Aug. 15 marked the end of my three-month sabbatical and my return to the office at Mennonite Church Manitoba. Time took on a special meaning during this leave as I took the opportunity to live into the prairie experience afforded to me by our little farm: raising chickens, gardening, repairing dilapidated buildings and building new ones, caring for grandchildren and golfing.
“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.
Do you understand how money is made, spent and saved? It sounds simple, but it’s no secret that the need for financial literacy is as high as ever. The federal government has implemented a national strategy for financial literacy, and provincial governments are increasing financial literacy lessons in school curriculums.
Malcom 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.
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.
What do you do when you’re not sure what to do? This was the topic of conversation as a friend and I met around his table this summer. He was talking about his children who were starting out in life. They were facing the usual challenges of children, mortgage and jobs.
Shirley Redekop, the president of Mennonite Women Canada, is pictured with a Maasai student from Monduli Village from Monduli Village. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
Shirley Redekop crushes roasted coffee beans at the St. Catharine monastery in Karatu while Sister Norellen looks on. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
‘Mama’ Milka, left, and another Monduli Village woman teach the Maasai way of beading to Liz Koop of Ontario and Linda Rush from Oregon during their TourMagination excursion to Tanzania this summer. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
Arusha Mennonite Church women process into their Tanzanian church. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
Arusha Mennonite Church women at a Sunday morning worship service. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
North American women examine the handmade crafts by women of Arusha Mennonite Church. Sale of the crafts helps support the Tanzanian congregation. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
An Arusha Mennonite Church woman sews crafts to sell in aid of congregational projects. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Redekop)
Some years ago, a seed was planted in my heart to take a group of intergenerational North American Mennonite women to share faith and life stories with other Mennonite women in an international setting.
“Groups keep pleading for Peace Factory,” said a Mennonite Central Committee memo in 1996. An interactive exhibit, Peace Factory was a cooperative Mennonite project. Its goal was to “help all Christians connect their faith in God with a life of peacemaking.” In 1997, it toured southwestern Ontario.
From the time we are young, most of us are taught that decisions about money are not to be taken lightly. Through experiences like saving up to buy a new bike, purchasing our first car and choosing a new home, we become familiar with budgeting, saving and praying about the big financial decisions in our lives.
A lonely bridge over a creek near Winkler, Man., in 1907. A humble structure, but so very important. Bridges connected farmers to markets, children to schools, families to church, and pregnant women to midwives. Many of the everyday things that we use are humble pieces that someone has expended effort to make.
The church in North America is shrinking. We see signs of it everywhere. God is pruning back his church. We have a choice to frantically hold on to all that is dying or to pay attention to what Jesus is doing and join in with his new growth initiatives.
Growing up in a Mennonite home, I cherished baking and cooking as integral parts of my life. As a young girl, I was often surrounded by the smells of delicious homemade baked goods—bread and zwieback, perishky and platz (rolls, fruit pockets and fruit squares, respectively).
Diana Shaw grew up watching her mother express love and caring by preparing and sharing food. Diana says, “This recipe from my mother is easy to make; it can be frozen, thaws quickly, and is easy to eat!” It makes approximately 90-100 sugar rolls, depending on the size.
George Neufeld worked in England, France and Germany after the Second World War, from 1946 to 1948. He wrote in his diary on Monday, Jan 7, 1946: “Received letter from Helene dated Dec. 6. I wonder what all has happened since then.” Sunday, Jan; 13: “Wrote a 20-page letter to Helene. Am lonesome for her.” Monday, Jan.
Flowers hang in the former backyard of Peter and Leona Dueck Penner in Winnipeg. (Photo by Leona Dueck Penner)
“Wait watchfully,” wrote Rainer Maria Rilke in a prose poem he penned around 1895, which my husband and I read on an autumn morning during our quiet time a couple of years ago.