East Germany history an unfinished conversation

Jun 22, 2020 by and

Bruno Götzke, a Mennonite pastor and refu­gee from East Prussia, sensed early in 1953 the police were taking too much interest in his efforts to establish roughly a dozen new centers of worship for...

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Singing together unsafe, MennoMedia advises

Jun 1, 2020 by

As stay-at-home orders are lifted across the United States and Canada, MennoMedia released a statement May 19 discouraging congregational singing when physical gatherings resume. “While singing is considered...

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Maintenance workers

May 18, 2020 by

“You’re a maintenance crew,” said an adviser to a congregation navigating a pastoral transition. “Your job is to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, as Ephesians 4:3 says.” A...

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12 considerations as you prepare to reopen your church doors

May 1, 2020 by and

As stay-at-home guidelines are eased and church doors and sanctuaries reopen, worship and church ministries will, undoubtedly, look different than before the coronavirus outbreak. And so it should — so that...

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Coronavirus sparks creativity

Mar 30, 2020 by and

The people who came on Sunday, March 22, to Mellinger Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa., never got out of their cars. Pastors Roger Weaver and Dan Cloyd offered drive-through prayer in the carport...

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The Sunday when worship went virtual

Mar 23, 2020 by and

The pews were empty. But the Word was preached, hymns sung, prayers said. In a scene that played out around kitchen tables and in living rooms across North America, Mennonites didn’t let the coronavirus stop...

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The power of fear and the fear of power

Oct 9, 2019 by

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (John 4:18a). “…you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). In my experience as pastor I’ve often been...

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Where can anger live?

Oct 2, 2015 by

My friend made plans to come over. Before she arrived, she sent me a text warning me that the “well-meaning” white folks at her para-ministry job made her especially mad that day. She then added,...

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Flood, robbery bring S.D. churches together

Sep 28, 2015 by

A flood and a robbery brought two Mennonite Breth­ren congregations in Sioux Falls, S.D., closer in late August. An Aug. 27 storm flooded Christ Community Church with 3 to 5 inches of water, the U.S....

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Why don’t churches thank us when we give them money?

Sep 11, 2015 by

Churches survive because people give them money. Sure, that’s a simplification, but I stand by it. And I think the church needs to say “thank you” more. Lots of other charities rely on donations...

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What’s the point of the church?

Jul 17, 2015 by

At our block party this week, a new friend and I were laughing about how coming out as a Jesus follower might be one of the weirder things to do these days. In her spiritual awakening, she was realizing that...

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An ironic unity

Jun 8, 2015 by

There’s an emerging consensus among Mennonite congregations these days, especially among those at polar opposites on issues related to homosexuality. The congregations at the extremes are united in their...

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The feetwashing tubs

Jun 1, 2015 by

When our church, Laws Mennonite Church in Felton, Del., burned almost six months ago, one of the things that did not melt was our stack of tubs for feetwashing. Our church family still practices feetwashing....

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Josh Duggar and the bondage of our souls

May 26, 2015 by

I never watched 19 Kids and Counting and never knew the Duggars existed until their scandal hit the news this week. But I had my own Josh Duggar. It was maybe 1969, which would make me about 7 years old. The...

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Taking words to heart

May 25, 2015 by

In “Don’t Break Up the Body” (April 27), James M. Lapp writes that the church is “our laboratory for learning to love, even when we disagree.” He states further, “What holds our body together is...

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Declining religiosity

May 25, 2015 by

Editors attending the conventions of Canadian Church Press and the U.S.-based Associated Church Press in late April in Toronto heard the latest challenging statistics about religion in Canada and its effect on...

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Why I’m for forbearance

May 22, 2015 by

On a Sunday several weeks ago, my family and I had several neighbors over to a “goodbye party” for our next-door neighbor, John, who had decided to move to an apartment closer to his son’s family after...

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Julian of Norwich’s great claim

May 5, 2015 by

Many of us are all too aware of the brokenness, insecurities, limitations and inadequacies in us and around us. When the women of my congregation got together on Sunday to learn from Julian of Norwich’s...

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22 time-tested ways to love your pastor

Apr 30, 2015 by

Thriving in ministry doesn’t depend solely on what any one pastor does or doesn’t do. Congregations play a critical role. I know that my church has done a great deal to support and enable me to thrive. So...

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The test question for your church

Apr 16, 2015 by

We tend to measure the “success” of a church by numbers. I propose in A Fellowship of Differents another way of measuring whether or not our church measures up to the kind of success that the Bible...

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On the 12th day Of Christmas

Jan 5, 2015 by

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. — Paul, Acts 17:24 It’s almost impossible to think of congregations...

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In celebration of the “average” church

Jan 1, 2015 by

You may have never attended an “average” church. But you’ve certainly seen one: older buildings, often made of dark brick, with old-fashioned roofs that slope down from the center, possibly a bell...

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Empowering children to combat sexual abuse

Dec 31, 2014 by

As one of two staff members who works to implement a sexual abuse prevention policy for our church, I have an enormous and difficult task. We have a good policy. We train, screen and keep in regular contact...

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Singing as if life depended on it

Dec 22, 2014 by

After noticing its persistent presence on my Facebook newsfeed for multiple days, I caved and watched the three minute video of Naomi Feil, a Jewish woman, singing Christian songs to Gladys, an elderly woman...

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108-year-old Burrton, Kan., congregation to close

Dec 22, 2014 by and

BURRTON, Kan. — When Aoife Rose Compton was born Nov. 18 to Rachelle and Martin Compton, she was the last child to become part of Burrton Mennonite Church. After 108 years of ministry, the church will hold...

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