Viewpoints

Women in church vocations

Photo: The Canadian Mennonite / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

To encourage women to enter church-related work, the General Conference Mennonite Church began the “Women in Church Vocations” program in 1957. Pictured, Elmer Ediger discusses the new program with interested young women at Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg.

Christmas rush

Mel’s ‘Martha,’ left, enjoys Christmas cookies with her daughter Madison and her mother, Wendy Desmarais. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Mel’s ‘Mary’ pays close attention to the words of Jesus. (Photo courtesy of Mel Harms)

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. Everyone is so joyful! We get excited for tree decorating, Christmas shopping, starting our Christmas baking while playing Christmas carols in the background, and preparing for the many gatherings that are soon to follow.

Stepping into the gap

Lontfobeko Manana and Brenda Tiessen-Wiens

Creating space for important cross-cultural discussion is crucial work for the church today. Our paths for the coming year have merged at Foothills Mennonite Church, where Lindo is serving with Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) for a term as a pastoral assistant, and Brenda is a part of Lindo’s mentoring group.

Can we talk about death?

Melissa Miller

“In the midst of life, we are surrounded by death.” These words are often spoken by a pastor during a graveside service at which loved ones gather to bury the deceased. They are taken from the Mennonite Church’s Minister’s Manual. When I first read them as a new pastor, I was startled by their sharp contrast. Now I often ponder how true it is.

Planning to give this Christmas?

Marlow Gingerich

The gift-giving season is upon us, and with it comes Christmas shopping for our loved ones. We all know people who will be running around the mall five minutes before closing time on Dec. 24, looking for that spontaneous token to tuck under the tree. Then there are those meticulous planners who have every gift listed in a spreadsheet and finished their shopping way back in October.

Bicycle trip

Photo: Almeda Kolb / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

Did your summer include a bicycle trip? In 1891, 19-year-old Fred Coffman, far left, his brother William, and their friends Abram and Aaron Kolb biked more than 700 kilometres from Elkhart, Ind., to Niagara Falls, Ont. Fred would become Bishop S.F. Coffman, an influential Ontario Mennonite leader. Abram would become a publisher of Mennonite periodicals, choir director and hymnwriter.

Listen to the silence

Recently, I heard a story about a young prince named Hullabaloo. He lived in a land where everyone and everything was noisy. When people talked, they shouted at each other. When they ate their soup, they inhaled it with a loud air-over-tongue sound. When they worked, they clanked and bumped until the air was filled with noise.

Family tradition goes back 500 years

Making peppernuts for Christmas are, from left to right: granddaughters Kishina and Anaya Toews, and Oma Marion Toews. (Photo by Dave Toews)

Pfeffernusse,” Dora repeated after me in amazement! She couldn’t believe that my Christmas treats were the same as hers.

It was Nov. 7, 2002, and we were sitting around the pool at Toddy’s Backpacker Hostel in Alice Springs, Australia. Nostalgia crept among us; we had wandered far and wouldn’t be home for Christmas.

‘I’m sorry:’ Apologies and abuse

(Photo: flickr.com/photos/spudmurphy/2219131207/)

What role do apologies play in healing from abuse? We may feel that we can’t go wrong by offering an apology. We encourage people to apologize to each other in church. Unfortunately, too often quick apologies lead to more hurt than healing, especially in the context of abuse, where the hurt done is so long-lasting and painful.

Here are six areas where apologies can go wrong:

Johnny Kehler

Photo: Conference of Mennonites in Canada / Mennonite Pioneer Mission Photo Collection

Johnny Kehler, left, with his plane and George Groening, at Matheson Island, Man. Groening grew up near Lowe Farm, Man., and served the Mennonite church community for decades. As a long-serving leader, he not only witnessed change but instituted changes as well.

Choose life

Melissa Miller

“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” These Old Testament words resonated with me this past summer as part of my extended family gathered at our church camp. We did the typical things like catching up on each other’s lives, playing games and debating if the mountain spring-fed lake was warm enough for swimming.

Patricia Beach baptism

Photo: Selkirk Christian Fellowship Photo Collection

Malcolm and Esther Wenger moved to the town of Selkirk, Man., in 1979. Malcolm worked for the Conference of Mennonites in Canada’s Native Ministries program and pastored the small Selkirk Christian Fellowship. Pictured, Malcolm baptizes Gillian Thororanson at Patricia Beach, Man., on July 22, 1979.

On leaving home and coming home

The Barkmans say their final goodbyes to their Peace Church friends in Manilla this past spring. (Photo courtesy of the Barkman family)

Saying goodbye to a friend that’s more like a big brother. (Photo courtesy of the Barkman family)

Five months ago, when we were packing up our lives in Manila, I wanted so badly to just stay. I didn't think I could handle any more tearful farewells and I felt horrible tearing our kids away from our Peace Church family who helped to raise our kids. I am still filled with tears when I think back on those painful goodbyes.

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