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Visit Europe the Mennonite way

Focus On | By Mennonite Heritage Tours Release | Oct 13, 2010

Starting next summer—the year of celebration for Dutch Mennonites—Mennonite Heritage Tours will offer four new heritage tours for Mennonites from all over the world.

Mennonite Heritage Tours is based in the Netherlands and was founded by a Dutch Mennonite, Ayold Fanoy, a son of Dutch Reformed (Calvinist) parents who was baptized as a child. In his 20s, Fanoy joined the Dutch Mennonites, called the Doopsgezinden, having been attracted by the Mennonite peace stance, believer’s baptism and their way of following Jesus in daily life.

Consider travelling with a group

During a stop of the Lehman homestead in the Jura area of France, TourMagination travellers check out a family chart.

Focus On | By By Susan Fish | Oct 13, 2010

While we each appreciate different aspects of travel, many people assume travelling with a tour group is not for them. They associate tour groups with older people or a lack of flexibility.

While this may sometimes be the case, there are times when joining a tour group is a great fit for nearly every traveller.

Let the dialogue on sexuality ‘break forth’

Artbeat | By By Youtha C. Hardman-Cromwell | Oct 13, 2010

Those who believe in a creating God must acknowledge that a bodily existence—our sexuality—and our spiritual essence—our souls—are both part of God’s creative action in bringing forth into existence human beings.

We are human because we are embodied souls. Jesus was incarnated, becoming an embodied spirit, and, thereby, fully human.

Helping Christians talk about sexuality

Artbeat | By By John Longhurst | Oct 13, 2010

Anne Krabill Hershberger is editor of the second edition of Sexuality: God’s Gift (Herald Press, 2010). In July, she spoke to John Longhurst of Mennonite Publishing Network about why it’s hard for Christians to talk about sexuality, and about the nature of true intimacy.

Longhurst: Sexuality: God’s Gift first came out in 1999. What is the difference between then and today?

The train that never was

Ross Shantz shows off his Arizona purchase of a Mennonite Central Committee model box car.

God at work in Us | By By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 13, 2010

Ross Shantz, chair of the New Hamburg (Ont.) Mennonite Relief Sale, is an ardent model train enthusiast, so when he and his wife Sandra were on holiday in Phoenix, Ariz., this past winter, they went to a model train show. “What should I look for” among all the train cars, engines and memorabilia? Sandra asked her husband, who suggested Canadian cars, since “they might have something different here than at home.” Some time later, she called him over, exclaiming, “Look at this!” It was a Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) box car.

‘Swimming against the current’

Alejandra Romero, a Colombian, enjoys the “sky swing” at Camp Valaqua, Alta., during this summer’s ‘Planting peace: How do we stop killing each other?’ event that brought together 10 international young adults and a group of their Canadian counterparts.

God at work in the World | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 13, 2010

What does peace look like? “In my context, working for peace is to swim against the current,” writes Alejandra Romero, a Colombian who helps school children with conflict resolution in a country where violence is prevalent. “It is not easy to commit to live in peace when there are people willing to harm you.”

Small company, big story

The Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co. (Alberta) Ltd. celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer with fellowship—and cake.

God at work in the Church | By By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 13, 2010

The 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Mennonite Mutual Insurance Co. (Alberta) Ltd. passed in understated Mennonite fashion, with cake and fellowship at the company’s annual meeting. The quietness belies the significance of this uniquely Albertan success story that has fingers in the past and present, while pointing into the future.

Begun as a mutual aid endeavour among farmers in southern Alberta, for many years the company was run by church volunteers.

From education to formation

Viewpoints | By Will Braun | Oct 13, 2010

I hope no one will be too surprised or disappointed if I put aside my usual social justice subject matter to consider a more general question: How exactly do we become better Christians? I don’t usually use such Sunday school-ish terms, but it’s the closest I can come to what’s on my heart.

Which hill to die on?

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Oct 13, 2010

I’ve entered that stage in life where something called a “teenager” meanders and groans its pimpled way through our home. It’s interesting to watch and talk to. In this new challenge—which I’m loving, by the way—I’m learning the art of compromise.

It’s impossible to live in relationship and not compromise.  But we often build Maginot Lines—or draw lines in the sand—to our own detriment, so let us learn to unearth our hardened embankments.

For discussion

Feature | By Canadian Mennonite | Oct 13, 2010

1. How well would you score on a college entrance biblical literacy quiz? Do you know the answers to the quiz on this page?  How/where did you gain knowledge about the Bible?

2. How has the curriculum used in Sunday school and Vacation Bible School changed in the last 50 years? What do you think has caused this shift? Do these changes indicate that our attitude towards the Bible has changed? Do we expect less of our children than our parents did of us?

Bible literacy quiz

Feature | By By Ross W. Muir | Oct 13, 2010

1. Put the following biblical characters in chronological order.

A. Daniel / B. Adam / C. Moses / D. Paul / E. David

2. Match the quotes (A-E) with the speakers (1-5). Extra points if you know who each speaker was addressing.

A: “Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve . . . . but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

B: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Should there be a test for citizens of God’s kingdom?

Feature | By By John Longhurst | Oct 13, 2010

If I want to become a citizen of the U.S., I need to take a citizenship test. Something similar occurs in Canada when someone wants to become a citizen of this country. The Canadian citizenship test evaluates an applicant’s knowledge of Canada, and includes questions about the government, elections, rights and responsibilities of citizens, and Canadian history and geography.

Why and how should we study the Bible?


