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These stories appeared in the latest issue of MWR. Stories can be found sorted by issue here. To see more subscribe online or to the print edition here.

Oregon school drops ‘Mennonite’ from name

By and on Dec 10, 2018 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Fourth- and fifth-grade girls wear the Western Christian School name. — Western Christian School

Western Mennonite School near West Salem, Ore., changed its name to Western Christian School over the summer to better reflect a student body with few Mennonite students. Though there is an Anabaptist community in the area, Mennonite name recognition has lessened in the past few decades, said Rich Martin, director of advancement and admissions. “I graduated from Western Mennonite School in 1985, and it was a little different then,” he said. “We probably had 50 percent Mennonite kids then. This year at the beginning we had three out of...

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EMM leader’s termination leaves unanswered questions

By and on Dec 5, 2018 in Featured, Latest Issue, News | 9 comments

Nelson Okanya, then-president of Eastern Mennonite Missions, speaks at the Church and Post-Christian Culture conference in 2014 at Carlisle (Pa.) Brethren in Christ Church. — Kelli Yoder/MWR

Eastern Mennonite Missions “separated employment with President Nelson Okanya” on Nov. 16, the organization announced in a statement, leaving unanswered questions about what warranted the move and prompting a letter from Okanya’s congregation expressing “shock, anger and disappointment.” In a longer statement two weeks later, the EMM board of directors clarified Nov. 30 that the decision was “not the result of fiscal or moral impropriety, or past job performance, but the board’s understanding of a lack of alignment between the...

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Goshen graduate was influential peacemaker

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Philip Thomas speaks to campus in October 2017 during Homecoming Weekend while receiving the college’s Culture for Service Alumni Award. — Goshen College

GOSHEN, Ind. — Goshen College alumnus and adjunct professor Philip Thomas of Goshen died on Nov. 29 of natural causes due to a heart attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Thomas was a peace advocate who had traveled to more than 30 countries in his work with heads of states, indigenous groups, community leaders and corporate executives, trying to encourage dialogue and implement peace. Thomas is a 1987 Goshen alumnus and served as an occasional adjunct professor of peace, justice and conflict studies. In 2017, he received the college’s Culture for...

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Big swing falls short

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 1 comment

When you swing for the fences, you don’t have to knock one out of the park to help the team win. Mennonite World Review Inc. and The Mennonite Inc. got a runner on base. In the end, things didn’t work out within the Mennonite Church USA system, and a merger of MWR Inc. and TMI is not to be. An opportunity has been missed, but the attempt was not in vain. Promising ideas for working together are emerging. The relationship between MWR Inc. and TMI has been strengthened. We’ve agreed that collaboration is necessary for long-term...

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Bible column: An all-in kind of love

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Bible column: An all-in kind of love

Crack the first windows of your family Advent calendar and you will soon enough hear Mary and Zachariah and the angels in lyric worship and praise. The hour of promise come ’round could only ever begin that way. It’s like the noted preacher of an earlier generation who prefaced every sermon with this act of worship: Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me bless God’s holy name. This touchstone from Psalm 103 frames the Sunday pulpit moment not as a chiding of the saints for lethargy and waywardness but as sweet service of...

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Mister Rogers’ example

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Andres: In the Open Space, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Mister Rogers’ example

Captivating might not be the first word to come to mind regarding a documentary about Fred Rogers — creator and host of the long-running children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood — but Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is just that. And more. For me, those 93 minutes were like a year of good therapy, a thick blanket of love and an inspiring testimony reflecting the reason we are here all wrapped in one. The documentary opens with black-and-white footage of a young, soft-spoken Rogers — who would go on to become an ordained Presbyterian...

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Swallowed by the sea

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Columns, Latest Issue, Various authors: U.N. Witness | 0 comments

Swallowed by the sea

During his opening address at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoanga implored U.N. member states to hold each other accountable for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. “Climate change is a weapon of mass destruction. It is slaughtering fellow human beings,” he said. “Every single year wasted with no climate change action draws Tuvalu a year closer to its total demise from Earth.” Evidence of changing climates comes from a wide range of studies and sources, with...

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Converts become leaders of growing Garifuna network

By and on Dec 3, 2018 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Pastor Celso Jaime prays for a worshiper at Evangelical Garifuna Church on Oct. 21. — Laurie Oswald Robinson for MWR

NEW YORK — When Omar Guzman came from Honduras to New York City the month after 9/11, he was an unbeliever, imprisoned by a lifestyle that brought emptiness and despair. His wife, Tania, had moved to the city in 1998. To join her, he left a cruise-ship job and the management of a disco and moved to New York City. She was attending Evangelical Garifuna Church, a Mennonite congregation in Bronx. Guzman began going to church with her but was initially turned off by the weeping men who went up for altar calls given by Pastor Celso Jaime. Yet he...

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Why so few baptisms?

By on Dec 3, 2018 in Columns, Latest Issue, Watson: Gathering the Stones | 3 comments

Why so few baptisms?

When I applied for the pastoral position at my current congregation, during one interview, I asked the search committee when they’d last celebrated a baptism. They thought for a moment. “Years,” they answered. Many Anabaptist congregations are like my current one, celebrating baptisms only rarely. In five years of ministry, I’ve presided at about one baptism per year, which is more than some of my pastoral peers. Anabaptist churches are defined by their relationship with baptism: a symbol of voluntary participation, where individuals...

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New York’s new generation

By and on Dec 3, 2018 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Pastor Celso Jaime, back left, visits with worshipers at Evangelical Garifuna Church in Bronx. A native of Honduras, Jaime has led a church-planting movement among the Garifuna, people with African and Caribbean ancestry. — Laurie Oswald Robinson for MWR

NEW YORK — For 39-year-old Moises Angustia, there is no such luxury as coming home from his day job as a social worker to recline in an easy chair. Like many of his ministry peers in their 40s, Angustia does double duty in New York City’s multiracial Mennonite community. Many work 9-to-5 jobs to make ends meet for their family in an expensive city. On eve­nings and weekends, they care for the families of the 17 congregations that belong to the New York City Council of Mennonite Churches. That they spend their energy on so many fronts...

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