MB Herald Digest | January 2023

Page 1

More than sixty years of sharing the life & story of the Mennonite Brethren in Canada

A legacy in the
Bertha Dyck
How do you speak
about marriage
neighbours, knowing that marriage
be difficult? A: Check out the Faith and Life online pamphlets about marriage and family. www.mennonitebrethren.ca/ nflt-resources NATIONAL FAITH AND LIFE TEAM
with your

Mennonite Brethren Herald Digest is digitally published monthly by the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, primarily for the use of its members, to build a Canadian MB community of faith. We seek to 1) share the life and story of the church by nurturing relationships among members and engaging in dialogue and reflection; 2) teach and equip for ministry by reflecting MB theology, values, and heritage, and by sharing the good news; 3) enable communication by serving conference ministries and informing our members about the church and the world. However, the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the church as a whole.

Bertha and Garry Dyck pose with a drawing gifted to her by CCMBC and Legacy for her retirement in October, 2022. Read our profile on Bertha here
JANUARY, 2023 | VOLUME 62, NO. 1 EDITORIAL OFFICE 1310 Taylor Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3Z6 Phone: 204-669-6575 Toll-free in Canada: 888-669-6575 MBHERALD@MBCHURCHES.CA WWW.MBHERALD.COM ISSN: 0025-9349
Mennonite Brethren Herald is a publication of

From the editor


For some, January brings a renewed focus and a boost of energy. Some of us go so far as to make resolutions and set goals for the year ahead. Sometimes we're successful in meeting them, some years not so much.

With the launch of our sixty-second volume, we decided to make a few changes to the magazine and set some goals of our own. From now on, you might notice the following: ˚

We're adopting the brand colours of our parent conference, CCMBC. Look for these small aesthetic changes popping up in the pages of this issue. ˚

We're delivering content tailored to the four priority areas of the Collaborative Unified Strategic Plan (CUSP): Mission, Spiritual Health and Theology, Leadership Development and Organizational Health. Colour-coded page markers will appear beside these offerings. ˚

New regular features: in addition to our ongoing columns like Spiritual Resilience and A Moment in Time, we're introducing monthly Moment in Prayer reflections and Women in Leadership profiles. Our first profile is on Bertha Dyck (page 7).

It doesn't stop there; we're still planning our most significant change of 2023. We're so excited that we can't help but let the cat out of the bag. Drum roll, please.

We're delighted to share our goal of publishing spring and fall printed issues of MB Herald Digest. Our first print issue since 2019! We don't have all the details ready to share, but we will fill you in soon.

In this issue, we present the next part in our ongoing series on ground-breakers and trailblazers of the MB Church in Canada with an interview with Harold Jantz. Acting as the editor of the MB Herald from 1964 to 1985, Jantz is the longest-serving editor in our publication's history.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Mr. Jantz's contribution to this issue is a tribute to the late Lorlie Barkman (page 22).

We are grateful to the heroes of yesterday—for their hard work and gifts of time and talent to the MB Church. We are also thankful to the young (and the not-so-young) men and women who are, and will be, the heralds of tomorrow's MB Church in Canada.




Savings Account (TFSA)

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Invest in ministry while saving for retirement. The RRSP contribution deadline for the 2022 tax year is March 1, 2023. Contact us to contribute or open an RRSP account.

You can now earn 5.40%*
ccmbclegacyfund.com legacy@mbchurches.ca 1-877-437-7103 (mention:
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Earn a return while investing in ministry tax-free. The TFSA contribution limit for 2023 is $6,500. Contact us to contribute or open a TFSA account.
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in effect January 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023. Subject to
New! Letters to my Friends: Words of Faith, Hope and Encourgement by
Available now at KindredProductions.com Kindred Productions
Use your sewing skills to share warmth this winter by making blankets for people in need around the world. For more information, visit: mcccanada.ca/gww
Philli P A. Gunther

New hope and a chance to heal

It’s a hot day. The sun hangs above a concrete courtyard where several women sit reclined under an awning. Even the birds are quiet. The air is heavy, humid, holding its monsoon rains for a little while longer.

