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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.

Bethel College community reacts to sexual assault arrest

By and on Nov 18, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

The arrest of a North Newton, Kan., man has prompted the Bethel College community to evaluate how it responds to allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Ted Mueller, 84, was arrested Oct. 31 at his home on suspected sexual battery. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his home on Aug. 1, 2018. He has been charged with two counts of sexual battery and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct, all misdemeanor offenses. The woman was not a Bethel student, faculty or staff member. Since the arrest other alleged victims, including...

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Scholars take a hard look at the Holocaust

By and on Nov 18, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Scholars take a hard look at the Holocaust

WINNIPEG, Man. — About 80 years ago, Jews and Mennonites lived peacefully together in the Ukrainian city of Chortitza. Then the Nazis came, and everything changed. In 1941, before the invasion, Chortitza had about 2,000 Mennonites and 402 Jews out of a population of about 14,000. A year or so later, all the Jews were gone, murdered by the Nazis. Did the Mennonites know what had happened to their neighbors? Did some help with the killings? Those questions were addressed at a public lecture Nov. 5 on “Jews, Mennonites and the Holocaust”...

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Forest church combines worship with great outdoors

By and on Nov 18, 2019 in Featured, Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Wendy Janzen, standing, leads a forest church worship experience Oct. 20 at Petersburg Crown Land Trail in Wilmot, Ont. Listening are, from left, Joel Musser, Hendrike and Felix Isert Bender, Hannah Cressman, Camile Cressman and Jessica Rivers. — Greg Yantzi

While giving a weather report at the beginning of a worship service is usually cliché, on Oct. 20 in Wilmot, Ont., it would have been redundant. Wilmot Forest Church — a new initiative of Burning Bush Forest Church and Wilmot Mennonite Church — doesn’t meet indoors. Worship services take place once a month, year-round, and seek to meet God surrounded by creation. It can be a way to build on worship experiences for traditional churchgoers and a neutral-ground outreach for meeting people who might be uncom­fortable with more churchy...

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Bible: Exiles, aliens and six virtues

By on Nov 13, 2019 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Reta Halteman Finger

Both texts for Nov. 17 and 24 are from letters attributed to the Apostle Peter. Both take the gospel of Jesus from its Jewish origins into different ethnic contexts later in the first century. Both emphasize holy living in new and challenging situations. Reading 1 Peter literally, we find that it was not written to middle-class North Americans. Rather, it was written to “exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1-2), four provinces in what is now northern Turkey. But these believers are not...

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Book review: Light from Distant Stars

By on Nov 13, 2019 in Book Review, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Light from Distant Stars

Probably because I teach English at a Christian university, I get wrangled into conversations about what defines Christian literature. Does the content need to be explicitly Christian? Can a work be Christian if the author is not? Can a text be Christian simply because its creator is? I pondered these questions again thanks to a Twitter thread started by the author Shawn Smucker, who wanted to know what connotations the words “Christian fiction” have for readers. Although Twitter is not normally a place for nuanced conversation, this...

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MB non-participation in consultation regretful

By on Nov 11, 2019 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

I write on behalf of Willow Avenue Mennonite Church in Clovis, Calif., and with the endorsement of our church council in response to “Consultation Offers Peace-Church Voice on Military Service.” First, I am grateful that the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches national director, Don Morris, has written to USMB church leaders explaining that he intended to characterize the USMB peace witness as “significant” and not “sentimental” (as quoted in the article). Second, we register our disappointment that the USMB church was...

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MBs have retreated from Anabaptist roots

By on Nov 11, 2019 in Latest Issue, Letters | 4 comments

The U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches’ refusal to act in solidarity with virtually all other Mennonite groups in attempting to influence the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service is proof of how far the MBs have retreated from our Anabaptist roots (“Consultation Offers Peace-Church Voice on Military Service,” Oct. 14). To explain this absence, USMB executive director Don Morris cited a “large percentage” of MBs who might take up arms in a just-war situation and who might be offended if MBs...

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Immorality of Trumpism killing our planet

By on Nov 11, 2019 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

Stoesz bravely points out that “the moral darkness of Trumpism . . . is seasoned with unsavory ingredients of immorality, race-hating, mistreatment of children, greed and lawlessness” and notes the anomaly of evangelicals’ support for Trump. I would add that the greatest immorality of Trump­ism lies in exacerbating global warming and killing our planet by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords and assigning environmental troglo­dytes to run the federal agencies that used to safeguard the environment. These federal agencies...

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Trump defends lives of innocent babies

By on Nov 11, 2019 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

An Oct. 14 MWR editorial states, “Moral clarity . . . would consist of holding President Trump to a high standard of ethics and integrity.” It goes on to characterize the president with “abuse of power, appalling behavior, lying and bullying.”  This, of course, also describes the Democrats in Washington, except for one major difference: Every Democratic 2020 candidate for president supports the killing of children in the womb. In the same issue, Edgar Stoesz (Letters & Comments) writes, “It is disheartening that some of...

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History: Mennonite sisterhood of service

By on Nov 11, 2019 in Columns, History, Latest Issue, Preheim | 0 comments

Deaconesses hold babies at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton, Kan., in 1915. From left are Clara Schmidt, Lydia Goertz, Anna Gertrude Penner, Elfriede Sprunger, Dora Richert, Anuta Dirks, Marie Lohrentz, Ruth Becker, Elise Fast and Rosa Jantzen. — Mennonite Library and Archives

In 1890, American Mennonite women had few opportunities to serve the church in a formal capacity. Pastoral ministry was reserved for men, and Mennonite mission work was still in its infancy. David ­Goerz wanted to expand the opportunities. A minister and one of the founders of Bethel College in Kansas, Goerz introduced the concept of deaconesses to the 1890 triennial session of the General Conference Mennonite Church. Deaconesses were not a new idea. Christian congregations, including European Mennonite ones, had long had them to minister to...

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