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Youth wanted

There will be room at the table for youth at next month’s Assembly 2017. (Photo courtesy of MC Canada)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Sep 06, 2017

Members of the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) are hoping that financial assistance and special events aimed specifically at high school students will encourage youth to attend Mennonite Church Canada’s special delegate assembly next month.

EVI members will lead special discussions and debriefing sessions for youth at the assembly, which takes place from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg. Youth will also have the opportunity to integrate with adult delegates during table discussions.

A new song for Special Assembly 2017

Phil Campbell-Enns’s song ‘May Your Spirit Give Life’ will feature prominently at the assembly along with the selected theme song, ‘New Earth, Heavens New’ (Hymnal: A Worship Book, No. 299) by Harris J. Loewen. (Photo courtesy of Phil Campbell-Enns)

Artbeat | By Deborah Froese | Sep 06, 2017

Planning Special Assembly 2017 worship might be a daunting task, but with the right team—and the right music—the spirit of the event will follow people home.

With that idea in mind, the worship committee for Mennonite Church Canada’s special assembly in Winnipeg, to be held from Oct. 13 to 15, 2017, is bringing to the event a new song written by Phil Campbell-Enns.

“May Your Spirit Give Life” will feature prominently at the assembly along with the selected theme song, “New Earth, Heavens New” (Hymnal: A Worship Book, No. 299) by Harris J. Loewen.

Readers write: September 11, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Sep 06, 2017

Why aren’t Mennonites holding federal Liberal government to account?
I have been waiting for the deluge of reader letters and opinion columns expressing shock and disappointment that the current federal Liberal government has announced massive increases in military spending, but the silence is deafening.

Pay attention to each other

Viewpoints | By Abe Janzen | Sep 06, 2017 | 2 comments

I am soon transitioning out of a leadership role with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Alberta. Before this, I was a country rep in Bolivia, and before that a director with Fairview College. I was asked to write an Alberta piece for this space and was told it doesn’t need to be about leadership. Maybe it isn’t. I think it’s about community.  

When coffee replaces swords

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Sep 06, 2017

Five hundred years ago, our spiritual ancestors were on the cusp of an extended bloodbath of religious violence. In marked contrast, I just enjoyed a three-hour conversation over coffee. Our time was filled with laughter, joy and mutual sharpening. We parted ways with warm hugs. What a difference half a millennium has made. Thanks be to God!

Midwestern recipe has surprising origin

Willa and Ken Reddig (Photo courtesy of Ken Reddig)

Viewpoints | By Ken Reddig | Sep 06, 2017

The intercultural migration of foods is very interesting. My mother-in-law, Helen (Faul) Fadenrecht, who lived in North Dakota, regularly made a recipe she called Bean Sprouts, because that was the primary ingredient. Helen was a good cook, considered one of the best in the community, and her Bean Sprouts dish was unusual and delicious. It became one of her specialties.

Helen’s Bean Sprouts

Web First | By Ken Reddig | Sep 06, 2017

This recipe is a family favourite for Ken and Willa Reddig and was regularly served in Willa’s home when she was growing up in the 1950s and 60s. While on their honeymoon, 50 years ago, Ken and Willa made a surprising discovery about the recipe’s origins. To see that story, go to “Midwestern recipe has surprising origin.” 

Meat Sauce
1 lb. round steak or stewing beef, cubed
1 tablespoon oil
1½ cups water
2 tablespoons flour

Bill Koop

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Sep 06, 2017

Bill Koop sits on a stack of Mennonite history books, leaning against the Fort Garry (Man.) Mennonite Brethren Church sign. Recently deceased Canadian storyteller and broadcaster Stuart McLean wrote in Vinyl Café Turns the Page: “Choosing a hero is a delicate business, one that shouldn’t be undertaken frivolously. For the heroes we choose, whether real or imagined, whether from the world of fact or from the pages of fiction, will determine, to a greater or lesser degree, the things that we do, and if we allow them the privilege, the lives that we lead.” Who are your heroes?

