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Rabbit Lake church

Photo Courtesy of Mennonite Archical Image Databa

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Jun 14, 2017

The Hoffnungsfelder Mennonite Church in Rabbit Lake, Sask., 1938. In 1941, 87 percent of Mennonites were rural dwellers. By 1971, the number crashed to 53 percent and has continued to decline. There has been a massive shift in Mennonite communities toward urbanization, bringing with it new challenges and opportunities. New ways are needed to bridge the growing rural-urban divide, evident in voting, social and congregational practices.

For more historical photos in the Mennonite Archival Image Database, see archives.mhsc.ca

Wisdom, where art thou? (Pt. 9)

Troy Watson
Viewpoints | By Troy Watson | Jun 14, 2017

For centuries, people who questioned the church and its dogma were silenced and at times persecuted. The church coerced the masses to acquiesce to its doctrine by shaming sceptics and denouncing doubters. To say this was wrong would be a colossal understatement.

The truth is, the church needs doubters and sceptics for its own good. Healthy doubt is essential to learning and growing in all areas of life. It is an essential element of genuine faith. It is a gift from God.

Growing leaders in five years

Jean Lehn Epp, centre, leads youth pastors/workers through a visioning process within their church or support group, drawing congregational leaders, youth sponsors and youth together.

God at work in the Church | By Lisa Williams | Jun 14, 2017

“Kenda Creasy Dean writes in one of her books that youth ministry is a spiritual discipline,” says Jean Lehn Epp, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s youth pastor/worker coach. “To me, that was eye-opening—my ‘aha!’ moment. I was not just doing youth ministry, but it felt to me that I was embracing ministry.”  

Lehn Epp has been involved in youth and family ministry throughout the area church as an ordained minister.

PhD student saves ‘history’ from the shredder

When Jeremy Wiebe heard that the remaining inventory of Mennonites in Canada (Vols. 1–3) were in danger of being shredded to save warehouse storage fees, he took action. (Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies photo)

God at work in the Church | By Conrad Stoesz | Jun 14, 2017 | 1 comment

When Jeremy Wiebe heard that the remaining inventory of Mennonites in Canada (Vols. 1-3) were in danger of being shredded to save warehouse storage fees, he took action. Using his computer programming skills and an offer from the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies to take care of transportation to Winnipeg, storage and shipping, Wiebe established a web store with e-commerce capabilities that went live on April 12, 2017.

Saskatchewan youth honour the earth all night

Ric Driediger, right, leads participants in the Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization’s Honouring the Earth event in solving a murder mystery. (Photo by Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

God at work in the Church | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Jun 14, 2017

Honouring the Earth, an annual Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization event, took place April 18 and19, 2017, in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan and Rosthern Junior College (RJC).

The event started at MCC Saskatchewan in Saskatoon with workshops and discussion around what it might mean to be a refugee, and how to make choices when the cost is something greater than money. Youth were then challenged by Jamal Tekleweld from the Sanctuary Saskatoon Alliance to take these lessons and consider what it might mean to make Saskatoon a “sanctuary city.”

A man of ‘Christian faith and its joys and struggles’

Eleanor and Alan Kreider are pictured at an event co-sponsored by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January 2013. (Photo by Joe Raymond)

God at work in Us | By Annette Brill Bergstresser | Jun 14, 2017

Tributes and testimonials in honour of Alan F. Kreider, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) professor emeritus of church history and mission, and a long-time mission worker in England, have been pouring in via the seminary’s Facebook page and alumni Facebook group since his death on May 8, 2017. Kreider, 75, died peacefully in the presence of his family at his home in Goshen, Ind., after having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma last December.

AMBS grads called to engage the ‘whole of life’

Mary H. Schertz, professor of New Testament, gives the address at the 2017 commencement ceremony of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind. Behind Schertz are Sara Wenger Shenk, left, and Rebecca Slough, AMBS’s president and academic dean, respectively.

Focus On Education | By Annette Brill Bergstresser | Jun 14, 2017

Mary H. Schertz encouraged Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) graduates, including Canadian Lee Allan Hiebert of Winnipeg, to hold close “the weariness and wonder of the world and the sorrow and joy of human being” in her commencement address on May 20 at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind.

“And there, in whatever exciting thing you do next . . . you will meet the face and grace of God,” she told them. “You will find sturdy hope; you will find the joy of being a disciple; you will find ways to witness to the dawn breaking upon us from on high.”

