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Conversion: As Scales Falling from the Eyes

The late Jim Reimer, a member at Rockway Mennonite Church since 1975, was a regular preacher and was instrumental in starting a lay preaching team, according to Scott Brubaker-Zehr, pastor. Started as a church plant of First Mennonite 50 years ago, Rockway's active membership is 157.

Web First - Sermons | By Sermon by A. James Reimer, given March 28, 2010 | Sep 28, 2010 | 1 comment

Introduction

I have chosen two texts to illustrate my sermon, which are not part of today’s lectionary selections: the conversion of Paul described in Acts 9 (vs. 10-19), and the healing of the man born blind in John 9 (vs. 1-12). In the first, we read of Saul travelling to Damascus, being struck down blind by a light from heaven and addressed by the risen Jesus, whose followers Saul has been persecuting.

Rabbi warns of 'new intifada'

A Palestinian man works at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yakir, south of the Palestinians town of Nablus.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Judith Sudilovsky | Sep 27, 2010

Hours after a freeze on West Bank Israeli settlement construction expired, bulldozers moved into an area close to Revava, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, with many residents mindful of an earlier reminder that settler activity can be volatile.

At a joint press conference in Paris with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on Monday, Sept. 27, expressed his regret that Israel had not extended the moratorium on new settlement building which had expired at the preceding midnight.

Muslims call for religion in school

Bulgarian clergymen and Orthodox believers marched on Sept. 24 to voice their support for the introduction of a mandatory religion course in schools, submitting a petition to that end in Parliament and to the Government.--Photo by Georgi Kozhouharov

Web First - News from ENI | By By Ivan Andreev | Sep 27, 2010

The head of Bulgaria's Muslim community has announced his backing for a campaign by the country's Orthodox Church to make religious education compulsory in schools. 

The church held a mass march in Bulgaria's capital of Sofia on Sept. 24 in support of its aim as protestors shouted against "60 years of atheism", introduced during the communist era.

UN summit gets mixed grades

Robert J. (Jack) Suderman, recently retired general secretary for Mennonite Church Canada, urged world religious leaders to "stop teaching and justifying violence" in our faith communities, as part of a World Religious Summit this past June. His appeal got into the language of the 8 goals.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Chris Herlinger and Peter Kenny | Sep 24, 2010

Political leaders at the summit acknowledged that progress towards achieving the eight MDGs by 2015 is not where it should be

Publishing/Third Way merge

Ron Rempel, who retires next summer as executive director of MPN after seven years, eliminated a legacy debt of almost $5 million; created a major new Sunday school curriculum, called Gather ‘Round; and brought costs under control through consolidation and downsizing.

Web First | By By John Longhurst | Sep 24, 2010 | 1 comment

Dynamic, innovative, fully-integrated and multi-media—that’s the goal of a new organization to be formed out of an integration of Mennonite Publishing Network (MPN), the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, and Third Way Media, a department of Mennonite Mission Network.

Prayers for peace in Africa

During “21 days of Peace Activism” Africa Youth Ministries in northern Uganda invited 900 churches to pray, sing, march, and debate together for peace.

Web First | By World Council of Churches release | Sep 22, 2010

 “We pray for Africa, especially for Somalia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo where violence and suffering are a tragic reality,” was the prayer from Nairobi at an International Day of Prayer for Peace event sponsored by the All-Africa Conference of Churches.

In Jos, Nigeria, prayers for peace included Muslims and Christians praying together in the wake of community and church burnings, looting and killings.

Stop devastation of Jordan River

Friends of the Earth Middle East do a big jump into the Jordan River.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Judith Sudilovsky | Sep 22, 2010

The European Parliament has expressed concern at devastation to the Jordan River and has called on Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to "cooperate and rehabilitate" it.

The river holds special importance for Christians due to the Bible saying Jesus was baptised in it.

Still Speedy after all these years

Phil Helmuth, executive director of development at EMU, accepts the keys and title to Margaret Martin Gehman's 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Photo by Jim Bishop

Web First | By By Jim Bishop | Sep 20, 2010

At age 88, Margaret Martin Gehman of Harrisonburg has lost a little of her trademark drive, largely because she has parted company with a faithful friend.

