Young Voices

The gospel in seven words

Describing the gospel in seven words ‘gives us something to think about and chew on that I hope will bring us deeper into relationship with our creator,’ Moses Falco writes. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

In his book (Re)union, author Bruxy Cavey describes the gospel using one, three, and 30 words. (Photo courtesy of Herald Press)

Moses Falco attempts to capture the gospel in seven words. (Photo courtesy of Moses Falco)

As part of the discussions at the pastoral care team meetings at the church I pastor, we often talk about what the journey of faith is like. How can we walk with people? What does it mean to evangelize? What is faith really about? How would we even describe this good news (gospel) message of Jesus?

The courage to be vulnerable

‘My classmates and I came to CMU as vulnerable newcomers, and . . . we will walk into many more situations that need vulnerable people,’ Jason Friesen says. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

Jason Friesen was the valedictorian for CMU’s Class of 2018. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

The players on CMU’s men’s volleyball team committed themselves to doing weekly Bible studies during the 2017-18 school year. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

Most of us don’t like to be in vulnerable spaces. The uncertainties of those spaces leave us with butterflies fluttering around in our stomachs. Conceding power is uncomfortable. Yet, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a place that exemplifies and guides us into those vulnerable spaces.

Picture perfect

Documenting his fishing experiences piqued Jay Siemens’ interest in photography. (Photo by Jay Siemens)

Jay Siemens spent 250 days on the road last year working. (Photo by Jay Siemens)

Jay Siemens has raised nearly $45,000 for charity through sales of calendars that feature his wildlife photography. (Photo by Jay Siemens)

Photography has taken Jay Siemens around the world. (Photo by Jay Siemens)

‘Stay focussed and don’t get discouraged . . . keep snapping the shutter,’ Jay Siemens tells aspiring photographers. (Photo by Jay Siemens)

Jay Siemens was set to begin photography school in Winnipeg when, three days before classes started, his friend called him with a compelling proposition.

“He said, ‘You’ve got to drop out of school and film a fishing show with me,’ ” Siemens recalls.

So he did.

Taking charge

‘There’s been a lot of experience and wisdom we’ve been able to tap into,’ Katie Steckly says of the podcast. (Photo by Michelle Reiner)

Katie Bentz and Katie Steckly host Bossy Women, a podcast about entrepreneurship. (Photo by Michelle Reiner)

Katie Steckly and Katie Bentz met while living in residence at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Jennifer Lyon)

Two young women from Mennonite Church Canada congregations are the creators of a new podcast about entrepreneurship.

Forming intentional community with young adults

Terri Lynn and Thomas Friesen are the founders of the Vine and Table intentional community. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

Located in Saskatoon’s Riversdale neighbourhood, the Vine and Table can accommodate 10 residents. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

Eating delicious, healthy food is central to life at the Vine and Table. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

‘It’s kind of a step in faith,’ Terri Lynn Friesen says of starting the Vine and Table. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

When Thomas and Terri Lynn Friesen met, Terri Lynn was a guest at the Burrow, an intentional community Thomas was living in with eight other young adults.

This coming September, a few weeks before the couple’s second wedding anniversary, they will embark on a new adventure together: opening their Saskatoon home to form an intentional community called the Vine and Table.

Worth the wait

No stranger to the stage, Kenzi Jane grew up performing music with her family. (Photo by Lynette Giesbrecht)

Kenzie Jane recorded her EP in Altona, Man., where she grew up. (Photo by Robyn Adam)

‘Love Me From Scratch [means] love me for who I am,’ Kenzi Jane says. (Cover art by Sydney Friesen)

If good things come to those who wait, exciting times are ahead for Kenzie Jane.

The Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter recently released her debut EP, Love Me From Scratch, more than three years after she first started recording it.

Celebrating differences, learning to work together

Jacquelyn Janzen is one of two representatives appointed by Mennonite Church Saskatchewan to sit on Mennonite Church Canada’s Joint Council. (Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Janzen)

Travelling to places like Honduras has shaped Jacquelyn Janzen’s worldview. (Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Janzen)

‘[I hope] that we can still come together for the greater good,’ Jacquelyn Janzen says of the churches that make up MC Canada. (Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Janzen)

Jacquelyn Janzen, pictured second from right with Brad Taylor, Heather Driedger and Dave Whalley, volunteers on the board of Parkland Restorative Justice, a faith-based organization that supports prisoners and people who have been released from prison. (Photo courtesy of Jacquelyn Janzen)

When someone suggested to Jacquelyn Janzen that she get involved with the new Joint Council of Mennonite Church Canada, she knew it was something she wanted to do.

