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Making words real

MC Canada delegates prepare to vote on the resolution to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery at last summer’s assembly in Saskatoon. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

Web First | By Sara Anderson and Joe Heikman | Apr 19, 2017

In July 2016, Mennonite Church Canada joined a growing number of Canadian and American church bodies that have officially repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery. Assembly delegates passed a resolution recognizing that the Doctrine is “fundamentally opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and our understanding of the inherent dignity and rights that individuals and peoples have received from God.”

Sara Anderson and Joe Heikman, whose conversation appears below, were part of the group that organized this resolution.

Fraught with possibility

Hereditary chief George Kingfisher, left, and Mennonite landowner Ray Funk chat during a scene from the documentary film, Reserve 107, about land rights in Saskatchewan. (Photo by Brad Leitch)

Feature | By Will Braun | Apr 19, 2017 | 1 comment

Long before the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission or the celebrated United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), we already had a 4,000-page report with 400 recommendations that were praised by chiefs and church officials alike. 

Readers write: April 24, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Apr 19, 2017 | 1 comment

‘Apocalyptic threshold’ is more than a few degrees

Re: “Are we living in the last millennium?” Dec. 12, 2016, page 8,

Phil Wagler’s column is a reminder that apocalyptic predictions are still out there after a history of more than 2,500 years. Sadly for the would-be prophets, to date every one of them has been dead wrong.  

A church in transition

Willard Metzger
Viewpoints | By Willard Metzger | Apr 19, 2017

The times we live in seem to change more rapidly with each passing day. In North America, Europe and elsewhere, protectionist sentiments, growing nationalism and increased border controls are becoming commonplace.

Party with piecaken

The dessert is called a ‘piecaken,’ simply meaning a pie baked into a cake.

Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Apr 19, 2017

“This isn’t really working out the way I imagined,” I mused, as my mother slept in her chair while I worked on her birthday dessert. I had just ended a phone call with my son, my consultant on the somewhat complicated-to-assemble treat. He was a relative expert, having made two of them compared to my none. I had imagined that my mother, no slouch in the bakery department, would be at my side adding her helpful advice to the process. But a long morning trip to Walmart (her request) had sapped her energy, so she snoozed quietly as I soaked up advice and fortitude from my son.

Just imagine

Sherri Grosz
Viewpoints | By Sherri Grosz | Apr 19, 2017

Just imagine you are there, sitting on the hillside, listening to Jesus. It’s past mealtime and your stomach starts to rumble, but his words mesmerize you and you don’t want to leave. You notice the disciples talking together and gesturing to the crowd. Then you see a boy approach and offer a small bundle. You watch Jesus open the bundle, offer a prayer and begin to pass out the food. You know it won’t reach all the way to you; it’s just a small bundle after all. What a surprise when your neighbour passes some bread and then some fish! Then more comes. Then still more.

B.C. Firefighting

Photo: Katie Funk Wiebe Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Apr 19, 2017

Firefighting in British Columbia was one of the tasks assigned to Canadian conscientious objectors (COs) during the Second World War. They were ‘the best firefighters we ever had,’ according to Jim Pedly from the forestry service. From spring 1942 to spring 1944, the COs spent 4,875 days training and on standby, and 8,470 days fighting 234 forest fires. Fighting fires in the B.C. forests with simple equipment such as that pictured must have been hot, dirty and tiring work.

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 7)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Apr 19, 2017

So how does one enrol as an apprentice in the School of Divine Wisdom? The Bible tells us there are a few prerequisites.

The first one is found in Proverbs 4:7: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”

The first time I really paid attention to this verse, I thought, “Are you serious? Thanks for the detailed map to wisdom you’ve drawn for us there, Solomon!”

An idea worth sharing

Karl, left, and Marla Langelotz, Mennonite Church Canada short-term workers serving at Friedenshaus in Ludwigshafen, Germany, address the audience at a TEDx event at the Zurich International School in Switzerland on March 18, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

God at work in the World | By Deborah Froese | Apr 19, 2017

Peace is rooted in building relationships, and that means creating space to get to know one another. With that thought in mind, Karl and Marla Langelotz of Winnipeg addressed an audience at Zurich International School in Switzerland on March 18, 2017, for a TEDx talk they entitled “A modest proposal for world peace.”

TEDx is a localized version of the popular TED Talk conferences whose mission is sharing “ideas worth spreading.”

‘A beautiful way to make peace’

Mariam Al Mahmoud, right, writes an Arabic greeting on the blackboard for Grade 10 students at Rosthern Junior College. Afterwards, Dana Krushel, left, Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan’s migration and resettlement coordinator, invited students to try their hand at writing the greeting. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Apr 19, 2017

The best way to learn about a new culture is to experience it first-hand. Rosthern Junior College (RJC) Grade 10 students recently had the opportunity to learn a little about Middle Eastern culture when two Syrian couples, who came to Rosthern as refugees in 2016, shared with the students about their culture and their Islamic faith.