Embracing traditions

Mel Harms takes a selfie on Vancouver Island this summer. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Viewpoints | By Mel Harms | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

Have you ever wondered about your family traditions? What are they and when did they come to be? That’s been me this summer. Every summer we have our “must do” plans, and my girls go along without question because it’s tradition. This year, it became clear that some of our habits have become family traditions.

‘We sing the same songs’

Mennonite choir members, first nations drummers and dancers, and recent immigrants from the Saskatoon Open Door Society gather for a group photo at the “Shared Land, Shared Song” event. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

“Next to food as a gift from God . . . song pulls us together.” With these words, Harry Lafond welcomed singers, dancers and audience members to a very special concert.

Muskeg Lake Cree Nation hosted the culture-sharing event, which took place Aug. 20 in a large outdoor shelter known as the Arbour. The people of Muskeg Lake and Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s Walking the Path Committee worked together to plan the event.

Back to school around the world

Guarderia Moises: Santa Cruz, Bolivia
MCC partners with Stansberry Children’s Home. The children’s home has been a refuge for abandoned children since 1954. It also runs a daycare program called Guarderia Moises, providing a safe, educational environment in which children can learn and grow while their parents are focussed on sustaining their families. Pictured, students in the pre-Kindergarten class attend classes at the daycare program. (Stansberry photo by Juliane Kozel)

God at work in the World | By Rachel Bergen | Sep 06, 2017

When a child learns, communities benefit and lives change. From Afghanistan to Canada, and Bangladesh to Burkina Faso, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is promoting education in order to foster leadership capabilities and help young people overcome obstacles locally and around the world. By working alongside local communities and partners, MCC hopes to increase access to education, improve the quality of learning, support vocational training and promote peace. Welcome to class.

—Corrected Sept. 27, 2017

A life well lived

God at work in Us | By Joanna Reesor-McDowell | Sep 06, 2017

A large group of family members and friends gathered in Markham, Ont., on March 18 to remember the life of Harold Reesor, who died at the age of 86, six days previous. Although his early and later years were lived in the Markham/Stouffville area, where his Reesor ancestors settled 200 years ago, he lived in Quebec for more than four decades, working as a mission worker and farmer.

Celebrating 125 years of God’s faithfulness

Mary Krause, left, Barb Froese and Mel Siemens reminisce over a display of old photographs at Eigenheim Mennonite Church’s 125th-anniversary celebration. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017

When members of Eigenheim Mennonite Church realized it had been 25 years since the church’s centennial, they decided it was time for another celebration. To mark the congregation’s 125th anniversary, planners chose “Celebrating God’s faithfulness” as their theme.

Spiritual lessons learned from wood

Ken Roth with some of the many dishes he has made in his retirement. The Trinity bowl, front row right, is prominent. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 06, 2017

When Ken Roth retired, he was looking for a hobby that would be creative, be a blessing to himself and others, and needn’t be profitable.

A member of East Zorra Mennonite Church near Tavistock, where he lives, Roth has served on the pastoral care team there for many years. Having worked in construction and as a cabinet maker and carpenter, he struck on woodworking, mostly lathe-turned bowls and platters, with some wooden serving dishes carved with an angle grinder when the piece doesn’t suit the lathe.

Surrey church embraces Karen refugees

Living Hope Christian Fellowship, of Surrey B.C.,  likes to have fun during worship services, including an installation service for youth pastors Derek Dovale and Bless Len. (Living Hope Christian Fellowship photo)

Web First | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 06, 2017 | 1 comment

For Living Hope Christian Fellowship of Surrey, hosting Karen refugees from Burma is not a movie plot, it’s reality.

Beginning in 2006, Karen refugees started moving into low-income housing near Living Hope, including the Thein family, who were first part of Cedar Hills Mennonite Church, Living Hope’s predecessor. The Theins had first settled in Yarrow and were part of the Yarrow United Mennonite Church before moving to Surrey.

Review: Refugees grow faith from seeds of hope

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Sep 06, 2017

Episcopalian priest Michael Spurlock has a problem. His diocese has ordered him to oversee the closing of the dying All Saints Church in Tennessee, but then a group of Karen refugees from Southeast Asia start attending. Michael senses God’s call and sees an opportunity for both the congregation and the immigrants to prosper through farming a small plot of land adjoining the church. The crops grown can both feed the congregants and be sold to pay the bills.