Dr. Gehman and her trusty, albeit a bit rusty, mechanical steed, a blue 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, are almost synonymous to many observers. For years she motored the streets of the greater Harrisonburg area even though she preferred walking to as many destinations as possible. She has been a
resident of Park Place at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community since
2005.

Church burns near site of Russian tsar's remains

The monastery was founded in 2000 at the old mine where the bodies were dumped during the Revolution. --BBC photo

Web First - News from ENI | By By Sophia Kishkovsky | Sep 20, 2010

Fire has destroyed one of the main churches at a monastery near where the remains of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II and his family were dumped after they were murdered by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918. 

Indonesian church leaders call attack on Christians 'barbaric'

Police officers stand guard as Pondok Timur Indah Christians worship in a field in Bekasi. --AP photo in the Jakarta Globe

Web First - News from ENI | By By Hisashi Yukimoto | Sep 17, 2010

Leaders of the Protestant Christian Batak Church, a Lutheran church in Indonesia, have condemned the beatings and stabbings of its pastor and church members in Bekasi, outside the capital Jakarta in West Java, on Sept. 12.

"Rev. Mother Luspida Simanjuntak, Mr Sintua Hasian and several other church members were suddenly attacked by some unidentified men riding a motorcycle," said Bishop Bonar Napitupulu and the general secretary, the Rev. Ramlan Hutahaean, on Sept. 15. 

Pope's visit to address skepticism

Pope Benedict arrives in Edinburgh today, Sept. 16, where secularism is growing and Christianity is declining.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Trevor Grundy | Sep 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is likely to focus on religious freedom during the first official State visit by a pontiff to Britain, where secularism is growing and Christianity declining.

The Pope is also likely to face scrutiny at a time of global questioning of secrecy in the Roman Catholic Church and the attitudes of its hierarchy on social issues that are seen as out of step with the norms of many people.

Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite to dedicate new facility

Chinda Kommala, pastor of the Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite, shows members of the Mennonite Men (now Joint Hands) the new worship centre in Toronto toward which the MM donated $40,000. The presentation was made at a “Join Hands” luncheon meeting held at Assembly this summer in Calgary.

Web First | By Dick Benner | Sep 15, 2010 | 1 comment

When Chinda Kommala opens the doors next Sunday, Sept. 26, to a newly-renovated 2,000-square foot worship centre, known as Unit 23 in the 70-unit commercial/professional mall on the corner of Westin and Finch, it will be a celebration of mammoth proportions, but not without struggle.

Heaven trumps hell in Canadian poll

Web First - News from ENI | By By Ron Csillag | Sep 15, 2010

-"Hell is a half-filled auditorium," wrote the U.S. poet Robert Frost.

In Canada, it's slightly less full.

According to new poll, a bit more than half of Canadians believe in heaven, but less than a third believe in hell, Religion News Service reports.

About 53 percent said they believe in life after death; about 27 percent said they believe in reincarnation and half expressed belief in religious miracles.

350 reasons to care for the Earth

Christine Penner participates in Hope Mennonite Church’s YouTube video that presents 350 biblical reasons for Christians to care for the Earth.

God at work in the World | By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Sep 15, 2010

Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg produced a video for YouTube expressing its belief that God calls Christians to look after creation.

The idea was conceived on Peace Sunday, November 2009. On that Sunday, the congregation divided into small groups to discuss how they could make a public declaration for peace.

“One group focused on the issue of creation care, as this was the passion of one particular member of that group,” recalls Pastor Lynell Bergen. “And somehow the idea of doing a video for YouTube came up.”

Recovering a tradition of preserving food

Artbeat | By By John Longhurst | Sep 14, 2010 | 1 comment

Not that long ago, many people knew how to preserve food. Information about canning, freezing and drying was passed down from generation to generation. But that’s not the case today, say Susanna Meyer and Mary Clemens Meyer, co-authors of Saving the Seasons: How to Can, Freeze or Dry Almost Anything, a new book from Herald Press.

“Many younger people today want to preserve food, but don’t know how to do it,” says Susanna. “Maybe their grandmother canned, or their mother used to, but that generational knowledge hasn’t been passed down.”