So every creature can sing

Artbeat | Jun 14, 2017

If you find the notion of caring for and healing creation formidable—or even hopeless—Mennonite Creation Care Network has a resource that just might change your perspective.

With an accessible approach that draws upon science and faith, the Network has shaped a special 13-week creation-care curriculum around biblical teachings. The original edition of Every Creature Singing was directed towards an American audience, but with support from the Network and Mennonite Central Committee Canada, Mennonite Church Canada has adapted it for Canadians.

New book an aid to ‘identity formation’

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | Jun 14, 2017

Palmer Becker’s “little book,” What Is an Anabaptist Christian? has been translated into many languages and used globally. But as he taught from it in various places around the world, it became apparent that a longer version would be welcome.

To that end, Anabaptist Essentials was published by Herald Press last year after testing in his home congregation of Waterloo North Mennonite Church. Mennonite Church Eastern Canada sent a copy home with each congregation after its annual church gathering in April.

Before I go

Over the past 10 years as youth pastor at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, Paul Loewen, front right, has led 500 youth events, 25 retreats and 25 multi-day service trips, including this 2015 retreat for Grade 12 students. (Photo courtesy of Paul Loewen)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 14, 2017

Paul Loewen is wrapping up his time as youth pastor at Douglas Mennonite Church and he’s given the youth he currently works with a unique gift. He wrote and self-published a book entitled Before I Go: Nine Ideas You Should Know and presented each youth group member with a personal copy last month.

The book is based on the nine devotionals Loewen presented to both the junior and senior high youth groups at the Winnipeg church this past school year. It represents a “best of” the devotionals he has given since he started working at Douglas in 2008.

Called to be a part of the church

‘When the youth let you in, it’s such a gift to be there and walk with them,’ says Carrie Lehn, second from left.

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Jun 14, 2017

Whenever she tells her faith story, Carrie Lehn always mentions her paternal grandmother, who, she says, is a key example of gentleness and love. She always has other people on her radar, Lehn says, writing them letters or cards, bringing them dessert or giving them thoughtful gifts.

“She thinks about those little things that other people forget or don’t notice,” says Lehn, 28. “I want to be someone who is loving and finds a way to walk gently in this world the way she does.”

Three stories of throwing

Kathy Moorhead Thiessen tells stories from a recent visit to the city of Hebron. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Moorhead Thiessen) 

Web First | By Kathy Moorhead Thiessen | Jun 14, 2017

In March 2017, I spent 10 days in Hebron and observed three throwing situations that showed a microcosm of the occupation in that Palestinian city. Hebron, a major city in the southern West Bank, is where some 800 Jewish settlers, protected by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, have moved into the old city, among the Palestinian population.

Palestinian children face harsh realities

A poster in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem recalls the death of a teenager at the hands of the Israeli military. (Photo by Henry Krause)

Web First | By Edith and Henry Krause | Jun 14, 2017

On May 24, 2017, we returned from a two-week learning tour of the West Bank and Israel, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). We were two among eleven participants, mostly from Mennonite churches and MCC staff in British Columbia.

The tour included visits to holy sites, but it focused on visits to MCC’s partners working for peace in the West Bank and Israel. A recurrent theme for these groups is the needs of children.

A Jewish perspective on the Mennonite resolution on Palestine and Israel

Steve McDonald 

Web First | By Will Braun | Jun 14, 2017 | 1 comment

This is an expanded report on an hour-long phone interview I did for the article “Muddying the waters on Israeli divestment.” 

MCC Canada appoints new executive director

Web First | By Laura Kalmar | Jun 08, 2017

After much prayer and discernment, the board of Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) is pleased to welcome Rick Cober Bauman to the role of MCC Canada executive director, effective October 10, 2017.

On engaging millennials

Ally Siebert

Editorial | May 31, 2017 | 3 comments

Millennials, born between 1981 and 2001, are known to be the first generation contending with technology and social media in our personal, professional and relational lives from the start.

We also hear that we’re lazy, entitled, screen-obsessed narcissists (with nice beards and cool cafés). If that weren’t enough, there are plenty of legitimate headlines that decry millennials for “killing” a lot of important things, including hotels, the napkin industry, democracy, handshakes, the European Union and breakfast cereal.

A big fan of Jesus . . . the church not so much

‘In the last couple of years, I’ve been embarrassed to tell people that I went to church or was a Christian. I knew that if I identified that way, people might assume that I am judgmental or racist or holier than thou—the exact opposite of what you’d expect people to think of Christians if we actually lived by the book we say we live our lives by.’—Aaron Dawson

Feature | By Angelika Dawson | May 31, 2017 | 7 comments

A lot has been said and written about millennials: What’s wrong with them? What’s influenced them? What does their future hold?

