Subscribe to Syndicate
Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

Be a CO at tax time

Feature | By Mary Groh | Apr 05, 2017

Religious wars raged in 16th-century Europe between Catholics and Protestants. In northern Holland, Jan Smit was captured by the Catholics and was being pressed into service as an oarsman. His captors commanded him to join a crew of prisoners and row across the lake for a battle against Haarlem. But Smit declared, “I have no enemies and cannot in good conscience row the boat so that you can go and fight.”

He was a genuine CORB (conscientious objector to rowing a boat). “He was sharply examined in his faith,” a historian says, “and found to be of the Mennonistic religion.”

Readers write: April 10, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Apr 05, 2017

‘The faith of our fathers lives on’
There used to be a hymn we sang in our congregation: “Faith of our Fathers, Living Still.”

As a person ages, one has more memories from the past. Often in the present, we make decisions for the future with knowledge from the past. So from the past to the present, we have had many dedicated servants in our Mennonite congregation: ministers, pastors, teachers and active committee members.

A parting blessing

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld
Viewpoints | By Tim Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 05, 2017

At my first Mennonite Church Alberta assembly as area church minister, one of my official tasks was to offer a prayer of release to Calgary Vietnamese Mennonite Church. It was one of two congregations that had withdrawn its membership from the area church in response to the Being a Faithful Church decision at MC Canada’s 2016 Saskatoon assembly.

Reclaiming Scripture

Ryan Jantzi
Viewpoints | By Ryan Jantzi | Apr 05, 2017 | 4 comments

We must not hand them back.

Others before us fought long and hard to get them back into our hands. Through blood, sweat and tears, they were returned to the rightful owners. And now, slowly but surely, we are returning the Holy Scriptures to those who hoarded them for so long.

Ailsa Craig Boys Farm

Ailsa Craig boys (Photo from Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Viewpoints | By Laureen Harder-Gissing | Apr 05, 2017

Boys on horseback pose in front of the main entrance to the Ailsa Craig Boys Farm, a home for troubled boys, in the 1960s. The farm, begun in 1955, was the brainchild of Jack Wall. With the help of Harvey Taves at Mennonite Central Committee and a handful of families eager to start mission work with a social welfare focus in Ailsa Craig, Ont., he gained support for the project from Ontario Mennonite churches. This was just one example of Canadian Mennonites looking for ways to demonstrate God’s love by setting up organizations to serve their local communities in the post-war era.

Creation care in action

Bob Lebold, 50 Kent Avenue’s physical resources coordinator, checks the output on one of the 10 banks of solar electric panels on the roof. In spite of the cloudy day, the system was producing electricity. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 05, 2017

Building to green standards using cutting-edge technology is a significant expense.

After nearly four years in its 50 Kent Avenue building, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Ontario is pleased with the choices it made and feels that its constituents can be satisfied that the extra expenses have paid creation-care dividends. Most initiatives have met or exceeded expectations, especially with the rising price of electricity in the Ontario market.

‘Not just an activist political group’

Byron Rempel-Burkholder, second from right, and Carolyne Epp-Fransen, right, co-lead a workshop at the MC Manitoba annual general meeting in early March in Winkler focussing on the Israel-Palestine resolution passed at last summer’s national church assembly. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

God at work in the World | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Apr 05, 2017

Mennonite Church Canada’s resolution on Israel and Palestine took centre stage during an informative workshop in early March 2017 at the Mennonite Church Manitoba annual general meeting.

Church opens doors to exercise club

Retired physician Arnie Nickel, wearing the headset, is one of five volunteer trainers who lead the Forever in Motion Club that meets at Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Apr 05, 2017

Everyone’s welcome, it’s free of charge and refreshments are served. Those selling features should attract Mennonites by the dozen. Surprisingly, though, most participants in Nutana Park Mennonite Church’s seniors exercise club aren’t Mennonites at all.

Five-and-a-half years ago, Walter Wall approached his congregation about starting an exercise program for seniors. The Saskatoon Health Region offered training for volunteer leaders for a program called Forever in Motion. Wall and Arnie Nickel took the training and became the first leaders of the church’s Forever in Motion Club.