Feature | By John Longhurst | Oct 13, 2010

Ervin R. Stutzman, the new moderator of Mennonite Church U.S.A., loves the Bible. He recently shared his passion for knowing the Bible and its story with John Longhurst of Mennonite Publishing Network.

Longhurst: Why is it important to know the Bible?

Stutzman: The Bible provides both a window and a mirror for us.

Through the window of Scripture, we see God’s will and purpose, both for the world and for God’s people.

Thy Word I haven’t hid in my heart

Feature | By By John Longhurst | Oct 13, 2010

Every year since 1995 Wheaton College—one of America’s preeminent Evangelical post-secondary schools—has tested the Bible knowledge of incoming freshmen students.

These students are among the best and brightest of Christian youths in the U.S. Most come from strong churches and have a long history of involvement in Sunday school, youth groups, camps and mission trips. They are students “who are the most intentional about cultivating their faith,” says Wheaton New Testament professor Gary Burge.

The narrative endures

Editorial | By By Dick Benner | Oct 13, 2010

The bad news: Our kids don’t know their Bibles. The good news: They are probably practising it better than many of their elders.

If you take the time to talk with these reportedly biblically illiterate young people, you will find many of them much less materialistic than their biblically literate parents and grandparents, giving much higher priority to relationships than to socio-economic achievements, and living and savouring the present over being driven towards some “success” in the future.

Muslims, Christians can tackle conflicts together

Olav Fykse Tveit is a Norwegian theologian who took up his WCC post in January.

Web First - News from ENI | By By Stephen Brown | Oct 12, 2010

Muslim and Christian leaders need to set up permanent structures of relating to each other to head off potential conflicts in a world where religion is often seen as having a divisive role, the head of the World Council of Churches has said.

"The role of religion in emerging geo-political contexts is rapidly changing," WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit said in a speech to a Oct. 2-8 meeting in Albania of the WCC's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

War Resisters bill defeated

Web First | By Bits and Peaces | Oct 08, 2010

A private member's bill, which would have allowed U.S. conscientious objectors to the Iraq War to remain in Canada, was defeated on second reading in the House of Commons on Sept. 29.  In the final tally, 143 voted against the bill and 136 in favour. 

South African 'moral compass' Tutu officially retires

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu smiles during a press conference --AP file photo

Web First - News from ENI | By By Munyaradzi Makoni | Oct 07, 2010

 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, often described as South Africa's moral compass, officially retired on his 79th birthday saying he wishes to devote time to his wife, Leah, and family.

Tutu, who was a major figure in the struggle against apartheid, announced in July that he would step down from public life, and would stop giving media interviews, from Oct. 7, his birthday.

Peace buses roll through Saskatoon

Stephanie Epp poses in front of a “peace bus.”

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Oct 07, 2010

A grassroots response to Mennonite Church Canada’s Peace in the Public Square initiative is rolling through the streets of Saskatoon. 

‘Must reads’ for thoughtful Mennonites

Web First - Book Reviews | By By Dick Benner, editor/publisher | Oct 07, 2010

The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith. Stuart Murray. Herald Press, 2010, 191 pages.

To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World. James Davison Hunter. Oxford University Press, 2010, 358 pages.

Mennonite German Soldiers

Web First - Book Reviews | By Preview by Notre Dame University Press | Oct 07, 2010

Mennonite German Soldiers:  Nation, Religion, and Family in the Prussian East, 1772–1880, by Mark Jantzen.  University of Notre Dame Press, 2010, 384 pages.

Mennonite German Soldiers traces the efforts of a small, pacifist, Christian religious minority in eastern Prussia—the Mennonite communities of the Vistula River basin—to preserve their exemption from military service, which was based on their religious confession of faith.

Theological differences should be seen as a gift

Web First - Book Reviews | By Reviewed by David Driedger | Oct 07, 2010

The Gift of Difference: Radical Orthodoxy, Radical Reformation. Chris K. Huebner and Tripp York, eds. Canadian Mennonite University Press, 2010, 240 pages. 

The Gift of Difference makes two substantial attempts—first to frame a dialogue between two very different Christian traditions and secondly to explore how these traditions are “differently ethical and differently political.” The thread between the two is the larger question of how to navigate difference, a fearful prospect for many people, especially in the realm of religion.

Mennonites described with biting wit

Web First - Book Reviews | By By Barb Draper | Oct 07, 2010

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home. Rhoda Janzen. Henry Holt and Company, 2009, 241 pages. 

My sister lent me her copy of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress saying, “You’ll hate it, but you’ve got to read this book!” I sat down to read it that afternoon and was surprised that I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would.

Inter-faith council condemns West Bank mosque burning

A Palestinian man shows burnt pages of the Quran inside a West Bank mosque

Web First - News from ENI | By By Judith Sudilovsky | Oct 06, 2010

The Council of the Religious Institutions of the Holy Land has expressed "grave concern" over the Oct. 3 burning by militant Israeli settlers of a mosque in the West Bank village of Beit Fajar near Bethlehem.

"The CRIHL strongly condemns these and similar acts of vandalism and arson which have taken place in the past year," said the council in a 5 October statement. 

Former MWC Executive dies in auto accident

Matiku Thomas Nyitambe during the MWC Executive Committee meetings, July 2009, in Asunción, Paraguay. (Photo by Merle Good)

Web First | By Byron Rempel-Burkholder | Oct 06, 2010

Matiku Thomas Nyitambe, a prominent leader in the Kanisa la Mennonite Tanzania (KMT), was killed in an automobile accident October 3, while driving from his native home of Kirongwe, Tanzania, near the Kenyan border. His wife Penina sustained relatively minor injuries and was released from hospital the next day.