Powell: Where’s the joy in tense times?

Dec 9, 2019 by

An acquaintance said to me, “Another year is almost over. Christmas will soon be here. I can’t get into the spirit with all the divisiveness around me. When will it stop?” She was expressing what many...

[read more]

Reunion, divisions

Dec 9, 2019 by

As a Franconia Mennonite Conference native, I was deeply gratified to read that the dec­ades-long effort to reconcile with Eastern District Conference will be completed in 2020. When I was born in 1937, the...

[read more]

Adjusting the dreams

Nov 11, 2019 by

The reunion of Franconia and Eastern District conferences does more than simplify the map of Mennonite Church USA. Healing a 172-year split, it revives a 19th-century vision of unity and shows ­how new...

[read more]

Franconia, Eastern District mend a 172-year split

Nov 4, 2019 by and

A history of division became a future of unity when Franconia Mennonite and Eastern District conferences held reconciliation votes Nov. 2 during joint assemblies at Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church. The vote...

[read more]

On division and negativity

Oct 24, 2019 by

Like many Canadians, I had an eye on the national election the night of Oct. 21. Election results and commentary provided the background noise throughout the evening, as I had dinner with my son, as I went to...

[read more]

Churches leave conference, stay with MC USA

Sep 2, 2019 by and

In an effort to be part of Mennonite Church USA, six congregations in Florida have decided to leave Southeast Mennonite Conference and intend to join Franconia Mennonite Conference. A church plant that was in...

[read more]

Telling the ‘king’ the truth

Aug 5, 2019 by

I have I felt at times that someone had to speak truth to “the king,” as the Old Testament prophets did. I saw the political and religious communities quietly accepting behaviors that violate the message...

[read more]

Moving forward together

Jun 25, 2019 by

Have you ever made a decision when you were for the idea and the other person was against it? Or, been on a board when a vote went five in favor and four against? It’s not fun to move ahead that way. Which...

[read more]

Yoder-Short: I follow Apollos!

May 13, 2019 by

I confess, at times I judge people by their hats. We don’t need hats to tell us our society and our churches are plagued with divisions. Divisions are nothing new. They are as old as tribes, as old as us and...

[read more]

Yoder-Short: Innocent words gone awry

Feb 18, 2019 by

Bluebird, girl, noncradle — all innocent words. Sometimes it isn’t what we say; it’s how we say it. If you were a bluebird in my first-grade class, you were teased. “Bluebird” was an innocent label...

[read more]

I am the weaker brother

Oct 1, 2018 by

When we believe we are right about something, how do we behave? How do we treat those with whom we disagree? I’m not talking about issues of sin, but what of disputable matters — issues that are not very...

[read more]

Bible: With love, our divisions fall away

Aug 13, 2018 by

These texts from Paul provide an excellent coda to our conversations about ethics, justice and the Christian life. Although Romans is rightly considered Paul’s most important theological writing, he most of...

[read more]

Kraybill: Let God do the sorting

Aug 13, 2018 by

From a boat on the Sea of Galilee, a fisherman demonstrates the ancient art of casting a circular net. Weights along the outer edge sink rapidly, pulling the web around any living thing below. Waters next to...

[read more]

Pope Francis — a pastor for the global church

Jun 25, 2018 by

For much of the previous week, I had the privilege of representing Mennonites at meetings of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, which is celebrating its 70th...

[read more]

What kind of God?

May 7, 2018 by

Listening to discussions on pastoral leadership and church divisions, it sounds like we want strong leaders who lead in our preferred way and preach sermons that prooftext our theology. But I hear Jesus...

[read more]

Social media and the Reformation

Oct 26, 2017 by

What do Facebook and Twitter have in common with the Protestant Reformation? Nothing and everything. Oct. 31 is the 500-year anniversary of the German monk and professor Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to...

[read more]

Kriss: A falling tower

Oct 23, 2017 by

We came to the party late. Mennonite Church USA created a national denominational superstructure just in time for the whole idea to crumble in Protestant circles. I still remember my hopeful response as we...

[read more]

Future Church Summit: Be honest, and mourn

Aug 2, 2017 by

As the days have passed since the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando, Fla., I get more and more frustrated. As usual, I was happy to see old friends and make new connections, but as the glow of those...

[read more]

Opinion: Uniformity is weakness

Aug 29, 2016 by

While living in Botswana, I talked with a friend who wore a medallion identifying him as a member of the Zion Christian Church. Attached to it was a fringe of blue cloth. I asked what that meant. “I do it...

[read more]

Parallel universes

Aug 15, 2016 by

Two parallel Mennonite universes passed in close proximity July 29. Thirty miles apart in south-central Kansas, two groups of Mennonites gathered. They were similar enough to focus on a common goal but...

[read more]

The conflict ladder of shame

Jan 18, 2016 by

Muslims daily lock and unlock the most hallowed building of Christianity, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This ancient structure encompasses Golgotha and the tomb of our risen Lord — both...

[read more]

Lancaster Conference nears decision on withdrawal

Oct 5, 2015 by and

Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s Bishop Board will meet Oct. 23 to consider an updated proposal to withdraw from Mennonite Church USA, effective on or before Dec. 31, 2017. The proposal, given as a draft to...

[read more]

Stretching the boundaries

Sep 28, 2015 by

Peter saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down. . . . In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter,...

[read more]

Finding the Spirit in anxious times

Sep 28, 2015 by

Author Peter Steinke suggests Old Testament understandings of salvation are connected to openness rather than constricting. Steinke writes about how healthy communities behave in times of anxiety. His...

[read more]

Thinking bigger?

Aug 31, 2015 by

A Mennonite Alliance is well worth considering (“More Than Before,” Editorial, Aug. 17), as Myron S. Augsburger proposed some time ago. If this would bring the spirit of Mennonite World Conference to our...

[read more]