Wrestling with challenging texts

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe and Erin Froese ‘yarn-bombed’ a tree on CMU’s campus as part of a project exploring ecofeminism. (Photo courtesy of Erin Froese)

Laura Carr-Pries created a worship resource in the CMU course, Feminist Perspectives on Bible and Theology. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Alyssa Sherlock created a photo project exploring themes of perfectionism, self-image and faith. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe and Erin Froese pose with their crocheted work. (Photo by Anna Goertzen Loeppky)

Most upper-level university classes end with a final essay, not a photography project, prayerful meditations or a “yarn-bombed” tree. Sheila Klassen-Wiebe, however, took the road less travelled for Feminist Perspectives on Bible and Theology.

Working together for the common good

Representatives from a variety of faiths gathered in Vancouver in March for Celebrating Our Diversity Now, an interfaith dialogue. (Armenian Diocese of Canada photo)

Celebrating Our Diversity Now was a time of sharing between different religious and cultural groups. (Armenian Diocese of Canada photo)

Constantinos Economos, parish priest at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Vancouver, speaks at Celebrating Our Diversity Now. (Armenian Diocese of Canada photo)

‘It was great to have an intentional and safe space to share and learn about religious diversity in Canada,’ writes Annika Krause. (Armenian Diocese of Canada photo)

Participating in Celebrating Our Diversity Now showed Annika Krause that there are many young people who desire to have conversations about faith and religious practices. (Photo courtesy of Annika Krause)

This past March, I participated in an interfaith dialogue for young people in Vancouver, hosted by the Armenian Diocese of Canada.

Studying the Bible through a feminist lens

Around 10 women and female-identifying people meet weekly at Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo, Ont., for Feminist Bible Study, an initiative supported by Pastors in Exile. (Photo by Jessica Reesor Rempel)

‘In the framework of my churches that I was at growing up, women weren’t portrayed as powerful people God worked through,’ says Caitie Walker, left, pictured with fellow Feminist Bible Study participant Emily Leyland. (Photo by Jessica Reesor Rempel)

Kim Rempel, a Feminist Bible Study participant, takes part in a March 22 discussion about the ‘Gospel according to Mary Magdalene.’ (Photo by Jessica Reesor Rempel)

‘Feminist Bible Study has helped me connect with my faith,’ says Katie Steckly, right, pictured with Caitie Walker, left, and Jessica Reesor Rempel, centre. (Photo by Emily Leyland)

Around 10 women and female-identifying people sit in a circle at Erb Street Mennonite Church in Waterloo, every week, drinking tea and discussing biblical texts through a feminist lens.

‘Just doing my best’

Grace Kang has made art since she was a child. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Grace Kang’s installation at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg consisted of 400 prints depicting different pairs of feet suspended in the air using twine and surrounding a large ceramic bowl. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘Suffering will always be a part of my art, because it’s such a big part of being human,’ Grace Kang says. (Photo by Gabrielle Touchette)

‘I wanted people to face the places they had been and realize . . . Jesus wants to meet us where we’re at,’ Grace Kang says of her installation at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. (Photo by Aaton Epp)

Grace Kang isn’t sure what her future holds, but she knows it will include making art. (Photo by Calvin Strong)

Grace Kang can’t remember a time when she wasn’t making art.

As a child, “I was always drawing, I was always writing stories,” the 22-year-old says. When she learned that art is not something everyone does or is interested in, “I realized it was a unique way I could contribute to the world.”

Different stages

‘I understand God through inspiration,’ says writer Johnny Wideman of Stouffville, Ont. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

Writing short stories has been different than writing plays for Wideman, pictured here with one of his Theatre of the Beat colleagues, Rebecca Steiner. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

‘With Theatre of the Beat, I know who my audience is,’ says Johnny Wideman, pictured here performing in This Will Lead to Dancing. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

To Aid Digestion book cover (Photo courtesy of Johnny Wideman)

Most people know Johnny Wideman as a playwright and the artistic director for Theatre of the Beat, the social justice-oriented troupe behind plays like This Will Lead to Dancing and Yellow Bellies. Now Wideman has released To Aid Digestion, a collection of 26 original short stories and poems.