Serving up social justice

God at work in the World | By Amy Dueckman | Apr 05, 2017 | 1 comment

More than just food will be on the menu when the Abby Eats Café opens here next year. The non-profit eatery, according to founder and proprietor Kyle Dyck, will focus on social justice and food insecurities and offer a culture of welcome for customers of all socioeconomic groups. The unique twist is that this restaurant will be “pay what you can.”

‘A season of change and a search for vitality’

Leng Thang of Calgary Chin Christian Church addresses the MC Alberta annual delegate sessions on March 18, 2017. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Apr 05, 2017

Both challenge and blessing were in evidence at the 88th annual Mennonite Church Alberta delegate sessions on March 17 and 18, 2017, at Trinity Mennonite Church in DeWinton.

In comments preceding the business session, moderator Dan Jack was clear in naming some of MC Alberta’s challenges for the coming year: “[We are] expecting a difficult year and a deficit budget. The economy and the [Being a Faithful Church (BFC)] process has had some impact with involvement.”

Reading books in prison

Margaret Loewen Reimer
Focus On Books & Resources | By Margaret Loewen Reimer | Apr 05, 2017

Seven years ago, two friends and I from Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., agreed to begin a book club with inmates in the local Grand Valley Institution for Women, a federal prison. Except for breaks in the summer, every month since then we have made our way through prison security and along a maze of corridors to a room where we are joined by a dozen or so women eager to talk about the latest work we have read. We read mostly fiction and some memoirs.

Mennonites in Vietnam conflicted during war

Focus On Books & Resources | By Barb Draper | Apr 05, 2017

As the government of South Vietnam teetered on the brink of collapse in the spring of 1975, Mennonite missionaries living in Saigon agonized over whether to leave or stay. In the end, mothers and children left the country, and only a few men stayed to experience the communist takeover.

Getting unfrozen about climate change

Focus On Books & Resources | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 05, 2017

Christine Penner Polle knows well the warning in Al Gore’s presentations and his 2006 movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It is possible to move from denial to despair in regard to climate change, both of which result in nothing being done and people being frozen in place.

First, she had to be unfrozen herself. Climate change and its connection to the burning of fossil fuel seemed to be just too big and complicated. But as she became convinced of the science, she also began to read about hope. Humanity had faced other issues and, together, could face this one, too.

Spring 2017 list of Books & Resources

Focus On Books & Resources | By Compiled by Barb Draper, Books & Resources Editor | Apr 05, 2017

Theology, Spirituality

Anabaptist Essentials: Ten Signs of a Unique Christian Faith. Palmer Becker. Herald Press, 2017, 182 pages.
Becker has written a concise explanation of the core values of the Mennonite/Anabaptist faith, using the three central points of Jesus, community and reconciliation. He provides a fresh look at what Mennonites believe, using clear and simple language. This book is very suitable for small-group study and Christian-education settings. The 12 chapters include discussion questions.

Be not afraid

‘To a litany for survival & lisa’ by Laura Tait. In an artist statement, Tait said that this piece is a response to her relationship and experience with the poem, ‘A Litany for Survival’ by feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde.

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 05, 2017

“Fear[full]: We shall [not] be consumed” was the theme at this year’s Mennofolk, an annual event that celebrates art and music made by people associated with the Mennonite community in southern Manitoba.

More than 30 artists submitted artwork to the event, held on March 25, 2017, at X-Cues, a café and lounge in Winnipeg’s West End. Local bands Rosebud and Darling Twig performed.

A personal pilgrimage

Topics like indigenous-settler relations and land rights issues became real for Erin Froese, middle, while working at Mennonite Church Manitoba’s Camp Koinonia. (Camps with Meaning photo)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Apr 05, 2017

For Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) student Erin Froese, taking a break from studying in the classroom has allowed her to pursue her interest in healing broken relationships between indigenous and settler peoples.

‘I like how we roll’

Christina Bartel Barkman and her son Cody ride non-motorized scooters to Cody’s school each morning to avoid heavy Manila traffic. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Apr 05, 2017 | 1 comment

For Christina Bartel Barkman and her son Cody, switching from a car to scooters has pumped new energy and insights into their morning commute.

