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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.

Opinion: Scripture overrules experience

By on Mar 27, 2017 in Latest Issue, Opinion | 3 comments

Many in our church are sure we should fully include those in same-sex marriages, blessing their covenants and credentialing their pastoral gifts. I would like to join them. Life is simpler when we move with society around us. Of all the lines of reasoning in support of full inclusion, I observe one that is foundational. Proponents draw the most certainty from the argument from experience. We discern what is right and good through what we see and hear in our relationships. For instance, a retired Eastern Mennonite University professor, Ted...

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Bible: Songs of miraculous love

By on Mar 27, 2017 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Marlene Kropf

Of all the musical settings of Psalm 23 that I enjoy, the tune and text that resonate most deeply for me is “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” (No. 589 in Hymnal: A Worship Book). The text, set to an early American folk melody, is by Isaac Watts, known as “the father of English hymnody.” The first stanza retells the psalm’s narrative, characterizing God as a nurturing Shepherd who cares for a flock of sheep. In the second and third stanzas, the agrarian imagery recedes, and what remains is a portrait of intimacy between two who dwell...

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Workers seek to improve interfaith engagement

By and on Mar 27, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Anabaptist interfaith workers met to improve interfaith engagement approaches in their agencies and beyond. Back, from left: Trina Trotter Nussbaum, John Kampen, Jonathan Bornman, David Shenk, Alain Epp Weaver. Front: Jason Boone, Rebekah Simmerman, James Krabill. Not pictured: Jonathan Brenneman. — Jonathan Brenneman/MC USA

AKRON, Pa. — As religious hostility, Islamophobia and anti-Semitic acts surge, a group of interfaith, peacemaking and mission workers from six Anabaptist agencies met to explore ways to improve interfaith engagement. “I think religious minorities in this country, no matter who they are, are feeling under threat,” said Trina Trotter Nussbaum, interim director for Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Interfaith Engagement. The Feb. 15-16 meeting, facilitated by Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Mission Network, gave...

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The Bible’s place

By on Mar 27, 2017 in Latest Issue, Letters | 3 comments

In letters to the editor, I notice that no matter which side of an issue one takes, there seems to be an agreement that the final arbiter is the Bible. We think that if we would simply read the Bible correctly, our differences would fade away. This conflict among Christians has been going on for at least 500 years. “Scripture alone” was the Protestant battle cry. Obviously, that hasn’t worked. Even the Reformation leaders who agreed that differences could be settled by Scripture could not agree on some basic things. Martin Luther and...

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Book review: ‘Wholly, Holey, Holy’

By on Mar 27, 2017 in Book Review, Columns, Latest Issue | 1 comment

"Wholly, Holey, Holy": Reverent (and not so reverent) recollections of a reverend

In his self-published memoir, Melvin D. Schmidt reflects on his life and nearly 50 years as a Mennonite pastor. It is a page-turner, wonderfully written with hundreds of anecdotes, picturesque language (beware of swear words and graphic farm examples) and an engaging pace of story, humor, family, service and witness that keeps the reader interested and, at times, surprised. The playful title is translated as “wholly,” the whole story; “holey,” things missing; and “holy,” sacred narrative. A gifted writer and storyteller, Schmidt...

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Mennonite World Conference completes dialogue with Catholics, Lutherans

By on Mar 21, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

AUGSBURG, Germany — A five-year discussion of baptism among Mennonites, Catholics and Lutherans has yielded new insights. Representatives of the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Lutheran World Federation and Mennonite World Conference gathered Feb. 9-14 in Augsburg for the fifth and final meeting of the Trilateral Dialogue Commission on Baptism. John Rempel of Canada said reflecting on each group’s practice of baptism helped participants learn to respect, trust and challenge each other. “From the...

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Coming to terms with Nazi collaboration

By and on Mar 21, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 3 comments

Heinrich Himmler, third from right, head of the SS, at a flag-raising ceremony in the Molotschna Mennonite colony in Nazi-occupied Ukraine, 1942. Himmler and other National Socialists praised Mennonites’ allegedly Aryan blood. — Mennonite Library and Archives, North Newton, Kan.

FILADELFIA, Paraguay — Violence tore through this traditionally pacifist community on the night of March 11, 1944. All the more remarkable, its perpetrators and victims were all Mennonites. And they all belonged to rival Nazi factions. Since the end of the Second World War, Mennonite-Nazi collaboration has largely been ignored, forgotten or repressed. In Paraguay, members of Mennonite congregations were forbidden from discussing the matter. In Paraguay and beyond, the Nazi episode has been taboo for Mennonites. Not until the 1980s, when an...

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Mennonite U.N. worker abducted in Congo

By and on Mar 14, 2017 in Latest Issue, News | 1 comment

Michael J. Sharp visits with Elizabeth Namavu and children in Mubimbi Camp, one of the camps for displaced people in eastern Congo, in 2013. — Jana Asenbrennerova/MCC

Prayers for Michael J. Sharp, a Mennonite worker with the United Nations kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of Congo, continued into a second week with a March 23 vigil in his parents’ community of Hesston, Kan. Sharp, 34, was one of six people abducted by an unidentified militia group while traveling by motorcycle near the village of Ngombe in Kasai Central prov­ince, the Congolese government said March 13. “We continue to pray and wait, moved and heartened by the words and prayers of thousands around the world,” said John E....

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Political physicians

By on Mar 13, 2017 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

It puzzles me that medical doctors in Congress oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The ACA finally met the longtime desire to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Young adults can stay on a parent’s health-care plan until age 26, and a patient cannot be dropped due to the high cost of treating illnesses such as cancer. Are these doctors interested in treating patients or in making money for larger mansions? What about dedication to their profession and service to the people? Service is more important than wealth....

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‘Carry my bones’

By on Mar 13, 2017 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Anti-Semitic acts in the U.S. have surged in the form of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries. Threatening phone calls to Jewish organizations and schools in more than a dozen states on Feb. 27 marked the fifth wave of such incidents in two months. The latest round of threats, raising the total to 90, occurred after hundreds of headstones were vandalized at two Jewish cemeteries in one week. More than 170 gravestones were toppled at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in St. Louis, and 100 more were...

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