Mar 23, 2009

Browse Before You Buy: Women's Resources for Loan

Mennonite Women in Canada: A History by Marlene Epp, University of Manitoba Press, 2008.

Female voices were scarcely heard in the historical record of the Mennonites. Often invisible, in both name and deed, Mennonite women were nevertheless influential in shaping their own and the larger Canadian society. Mennonite Women in Canada, the first comprehensive history of Mennonite women, writes them back into the historical record and traces their complex social history over the past 200 years.

Marlene Epp explores women’s roles, as prescribed and as lived, within the contexts of immigration and settlement, household and family, church and organizational life, work and education, and in response to social trends and events. She questions how Mennonites dictate women’s “place” within the church, family, and community, and how women, collectively and individually, actually behave.

Borrow this title from the MC Canada Resource Centre online catalogue here.

Questions or suggestions? Please contact the Resource Centre
or check our loan policy.

Loaned books are sent anywhere in Canada - free of charge - both ways!

We'll profile a new title at this blog every month.

Mar 20, 2009

Lenten ponderings for chocolate-loving Christians

Ev Buhr contemplates 40 days of no chocolate: No leftover Valentine’s treats, no snowman soup (hot chocolate, marshmallows and a candy cane stir stick), no divine dark chocolate (medical experts claim a bite of dark chocolate a day keeps the heart disease away), and no chocolate chips straight out of the bag.

Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld

My early experiences of Lent are fuzzy at best, perhaps because Lent didn’t really get onto the Mennonite worship resource scene until 1993, when pastors began asking for materials on it. However, I do recall hearing people from other denominations say they were giving something up for Lent. What did that mean? How did giving up coffee or chocolate make you a better Christian or prepare you for Easter?
As I pondered these questions, I read that in the early Christian church, new converts were baptized at Easter. So perhaps for people like me who absolutely love chocolate, comparing the process of becoming a Christian to transforming a cacao bean into chocolate might make such a 40-day “sacrifice” more meaningful.
Like cacao beans, Christians are varied in type and come from many regions, all with unique qualities and characteristics. Together, they create the particular blend the coffee or congregation is known for.
Also, when cacao beans are carefully roasted, they crack open and water vapour is released. This brings out the flavour of the bean. That seems similar to the process of learning about our relationship with God and others. We need to learn at a steady pace so that we continue to grow in faith. Perhaps undergoing baptism is when we’ve cracked the outer shell and reveal the flavour within.
Then there’s the winnowing and grinding which gets rid of the outer layer of the bean. A course grinder cracks the husks, which are then blown away. The centre of the cacao bean is ground into pulp and transformed into a smooth liquor, which is mixed with other ingredients to form chocolate.
How wonderful it would be if we too could just crack the outer shell and blow the debris of our old lives away. Good news! This is possible through Jesus Christ! We are given the opportunity to start over as a new creation. And it’s up to me as a Christian to allow God’s Spirit to work in my life grinding away the pulp and bringing out the very heart of my faith—the essence of who I am.
When asked who we are, most of us respond with what we do for a job, or who we are in relation to others (somebody’s mom or sister). How many of us respond with “I am a Christian”? Once I am a Christian, I can be mixed with others to form a community of believers.
After that comes the processing, refining and tempering processes, which include adding milk, cocoa butter, lecithin, and sugar, then agitating and folding this mixture in a special machine to break down the chocolate and give it that melt-in-your-mouth feeling.
Within a Christian community, we too add ingredients that fit with our recipe. Ingredients like worship and music styles, welcoming faces and the number of potlucks can determine which community we combine with. Together, we learn, discuss and “agitate” our faith. We blend to form a cohesive whole. And as we continue our Christian walk, we’re tempered into a stable form through a solid foundation of Scripture, prayer and good works. An on-again/off-again relationship with Christ will give us a poor quality or, to use a chocolate term, “bloom.”
And finally comes the good part—the moulding and dipping, which turns the chocolate into something that is pleasing to look at and wonderful to eat. We have reached the point of celebration.
That’s the part I can get into! Celebrate with a big batch of brownies at Easter! Ooh, that chocolaty goodness, warm and a bit oozing in the middle. What a reward for giving up chocolate for Lent.
And yet how small a thing to remind us of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the ultimate sacrifice of his death on the cross for us. Will giving up chocolate for Lent make me a better Christian? Probably not, but perhaps it will give me a small understanding of the “sacrifice” that is required of those who seek to follow Jesus, and a little nudge to think about that sacrifice every time I turn down some form of chocolate this Lenten season.

Ev Buhr is a Christian and president of Alberta Women in Mission.

Article previously published in Canadian Mennonite

Mar 16, 2009


Wanted ! ! !

It's quite amazing...
...the changes one little word can bring to ones life!

It's been almost a year now since I said "Yes"
to the call to take part in
Canadian Women in Mission's "Task Force".
My first thought, after having been asked was...

"Why me, Lord?
What is there that I can contribute to this "Task Force?"

In any case, I ended up saying yes and the next thing I know... life has been turned upside down!

Stepping back a few years.....
Veronica Thiessen, BC Women in Mission's last President
had asked me to take her position
I declined the invitation to let my name stand.
I just felt that I was not the right person for the position and yet.... I am
writing for the Canadian Women in Mission's blog
as the spokesperson for BC.

NOBODY better tell me that our Lord and Saviour
doesn't have a sense of humour!
How else would I have gotten into this predicament?

After all, I only said yes to the "Task Force" right?

Well, with lots of prayers and the Lord's help,
I hope to do justice to the place I find myself in!

The moral of this little story is....
that we just never know what the Lord has in mind for us...
and... He gets us there one way or another!
We just have to be prepared to accept what He has planned for us,
even when we think that we cannot do it or are not the right person,
He may have a different opinion on the matter!

Let me assure you;
I never imagined being in this position ...
... not even in my wildest dreams!

Found the following in "Our Daily Bread" for March 15, 2008....
and can't believe that today is March 15, 2009.
Another coincidence? I don't think so ! ! !

It says....

I'm available for God to use me,
Available, if God should choose me;
Should it be now or then, it doesn't matter when;
I want to see lost souls be born again. --- Anthony

God has work for all His children,
regardless of age or ability.

Will you be ready when He needs you?

Monday, March 16th, 2009
I just noticed that the date stamp on my post is for today. I obviously forgot the time difference between Ontario & BC. I actually did write and posted it during the evening of the 15th. :-)

Mar 11, 2009


Your donations from wherever you are located in Canada are helping to make a dream come true.

Ten Canadian youth and adults living in indigenous communities are planning to participate in the North American Indigenous Tour to Paraguay and Argentina in July 2009. They accepted an invitation extended by three indigenous Paraguayan conferences in 2007 to visit their congregations and communities following Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly 15 in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay in July.

“We are eager to introduce you to our families, our congregations and our way of life,” the invitation reads. “We anticipate hearing about your walk with the Lord and also about traditions, your stories and your experiences within the Mennonite family of faith. We genuinely believe this interchange will be good for both of us.”

Edith von Gunten reports that Norman Meade, a Metis elder and pastor, represented Mennonite Church Canada Native Ministry on a trip to Paraguay the end of November 2008. He and a gentleman from the US met church leaders in Asuncion and from both the Argentinean and Paraguayan Chaco in order to help plan the North American indigenous tour. Norman came back a “changed man”, in his words, and knows without a doubt that the rest of the group will also be changed as a result of this trip.

We wish them a safe journey and bless them as they in turn will bless others.