MDS volunteers heading to Bloomington, Texas

Mennonite Disaster Service workers and county officials speak with an unidentified homeowner in Bloomington, Texas, about the damage to his home by Hurricane Harvey. MDS volunteer project coordinator Carl Dube, left, speaks with the homeowner, along with Victoria County commissioner Danny Garcia and Wayne Stuckey, MDS Region 3 board chair. (MDS photo by Nate Schlabach)

Web First | Sep 02, 2017

The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) assessment team moved deeper into the devastating footprint of Hurricane Harvey on August 31, 2017, as they visited the town of Bloomington, Texas, southwest of Houston in Victoria County, U.S.A.

The impact of Harvey suddenly became more intense for the team as the damage was evident “block after block” in the town, according to MDS executive director Kevin King, who is leading the assessment team. “There is hardly anyone here right now, but of those who are, some are sleeping outside on sofas under tarps.”

Readers write: August 28, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Aug 23, 2017

National church needs to continue leading the way to reconciliation
The following letter was originally written to Mennonite Church Canada’s Interim Council and is reprinted at the authors’ request.

As walkers on the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights, we write to share our gratitude for the leadership and vision offered through MC Canada that made this walk possible. However, we also express our hope and concern for the future as the church continues to work towards reconciliation and just relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

Happy birthday, CM!

Virginia A. Hostetler
Editorial | By Virginia A. Hostetler | Aug 23, 2017

On my bookshelf sit 19 bound volumes of Canadian Mennonite. I’m looking at Vol. 1, No. 1, published on Sept. 15, 1997. Yes, that means that, come Sept. 15, we will celebrate 20 years of this magazine in its current form.

A community with a sense of ‘we’

The interior of Sarah’s house is somewhat plain but very practical. (Photo by Barb Draper)

Feature | By Barb Draper | Aug 23, 2017 | 1 comment

I was humbled and challenged when I spent the day with some of my Old Order Mennonite relations recently.

Relational trust

Ryan Siemens
Viewpoints | By Ryan Siemens | Aug 23, 2017

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight” (Proverbs 3:5).
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).

God’s heartbreak

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Aug 23, 2017

While training as a family therapist, I learned the term “emotional cut-off.” It was not a dynamic I was personally familiar with; my particular family tends to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. We are often so closely entwined in each other’s lives that a little more breathing space would be desirable, healthy even. As it suggests, emotional cut-off refers to ruptures in families. Relationships become so heated and painful that one or more persons cut off contact with others. A realistic metaphor is that of amputation.

Contagious generosity

Kevin Davidson
Viewpoints | By Kevin Davidson | Aug 23, 2017

For many years my wife and I raised our family in an older community with many beautiful boulevard trees but very few young families. Despite our best efforts, our neighbours were aloof and at times confrontational, but we loved our little home and the family we were building there.

Sieburg women

(Photo from the Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Aug 23, 2017

Who are these five women from Siegburg, Germany, in 1919? We don’t know for certain, but on Jan. 13, soldier Gordon Eby wrote that he and an army buddy “called at the home of the Krohn family—Hubertina, Maria, Lena, Katie and Bettie.” Eby was a long way from his home and Mennonite roots in Kitchener, Ont., when his battalion was quartered in Germany after the Armistice. Speaking German helped open doors for him to the warmth of German hospitality towards former “enemies.” This is the kind of war story that seldom gets told. Why is that?

Simple but not easy

Dan Dyck
Viewpoints | By Dan Dyck | Aug 23, 2017

Catching up on Witness worker reports, I came across an update from Mary Raber, who teaches at the Odessa Theological Seminary in Ukraine, a country continuing to experience turmoil despite the absence of stories in the mainstream news media.

In a class she taught about women in church history, she invited students to tell a story about a woman who had influenced their spiritual lives. Although the particulars of each story varied, three common threads emerged: hospitality, prayer and faithfulness.

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