Mother and son used to endure an hour-long, stress-filled drive through “crazy” Manila traffic to cover the 1.3 kilometre distance between home and school. They tried walking, but it was equally agonizing. Cody wasn’t keen on it, and they had to travel along C5, one of Manila’s main thoroughfares, with eight lanes of traffic and loads of dust and noise—so much noise, in fact, that they couldn’t carry on a conversation.

Catalysing mission

Bernard Sejour, left, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s mission catalyst in Ottawa and Quebec, toasts the 10th anniversary of Refuge of Peace Mennonite Church in Sherbrooke, Que., with Pastor Lucy Roca and area church minister Henry Paetkau last fall. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Web First | By Dave Rogalsky | Apr 05, 2017

Chemistry uses the concept of a catalyst to describe a substance that, when added to another substance, promotes a reaction without being used up itself. Bernard Sejour is Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s mission catalyst in Ottawa and the Province of Quebec or, as he puts it, area church mission minister “Brian Bauman’s representative.”

Sharp among confirmed dead in DRC

Michael J. Sharp addresses the UN Security Council in August 2016. (Courtesy of the Sharp family)

Web First | By Lauren Jefferson | Mar 28, 2017

Michael J. “M.J.” Sharp, a United Nations official kidnapped with five others in the Democratic Republic of Congo two weeks ago, has been confirmed as deceased by the Congolese government, according to Reuters. 

The bodies of two Caucasians, a male and female, were found in the Central Kasai region, where Sharp and a female colleague went missing. A third body, later confirmed as their Congolese interpreter, was also found.

Farewell, my friends

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Mar 22, 2017 | 3 comments

It’s been a good eight-year ride, my friends, with a few bumps along the way. I will miss this biweekly meeting with you on the second page of Canadian Mennonite. While it’s been a monologue, I have felt it had the makings of a dialogue, of one friend sharing thoughts with another friend. I have tried to make it more of a conversation than a lecture.

Dependent on God’s mercy

‘The Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector’ (acrylic on canvas, detail), artwork by Rebecca Brogan, John the Baptist Artworks, Tasmania (jtbarts.com), used by permission.

Feature | By Dan Kehler | Mar 22, 2017 | 1 comment

A Pharisee and a tax collector
This parable of Jesus seems self-evident. It compares the attitude of two men’s prayers: a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee’s seems rather arrogant, while the tax collector’s only petition is of God’s mercy. The Pharisee’s self-centred prayer is all about his supposed place in God’s favour. The tax collector’s prayer is humbly centred on God. In the end, it is only the prayer of the humble one that God hears with favour. For only the tax collector goes home justified; that is, he is made right with God.

Readers write: March 27, 2017 issue

Viewpoints | Mar 22, 2017

That’s not who we are . . . as Mennonites or Muslims

Re: “A not-so-pure depiction of Mennonites,” Feb. 13, page 20.

I read with interest the various online responses by Mennonites concerned about how Mennonites are depicted in the CBC drama series Pure.

The power of imagination

Tim Froese
Viewpoints | By Tim Froese | Mar 22, 2017

When communicating about the ministries of Mennonite Church Canada Witness, my former colleague Al Rempel used to tell me, “Help your listeners imagine the work that is being done.”

Unveiling secrets

Melissa Miller
Viewpoints | By Melissa Miller | Mar 22, 2017

One day my normally cheerful, no-nonsense coworker surprised, or I should say shocked, me. She suddenly and briefly opened the door to her past, a dangerous time of war and famine.

“Those days were horrible,” she said fiercely in a low voice. “Things were so bad, they ate people. We never speak of them.”

Just as suddenly, the door swung shut, and she turned away from me and toward other tasks. I was young and curious, but I knew not to pursue her or the topic.

Giving as protest

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
Viewpoints | By Dori Zerbe Cornelsen | Mar 22, 2017 | 1 comment

Does the headline for this article pique your curiosity or does it irritate you? The word “protest” often evokes strong positive or negative emotions. Like it or not, we seem to be in a time marked by protests of one kind or another.

Beyond giving as duty, the Bible offers us an array of metaphors for giving that can move us to live more generously. The story of the widow’s offering told in the gospels of Mark and Luke offers us one of those metaphors.

Pages