Converting to Catholicism

James DeGurse attends Holy Cross Roman Catholic Parish in Winnipeg. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘I’ve come to really like things like icons and crucifixes as ways to help me pray,’ James DeGurse says. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘At CMU, I’m surrounded by people who take faith seriously,’ says James DeGurse, centre, with fellow students Marnie Klassen and Kenny Wollmann. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

It’s not every day you meet a Mennonite whose faith journey has led him to the Catholic church, but that’s James DeGurse’s story.

Baptized as an infant in the Anglican church, DeGurse spent his formative years at Douglas Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. After worshipping at an Anglican church for a year or two, he began attending a Catholic church at the age of 18.

A biblical call—to justice and peacebuilding

Jessica Reesor Rempel co-founded Pastors in Exile in 2015. (Photo by John Rempel)

Jessica Reesor Rempel leads a session at PiE’s recent Winter Camp for Grown-ups’ retreat. (Photo by Jacquie Reimer)

‘I don’t think anyone else has a job quite like this,’ says Jessica Reesor Rempel, right, pictured with PiE co-founder Chris Brnjas, left, and Tamara Shantz, centre, PiE’s current pastor. (Photo by Dave Klassen)

Jessica Reesor Rempel lives in Kitchener, Ont., with her husband Steven and their daughter Anna Julian. (Photo by John Rempel)

Participants worship in Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ont., at an Easter sunrise service organized by PiE. (Photo by Dave Klassen)

Jessica Reesor Rempel enjoys bringing people together and helping them find meaning.

Christian media production done right

Josh Heida first began editing films as a high school student in Kenora, Ont. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Jon Ted Wynne portrays C.S. Lewis in a scene from The Fantasy Makers. (Photo courtesy of Josh Heida)

The Fantasy Makers features an interview with English poet, priest and scholar Malcolm Guite. (Photo courtesy of Josh Heida)

When The Fantasy Makers, a new documentary, premiered at Winnipeg’s Real to Reel Film Festival last month, the credits included the name of a young Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) student: Josh Heida.

From Goshen to Peru and back again

An accomplished singer, guitarist and fiddler, Sadie Gustafson-Zook is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz voice. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

Sadie Gustafson-Zook released her album I'm Not Here last summer. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

Sadie Gustafson-Zook released her album I’m Not Here last summer. (Photo by Olivia Copsey)

I’m Not Here features artwork by Canadian artist Dona Park.

Born in Portland, Ore., and raised in Goshen, Ind., singer-songwriter Sadie Gustafson-Zook is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz voice at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass.

Accessing different realms of musical exploration

Luke Nickel recently completed a PhD in music composition at Bath Spa University in England. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Luke Nickel co-founded Winnipeg's Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival while studying at the University of Manitoba. (Photo by Leif Norman)

Pianist Everett Hopfner performs one of Luke Nickel's pieces at the 2017 edition of Cluster. (Photo by Leif Norman)

The Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival aims to bridge the gap between new music, dance and visual art. (Photo by Aaron Sivertson)

'We started thinking, how can we make a music festival that . . . gets everyone excited about experimental new work?' Luke Nickel says. (Photo courtesy of Cluster)

Since Luke Nickel was young, his parents instilled in him the value of thinking critically. He recalls one conversation—the exact topic escapes him—during which his father said to him and his siblings, “I don’t care what you think about it, as long as you think about it.”

‘The tensions of taking Scripture seriously’

James DeGurse, centre, a Roman Catholic, finds value in reading the Bible communally. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Braden Siemens’s take on Scripture is informed by attending both Pentecostal and Anglican churches. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Claire Hanson, Braden Siemens, James DeGurse, Marnie Klassen and Kenny Wollmann share their views of Scripture at CMU on Feb. 5, 2018. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

‘What actually does the Bible tell us?’ CMU professor Dan Epp-Tiessen, left, asks during his introductory remarks. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Scripture is a massive, ancient, messy archive of God’s relationship with humanity that many claim to interpret correctly.

But with such diverse understandings of the Bible, how can Christians approach it with humility while granting God’s words authority over their lives? How can young people take Scripture seriously in an increasingly secularized world?

