My Mennonite mother-in-law can scrape the last molecule out of a jar with a spatula. To avoid wasting food, leftovers are passed around her table until someone relents and eats the last tomato. Simple living – including conserving resources, cooking from scratch, making clothing, recycling, and repairing used items – is a valuable part of the Mennonite tradition.
Accountant George Kroker from Willow Park (MB) Church in Kelowna, B.C., has a motto: “If you can use the tax system to help charity, you should do it because that’s part of stewardship.”
Last week, as I lay bleeding on the pavement of downtown Winnipeg’s Main Street, surrounded by my bike and a large pile of food, including two garbage bags of peas now scattered across the sidewalk, I began to consider the cost of dumpster diving.
With aid dollars that have flooded in from Canadians, Mennonite relief agencies are strategically distributing food and resources through their networks of partners in East Africa, where some 12 million people are affected by a food crisis. Two consecutive poor rainy seasons caused the worst drought in decades, with crop failure and livestock death exacerbated by conflict and high food prices.
I love food – so much, in fact, my husband accuses me of being a food snob! My mouth waters when I think of spicy exotic curry, hearty goulash soup from my dad’s native Hungary, rich potato gratin prepared by my chef brother-in-law, or decadent organic chocolate brownies baked by my entrepreneur sister. Eating can be such a pleasure!
Sharing Possessions: What Faith Demands 2nd Ed.Author: Luke Timothy JohnsonThe use of possessions and wealth is a tricky issue for Mennonites. Historically, we’ve held simplicity as a core value of what it means to be Anabaptist. However, in my experience, we would be hard pressed to find much difference between MBs and anyone else in our attitudes toward our possessions.
This month, we’re talking about sustainable lifestyles, looking at things like creation care and money management. In our society, governed by the philosophy of consume, consume, consume, it’s not always easy to be wise or careful with our “stuff.” So, how do we manage the resources God has given us? We hope you’ll find a little inspiration in the following pages.
Visiting Jubilee Mennonite Church on a Thursday evening, one discovers a flurry of activity – youths waiting to be shepherded into vehicles for an evening at Birds Hill Park, young adults putting up a new basketball hoop, adults working in garden plots, young children playing in the yard and basement – but Anna Marie Geddert, director of community ministry at Jubilee Mennonite Church (a member of both Mennonite Church Canada and the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches), has it all under control.
When Clearbrook MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C., started, 80 percent of its present-day members were around five years old. This month, the Fraser Valley church, with its largely grey-haired congregation, celebrates its 75th anniversary.