The women, clothed in bright reds, pinks and greens, are relaxing, talking quietly among themselves, enjoying the slow call of the afternoon. They are vibrant against the gray concrete and the gray skies. They are vibrant too because of their journeys.

These women are gathered in the courtyard outside of a short-term residential home of MCC partner KOSHISH (National Mental Health SelfHelp Organization) in Lalitpur, Nepal. They have come because of acute struggles with mental health, because there was a time when they were not able to care for themselves. There was a time when a quiet afternoon, relaxing with others after a hot meal, was unthinkable.

I’m greeted by Kamala Poudel, welcoming me with her warm smile. We walk through the courtyard and up the stairs. She introduces me to one of their psychologists, Sangita Laudari, who tells me about clinical interventions and assessments. We connect more generally about the challenges and gifts of clinical counselling work. I could stay longer, but Poudel has more to show me, more for me to learn.

Read the full story on the MCC Canada website


Following ten years of leadership with the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, Ed Willms was released as Executive Director, effective November 1, 2022. Ryan Jantzi has been appointed to serve as Interim Executive Director alongside Executive Assistant, Kristi Lee. Ryan has been serving as a Ministry Director with ONMB.


Follow God’s Call On Your Life Train for ministry and build a solid Biblical foundation in Christ-centred community. SBCollege.ca
JUNE 6-8, 2023 PASTORS

CCMBC Board Moderator resigns

January 3, 2023

Dear CCMBC Family,

It is with regret that the CCMBC Executive Board announces the resignation of Ron Penner, our moderator, for personal reasons. His resignation takes effect on December 31, 2022.  Ron has served as our Executive Board Moderator for 2 ½ years.  His capacity for guiding, leading, informing and directing much of our work has been a tremendous gift to us and to our constituency.

While Ron has been our moderator, he has guided our denomination in updating our By-laws, developing current Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) with most of our agencies, and encouraged good progress on our Strategic Plan known as the CUSP.

We are grateful for Ron’s leadership and look forward to how Ron will continue to serve our denomination in other capacities.

Cam Stuart, our Assistant Moderator, will temporarily fill the Moderator role as per our governance structure.  The nomination committee will begin the process of finding a new moderator to be brought for affirmation at our June 8 2023, Annual General Meeting.

As an Executive Board, it is our privilege to serve our constituency.  We are also grateful for our CCMBC staff, who do such a good job in leading the various aspects of our denominational life.

The Executive Board CCMBC


Women in Ministry

A legacy in the making


Women in Ministry

In October 2022, Bertha Dyck celebrated her retirement among colleagues, friends and family. After an outstanding 32-year career with CCMBC, it was time to say farewell to the workplace and move into the next chapter. Though Bertha claims not to be a “words person,” she blessed those in attendance with many kind words and recognition. “Tonight I want to focus on the people. I have had the opportunity to meet many great people over the years and you are some of the most special people I have met.”

Bertha’s career with CCMBC began in 1990. As a lifelong member of the MB Church, Bertha had been involved in analytical areas that she was gifted in and in 1990 was treasurer at her local church. During that time, she was approached by a friend, Jake Neufeld about a job opportunity with CCMBC.

“I told him I needed time to think about it,” she remembers. “I did a lot of prayer and deliberation that week.”

After her period of deliberation Bertha decided to take the job.

“Ultimately it came down to, ‘what would I miss out on if I didn’t do it,’” she says, “How can I compete with God?”

After only two days and one evening of training at the very start of the job, Bertha worked happily as an accountant for many years with CCMBC. Several times she was approached by her supervisor about advancing in her career, though the only way he could promote her was if she completed the CGA program. At first Bertha felt no reason to go forward with it, but eventually she felt the pull to further education. She was inspired, and knew that in order to do her job more effectively it was time to jump in.

“I know a woman whose mother graduated university at 53 and I thought I could do that!”

Thus she began her journey in the CGA program in 2007 and was promoted to Comptroller shortly thereafter in 2009. By 2018 Bertha had fully completed the CGA program.

