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Extending the table

Mesfin Woldearegay, pastor of Bethel Ethiopian Evangelical Church in Kitchener, Ont., leads his congregation in worship at Central Baptist Church on Sunday afternoons. The congregation worships in Amharic, a Semitic language from East Africa. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Nov 16, 2016

English is still the dominant language in Mennonite Church Canada as a whole, but worship also happens every Sunday in Cantonese, Lao, Tigrinya, Oromo and 14 other languages. Unfortunately, links between Euro-Canadian Mennonites and Mennonites of other backgrounds remain limited.

From refugees to refuge

Lucy Roca, pastor and planter of Refuge de Paix in Sherbrooke, Que., receives her diploma for completing the Anabaptist Learning Workshop from Henry Paetkau, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s area church minister, at the congregation’s 10th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 14, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 16, 2016

As Lucy Roca was leaving Colombia for her safety and that of her family 12 years ago, the Colombian national church commissioned her to establish Spanish-speaking congregations in Canada in coordination with Mennonite Church Canada. Landing in Sherbrooke, Que., she set to work immediately. Now there is a thriving 10-year-old congregation there, which has spawned seven other congregations from Montreal to Quebec City.

New home for an old church

Although there is still much work to do, the New Church building, the original home of Rosthern Mennonite Church, sits on its new foundation beside the Mennonite Heritage Museum, the original home of Rosthern Junior College. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

The little church that was home to the New Church Society of Rosthern for more than a century has a new home beside the Mennonite Heritage Museum on the Rosthern Junior College (RJC) campus.

It was built around 1905 by Rosthern Mennonite Church, but the congregation quickly outgrew the building, so around 1912 it was sold to the New Church, a small Swedenborgian congregation under the leadership of Gerhard Enns.

Living the good news in many ways

Claire Ewert Fisher, standing, interim pastor of Grace Mennonite in Prince Albert, Sask., and one of the MC Saskatchewan Equipping Day organizers, offers gifts of tobacco to elders of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation during a workshop entitled ‘So you’re going to a powwow—now what?’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

With titles such as “Don’t be a culture monkey” and “I saw an orange glow on the horizon,” participants at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s annual Equipping Day had a difficult time choosing which workshops to attend. And with 11 workshops on offer in three time slots, there was much to choose from.

‘Without justice there is no reconciliation’

Leah Gazan, speaking at ‘The TRC calls churches to action’ conference in Saskatoon, urges participants to press the Canadian government to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. ‘Without justice, there is no reconciliation,’ she says. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the World | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

Since Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) issued its final report in 2015, denominations and congregations across the country have wrestled with how to respond in authentic and appropriate ways. One such response was an ecumenical conference held recently at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon.

Where is Berlin (Ont.) Mennonite Church?

Berlin (Ont.) Mennonite Church, pictured in 1902, continues to operate as First Mennonite Church, Kitchener, Ont. (Mennonite Archival Image Database photo)

God at work in the World | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 16, 2016

During the First World War (1914-18), some citizens of Berlin, Ont., grew uncomfortable with their city’s name. At war with the Germans, they did not want to be identified as coming from a city with a German name. A plebiscite changed the city’s name to Kitchener, after a British military leader.

Long-time missionary served around the world

Peter Kehler

God at work in Us | By Amy Dueckman | Nov 16, 2016 | 1 comment

Peter Kehler, long-time Mennonite missionary, pastor and church worker of Abbotsford, B.C., died Oct. 5, surrounded by his family. He was 89.

Kehler was born in St. Anne, Man., on June 20, 1927, to Cornelius Peter and Margareta (Epp) Kehler. His early years were spent on farms in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 1945, his family settled in British Columbia, where he assisted his father on the farm and completed high school.

Insights from film help with Bible study

Gary Yamasaki launched his new book, Insights from Filmmaking for Analyzing Biblical Narrative, at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B.C., on Nov. 1, 2016. The book explores how a film approach to storytelling can help 21st-century readers better understand the Bible. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Artbeat | By Amy Dueckman | Nov 16, 2016

What do popular films like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark have to do with the Bible?

Gary Yamasaki explores this question by identifying the filmmaking principles underlying such popular films and applying them to understanding the stories of the Bible.

