Poetry by Carol Penner
Years ago, in my elementary school teaching days, “cooperative learning” was the newest craze. We taught students to work as a team on specific tasks, encouraging everyone to bring their particular strengths and gifts to the table.
The transition from old to new year is always a great time for picks and pans, for looking back and making lists. Here, in no particular order, are my picks for the top 10 stories of the decade for Mennonite Brethren.
Director couples from the six B.C. MB conference camps gathered in early winter for a two-day “recess” at Abbotsford’s Mark Centre. They heard that the use of camp ministry in B.C. continues to be strong, and support for the province’s newer camps is growing, both in enrollment and financial help.
Once upon a time, my wife and I decided that our kids would not play hockey and, more importantly, that we would never be “hockey parents.” Hockey was expensive, brought out the worst in both kids and their parents, was expensive, unnecessarily violent, expensive, involved excessive amounts of travel and early mornings at frigid rinks… and was expensive.
We had been waiting for the closing ceremony to begin and I was getting impatient. Obviously, the special visitors weren’t going to come. Having previously lived in India, I should be used to delays, but still wondered, why didn’t we just go ahead and start?
Amy Unruh was a full-time university student and part-time worker at The Meeting Place church in Winnipeg when she received the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in 2006. “My diagnosis affected my life in every way – emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally,” she says. But with the help of mutual aid funding and the support of family and friends, Unruh has been able to control her health with an insulin pump.
The fabric of western society is woven with threads of competition. People compete for marks in school, for jobs, for attention with family and friends. People even compete for the fun of it. Television shows like Survivor, American Idol, and The Apprentice pit one player or team against another in ever-changing competitive environments.
A decision by federal Conservatives to abruptly terminate funding to a Canadian church organization has set off alarm bells among other church groups across the country.
We’ve probably all heard about the benefits of participating on sports teams – values such as teamwork, loyalty, self-sacrifice, perseverance, and work ethic. Playing on a team gave me many opportunities to develop in these areas. Team athletics also taught me a lot about myself, and helped me prepare for life in and outside the competitive arena.
Celebrations marked two decades since the walls came down separating Communist Eastern Europe and the West. And a celebration is just on the horizon for a remarkable institution in Lithuania – it, too, owes its existence to walls that came down.
Susanna Hildebrand’s husband disappeared in 1929. During the 1933 famine, she was arrested picking up corn cobs on the road. Sentenced to seven years jail, she died in prison. Paul, son of Helena Ens of Chortitza village, was home, recovering from an operation in 1937 when he was arrested at 3:00 a.m. Hustled onto a truck filled with arrested Mennonite men, he was never seen again.