After working as Comptroller for several years, Bertha was appointed as the CFO for Legacy and CCMBC. CCMBC Legacy Fund, and subsidiary CCMBC Investments Ltd, help to fill in those gaps so that focus can be returned to sharing the message of Christ, not on wondering if there will be funding for a building or meeting place. To date, and under Bertha’s direction, CCMBC Investments has provided more than 700 loans

to MB churches and pastors so they can make a difference in their communities and spread the gospel throughout Canada.

During the 32 years Bertha spent working for CCMBC, there were many changes that she was part of that affected not only her direct work, but also the community and churches around her. The CCMBC offices moved from the second floor of the MBBC building to their current location on Taylor Ave in Winnipeg- thankfully no more kitchen vent through her office in the new building! Bertha was also present for a few changes in governance and structure over the years. Looking back, there are leaps in technology too such as transitioning from dial up internet to a switch box in the late 1990s, Y2K, moving to Microsoft Windows, and updates to IBM programs.


“I believe that I was called
the role. I have always tried to do the best job I can. It was technical, but I still viewed it as a ministry role.”

One more recent outstanding achievement for Bertha was during her time as CFO. She oversaw the reorganization of the deposits system, and transition to CCMBC Investments Ltd, which was finalized in August 2019. Shortly thereafter in October 2019, the approval was given to be compliant with the Collaborative Model.

“In some ways it was a personal effort but in many ways it was a team effort,” Bertha says.

By the spring of 2020 the world and workplace looked much different. COVID-19 had changed the way many people worked and lived. One might think that this abrupt transition would have challenged Bertha. Quite the opposite! Bertha’s steady spirit and constant work ethic allowed her to accept the changes quite smoothly.

“It really didn’t affect me, work got done just more from home!”

Leaving Her Mark

As a person looks back on their career and into retirement, they may ask how they will be remembered, and what kind of impact they had on their workplace during their career. Bertha believes her personal legacy to be the knowledge that she served God, community, constituency, and colleagues well.

“I believe that I was called to the role,” she says. “I have always tried to do the best job I can. It was technical, but I still viewed it as a ministry role.”

On the morning of her retirement celebration Bertha read in Genesis 12:1;

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

Bertha remembered these words and shared them with her CCMBC and Legacy colleagues in a heartfelt speech, “Similarly, I feel God telling me to go from this workplace and to wait on him for what he has in store for my future,” she remarks, “I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to serve our Lord in this environment. I believe I was called to this place, not just by Jake, but by God, and I hope He will say, well done, good and faithful servant, because that is what I have strived to be.”

Bertha is thankful for the opportunity she was given to serve the Mennonite Brethren churches and community for 32 years, and to have met new people

through networking and attending conferences both in Canada and the US. There were many things that sustained her throughout her career, faith and family of course, but also the fact that she learned to live and thrive in periods of change, and she was never bored. Bertha learned quite a variety in her work, like different types of accounting for charities, leases, and investments, as well as facility and real estate purchases.

“I love to learn,” she says.

The Future

Of all the things Bertha will miss about full time work, the piece she will miss the most is the people.

“Really I’ll miss just being in the office!” she says, “the day to day of being around my coworkers.”

She will also miss using the analytical part of her brain on a daily basis and in such an intensive way. “When I’m analytical I’m in my happy place,” she chuckles.

In this new chapter, Bertha is looking forward to a few things. First on her list is some travel and mission work, then a good old fashioned house purge. She also plans to dive deeper into her existing passions like working on her garden, crafting-particularly anything with a pattern, and spending more time at the cottage. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family and grandchildren. In these first few months of retirement, she will gladly reflect on Matthew 25:23

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Well done, Bertha. Congratulations on your retirement.

KIMBERLY MCINTYRE enjoys writing stories of transformation, faith, and the human experience. She has a Communications and Media degree from Canadian Mennonite University.




