennonite Church today (right)

God at work in the Church | By by Henry Patkau | Aug 26, 2010

Many people with ties to the Tiefengrund Mennonite Church near Carlton, Sask., came to relive the past, rejoice in the present and anticipate the future of this church community on July 24 and 25.

Volunteer sees harm and good of Canada

Juan Raul Junay of Guatemala City, Guatemala, poses for a photograph in a field of golden Manitoba wheat.

God at work in Us | By By Gladys Terichow | Aug 26, 2010

Juan Raul Junay, 25, never tires of explaining how Canadian mining companies are affecting farming communities in his home country of Guatemala.

“Mines give people jobs, but there is long-term environmental destruction,” explains Junay, who is from Guatemala City but has been working at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in Winnipeg since last August as part of Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP).

Elders Trump Pastors

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Aug 26, 2010

Scads of cash is invested every year developing current and future pastors. This is important in so far as it shapes leaders and not managers, prophets and not puppets. Well-formed Kingdom servants rooted in an evangelical faith that cannot lie sleeping and smitten by the person of Jesus, his church, and the power of his resurrection are needed.

Mennonite treaty rights

Viewpoints | By By Will Braun | Aug 26, 2010

To attend church in Winnipeg is a right that arises directly from Treaty 1. The signatures of Aboriginal leaders and Crown representatives on that 139-year-old document give me, a non-Aboriginal person, the right to sit in the pew.

This will sound to some like a provocative, ideologically driven overstatement, but I want to make the case that it is a basic legal reality and a rich spiritual truth.

Listening for church harmony

Viewpoints | By Lorne Epp, Margaret Ewen-Peters and Patrick Preheim | Aug 26, 2010

The Wailin’ Jennys recorded a song on their debut album which included the following lines: “This is the sound of voices three / Singing together in harmony /Surrendering to the mystery / This is the sound of voices three”

This stanza from the song “One Voice” comes to mind not because we have ever been recorded in a studio, asked for autographs or been invited to tour with the Jennys. These lyrics strike a chord with the Vision and Wholeness (VW) Group because they reflect the best of our work in Mennonite Church Saskatchewan.

For discussion: August 23, 2010 issue

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Aug 26, 2010

Following are questions for reflecting on and discussing the Canadian Mennonite stories on the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission events in 2010:

“How complicit are Mennonites in Residential School Abuse?” Evelyn Rempel Petkau attended the first TRC hearings and spoke with Mennonites about whether the church might be complicit in the system. 

With God, all things are possible

Edith and Neill van Gunten, Native Ministry workers with Mennonite Church Canada, stand in solidarity with residential school survivor Darrell Royal, who told of his time in residential school to assembly participants earlier this summer (Photo by Rachel Bergen)

Feature | By by Rachel Bergen | Aug 26, 2010

When you pass by aboriginal people lying in the gutters on skid row, do you think that they are just “drunk Indians who need to get a job”?

Participants of the “Do residential schools and good news go together?” workshops at this summer’s Mennonite Church Canada assembly now know what those “drunk Indians” went through to get to that place. What they went through was “a blight on [Canada’s] history,” said Larry Plenert, a workshop speaker and an adjudicator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

MC Canada shares the pain of Indian Residential School legacy

Feature | By By Deborah Froese | Aug 26, 2010

Delegates to Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2010 struggled with just how to confess systemic complicity in the Indian Residential School (IRS) survivors issue while not admitting to being directly abusive in non-existent Mennonite residential schools.

A first step towards healing

Governor-General Michaëlle Jean, flanked by Truth and Reconciliation Commission commissioner Marie Wilson and Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, are pictured during the grand entry of a traditional pow wow during the opening TRC event in Winnipeg, Man, on June 19, 2015. (Photo by Neill von Gunten)

Feature | By By Janet Plenert | Aug 26, 2010

As prayers began, a hush fell over the crowd and numerous people pointed to the sky. The great spirit, the eagle, hovered overhead. Surely it was a clear sign of God’s presence and blessing as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) launch in Winnipeg, Man., drew to a close on June 19.

The stories I heard were many: a mix of pain and hope, of betrayal and determination, and, very often, a testimony to the strength of Canada’s aboriginals.

“I am a survivor of a survivor,” said one young man.

How complicit are Mennonites in Residential School Abuse?

Leann Sleigh, painfully sharing how three generations of residential school forced family separations, sexual and physical abuse leading to alcoholism and parental abuse, offers her moccasins to a collection of native artifacts “for those who walked before us.” A red cedar box holding artifacts and documents was commissioned by the TRC as a “lasting tribute” to school survivors. (Photo by Evelyn Rempel Petkau)

Feature | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Aug 26, 2010 | 1 comment

We need to listen deeply and cry with pain at the injustice government policy and racism have caused, says Janet Plenert

Forgiveness to what end?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | Aug 26, 2010

The Lutherans have asked us to forgive them for their violent persecution of us in the 16th century, laying to rest, as the Mennonite World Conference reporter, Byron Rempel Burkholder puts it, “500 years of guilt.”