Bite-sized donors help combat hunger

MCC photo by Bethany Daman

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Apr 19, 2017

This spring marks the third year that Grant Dyck and his family of Artel Farms in Niverville, Man., have dedicated a section of their land to raise sponsored crops for overseas relief. Planting has not yet begun, but, with plenty of summer yet ahead, 175 shares and counting have been purchased in the Grow Hope project that is overseen in the province by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Manitoba. That is already more than last year’s final count.

God’s love trumps politics and policies: Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham

God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Apr 19, 2017

In the lead-up to the Festival of Hope, an evangelistic event headlined by Franklin Graham last month in Vancouver, church leaders representing more than 60 percent of the million Christians in the metro Vancouver area issued a public statement expressing concern about Graham’s “contentious and confrontational political and social rhetoric,” while also saying they love and respect the event organizers and were praying that the city would experience God’s love in “new and profound ways” through the March 3 to 5, 2017, e

Canoes and kayaks for a cause

​Scott Alexander of Sherbrooke Mennonite Church in Vancouver has participated in all but one Camp Squeah paddle-a-thon since 2002. He says he takes part in the annual event because ‘it’s a great group of people, with lots of food and friendship.’ Alexander had won the first-prize canoe in 2014, and this year decided to donate it back to the camp. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Apr 19, 2017

A boisterous and enthusiastic crowd greeted 36 paddlers who came ashore in Fort Langley late in the afternoon of April 9, completing the annual two-day paddle-a-thon in support of Camp Squeah.

The participants set out on the Fraser River from Hope on Saturday morning, battling wet, windy and cold weather, but didn’t let the conditions dampen their spirits. As usual, a hardworking ground crew fed the group at the evening stop near Chilliwack the night before and at Mission on April 9 for lunch. Conditions turned sunnier on the final day, with clear skies and calm waters.

Jan Fretz wins two U. of W. art awards

Jan Fretz explains ‘Unveiling Misogyny’ to a group of friends on April 5, 2017, in the University of Waterloo’s East Campus Hall main art gallery. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 19, 2017

Jan Fretz has been working at her honours four-year fine arts degree at the University of Waterloo for a long time. But the incubation period has paid dividends.

She loves to work in colour, so her faculty advisors encouraged her to work in black and white. And they challenged the painter and printer at heart to work sculpturally.

Fretz had two pieces in the university’s 43rd annual senior undergraduate exhi-bition and came away with two awards and their accompanying cash prizes.

Walking forward changed

Brandi Friesen, second from left, stands with some of the people she travelled through Nigeria with as part of a World Council of Churches program called the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. (Photo courtesy of Brandi Friesen)

Young Voices | By Brandi Friesen | Apr 19, 2017

For the last two years in February, I have been on a pilgrim journey to different regions of the world in need of peace and justice, and I will be doing the same for the next several years. This year, I made my way to the hot, complex and beautiful country of Nigeria.

With a little help from her friends

Originally from Hong Kong, Crystal Lau graduated from Rosthern (Sask.) Junior College in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Lau)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 19, 2017

If it were not for the time she spent studying at Rosthern (Sask.) Junior College (RJC), Crystal Lau might not be making a difference on campus at the University of Saskatchewan (U. of S.) the way she is now.

Foodgrains Bank responding to Somali hunger crisis

During the last major Somali drought in 2011, thousands of people left their nomadic life—no longer able to survive on the land as nomadic herders, with all of their animals dead—and built small shelters on the outskirts of villages. Right now, as drought ravages Somalia, the risk is another famine if help does not come soon. (Canadian Foodgrains Bank file photo by Frank Spangler)

Back Page | By Amanda Thorsteinsson | Apr 19, 2017

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is responding to the hunger crisis in Somalia, where immediate emergency assistance is needed to help prevent a hunger catastrophe.

“At the back of our minds is the 2011 Somalia famine, where a quarter-of-a-million people died of hunger,” says Barbara Macdonald, Foodgrains Bank international programs director. “There is no way that should be allowed to happen again.”

Reclaiming dignity after leaving sex work

As of March 2017, 169 women who formerly worked in Bangladesh’s sex trade have graduated out of Pobitra’s vocational training program. Pobitra, a partner of MCC, helps women recover from trauma, become literate in Bangla and learn job skills. (MCC photo by Elizabeth Derstine)

Web First | By Rachel Bergen, with files from Elizabeth Derstine | Apr 18, 2017

Barsha, whose real name isn’t being used to protect her identity, was 11 when her mother started forcing her to traffic drugs between India and Bangladesh. She was caught several times by police and was afraid of her mother, so she ran away from home and lived in a railway station. During that time she was forced into sex work and raped numerous times.