An openness to learning is the first step

An ally holds a sign at the Winnipeg Women’s March in January 2018. ‘We need to acknowledge the fact that we are not presently equal,’ Kim Penner says. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Kim Penner holds a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Kim Penner)

Kim Penner with Marilyn Legge, her PhD advisor, at Penner’s graduation last November. (Photo courtesy of Kim Penner)

Participants make their way along Main Street as part of the Winnipeg Women’s March. ‘There is clearly a lot to learn right now, and it’s really being open to learning that is the first step,’ Kim Penner says. (Photo by Matthew Sawatzky)

Kim Penner graduated last November with a PhD in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Canadian Mennonite called Penner at her home in Waterloo, Ont., to ask her about her dissertation, “Discipleship as erotic peacemaking: Toward a feminist Mennonite theo-ethics of embodiment and sexuality,” and what her work has to offer the Mennonite church.

Unfiltered Falk

The Generational Gaps DVD features 70 minutes of material Matt Falk developed after the release of his first album, Apple Pie & Scars. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

Comedian Matt Falk’s first-ever DVD, Generational Gaps, is in stores on Feb. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

Matt Falk has performed across North America with veteran comics like Gilbert Gottfried and Dave Coulier. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

‘It feels amazing,’ Matt Falk says of the upcoming release of Generational Gaps on DVD. (Photo courtesy of Matt Falk)

For most comedians, delivering unfiltered material means cursing a blue streak. For Matt Falk, it means something else entirely.

On the court and in the classroom

Growing up in Morris, Man., Jessica Edel played sports starting in elementary school. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

Jessica Edel is a first-year student at Canadian Mennonite University. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

‘Your team starts to act as a second family,’ writes Jessica Edel (No. 9). ‘They always have your back.’ (Photo courtesy of Canadian Mennonite University)

Growing up just south of Winnipeg in Morris, Man., I was involved in sports starting in elementary school. I participated in many school sports but invested most of my time in basketball, playing competitively from Grade 5 until Grade 11.

Caught in the tension between belief and fear

‘Praying hands at sea’ by Tinus Badenhorst. (publicdomainpictures.net photo)

Moses Falco is the pastor of Sterling Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg. (Photo courtesy of Moses Falco)

Time is a significantly gracious yet controlling dynamic. It’s a dimension from which we cannot escape, but our experience of it varies depending on our context. We move from day to day, month to month, year to year, growing older and hopefully wiser, sometimes caught off guard by the realization that time doesn’t wait for our approval.

‘More significant than my age’

Thomas Coldwell is the new executive director of MCC Alberta. (Photo by Angela Bennett)

Thomas Coldwell, pictured in Kampala, Uganda, this past July, learned about the Anabaptist faith as an undergraduate. (Photo by Leah Ettarh)

Thomas Coldwell replaced Abe Janzen as executive director of MCC Alberta last month. (Photo by Angela Bennett)

‘We want to be thoughtful in the way we do our work,’ says Thomas Coldwell, pictured talking with Cecile Sanou. Sanou volunteered with an MCC partner in Soroti, Uganda, during 2016-17. (Photo by Leah Ettarh)

MCC’s work is inspired by the greatest commandment, says Thomas Coldwell, pictured walking in Hebron this past November with MCC worker Seth Malone. (Photo by Don Klaassen)

Five years ago, Thomas Coldwell knew very little about Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Today, he’s the executive director of MCC Alberta.

More than a label

Steph Chandler Burns recently served as interim pastor at Bloomingdale (Ont.) Mennonite Church. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

‘Sometimes I feel invisible in my journey as a queer person,’ says Steph Chandler Burns, pictured with Greg, her partner. (Photo courtesy of Steph Chandler Burns)

Steph Chandler Burns, front row second from left, graduated with a master of theological studies degree from Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont., this past fall. (Conrad Grebel University College photo)

‘We miss so much by putting a label on a person,’ Steph Chandler Burns says. ‘You can’t just limit one person to one piece of who they are.’ (Photo courtesy of Steph Chandler Burns)

For Steph Chandler Burns of Kitchener, Ont., talking about her faith journey means talking about coming out as a queer individual.

“I am a bisexual woman and I am a woman created in God’s image, and knowing those two things alongside each other has taught me a lot about who I am in God,” she says.

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