Iclearly remember my first time visiting Japan. It was my first time flying across an ocean. It was my first time surrounded and immersed in a new culture and language. It was my first time witnessing architecture and traditions that were thousands of years old as opposed to a couple hundred at most. Most importantly, however, it was my first time sensing God’s call on my life to mission. During this first brief excursion to Japan with my high school, we spent one day visiting Hiroshima with the primary purpose of visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, or as it is more commonly known, the Atom Bomb Museum. It was an extremely difficult and emotional day. In the midst of the distress and sorrow that I was feeling from witnessing the exhibits, I heard God’s unmistakable call: “Go and serve My people in Japan.”

At the time, I didn’t fully understand how greatly those words would impact the direction of my life. Over the course of the next few years, I came to discern that I sensed God calling me to long-term missions in Japan specifically. This new revelation about my calling came after I finished Multiply’s TREK program, after serving in Japan for seven months. Roughly three years and one global pandemic later, I’m now one of the many participants in Multiply’s FOCUS Internship program. This has left me and others with a question, however: why FOCUS Internship?

The FOCUS Internship program is an opportunity for those sensing a call to mission to discern that calling through eight weeks of discipleship training, followed by six months of assignment locally or abroad. The program is also unique in that for those who discern that long-term mission in their given location is

indeed the next step, they can launch straight into preparation for long-term ministry without too many additional steps. But why choose this program? There are plenty of other reputable mission agencies that operate in Canada and around the world that I or any of the other FOCUS participants could have applied for. So why did we choose FOCUS?

The first and foremost reason, for myself and others, is that God called us, opened the doors, and every participant answered that call and walked through that proverbial door. Rick Sawatzky, a participant from Winkler, Man., put it like this: “‘These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David… See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.’ (Revelation 3:7b-3:8a). We prayed for guidance for the future, and he opened doors to [FOCUS].” In hindsight, another critical reason we chose FOCUS would be the training environment, and more specifically, the wide and diverse range of perspectives that would be teaching us as participants.

Lloyd Letkeman, Mission Mobilizer for Multiply’s Central Canada office, had this to say about why he was involved with FOCUS: “[FOCUS is] an opportunity to be discipled by the Nations and develop a heart for those who are not experiencing Jesus’ shalom.”

"The first and foremost reason, for myself and others, is that God called us, opened the doors, and every participant answered that call and walked through that proverbial door."


This “being discipled by the nations” is more than just a nice-sounding, mission-minded phrase designed to capture what FOCUS training is on a postcard. I recall in 2019, when I was enlisting in the TREK program that Carol Letkeman, Short-Term Mission Mobilizer for North America, said that TREK training was two months of, “intense discipleship training, like a spiritual incubator.” Those words were true about TREK training and even more so about FOCUS. For FOCUS training, we as participants received teaching from every member of Multiply’s global leadership team, each representing a different region around the world where Multiply operates. This included gifted and passionate teachers/leaders representing Canada & the United States, Latin America, Europe & Central Asia, North Africa & the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa (ex. Uganda, Burundi), South Asia, Southeast Asia (ex. Thailand), and East Asia (ex. Japan, Philippines). This diverse range of perspectives and teaching was highly welcome and life-giving for all of us as participants. It was also extremely stretching. Bea Kehler, a participant from Asunción, Paraguay, had this to say regarding the training months: “FOCUS for me is an experience in which I learn[ed] how to serve and love God as a community. It [has] stretched my concept of loving others the way Jesus loves them.”

This isn’t the only way that we were stretched and encouraged. One of the most life-giving, encouraging, and exciting teachings that had a unanimous impact on us was when Nasser al’Qahtani, lead team member for North Africa and the Middle East, came to speak with us. He taught us about what it looks like to read through Scripture with a Middle Eastern lens. This was exceptionally powerful, not only because it shone

a light on how the Middle Eastern people who originally received scripture would have read it, but it also revealed to us how the people we would be partnering with for our assignments would likely read/interpret scripture. We were stunned by the time our week with Nasser was over, and I likened the experience to Luke 24:45, where “[Jesus] opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Another powerful and challenging experience came from Doug Penner, Multiply’s Director of Global Mission.