Reading the Bible with ‘the other’

Janna Hunter-Bowman, left, an assistant professor of peace studies and Christian social ethics at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and Loren Johns, professor of New Testament, right, visit with Hans de Wit, centre, AMBS’s Theological Lectureship guest speaker, on March 2, 2017. (AMBS photo by Annette Brill Bergstresser)

Web First | By Rich Preheim | Apr 18, 2017

Mary Magdalene’s Easter discovery of the empty tomb is the greatest news possible for Christians. But for one group of Peruvians studying the account in John 20, it came shrouded in tragedy and terror.

Thousands of people “disappeared” in the 1980s and ’90s, when the country was devastated by armed conflict between government forces and insurgent groups. That left countless families and friends, including the Bible study group, echoing Mary’s question: “Where have they taken our loved one?”

Mennonites, Lutherans, Catholics discuss baptism

Mennonites, Lutherans and Catholics gathered for the fifth and final Trilateral Dialogue on Baptism (left to right): Alfred Neufeld (co-chair, Paraguay), Theodor Dieter, Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, Marie-Hélène Robert, Larry Miller, Friederike Nüssel (co-chair, Germany), Fernando Enns, John Rempel, Luis Melo, Kaisamari Hintikka, Musawenkosi Biyela, William Henn, Avelindo Gonzalez. (Photo by Wilhelm Unger)

Web First | Apr 18, 2017

Representatives of the Catholic Church (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), the Lutheran World Federation, and Mennonite World Conference met in Augsburg, Germany, February 9-14, 2017, for the fifth meeting of the Trilateral Dialogue Commission on Baptism. The meeting in Augsburg concluded a five-year dialogue process.

Senator urges friendship and solidarity

The Peace Tower in Ottawa is the backdrop for the group photo of participants in MCC Canada’s 2017 student seminar. (Photo by Thomas Coldwell)

Web First | By Esther Epp-Tiessen | Apr 18, 2017

We had gathered in Ottawa—eight MCC staff, along with 30 students and young adults from across the country—for our annual MCC Canada student seminar. The topic of the seminar was Gender, peace and conflict: Exploring the intersection.

One of our guest speakers was Senator Mobina Jaffer. Jaffer has been active in promoting the women, peace and security agenda for many years, and she spoke about that work for several minutes. Then she asked permission to go “off topic.” She wanted to discuss what was really on her heart.

‘I’m pretty earnest about living responsibly’

Creation care is an integral part of Brenda MacDonald’s faith. She sees it as people relating not just to nature but also to one another and to God. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Web First | By Donna Schulz | Apr 07, 2017 | 2 comments

“I’m kind of anti-passion,” says Brenda MacDonald. “I don’t feel I have a passion. I have a lot of interests, and I’m interested in living responsibly. I’m not goal-oriented, but I’m pretty earnest about living responsibly.”

For the retired schoolteacher and her husband, Wayne, living responsibly means doing what they can to protect the environment and reduce consumption. “We try to grocery shop carefully, we bike wherever we can, and we have a garden in the summer.”

But lately, that commitment has gone deeper.

Living with a carbon footprint conundrum

Every year the Canadian Foodgrains Bank supports programs that help poor farmers in the developing world—like Yvette Nicholas of Haiti—deal with the effects of climate change. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank)

Web First | By John Longhurst | Apr 07, 2017

Jane Fonda received lots of criticism last year for travelling to Alberta to criticize future pipeline construction.

Media outlets, including the Winnipeg Free Press, noted the apparent inconsistency between her comments about fossil-fuel extraction and how she flew to Alberta, used a helicopter to tour the oilsands, had her voice amplified by a microphone powered by electricity, and spoke in a building heated to keep out the cold of a Canadian winter.

Church lessons

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Apr 05, 2017 | 2 comments

My church experience has included at least 13 Mennonite churches, a Baptist church, an inter-denominational church and two Catholic schools. That represents more worship services and Sunday school lessons than I can count! Not many details from the sermons and classes stick in my mind, but those experiences taught me many lessons over the years. Here are a few.

Suffering from Bach withdrawal?

Sean Gortzen, founder and conductor of Winnipeg’s new Pax Cantata Chorus, right, is pictured with other members at a rehearsal before their first concert, held April 2, 2017, at Sargent Avenue Mennonite Church. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

Artbeat | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Apr 05, 2017

Sean Gortzen got his first taste of baroque cantata repertoire during his time at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), both on campus and through his involvement with local groups like the Mennonite Festival Chorus.

Captivated by the music, it became a dream of his to sing in a chorus in which he could explore the full range and depth of the genre. Following his graduation in the spring of 2016, he learned that many of his colleagues were also looking for groups to sing with, like they had during their university days.

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