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For discussion

1. What are some of your warm “waiting for Christmas” memories? What is it about Advent and Christmas family traditions that make them so special? Do you have negative memories mixed with the nostalgia? What role does gift-giving play in Christmas nostalgia?

Coming home

In my first year at Canadian Mennonite University, my first year away from home, I kept a running countdown to the Christmas holidays on the whiteboard stuck to my dorm room door. Only 12 days until I fly home, 19 days until Christmas.

For discussion

1. Do you consider yourself as a rational being or more of an emotional being? Do you find others reacting more rationally or more emotionally? In what ways has the Mennonite Church tended to appeal to our heads rather than our hearts? Has this been changing?

Culture and character

Friesen says that a modern mall has similarities to a cathedral—it is a secular cathedral with rituals and liturgies.

After many hours of methodical and systematic doubting of all that he held certain, seventeenth-century French philosopher Rene Descartes came to an astounding conclusion: the only thing that he could know for certain, beyond any reasonable doubt, was that he was a thinking creature.

For Discussion

1. Carol Penner says, “sinning against our neighbours once removed just doesn’t feel so bad.” Do you agree? Who might be a “neighbour once removed”? What might be some examples of sinning against such a neighbour? What is it about injuring someone close at hand that is abhorrent?

Ethiopian Church grows in maturity

Church leaders pray for Steve Brnjas and Fanosie Legesse (kneeling) before they began their teaching tour in Ethiopia in May. (Photo courtesy of Fanosie Legesse)

Fanosie Legesse poses with the child hit by their car while travelling in Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of Fanosie Legesse)

Wanda and Doug Roth Amstutz with (from left) Abigail, Sophia and Amani. (Photo courtesy of Doug Roth Amstutz)

(From left) Doug Roth Amstutz, Tewodros Beyene (MKC Church Chair), Kenna Dula (MKC General Secretary), Wanda Roth Amstutz. (Photo courtesy of Doug Roth Amstutz)

(From left) Yeshiareg Yohannes (MCC Ethiopia office administrator, secretary), Yeshiareg Yohannes (MCC Ethiopia office administrator, secretary), Solomon Teferi (MCC Ethiopia Assistant Program Manager), Don Peters (MCC Canada Executive Director), Mekonnen Dessalegne (Program Manager). (Photo courtesy of Doug Roth Amstutz)

As Fanosie Legesse and Steve Brnjas were driving through a small village in rural Ethiopia, their car slowed to pass through a narrow street when suddenly a boy darted into the car’s path, and was hit. His body flew and landed a few feet away. The driver stopped, though hesitantly, sensing there might be trouble. The passengers got out to see how they could help. It didn’t look good.

Growing young pastors

Rebecca Steiner (left) and Serena Smith at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Vancouver.

When a church is in need of a lead or associate pastor, do they nurture these characteristics in the youth and young adults in their congregation or search for ready-made pastors outside of their congregation? The trend among Mennonite churches is to search for pastors who are educated in seminary or at one of the many Mennonite schools in Canada and abroad.

Choosing a pastor

Harold Peters Fransen, leading pastor at North Kildonan Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

Rob Wiebe of Burns Lake, B.C., works full-time at a sawmill and serves a church an hour away.

Which is better for the church, a pastor with seminary training or a layperson groomed for the role and invited from the local context? While a seminary-trained pastor may be regarded as more professional, in some settings there are advantages to other models of leadership.

For Discussion

1. What foods evoke memories of your childhood, your family or your church? If you have special foods for holidays such as Easter or Christmas, what role do they play in your life? How strong are your connections between food and culture or food and religion?



Congolese Soccer and Song

Robert Irundu Mutundu, National Youth President for Communauté Mennonite au Congo—CMCO (Mennonite Community in Congo), and Dwight Short shake hands as they plan for future evangelism and sports clinics.

When a Belgian school inspector needed to recruit singers for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, he entrusted the task to two missionary women, one of whom was Lodema Short. Short served from 1947-1981with Congo Inland Mission, now Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM).

Congolese Mennonites celebrate 100 years of God’s faithfulness

The Chorale Grand Tam-Tam (Big Drum Choir) walked nearly 100 miles to participate in the centennial celebrations of the Communauté Mennonite au Congo (Mennonite Community in Congo) July 16-22.

Adolphe Komuesa Kalunga, CMCO President.

Menno Simons’ favourite verse was chosen for the cloth commemorating the centennial celebrations. The eight original mission stations of what is today Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission are also printed on the cloth.

Fifty-some young musicians walked nearly 100 miles carrying their drums, luggage and a few babies to attend the centennial celebration of Communauté Mennonite au Congo—CMCO (Mennonite Community in Congo), July 16-22.

Care for creation and environmental justice

Nate Howard, an MCC worker from Muncie, Ind. shows visitors this mine in San Miguel, Guatemala. The mine uses vast amounts of water which eventually leaks potent chemicals into the water table. (MCC photo by Melissa Engle)

When Bob Lovelace, a chief of the Ardoch Algonquin of Northeastern Ontario, wrote about his people’s struggle over uranium exploration on their land, he did so from a Canadian maximum security prison. To protect their traditional territories from uranium exploration, the Ardoch Algonquin had set up roadblocks.

Many young adult delegates attend Assembly

Kristina Toews at a young adults event at Assembly.

Many people remark that it’s difficult to get young adults interested and involved in church. But that wasn’t the case for the 44 registered young adults at the 2012 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly.

Kristina Toews, a youth leader from Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church in Abbotsford and a delegate, is very involved in the local, national, and global church.

Dusting off our DVD collection

Thiessen

Film has become the most important entertainment medium of this time and can shed light on scripture, said Vic Thiessen, Chief Administrative Officer at Mennonite Church Canada, in his workshop, “From the Prince of Egypt to Batman: Can Film Illuminate Scripture.” Thiessen said film can allow us to see biblical stories and themes in new ways and showed clips from The Prince of Egypt and The Las

Reading the Bible with the damned

Gareth Brandt (left) reads the creation story in Minoru Gardens during the Word on the Street workshop.

The Bible was primarily written for the damned, proclaimed Gareth Brandt provocatively during a roving workshop called, “Word on the Street” on Friday afternoon. The nine participants went on an urban hiking and public transportation adventure around Vancouver to read Bible verses and tour around the city.

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