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Transformed life leads to Transfigured Town

Nathan Swartz in character as Sirius Black from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books and movies. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Swartz)

God at work in Us | By Dave Rogalsky | May 03, 2017

Some might wonder about a Mennonite elder running public events about Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards. But Nathan Swartz of Kingsfield-Clinton Mennonite Church in southwestern Ontario has thought about this deeply.

Laying it on the line

Artbeat | By Dave Rogalsky | May 03, 2017

Bruxy Cavey is unapologetic about particularism. In his new book, the pastor/author sums up the good news in one word (Jesus), three words (Jesus is Lord) and 30 words (Jesus is God with us, come to show us God’s love, save us from sin, set up God’s kingdom and shut down religion, so that we can share in God’s life).

Particularism—the focus on one way to being right with God, rather than universalism, which would suggest that there are many ways to be right with God—is both this book’s strength and weakness.

Adventures in the Middle East

‘We really bonded as a group,’ Nathan Dueck says. ‘I’m so happy that I got to grow and maintain and create these friendships with my fellow students.’ (Photo by Alex Schonwetter)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 03, 2017

It was while she was in Bethlehem, spray painting a black heart onto the Israeli West Bank barrier, that the reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict truly began to sink in for high-school student Jaymi Fast. “I found it was easier to understand [the political situation] when I was there,” she says. “It was still confusing—there’s so much going on—but I could put places to names and I could get more out of it.”

Messages to the Class of 2017

Valedictorian Anika Reynar addresses the crowd during Canadian Mennonite University’s 2017 graduation ceremony last month at Immanuel Pentecostal Church in Winnipeg. (Photo by Paul Little)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | May 03, 2017

Canadian Mennonite spoke with the 2017 valedictorians from the three Canadian post-secondary institutions affiliated with Mennonite Church Canada, to find out who they are, what their undergraduate experience has been like, and what wisdom they hope to impart on their peers.

Jenna Song and Ryan Newman
Columbia Bible College

Abbotsford, B.C.

Four ways MCC is caring for creation

In September 2016, guests toured the rooftop of MCC Ontario’s office in Kitchener, which features 774 solar panels. (MCC photo by Rachel Bergen)
See more at ‘Creation care in action.’

Back Page | By Rachel Bergen | May 03, 2017

Around the world, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) partners with people who are negatively affected by climate change. In response to increased droughts, storms and other disastrous weather patterns, MCC is taking steps to better care for creation.

Gardening

Calgary’s northeast side is a largely industrial area that has very little green space, but on MCC Alberta’s rooftop it’s a different story.

Michael J. Sharp’s journey toward peace in DR Congo

Michael J. Sharp, right, along with Church of Christ in Congo staffers Mitterrand Aoci and Merthus Mwenebantu, checks the bean fields planted by internally displaced people living in Mubimbi camp, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (MCC photo by Ruth Keidel Clemens)

Web First | By Linda Espenshade | May 03, 2017

The peacebuilding career of Michael J. Sharp, a former service worker with Mennonite Central Committee, ended when he was kidnapped and killed while on a UN fact-finding mission in Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Four months after Michael J. Sharp moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2012, he joined a small delegation that for six hours climbed a mountain in South Kivu Province to meet a leader of a major armed group.

Goshen alumnus restores rare 1564 Ausbund

These photos show the 1564 edition in its former mutilated condition (left) and in its newly-conserved condition. (Photo courtesy of Goshen College)

Web First | By Ervin Beck | May 03, 2017

The Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College owns the world’s only surviving copy of the first printing, in 1564, of songs that eventually became the Ausbund, one of the first Anabaptist songbooks. It is also the Protestant hymnal in longest continuous use—by the Old Order Amish.

The Passau hymns contained in the volume were composed by communitarian Anabaptists when they were expelled from Moravia and imprisoned in 1535 in the dungeon of the castle at Passau, Germany, on the Rhine River.

New Fretz Fellowship honours Grebel’s founding president

Aileen Friesen

Web First | May 03, 2017

A strategic plan vision has been realized at Conrad Grebel University College with the creation of the new J. Winfield Fretz Fellowship in Mennonite Studies.

The Fellowship, to be awarded annually, will support visiting scholars as they engage in research, teaching and relationship building between Grebel and academic and community audiences around Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies themes. Funding from the Fellowship will also provide support for special projects at the college initiated by the Institute of Anabaptist and Mennonite Studies.

Drummer joins pilgrimage to bring awareness of indigenous rights

Henry Neufeld plays his drum as walkers gather on April 23, 2017, at the beginning of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights. The purpose of the 600-km walk— from Kitchener, Ont. to Ottawa—is to support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Neufeld is the oldest walker. (Photo by D. M. Hostetler)

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Apr 25, 2017

Henry Neufeld is joining more than 50 other walkers in the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights. From April 23 to May 14, participants will cover the 600-kilometre stretch between Kitchener and Ottawa, Ont. in support of the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The walk will be a challenge, but perhaps especially so for Neufeld. He’s 87 years old and he is taking along his drum.

Change, I welcome you

Tobi Thiessen
Editorial | By Tobi Thiessen | Apr 19, 2017 | 1 comment

Anxiety about change abounds. It is a natural response to uncertainty, but I tire of reading about it. Newly taking up my role as publisher of this magazine, I would like to be bold and announce, “Change, I welcome you.” I would also like to praise the staff at Canadian Mennonite for taking our new leadership structure in stride, welcoming me in and being open to new ideas and possibilities.

Ceremonies of belief

A 1952 re-enactment of The Trail of the Conestoga in front of Meyers Garage in Cambridge, Ont., includes the ‘capture’ of the Conestoga wagon by ‘Indians’ of all ages. (Photo by David L. Hunsberger, Mennonite Archives of Ontario)

Feature | By Robert Zacharias | Apr 19, 2017

Several years ago, my Russian Mennonite grandmother told me a story about her childhood that I think about often. When she was just a young girl living somewhere southeast of Winnipeg, her parents unexpectedly lost their farmland. With no land, no money and no prospects, they packed their few belongings onto the first train out of town.

Some time later, the whole family climbed out at a random stop somewhere in northern Saskatchewan. According to my grandmother, her father swung his axe into the first tree he saw, turned back to the family and said “Welcome home.”

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.

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