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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.

Voices (still) Together?

By and on Jun 29, 2020 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

A participant sings from a Voices Together booklet during the annual Music and Worship Leaders Retreat at Laurelville ­retreat center in Mount Pleasant, Pa., in 2019. — Heike Martin

The health risks of group singing due to COVID-19 bring unique meaning to the ­title of a new Mennonite hymnal set to launch as many churches across the United States and Canada remain uncertain what worship looks like in the coming months. “I wake up every day very aware of the irony of curating a collection called Voices Together,” said Bradley Kauffman, general editor and project manager. The new hymnal for Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada is still scheduled for a fall release. MennoMedia, the hymnal’s publisher,...

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MCC U.S. executive director transition planned in October

By and on Jun 29, 2020 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Ann Graber Hershberger, right, will become interim associate executive director of Mennonite Central Committee U.S. on July 1. She and J Ron Byler, left, executive director of MCC U.S., will lead the organization during a time of heightened activity and long-range planning surrounding MCCs centennial. — Brenda Burkholder/MCC

Leadership of Mennonite Central Committee U.S. will transition in October as J Ron Byler retires as executive director and current associate executive director Ann Graber Hershberger moves into the role. The shift reflects a plan determined in 2019 and was affirmed by the organization’s board of directors in their June 20 meeting. Hershberger began as associate executive director following an open hire process in 2019. This interim staff position was established to respond to heightened activity and long-range planning surrounding MCC’s...

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Weaponized peace ignores racial pain

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 1 comment

To the white eye, fires of protest violence might have illuminated only criminal destruction, not 400 years of oppression suffered by nonwhite people in the United States. As a result, some Anabaptists might have lost sight of the broader campaign for racial justice. To react this way is to weap­on­ize peace — to use the desire for peace as an excuse to disregard legitimate pain, righteous anger and a movement’s goal of equality. Focusing on a lack of immediate peace on the streets while ignoring the systemic violence of racial injustice...

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Book review: Collateral Damage

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Book Review, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Collateral Damage

Here is a dilemma for a church group. Do you post a “Gun-Free Zone” sign on the entrance knowing it could either make your church more safe or less safe? In the first instance, the absence of weapons generally reduces the risk of people getting shot. But in the second scenario, an extremist might view the sign as an invitation to kill others without impediment. James A. Atwood, author of Collateral Damage: Changing the Conversation About Firearms and Faith (Herald Press, 2019), helps churchgoing readers think through the complexities that...

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Renewed minds

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Dismantling racism starts with being transformed by a renewing of the mind. Our actions flow from our thoughts, as Rom. 12:2 suggests. Until we change the way we think, we ­remain stuck in racist patterns. Mind-renewing thoughts can take many years to take root. Nearly 20 years ago, three Mennonite writers defined racism in terms that are just now becoming widely understood. In Set Free: A Journey Toward Solidarity Against Racism (Herald Press, 2001), Iris de León-Hartshorn, Tobin Miller Shearer and Regina Shands Stoltzfus compared racism to...

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Bible: Wisdom proves her worth

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Bible, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Reta Halteman Finger

Our July lessons highlight Woman Wisdom’s presence beyond Proverbs and into all four Gospels. However, her feminine name changes from the Hebrew hokmah into the Greek sophia, so we can recognize her gracious presence as Lady Sophia. In Matthew 11, Sophia is not mentioned by name until verse 19, yet she pervades this entire chapter. At the end (11:28-30), Jesus uses her words from Sirach (6:24-30; 51:23-26) to offer rest to the weary. In Matt. 11:19, “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” What are those deeds? Already in verse 2, John the...

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Relief sales succeed without main event

By and on Jun 29, 2020 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale board chair Jim Robb presents a $500,000 donation to Mennonite Central Committee Central States executive director Michelle Armster. — Tim Huber/MWR

NORTH NEWTON, Kan. — COVID-19 stopped the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale’s main event, but it couldn’t stop people from coming together to support Mennonite Central Committee. They’ve already raised almost as much as last year. Kansas sale board chair Jim Robb presented a $500,000 check to MCC Central States on June 18. The sale gave $540,000 a year ago, and board members are confident tens of thousands of dollars in additional proceeds will keep coming before the fiscal year ends in October. “We have done this with thanks to...

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Let’s be ‘fellowships’

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

The Mosaic Mennonite Conference name (June 15) is creative, inclusive and reflects the way Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites work with vision in a good way. It could be improved by using the name Mosaic Mennonite Fellowship, just as Mennonite World Conference is projecting Mennonite World Fellowship as its name change. So also could those “Conference” organizations be changed to “Fellowship” from coast to coast and in Canada. Make it “Virginia Mennonite Fellowship” and let the congregations handle memberships and other such former...

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Religious hypocrisy

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Latest Issue, Letters | 0 comments

President Trump’s recent action using tear gas on citizens so that he could have a picture of himself holding a Bible (“Scripture Sacrilege,” Editorial, June 15) was a classic example of God vs. empire. Having the leader of the empire standing with a cluster of empire people in front of a church (God’s home) holding a Bible (God’s Word) for the purpose of using God to promote his own policies and election was blasphemy. In contrast with this blatant act of religious hypocrisy (using sacred symbols for political goals), the statement...

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Kraybill: Even Jesus protested

By on Jun 29, 2020 in Columns, Kraybill: Holy Land Peace Pilgrim, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Roman soldiers in these second-century statues carry the kind of military standards with images of the emperors that devout Jews deemed idolatrous. — J. Nelson Kraybill

When leaders become unjust or blasphemous, people of conscience protest. Jesus once broke furniture at the temple when he saw merchants turning the place into a den of thieves. Whatever we make of that dust-up, Jesus’ teaching and actions otherwise were nonviolent. But he did not hesitate to speak boldly to an unworthy political leader. “Go tell that fox . . .” he retorted upon hearing that Herod wanted to kill him (Luke 13). The first-century Jewish historian Josephus says that on one occasion Pontius Pilate moved troops from Caesarea...

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