Ain’t misbehavin’

Anna Wiebe began playing the guitar when she was 10. She wrote her first song five years later. (Photo by Vanessa Tignanelli)

Young Voices | By Aaron Epp | Nov 16, 2016

Old behaviour influenced the music on singer-songwriter Anna Wiebe’s latest musical release, New Behaviour.

The 24-year-old folk-pop songstress based in Guelph, Ont., partially attributes growing up in the Mennonite church for the way the album sounds.

On plausibility structures and faith

Students enjoy a potluck at the Menno Simons Centre, a student residence near the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Bergen

Young Voices | By Thomas Bergen | Nov 16, 2016

From 2011 to 2013, I was a resident of the Menno Simons Centre, a not-for-profit student residence located near the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. At Menno, I found a tight-knit community, a sense of home in a new city and inspiring Christian friendships. I also found my wife Cara.

In June 2014, Cara and I moved back “home” to be the residence coordinators of the Menno Simons Centre. Since then, we have experienced tremendous joy in helping others find the same things that we found there.

‘God is leading us into this process’

Keith Regehr (Photo by Matthew Lester) 

Web First | By Deborah Froese | Nov 16, 2016

“God is helping us take apart what was, in order to build something new, so that we can engage the world in more effective ways,” says Keith Regehr confidently.

Regehr is the newly appointed transition coordinator for the five area churches and national church that together comprise Mennonite Church Canada. He is tasked with managing the transition of these structures as they respond to the change principles outlined in the final report and addendum of the Future Directions Task Force.

Breathing together

A choir made up of children of Karen families who came to Rosthern, Sask., as refugees perform for delegates at the MCC Saskatchewan ‘encounter’ and annual general meeting. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Web First | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

“It is all of us together that make Mennonite Central Committee [MCC] breathe,” said Eileen Klassen Hamm, and each element of MCC Saskatchewan’s “encounter” and annual general meeting bore witness to her statement.

The organization chose “Peacebuilding on the prairies and around the world” as the theme for the Nov. 5, 2016, event, which was held at Rosthern Junior College (RJC). In her report, Klassen Hamm, who is MCC Saskatchewan’s executive director, noted both positive and negative outcomes of peacebuilding.

Mennonite Worship and Song Committee holds first meeting

Members of the new Mennonite Worship and Song Committee take a break at their first meeting September 22-25, 2016. Committee members include (first row, left to right): Bradley Kauffman, project director; SaeJin Lee; Karen Gonzol, editorial assistant; Katie Graber; Adam Tice, text editor; Emily Grimes; Sarah Kathleen Johnson, worship resources editor. Second row, Amy Gingerich, editorial director for MennoMedia; Cynthia Neufeld Smith; Mike Erb; Tom Harder; Darryl Neustaedter Barg; Paul Dueck; Benjamin Bergey, music editor, and Anneli Loepp Thiessen.

Web First | By Deborah Froese, with MennoMedia files | Nov 16, 2016

Members of the new Mennonite Worship and Song Committee met for the first time Sept. 22 to 25, 2016, at Park View Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Saskatchewan women celebrate transitions

Mel Harms has been MC Saskatchewan’s women’s representative since Saskatchewan Women in Mission was disbanded in 2015. Harms is pictured holding Pilgram, the infant son of Cindy Wallace, a professor of English at St. Thomas More College at the University of Saskatchewan, at the area church’s women’s retreat.

Web First | By Lois Siemens | Nov 16, 2016

“Every transition is an invitation to journey with God,” is how Cindy Wallace ended each session with the women attending the annual Mennonite Church Saskatchewan women’s retreat last month.

No more closed doors

Dick Benner
Editorial | By Dick Benner | Nov 02, 2016 | 1 comment

The pastors of Mennonite Church British Columbia got together recently in a closed meeting to discuss their response to the Being a Faithful Church 7 resolution passed at Assembly 2016.

Instilling faith at home

(Photo ©

Feature | By Carmen Brubacher and Paul Heidebrecht | Nov 02, 2016

At times we have been both inspired and overwhelmed by the parenting books that crowd bookstore and library shelves. We have also found useful advice, and a dauntingly high bar, in countless parenting blogs and social media posts. This abundance of resources is one indication that we live in a society that takes child-rearing very seriously.

Readers write: November 7, 2016 issue

Viewpoints | Nov 02, 2016 | 1 comment

Philpott deserves better from us

Re: “Put not your trust in ‘princesses’ ” letter, Sept. 26, page 10.