Doug taught us about the Kingdom of God through the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13:1-9. He taught very poignantly that in order to avoid falling outside of the Kingdom, we need to surrender control of whatever task or ministry in the ,Kingdom we’ve been given and admit that those ministries are in fact God’s, not ours. He’s the one who does the work; they’re His ministries, and we’re just partnering alongside Him. We were also reminded of how there are four primary ways that people enter into the Kingdom, and he connected each one with a different type of soil as described in the parable. He reminded us of our empowerment in Jesus and the Holy Spirit to heal the sick, cast out demons, and to love one another in the Spirit, and left space and opportunity for us to practice these things.

Surrender also played a huge role in the stretching and encouraging process for us as FOCUS participants. For myself, this was perhaps the most painful, impactful, and freeing process of the entire training period. One of the tensions I brought into training was my calling to Japan. It was well known to both myself and to Lloyd and Carol that I was called to Japan for the long-term. In fact, returning to Japan "For myself, this [stretching] was perhaps the most painful, impactful, and freeing process of the entire training period."


"My story about surrender and being stretched is just one of eighteen. If you were to talk to any of the other members of our FOCUS family (for that is what we have become), they would all have equally powerful stories about how the training period was so formative."

was an assignment option for me when Carol initially sent the invitation to consider the FOCUS Internship program. However, through careful discernment, I elected to remain in Winnipeg, serving locally for the assignment phase of the program. This was well and good; however, within the first week of training, the tension between my longterm calling to Japan as my spiritual ‘endgame’ and the immediate calling for me to stay and serve in Winnipeg became palpable. This tension was accentuated some, perhaps due to the fact that the vast majority of the participants were traveling overseas, and I was inevitably going to be ‘left behind’ to serve on the homefront.

The Holy Spirit was clearly at work in me, however. Over the course of training, I kept hearing similar if not the same story of calling from multiple Multiply personnel across Canada and serving worldwide. The first version of this narrative that I heard was told by Doug Heidebrecht about how he and his wife Sherry were called to South Asia. Initially, Sherry had gone on a short-term trip with a group of students and returned to Doug, stating boldly, “We’re going to [South Asia]!” Doug then explained that it would be another ten years before they actually landed in South Asia. He was quick to point out however that the waiting period was so critical in preparing them for ministry that they wouldn’t have been ready to go to South Asia if they had left immediately. I heard a similar version of the story from others serving with Multiply, and it was a really hard pill that I was stubbornly refusing to swallow. The idea of surrendering a calling that I knew was from God was extremely hard for me to grapple with. However, over the course of training, I was

led to give that calling back to Jesus until the time was right, when he would call me to go back to Japan. That was not easy to relinquish control of, and it was spiritually painful to do so. Japan holds a very special place in my heart now and always. However, the surrender of that calling until the proper time was extremely freeing and released me to become excited and focus on the mission right before me, which is here in Winnipeg.

My story about surrender and being stretched is just one of eighteen. If you were to talk to any of the other members of our FOCUS family (for that is what we have become), they would all have equally powerful stories about how the training period was so formative. Not only was it encouraging and sound discipleship for the practicalities of living on mission, but it also played (and is still playing as we are all now in the assignment phase) such a vital role in all of our discernment journeys with God and long-term mission. FOCUS's role in our spiritual journeys and understanding our identities has been invaluable. As stated by Lindsay Wieler, another participant, “FOCUS has given me the chance to dive deeper in faith while being surrounded by a community that encouraged me to grow. It allowed me to learn more about who God is, who I am in Him, and the ways He’s at work in the world.” For these reasons and a plethora of others, the FOCUS program comes with strong recommendation for anyone sensing and discerning the call to long-term mission.

LIAM BULL is the Communications and Content Management coordinator (term) for CCMBC and a FOCUS intern serving in Winnipeg with Multiply.







rom a young age, Harold Jantz had been interested in and learned about storytelling, including his own. “I grew up in a home where we knew ourselves to be new immigrants to Canada,” recalls Jantz. “My parents were amongst the first of the 1920s wave of Mennonites to come to Canada from Ukraine, and I learned stories from them.”

