Volume 24 Issue 6

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Chequebook and calendar

'We pondered the two types of commitment he was calling us to: the chequebook and the calendar.'

In early March, the church my husband and I belong to held its annual general meeting. This year there wasn’t a lot of discussion, but Paul, the representative of the finance and stewardship committee, got us all thinking. 

Out of holy weakness, mysterious power arises

'Love’s as hard as nails,' C.S. Lewis wrote. 'Love is nails: / Blunt, thick, hammered through / The medial nerves of One / Who, having made us, knew / The thing He had done, / Seeing (what all that is) / Our cross, and His.' (Graphic by Betty Avery)

I could not have predicted the responses I got when I asked 15 Mennonite Church Canada pastors—all women—how they would explain the meaning of the cross and resurrection to a 12-year-old. 

Living into a new imagination

‘Can the next generation of leaders see themselves being involved in short-term, issue-specific initiatives to achieve a specific goal or outcome?’ (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

Once upon a time, around 35 years ago, God brought into the world some new people. These people have grown up to love Jesus and follow him with all of their lives. They have also responded to the impulse of the Holy Spirit and God’s call to serve as leaders in the church. Some of them are pastors. Some are people just interested in making a difference in our world in Jesus-shaped ways.

The gift of imagination

(Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

I remember the feeling with such clarity: that furious, terrified, sick-to-your-stomach despair one feels when you are numerous pages into writing an academic paper and the computer freezes and you’re unsure if it was saved. Rebooting and reopening the document brings about despair and tears as you discover it’s all gone. Every. Single. Word. 

Climate change as a spiritual crisis

A group of young Mennonites pictured at the climate strike in Winnipeg on Sept. 27, 2019. 'We are shifting and caring more about the climate, and every little and big thing we do helps,' Douglas Kaufman writes. (Canadian Mennonite file photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

When Luke Gascho and Jennifer Schrock of Goshen College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center invited me to help lead efforts to engage Mennonite churches on climate change, it felt like a call from the Spirit. I felt prepared because I had been leading Benton Mennonite Church in Goshen, Ind., in creation care for 15 years and had just spent a sabbatical studying ecology and theology.

‘In the end, we’re all neighbours’

Will Braun, Canadian Mennonite’s senior writer, left, makes a point to Marnie Klassen during the Face2Face panel discussion at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, on the theme ‘Us and them: How did we become so polarized?’ (CMU photo)

How do people respond to the strong rhetoric of polarization that is gripping the world? How can they listen and talk to people that are different from them? And why does it matter if they do?

MC B.C. explores ‘connections’

Lee Dyck, left, outgoing moderator of MC B.C., reads a final blessing along with Garry Janzen, the regional church’s executive minister, at the conclusion of the 2020 annual general meeting on Feb. 29. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Mennonite Church B.C. welcomed Vietnamese Grace Mennonite Church into fellowship at the regional church’s annual meeting on Feb. 29. Pictured with Kevin Barkowsky, MC B.C.’s church engagement minister, right, are Phuc Nguyen and Lam Son Tran. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

“Connections: God’s church in the 21st century” was the theme when 143 delegates gathered on Feb. 29 for Mennonite Church British Columbia’s annual general meeting at Cedar Valley Mennonite Church.

Balancing competitiveness and learning

Adam Ens, with his back to the camera, during his two seasons of playing professional volleyball in France. (Photo by Wes Ens)

Adam Ens in action with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s volleyball team. (Photo by Henry Harms)

Adam Ens in action with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s volleyball team. (Photo by Henry Harms)

Adam Ens shakes hands with a Canada West representative as he is inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame at the University of Saskatchewan. (Photo by Henry Harms)

Winning awards is nothing new for Adam Ens. Maybe that’s why he expressed surprise when his whole family planned to show up for his induction into the Canada West Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony took place on Feb. 8 at the University of Saskatchewan, where Ens played with the Huskies men’s volleyball team from 1999 to 2004. 

Cross-cultural challenges and blessings

Lynell Bergen and Brian Dyck have done a lot of bird watching during their time in Ethiopia. This cinnamon-chested bee-eater visited them outside their home. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

Bergen teaches a class on Wisdom Literature, with over 40 students, at Meserete Kristos College. (Photo courtesy of Lynell Bergen)

Bergen and Dyck travelled around Ethiopia with their two sons before they began their work. This view was from a hike in Lalibela. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

A Sunday sunrise walk led Bergen and Dyck to Chelekleka Lake, about ten minutes on foot from the school where they are staying. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

There is a never-ending abundance of birds outside their home. “These two showed up just as we were thinking about supper,” says Dyck. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

Bergen and Dyck are living on the campus of Meserete Kristos College for three months. (Photo by Brian Dyck)

Dyck and Bergen at Sabahar, a weaving and textiles shop in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. (Photo courtesy of Lynell Bergen)

Lynell Bergen exchanged the snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures of a Winnipeg winter this year for the warm sunshine and mountains of Ethiopia.

Bergen is a pastor of Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg and is currently spending a sabbatical teaching at Meserete Kristos College in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.

Takin’ care of his musical business

Jay Hildebrand continues to be active musically in church, bringing a creative flair to worship services at Leamington United Mennonite Church, playing piano, bass and guitar, or through solo vocal performances. (Photo by Mitchel Hildebrand)

In the front yard of an average looking home lies a large rock with a landscaped garden bed around it. The rock reads “JAYCELAND’ and bears a lightning bolt with the capital letters T, C and B around it. This is the home of the Hildebrand family, where Jay and Monica and their son Mitchel are a typical family who go about their daily routines of work and leisure.

Where are they now?

A family photo of Jennifer Otto; son Alex, standing; son Ian; and Greg Rabus. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Otto)

When Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers Greg Rabus and Jennifer Otto landed in Lethbridge, Alta., in 2018, with their sons Alex, and Ian, they were not sure what their new home was going to be like. From 2012 to 2018, the young family had served as church planters and then community builders together with the Ludwigshafen Mennonite Church in Germany. 

‘There was no stopping Doris’

Doris Gascho, front row second from left, was one of the first women to serve on the Executive Committee of the Mennonite Conference of Ontario and Quebec. In 1978, the committee included, from left to right, front row: Laverne Brubacher, Gascho, Isaac High, Elsie Horst and Vernon Leis; and back row: Joe Nighswander, Abner Martin, Glenn Brubacher, Edward Kauffman and Ralph Lebold. (Mennonite Archives of Ontario photo)

Doris Gascho, right greets Anna Mary Brubacher, who offered a tribute at the legacy and birthday celebration in Gascho’s honour. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

Doris Gascho expresses gratitude for what she called a ‘delicious’ program at a legacy and birthday celebration in honour of her life’s ‘unexpected journey.’ (Photo by Janet Bauman)

In 2014, Ron Rempel visits with Lois Lowe and Doris Gascho at a seniors retreat at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp. (Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp photo)

Trailblazer, pioneer, role model and mentor. Inquisitive, passionate, open-minded.

This is how Doris Gascho was described by family, friends, fellow church members and colleagues at a legacy and 87th-birthday celebration in her honour at Waterloo North Mennonite Church on March 1, that featured hymns, special music and many tributes recognizing her “unexpected journey.”

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