I like to think Canada is a progressive country, and discrimination is on the decline, but I’ve had a reality check.
I recently visited with my mother in the small room that is now her home. After travelling hours by airplane and car, my foot was swollen and sore. Having few options for relief, I lifted it and placed it beside her. She reached out, softly touched it, and asked how my foot, which had an injury, was healing.
I am so glad that summer is on the horizon. Spending time outdoors was a huge part of my childhood. My family shared many weekends at a small one-room cabin on a river, fishing, swimming, canoeing and just enjoying the beauty around us. We would watch the beavers make their way up and down the river, hope to see a deer come out at dusk for a drink, and listen to the wolves howl at night.
This is the view that greeted Amish Mennonite farm boys Dan and Willie Brenneman when they were apprehended by military police and detained at the Carling Heights Military Camp in London, Ont. Despite their conscientious objector status, they were taken while working in a field in East Zorra Township in May 1918.
I often hear people describe the church as being behind the times. What this means is that by the time the church addresses issues that were important to society last year, or last decade, most people have already moved on to more pressing issues that the church will be sure to deal with in 17 years or so.
It was more than 20 years ago when two Mennonites from Germany travelled to Ethiopia to explore the possibility of doing mission work with the Mennonite church there.
At our annual Mennonite Church Manitoba delegates meeting in Winnipeg in March, I concluded my time as a member of the regional church board. I served on this board as a rep from the southern area of Manitoba for six years (two full terms).
Many years ago, a boyfriend who subsequently became my husband gave me a book about touch and its essential place in human well-being. At the time, touch was a delightful dynamic in our new relationship. Within the boundaries of our Christian ethics, we explored physical intimacies, one of the expressions of our deepening love.
I’ve had a bit of a road rage problem. It peeves me when I need to throw on the brakes because another vehicle pulled out in front of me. Sadly, too often my reaction has been to tailgate, eventually pass and possibly toot my horn. I tell myself that I’m helping the other motorist see his error so he might become a better driver—or she, as the case may be. My dear wife is not convinced.
From time immemorial—as the biblical story of Ruth and Naomi illustrates—developing friendships and tending relationships have often been a woman’s “go-to, our have-to, our live for,” especially during times of stress. In the current season of stressful change within Mennonite Church Canada, tending relationships may be especially important to the health of the church.
More than a decade ago, my family and I were privileged to serve as church planters in southern Italy. We were Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers seconded to what is now Virginia Mennonite Mission, and were financially supported by many friends, family members and our home congregation, Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ont.
In a phone conversation with a friend, she reveals her struggle with an event she is planning. Given that the gathering will be held in a small space, there are a limited number of people she can invite. After telling me whom she thinks she will include, she speaks of others, those left off the guest list. “I feel badly because they might be hurt,” she sighs. “I’m not sure what to do.”