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Canadian Mennonite wins four CCP awards

Artbeat | By By Ross W. Muir | May 31, 2010

Coverage of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly in Paraguay and John H. Neufeld’s three-part series, “Reading the Bible for all its Worth,” earned first-place honours for Canadian Mennonite at this year’s Canadian Church Press (CCP) convention and awards banquet, held in Toronto from May 13 to 15. The assembly coverage won for “In-depth Treatment of a News Event: Magazine,” while Neufeld’s work won for “Biblical Interpretation,” a category open to both magazines and newspapers.

Senior tour guides inspire senior travellers

John Ruth a retired English professor and author, right, has led TourMagination tours since 1974.

Focus On | By By Susan Fish | May 31, 2010

Turning 65 used to mean it was time to trade in the company car for a rocking chair, but today organizations recognize the value of wisdom and life experience gained by older people. TourMagination, a Mennonite tour company founded in 1970, has long recognized that many of its tour leaders are on their second—or even third—career.

Bechtel Lecturer focuses on Mennonites in the Dutch Enlightenment

Ernst Hamm, left, this year’s Bechtel Lecturer at Conrad Grebel University College, discusses his presentation on “Science and Mennonites in the Dutch Enlightenment” with Michael Driedger, centre, professor of history and liberal arts at Brock University, and Conrad Grebel academic dean Jim Pankratz

God at work in the Church | By by Dave Rogalsky | May 19, 2010

During his 2010 Bechtel Lecture presentations at Conrad Grebel University College, Ernst Hamm held that as 17th and 18th century Dutch Mennonites were involved in commerce, industry, trade and society in general, they were also involved in the explosion of creativity of the “Dutch Golden Age” and the beginning of the Enlightenment.

Is our green green enough?

Editorial | By Dick Benner | May 17, 2010

Not very, unfortunately.

While Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is to be commended for its newly stated goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20 percent over the next 10 years, we have to ask, with our New Order Voice columnist, Will Braun: “Why has it taken so long?”

How green is my MCC?

Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s Winnipeg headquarters had geothermal heating installed in October 2008 in order to reduce the carbon emissions it takes to heat the office building.

Feature | By By Rachel Bergen | May 17, 2010

While Will Braun applauds Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for its commitment to shrink its carbon footprint by 20 percent over the next 10 years, he wonders whether it is just “belt-tightening” or setting a new environmental paradigm, whether it is “leading or following.”

Reflections on leadership

Viewpoints | By Gerd Bartel | May 17, 2010

As I think back on my seven years of leadership in Mennonite Church British Columbia, I am filled with thanksgiving and hope at what has transpired and what I have experienced. In these years we have experienced a rollercoaster ride of diverse opinions, misunderstandings, accusations and finger-pointing without dialogue, and also many attempts at understanding and cooperation mixed with a perseverance and trust that God will lead us through the wilderness.

Rebutting ‘a pernicious message’

Viewpoints | By Aiden Enns | May 17, 2010

My growing faith in Jesus has led me to see annual assemblies as increasingly blah. This feels inappropriate to say, yet necessary.

By my actions, I declare my commitment to the Mennonite church, its periodicals, congregations and schools. But in my heart I am succumbing to the lure of a difficult dimension of the gospel that causes those in power to grumble.

The dangerous question

Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | May 17, 2010

When I popped the engagement question I was pretty sure what the answer would be. I was 100 percent sure she was the one for me and 99 percent sure she felt the same.

Crisis leads to faith

After his life began spiralling downhill seven years ago, Len Bergen of Winnipegosis, Man., right, now is serving as a lay minister at Nordheim Mennonite Church while waiting for the Lord’s call taking him and his wife Mary into mission work.

God at work in Us | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | May 17, 2010

When a crisis hit Len Bergen seven years ago, his life began to spiral downward. Now seven years later, he sees how God did not abandon him, but led him through and out of that dark valley to a place that he never could have expected.

Credit union opens its doors to non-Mennonites

Nick Driedger, who retired as chief executive officer of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, poses with his farewell gift, a numbered Peter Etril Snyder print, at the credit union’s annual general meeting last month in Kitchener, Ont.

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | May 17, 2010

It was standing room only at the 46th annual general meeting of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) last month in Kitchener.

Many were there to discuss a board proposal to change the membership bond defining who can and cannot be members of the credit union. The MSCU bond had been restricted to members of Mennonite and Brethren congregations, their children and spouses, and the employees of Anabaptist institutions, such as Mennonite Central Committee, that the congregations support.

Women and girls the solution to development work

Helen Loftin, left, MEDA regional project manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan, shows a shawl—an embellished fabric product from Pakistan—to Jim Brubacher and Sharon Martin Brubacher at the Waterloo, Ont., MEDA annual dinner on March 13 at Floradale Mennonite Church.

God at work in the World | By by Dave Rogalsky | May 17, 2010

A record number of guests came to the annual dinner of the Waterloo chapter of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) last month to hear keynote speaker Helen Loftin give an update of MEDA’s work in Pakistan. Currently regional project manager in Pakistan and Afghanistan, she administers a program that makes small loans to women and trains them in business practices and employee management.

Bill C-11 impinges on refugees’ rights: MCC


God at work in the World | By By Rachel Bergen | May 17, 2010

Imagine that you and your family are refugees from a technically “safe” country, but are experiencing persecution, violence or the threat of violence in your homeland.

To escape this persecution, you flee to a developed country and seek a visa to live there in peace. Because your homeland is classified as “safe” by this developed country, you are not permitted to stay since your homeland and the people there are not considered to be a threat to you or your family.

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


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.


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


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.