Jantz’s first introduction to traditional storytelling was in university, where he found himself working as a student paper editor. Upon graduating from university, Jantz worked as a teacher at Eden Christian College in Ontario. It was here that he was first approached to take on the editor position for the MB Herald . In 1964, at 27, he took on the role, doing everything from writing and copy editing to circulation, selling advertising, design, and layout. Despite an initial steep learning curve, Jantz delivered a new issue every week.

While Jantz enjoyed working for the MB Herald, it was challenging. Harold felt the demanding workload, as did his family. “Neoma [Harold’s wife] will tell you that she and the children sometimes paid the price for the amount of time I was putting into the magazine,” said Jantz.

One of the biggest challenges was balancing the Canadian Conference perspective and the reader’s point of view. “The difference between readers and leaders,” Jantz calls it. “I knew when I went to a convention, especially a Canadian Conference convention, the people would expect me to cover everything.”

Despite this tension, Harold discovered a way to cover the various angles and stories about what was happening at the Canadian Conference in a way that he describes as “freeing.”

After his twenty-year stint at the helm of MB Herald, Jantz decided to pursue something new. Jantz stepped down in 1985, and after taking a short break, he began laying the groundwork for a new evangelical paper called ChristianWeek . Jantz’s goal for this new project was to put forth a paper covering theological perspectives from across Canada, not just within the Mennonite Brethren family. The first issue of Christian Week was published on April 1st, 1987. “A funny day to have our first issue come out,” chuckled Jantz. “But we published continuously after that.”

Jantz also edited, authored and published historical works, notably Leaders Who Shaped Us (2010) and Flight (2018). Leaders Who Shaped Us compiles the stories of 25 key leaders in the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference. Jantz served primarily as editor and publisher.

The book was released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Mennonite Brethren Conference.

“I’ve always been interested in our [Mennonite Brethren] story,” said Jantz. “This is where the book Flight came from.” Flight tells the story of the Mennonite Brethren in the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1930, adapted from newspaper articles found in the German publication Die Mennonitische Rundschau . Still telling stories, Jantz is currently doing archival work and researching both sides of his family.

“I grew up in a home where we knew ourselves to be new immigrants to Canada. My parents were amongst the first of the 1920s wave of Mennonites to come to Canada from Ukraine, and I learned stories from them.”
Hear more of Harold Jantz’s story in our video interview series here.

Moments in prayer Holy Spirit—fill us!

Over the last number of years, the National Faith and Life Team has put together a Week of Prayer guide for our national MB family. Our “2022 Week of Prayer guide: BLESS!” was focused on seven days of actively praying and living out blessing for God, our neighbours, our enemies, our church, our families, our world, and our Creator. Our 2022 Prayer Guide is available here

Since we want a prayer focus that is more than just a week but flows through all of 2023, we are introducing a Monthly Prayer Focus. It will be available on the first day of each month via email and social media. It will also be included in the MB Herald . Our prayer focus for 2023 will be on the theme of “Holy Spirit—Fill Us!” and will involve prayers for God’s filling us with the Holy Spirit so that we can participate in God’s mission in the world. Please join us across our national MB family as we pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us in 2023!




January begins our Monthly Prayer Focus: 2023 and we look forward with a heart of gratitude and anticipation to each day that God gives us this year, knowing that we don’t truly know what 2023 will hold. We only know the One who has promised to walk with us through each day. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). But Jesus ascended and his resurrected bodily presence is on the throne at the right hand of God (1 Peter 3:22; Hebrews 1:3). How could Jesus be with us after he ascended in his resurrected body to the throne at the right hand of God?

The answer of course is that the Holy Spirit is how Jesus is present within each and every disciple. While we believe that Jesus is in us (Romans 8:10), lives in us (Galatians 2:20), and makes his home in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17), all of these are ways of describing the Holy Spirit’s presence. The Holy Spirit speaks only in ways consistent with Jesus. The Holy Spirit empowers us in the way of Jesus. The Holy Spirit moves us toward the purposes of Jesus.