Caring about how we deal with our money

Like most CEOs, Brent Zorgdrager finds his desk at the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union head office in Kitchener, Ont., filled with work.

God at work in Us | By by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 14, 2010

Brent Zorgdrager’s surname translates from Dutch to English as “sorrow carrier or caregiver,” an apt description of the new chief executive officer of Mennonite and Savings Credit Union.

Zorgdrager had been an assistant vice-president and CFO of group retirement savings in the Canadian division of a large insurance company before coming to the credit union as its chief financial officer in 2006.

25 years of silence

Gene and Mary Herr opened the Hermitage in 1985. This photograph was taken in 1996.

God at work in the Church | By By Will Braun | Sep 14, 2010

Technically, there is no such thing as a Mennonite monk. But if you travel to a remodelled century-old barn in the rolling countryside of southern Michigan, you will find some decidedly monk-like Mennonites. At the Hermitage—a Mennonite-run spiritual retreat centre—directors David and Naomi Wenger welcome pilgrims to a setting of quiet, stillness and prayer.

Hi, my name is Imvu

Imvu enjoyed the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament held in South Africa this summer.

God at work in the World | By By Deborah Froese | Sep 14, 2010

A passion for writing children’s stories and a desire to engage children in church life gave birth to Imvu, a small knitted sheep who connects Mennonite Church Canada ministry in South Africa with children around the world.

Let them stay

Poster courtesy of www.nooneisillegal.org

Viewpoints | By By Edmund Pries | Sep 14, 2010

For 500 years the Mennonite narrative has been dominated by stories of forced migration, escapes from persecution and the search for a place of refuge—often desperate quests for freedom to practise our faith or chosen lifestyle, and the burning desire to live and raise our children in peace. Ethno-cultural, religious and economic factors were usually fully intertwined.

Surviving eco shock

Viewpoints | By Aiden Enns | Sep 14, 2010

I long to find pristine wilderness and be thrilled by its sheer existence. I want the wonder of the wild to flow back into my domestic life and animate me as I sit in front of a computer on a street made for cars.

But I’m afraid that the wild places are gone. Not only have we explored every corner, we’ve also left our waste behind. I wish I could swim in the sea, chew on a blade of grass, or pluck a tomato from our garden (where trucks “fog” with poison to kill mosquitoes) without worrying about foreign substances that will make me sick.

The mission-shaped home

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Sep 14, 2010

During a worship gathering my four-year-old daughter was smitten by the arrival of snacks. The samples of juice and bread coming our way grabbed her attention and probably reminded her of that lady who passes out similar bite-sized temptations at the grocery store.

Enviously watching as I took a small cup and a less than filling piece of bread in hand, she pleaded to have some as well. I said no and “no” is not something little people like to hear. How was I going to avoid an unholy fit at this holy moment?

For discussion

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Sep 14, 2010

1. How concerned would you be if you had Muslim neighbours? How fearful are most North Americans of Muslims? Is this fear justified? What would you say to those who oppose the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York City? Do you think Muslim refugees are less welcome in Canada than other refugees?

2. What are the benefits and/or drawbacks of building bridges between Mennonites and Muslims? Is this something our churches should be working at?

The new name for ‘love of neighbour’

Feature | By Book Reviewed by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 14, 2010

On Spirituality chronicles the third Shi’i Muslim-Mennonite Christian dialogue that took place during the spring of 2007 at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont.

A primer on Muslim groups and beliefs

Feature | By By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 14, 2010

Islam is one of the two largest religions in the world, with the other being Christianity. Figures differ, but it is clear that Islam is an alive and growing religion.

Interfaith bridgebuilding

Ray and Susan Martin of East Zorra Mennonite Church, Tavistock, Ont., visit with Fauzia Mazhar and her daughter Mehar Nayyar at the Floradale potluck.

Feature | By by Dave Rogalsky | Sep 14, 2010

Burton Buller came to Ontario’s Waterloo Region this spring to explore the many Mennonite-Muslim activities taking place in the community for a new documentary exploring peace traditions in both the Christian and Muslim faiths.

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