Google “millennials and the church” and dozens of articles pop up: “5 things millennials wish the church would be,” “12 reasons why millennials are over church,” or “Is Christianity dark enough for millennials?” So much hand-wringing and wondering why our young adults are leaving the church, like this is something that’s never happened before.

Readers write: June 5, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

What does—and doesn’t—define us
Sometimes I think most of our Mennonite lay people, like myself, don’t realize how serious the Future Directions endeavour is that is going on right now. Many think that they are just another bunch of meetings, followed by numerous serious people making long, wordy pronouncements, and then, probably, not much will change.

Spaces of trust

Liz Weber

Viewpoints | By Liz Weber | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

“We aren’t going to lose youth because we haven’t entertained them. We’ll lose them because we haven’t trusted or challenged them.”

I heard this quote from Shane Claiborne at a conference in 2012, and it came back to me a few weeks ago at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering during a lunch meeting with leaders of youth.

Microfilm

Photo: MB Herald Photograph Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | May 31, 2017

An idea mixed with passion and solid financial support were the ingredients that combined for a great accomplishment. In 1977 and ’78, young Bill Reimer from Winnipeg set out with elder statesman J.B. Toews  to cross North America in a truck and trailer microfilming congregational records. Working 12-hour days, the pair collected, sorted, and filmed more than 175,000 pages of documents that now make up 30 rolls of microfilm. Mennonite Brethren commentator John H.

‘I expected better from you’

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

I’ll never forget the moment that Bill came to sit with me in the penalty box. I was rather embarrassed.

It was a Bible college intramural hockey game. I had been a little chippy with my stick. I had been a little lippy with my mouth. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time that game. The referee didn’t appreciate my antics, and off to the box I went. As I settled in for my two minutes of reflection in solitude, my teammate Bill climbed in too. “Um, Bill,” the referee queried, “what are you doing? We didn’t give you a penalty.”

Hearing each other

Jonas Cornelsen

Viewpoints | By Jonas Cornelsen | May 31, 2017

Hearing each other well is essential for being church. This is a delicate theme, because we aren’t doing it well. The effects of distance—both geographical and theological—are being felt within and among our churches.

Reading the responses we collected on our Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) 2016-17 workshop tour, and reflecting on my experience, I notice two major threads:

• We feel strain in our relationships. We desire unity, but it’s hard work.

• We feel a disconnect between different “levels” of Mennonite Church Canada.

Seeking spiritual renewal through prayer

Workshop presenter Betty Pries draws the life of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan as a river. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | May 31, 2017 | 1 comment

Where does one begin to renew a church? According to Betty Pries, the best place to start is with prayer, saying, “Finding our way through times of spiritual upheaval depends on spiritual renewal.”

Pries, who is a managing partner with the L3 Group in Waterloo, Ont., was the presenter at a workshop hosted by Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. Entitled “Refresh, refocus, renew: Open to God’s leading,” the workshop was held on April 28 and 29, 2017, at Mount Royal Mennonite Church in Saskatoon.

Faith in the Age of the Anthropocene

Randy Haluza-Delay holds up two books he highly recommends on the topic of creation care and faith: Shalom and the Community of Creation by Randy S. Woodley, and Shalom the Bible’s Word for Peace by Perry B. Yoder. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | May 31, 2017

“I believe this is the defining issue of our time, how humans relate to creation.”

Caleb Gingrich, a student at McGill University in Montreal, was so taken by the theme of Mennonite Church Alberta’s annual Faith Studies event that he travelled across Canada to take it in. Gingrich, who is currently working on a research project called “Economics and the Anthropocy,” commented, “My faith is important to me, I was looking for an opportunity to see how these two parts of me come together.”

‘It doesn’t feel so lonely anymore

The final rally at the Human Rights Monument, with walkers standing under the inscription, ‘All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ (Photo by Ally Siebert)

God at work in the World | By Ally Siebert | May 31, 2017

The crowd that gathered at the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa on May 13 didn’t allow the rain to dampen their celebration of the arrival of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights.

More than 30 walkers rallied together with indigenous leaders, government officials and a few hundred supporters to mark the completion of their 600-kilometre journey and to demand that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) be fully adopted and implemented by the federal government.

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