So when we pray “Holy Spirit—Fill Us!” we are praying for more of Jesus. When we pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us, this prayer is not a selfish prayer so we can have a wonderful spiritual experience—but a prayer for transformation of us, our families, and our churches so that we can lean into what Jesus is doing in the world. This prayer for filling is a transforming prayer that begins with us but doesn’t end with us.

According to Ephesians 5:18-20, this Holy Spirit filling should lead to continuous expressions of worship and gratitude on our parts. As we pray for Holy Spirit filling, we should respond with expressions of worship and gratitude. That is part of what the answer to our prayer for Holy Spirit filling should look like. January is a wonderful month to welcome the Holy Spirit—and focus on worship and gratitude.

May God in 2023 grant us this prayer of filling us with the Holy Spirit—so that we can truly worship, give thanks, and seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness!


Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill me today!

Welcome Holy Spirit! Wash over me and flood my interior life with the presence of Jesus!

Welcome Holy Spirit! Fill me with the loving power of Jesus!

Welcome Holy Spirit! Fill me with passion for the purposes of Jesus!


Welcome Holy Spirit! Come and fill our church today!

Welcome Holy Spirit! Wash over our church and flood our lives with the presence of Jesus!

Welcome Holy Spirit! Fill our church with the loving power of Jesus!

Welcome Holy Spirit! Fill our church with passion for the purposes of Jesus!


is the National Faith and Life Director for CCMBC. He and Karen attend The Life Centre in Abbotsford, BC.


In the pat I ence of love’s delay, part 4

In the final installment of this series, my intent is to carefully distinguish Christian patience from merely acting slowly. While haste is often reckless and even dangerous, Christians are called to an urgent patience that expresses trust in God and seeks to embody patience at a faithful pace, which sometimes calls for waiting and other times for quick (not unnecessarily hasty) action that is itself shaped by patience.

Patience as a Form of Waiting

The exercise of patience is often associated with slowing down. Examples proliferate of people suggesting that contemporary life speeds along at a furious pace, and keeping up with, participating in, or taking advantage of this pace often has deleterious effects of various kinds on the individual and on the structures of societies. Thus, the person making these kinds of claims offers counsel that highlights the merits of slowing down, of waiting, of cultivation and practicing patience instead of pursuing frenetic activity at a pace that often must not only be maintained but increased just to keep up. Regarding the exercise of patience, it is often the case that is characterized as (very nearly) synonymous with slowing down.

There is an important truth to be recognized in the connection of patience with acting slowly. In a recent collection of essays, letters, and conversations, Stanley Hauerwas and Romand Coles struggle to understand a way forward in a culture they claim is obsessed with death. The notion of patience, secular and Christian, runs throughout the book.1 They suggest that “radical patience, stillness, ‘acting out of the deepest silence,’ sitting around on front porches with no plan of action, resisting imperatives for quick improvisations – these are among the most important political motifs…” Further, “…not knowing what to say and knowing one does not know – perhaps for a very long timeand dramatizing the fact that one is confronted with something for which one knows that one does not yet have the words: this is a very important ethical capacity.” To illustrate some of these dynamics, Coles and Hauerwas draw attention to Charles Marsh’s depiction of the American civil rights movement as including the discipline of waiting, which required uncommon patience even as it sustained humility and perspective. A condition of achieving ‘beloved community’ (Marsh’s term) was a certain kind of stillness in a nation of frenetic activity and noisy distraction. The waiting and witnessing did not equal preserving the status quo; rather these actions testified to the truth of Christ’s kingdom amid the world without expecting that we humans can enact that kingdom ahead of its appointed time.

