Feature

Just what is ‘postmodern’?

‘Bill’ and ‘Sue’ are on opposite sides of the modern/postmodern divide when it comes to Sunday school. Portraying the fictional Bill and Sue in this photo are Marco Funk and Marla Langelotz.

Dave Rogalsky is Canadian Mennonite's eastern Canada correspondent and pastor at Wilmot Mennonite Church, New Hamburg, Ontario

"Staying for Sunday School, Bill?”



“I’m staying, Sue, but not for Sunday school. I’m going to hang out with the ‘coffee drinkers’ in the kitchen. We have some really good conversations about religion and spirituality there, not dry discussions about traditional meanings of an ancient book.”



For discussion

1. What are the demographics of your congregation? What percentage is over 65? How many of those are frail elderly? What programs or ministries are designed specifically for seniors? Do the older members of your congregation feel involved and engaged?



“Your congregation knows how to care for seniors”

Gloria Dirks, parish nurse at Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, holds a plush “microbe” that she uses in children’s education in the congregation.

When Gloria Dirks was retiring from the joint position of Administrator and Director of Care at Parkwood Mennonite Home in Waterloo, Ont. in 2003, she knew she wanted to use her skills in some way. The call of her congregation, the Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church, to research the potential of a parish nurse seemed like a good fit.

Caring for our seniors

Martha Brubacher, Florence Frey and Vera Martin work on a relief sale quilt at Floradale Mennonite Church.

Across the country, many MC Canada churches are staring at the numbers and scratching their heads. As young people drift away from the church and the baby boomers retire, church leadership is faced with increasing numbers of grey heads.

Is technology enriching our worship?

Youth worship at Charlotte 2005

Andy Brubacher Kaethler currently teaches and directs the !Explore program at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind.

Technology is the single most significant characteristic of modern western culture. Canadian philosopher George Grant contends it has long displaced democracy and capitalism as top identifiers. Technology directly shapes Christian belief and practice in ways we must at the very least question, if not actively resist.



Salvation comes to a rich house

“The Conversion of Zacchaeus” by Bernardo Strozzi, 1581 – 1644.

Bruno Dyck

Money, business, salvation and the kingdom of God. You won’t often find these words sharing the same sentence, but they do belong together in the Gospel of Luke. It turns out Luke has a lot to say about how we manage organizations that produce goods and services, and about how this is very closely related to salvation and God’s kingdom.



For discussion

1. According to Larry Miller, the last two decades have been a time of fundamental change for Anabaptists around the world. What changes have you seen in Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and in how Mennonites interact globally? Do you agree that the centre of gravity of the global church has shifted to the Global South?

Miller was a ‘migrant missionary’

Ecumenical dialogue was a passion of Larry Miller’s. Monsignor John A. Radano of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity leads a meeting of the Mennonite-Catholic Dialogue (1998-2003), of which he was co-chair. To his left are Bishop Joseph Martino and Miller.

“You were a new kind of ‘migrant missionary’ described in John Howard Yoder’s As You Go,” said Bert Lobe, in an evening of memories of Larry Miller at Rockway Mennonite Church, Kitchener, on Oct. 23, 2011.

‘A place that gives life’

Larry Miller’s tenure as MWC general secretary was marked by his gift of encouragement among other global leaders. In this 1991 photo, he stands behind his ‘big brothers’: Mesach Krisetya, left, of Indonesia, who was to become MWC president in 1997, and Reg Toews of Canada, then serving as treasurer.

The Millers and their children (now married) in Kolkata, India, in 1997, with the parents-in-law of Indian church leader Menno Joel, right. Pictured from left to right: Anne-Marie Miller Blaise; Elisabeth Miller Sommers, Menno’s parents-in-law, Larry Miller, Alexandre Miller, Eleanor Miller and Menno Joel.

At the 2011 Executive Committee meetings in Taiwan, Cisca Mawangu Ibanda of Congo, centre, presents carved animals to Larry Miller, left, now former MWC general secretary, and César García, who assumed the general secretary’s role on Jan. 1. More than curios, said Ibanda, the animals represent qualities important for their service to MWC: Miller ho

Larry Miller remembers one moment clearly when, as a 38-year-old, he was weighing whether or not to accept the nomination to lead Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The year was 1988 and he was sitting in a university library in Strasbourg, France, where he lived.



Christmas in Nazareth

Hinke Loewen-Rudgers, second from left, poses with the Arab Christian family that took her in as their daughter. From left to right: Rajaa, Andera and Eman.

“I felt a very intense homesickness and wanted to go home [to Manitoba] for Christmas. Christmas is a very important holiday to me.”



It was Christmas 2010 and Hinke Loewen-Rudgers had been in Nazareth since October 2008, working through the Witness program of Mennonite Church Canada.



For discussion

1. Why might the idea of learning from other faiths make us uncomfortable or fearful? What are the risks and benefits of honest dialogue with other faiths? What are the faith groups in your community with whom you could build relationships?



Learning from diverse faiths

A group of Muslim men gather for prayer at a mosque in Israel/Palestine. Palmer Becker wonders if Mennonites, through their example and witness, might eventually help both male and female Muslim believers to pray and worship side by side.

An instructor at the Kitchener, Ont., LDS church explains the consequences of trying to follow both the way of the world and the way of the Lord to a group of high school students who meet each weekday morning for 45 minutes of ‘seminary’ instruction over the course of four years. Do Mennonites have church communities where we might convene our you

Palmer Becker

In our increasingly multicultural and multi-faith society, can we learn from belief systems other than our own? I believe so, and offer what I have learned from two faiths—Mormonism and Islam—that have very diverse beliefs from each other and also from my own Mennonite faith. This has called for risk-taking, relationship-building and honest self-reflection.

For discussion

1. Keith Graber Miller says that until recently the Christian church has been negative towards sexuality and reluctant to talk about it. Is this true of your experience? What are the consequences of not talking openly about sexuality? Do the people in your church still find it difficult to talk openly about sexuality?



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