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Goshen, AMBS professor inspired many for peace

By on Jan 6, 2020 in Latest Issue, News | 1 comment

J.R. Burkholder signs a copy of Prophetic Peacemaking, which contains many of his writings. — Goshen College

GOSHEN, Ind. — John Richard (J.R.) Burkholder, 91, a college and seminary professor whose work spanned and influenced dramatic changes in 20th-century Mennonite peace theology and ecumenical engagements, died Dec. 20. An ethicist, church leader and agent of social change, Burkholder taught for 22 years at Goshen College and 12 years at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart. He was professor emeritus of religion at Goshen. “In his modeling and teaching, J.R. inspired scores of students and colleagues toward peacemaking...

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MB leader charged, withdraws from international role

By and on Dec 30, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

After being charged for alleged solicitation of prostitution in January 2019 in Fresno, Calif., a Mennonite Brethren leader resigned from a conference leadership position and withdrew from another. Gary Wall, who served since 2002 as district minister of Pacific District Conference of the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Breth­ren Churches, initially pleaded no contest but said in December he would change his plea to not guilty. He had accepted the role of U.S. national director with the International Community of Mennonite Brethren, to begin in...

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The beauty of paradox

By on Dec 30, 2019 in Latest Issue, The World Together | 0 comments

The World Together Blog

Why do Christians have such difficulty reaching agreement? The answer may lie in the very nature of God and the gospel. Our challenge is to embrace a God of mystery who is also relational and trustworthy. This is a paradox. A paradox is a truth with two sides that appear to contradict but in fact complement each other to make a fuller truth. Embracing paradox is essential for faith and biblical interpretation. Consider a text replete with paradox: Jesus’ anointing at Bethany (Matt. 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, John 12:1-8). Just...

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Getting together again: 2019 year in review

By and on Dec 30, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Women prepare food for the Meserete Kristos Church general assem- bly in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. A delegation from LMC renewed a relationship with MKC, which has grown far bigger than its Lancaster Mennonite Conference “parent.” — Glenn Kauffman/LMC

Reconnection and revival led Mennonite news in 2019. Conferences reconciled, leaders traveled overseas to renew historic ties, and Mennonite Church USA sought an infusion of Spirit-filled life. Reconciliation was a long time coming for Franconia and Eastern District conferences, who mended a 172-year-old split. When delegates voted to unite the two Pennsylvania-based groups, they created what will be one of MC USA’s largest conferences, with more than 7,500 members. The union harked back to a trend of the 1990s, when several conferences with...

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Renamed USMB North Carolina District eyes entire East Coast

By on Dec 30, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

The Mennonite Brethren North Carolina District Conference celebrated a name change, which highlights the potential for growth, at its annual convention. Two years ago, the district voted to change its name to Eastern District Conference when a new congregation of Ethiopian immigrants in Virginia was in the process of joining. Immigration issues slowed the affiliation process, putting the name change on hold. Earlier this year, the congregation, Assemblies of Trinity International, contacted the district about re-engaging the process. Congolese...

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Muslims help to build a church in Burkina Faso

By on Dec 30, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

Steve Wiebe-Johnson, left, Mennonite Mission Network co-director for Africa and Europe, and Siaka ­Traoré, a retired church leader, stand on the foundation of the new Kodeni Mennonite Church building in Burkina Faso. — Rod Hollinger-Janzen/AIMM

BOBO-DIOULASSO, Burkina Faso — The Mennonite church in Burkina Faso has grown both physically and relationally over a decade, and the newest church is being built by Christians and Muslims working together. Churches were first planted around Bobo-Dioulasso, and today worship takes place in three locations, the newest in Kodeni. It began with Ousmane Hié, a teenager from Kodeni, who was forced to end his education due to lack of family resources. He worked for two years as an apprentice to an auto mechanic. “My wife, Claire, and I saw much...

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Different is good

By on Dec 23, 2019 in Editorial, Latest Issue | 0 comments

In a fast-changing world, a slow-moving church will get left behind. But a church that doesn’t fear change has a chance to thrive. Reviewing the year’s Anabaptist news, we see signs that Mennonites understand the need to be nimble agents of change. Business as usual can’t stand up against the headwinds of secularization. The comfort of tradition won’t reverse institutional Christianity’s decline. Mennonites have a long history of resisting change. Which makes us like most churches, maybe just a little more so. Could this be...

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Washington Witness: North American aid needs North Korean hands

By on Dec 23, 2019 in Columns, Latest Issue, Various authors: Washington Witness | 0 comments


When we walk into the hospital dining room, we see a young girl seated waiting to eat. She is an inpatient at a pediatric hospital about an hour and a half outside of Pyongyang, North Korea, hospitalized after recurring diarrhea resulted in malnutrition. This image of the girl sticks with me, but it is not the only image I take away from North Korea. Contrasted with this image, I hold images of North Koreans as neighbors, participating in the work of care and healing. During Mennonite Central Committee’s recent monitoring trip to North...

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The Word of God in all its pages

By and on Dec 23, 2019 in Latest Issue, News | 0 comments

The Adoration ("The Seed of David") by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. — Wikimedia Commons

Recently I received a letter from a child I sponsor who lives in a small village half a world away. He told me his family are goat herders and his favorite food is maize. He asked me what I like to eat and what kinds of animals I raise. I stared at the tiny column allotted for a translated reply and wondered what to say. How could I explain my life as an American urban-ite whose staple dishes are curry and poké and whose only regular animal inter­actions are with the spiders I fling off my third-floor balcony? In some small way, this...

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Andres: God’s story will provide

By on Dec 23, 2019 in Andres: In the Open Space, Columns, Latest Issue | 0 comments

Carmen Andres

Last month, Princeton University professor of economics and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller published a book on narrative economics, which looks at how stories affect individual and collective economic behavior and drive major economic events like financial crises, recessions and depressions. For example, a narrative about artificial intelligence replacing human workers could cause people to spend less because they are afraid of losing their jobs. That kind of collective behavior contributes to a recession. I am struck by how Shiller’s theory...

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