I am irritated when the press and the public berate our government ministers for spending money on hotel rooms and taxis.

‘ReLearning’ community

Brian Bauman
Viewpoints | By Brian Bauman | Nov 02, 2016

As a Mennonite baby boomer, going to church was family reunion, Christian faith and social life all rolled up into one tight-knit package. Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church was my community.  

Our heritage is . . .

Phil Wagler
Viewpoints | By Phil Wagler | Nov 02, 2016

Our family was invited to an Indo-Canadian family birthday celebration. A one-year milestone, particularly for a son, is a monumental occasion in our friend’s culture. The colourful dress, curried-sensations and dancing were a little overwhelming and invitingly beautiful for a white bloke like me who grew up in southwestern Ontario, where dancing was verboten and curry was “hurry” pronounced incorrectly.

Expressing love with food

Floradale (Ont.) Mennonite Church expressed love to long-time pastor Fred Redekop and his family with a farewell faspa, a traditional Russian Mennonite meal. (Photo by Roy Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Nov 02, 2016

Fred Redekop often reminded his congregation that preparing food for others who may be struggling with illness or a death in the family is a way of showing love and care.

So when it came time to say farewell to him after 25 years as our pastor, we wondered what food was appropriate for our farewell meal. Agreeing on a menu proved to be challenging, but after many conversations we finally decided to honour our out-going pastor with a faspa, a traditional “Russian” Mennonite Sunday meal.

‘Swiss Mennonite’ cherry platz

Fruit platz (Photo by Barb Draper)

Viewpoints | By Barb Draper | Nov 02, 2016

When Floradale Mennonite Church planned a farewell event for our pastor Fred Redekop, this is a recipe we prepared.
(For the story that goes with this recipe, see “Expressing love with food.”)

The recipe originated from Annie Redekop (Fred’s mother), and I adapted it for a 10’’x15” cookie sheet. I call it “Swiss Mennonite” platz because it calls for cooked filling rather than the raw fruit used in the traditional Russian Mennonite recipe.


Photo: Mennonite Brethren Bible College Photo Collection / Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

Viewpoints | By Conrad Stoesz | Nov 02, 2016

A 1978 car wash at Mennonite Brethren Bible College in Winnipeg, Man. Pictured, Don Wiens, right, soaks Adrienne Wiebe, left. Car washes, bake sales, quilt raffles, pie auctions, coffee houses, work days, cookbooks, and chocolate and cookie drives are methods that churches and church-related institutions have used to raise funds. There are so many good causes to financially support.

Making diamonds out of us

Phyllis Ramer pictured with her husband Jim

Viewpoints | By Phyllis Ramer | Nov 02, 2016

Often in the morning as I awake, God gives me songs which become prayers. Usually, it’s just a phrase or tune that causes me to search out the rest of the song and leads to a time of worship in the shower, or as I wait for the kettle to boil. I praise God for this gift. It was not always so.

MC B.C. divided on BFC7

Gerd Bartel of Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, left, John Klassen of Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver, and Betty Loewen of Langley Mennonite Fellowship discuss possible paths forward as Mennonite Church B.C. deals with disagreement concerning MC Canada’s passage of the Being a Faithful Church 7 resolution affirming same-sex marriage. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Nov 02, 2016

“Who is MC B.C.? What kind of family are we and what kind of family do we want to be?”

These questions were posed by Garry Janzen, executive minister of Mennonite Church British Columbia (MC B.C.), to a gathering of 200 billed as “Hearing each other with regard to the BFC [Being a Faithful Church] 7 decision in Saskatoon,” held at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford on Oct. 22, 2016. (See “Delegates vote to allow space for differences,” on the decision at Assembly 2016.)

Donna Entz has ‘a lot of sun in her bones’

Donna Entz is pictured with her award from A Common Word in Edmonton. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Nov 02, 2016

Donna Entz, an outreach worker for Mennonite Church Alberta, has many friends in the North Edmonton communities in which she lives and works.

Manna Ali, a member of the Somali community, is among them. She told a gathering at First Mennonite Church on Sept. 23, 2016, to celebrate MC Alberta’s North Edmonton ministry, that Entz started English-as-a-second-language classes and a community league, organized a Somali seniors group, and helped children with homework.