My own consideration of patience continues to be influenced by developments in the field of disability theology, in particular the work of John Swinton, who rehabilitates the notion of slowness, rescuing it from being used as a pejorative descriptor of people with disabilities. 2 Instead, in Swinton’s use of the term,


2  John Swinton, Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship.

slowness becomes a positive and constructive challenge to take up in our understanding of God’s ‘speed,’ in stark contrast to modern understandings of time in which it is “perceived as morally neutral and instrumental, a blank sheet onto which humans can inscribe their histories.” In place of such a modern account, Swinton puts forward a very different notion, wherein he suggests that a mode of time exists within the world as perceived by God’s time for creation. We need to allow God’s time to come upon us; we cannot assist it, because all we can do is receive it. As it is received, we are allowed to enter a quite different relationship with time. Swinton uses the language of becoming “friends of time,” of being in the world in ways that are radically different from the clock-time-driven, anxiety-ridden ways of living that we so often inhabit. God’s time is slow, patient, and kind. It welcomes friendship; it is a way of being in the fulness of time that is not determined by productivity, success, or linear movement toward personal goals. It is a way of love, a way of the heart. Slowness, gentleness, perseverance, and love: these are the qualities of people who have become friends of time. Says Swinton: “The ideas of slowing down; taking Sabbath, finding Sabbath moments; learning to be gentle, patient, and perseverance; coming to know what it means to become friends with slowness, and becoming friends of time (the practises of timefullness) are not easy to understand or to value in a world filled with clocks and meaningless evolutionary history. However, if in God’s coming kingdom ‘slow is the new fast’ and if gentleness and vulnerability are the new modes of transformative power, we find ourselves in a quite different world that holds to a different perception of time.”

Patience Does not Equal Slowness

I find these kinds of discussions not only convincing, but deeply challenging. Nonetheless, I have some questions. Is it the case that there is a causal, constitutive, or necessary connection

Stanley Hauerwas and Romand Coles, Christianity, Radical Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary

between patience and slowing down? We must ask if slowing down is intrinsically upbuilding or edifying. Or could it be the case that ‘slow’ can be destructive? A cover-up of passivity? A reluctance to face injustice? Support of gradualism whereby the person calling for patience does so at the expense of oppressed people, for the uninterrupted prosperity of the one who counsels patience?

Here a word of caution is in order, because slow can have a shadow side. We need to be careful not to allow the practice of patience to occlude the possibility of seeing dangers that lurk in a commitment to slowness, namely, the danger of slow violence, a term that has been given significant currency in the work of Rob Nixon. 3 His book Slow Violence offers an unsettling argument in which he attempts to make visible the long-term social, cultural, political, and effects of environmental practices that are put into place slowly. Nixon’s notion of slow violence refers to “a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all…neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive…” Nixon’s work serves as a cautionary tale to those who would equate patience and slowness.

Further, a word of caution regarding speeding up is also in order. Recognizing the dangers of haste is important. As Kelly Johnson asserts, “The moral problem of a hurried culture is not its love of speed, but its collective evasion of the truth about ourselves and our world; we are creatures, living in an unfolding time whose purposes we did not create.” Part of our evasion of truth includes our desire to control time even as we “deny the truth that time is not ours to control.” Hurry becomes a social practice, useful as evasion and necessary for maintaining our place in the world of empty, objective time.4 And yet, we all know that there are times when we must hurry – in times of true emergency, in taking advantage of opportunities to do good, in showing love; in short, not all speed kills.


Slow is not synonymous with patience; sometimes violence relies on slowness. Not all speed is to be avoided, but hastiness often ignores truth and assumes that time is ours to control. So, how can we express Christian patience? I contend that we need to



recognize that Christian patience can move at various tempos, but that whatever pace we choose to follow, slow or fast, ought to be shaped by our understanding of patience. Perhaps the way to express this is to say that we are called to the practice of urgent patience, a term I take from biblical scholar Kevin Scott. In this regard, I’ve often thought of the father in the well-known parable we refer to as ‘The Prodigal Son.’ Much is made of the father’s hurrying in joy to embrace his wayward son who has come home. Fair enough, but we also ought to recognize that the final urgent sprint of that story is shaped by and comes only after and as part of enduring, waiting, watching, and hoping. The father distributed the share of inheritance against his own better judgment, he continued his work over the years, he worked side by side with his other son and employees, and all the time the working and the waiting were of a piece, a way of being which I’m calling urgent patience. And the practice of urgent Christian patience in a time of uncertainty is a demand made on the Christian precisely because God’s word is abroad in these times.

Finally, insofar as the practice of urgent patience is possible in our lives and churches, and in the world in which we find ourselves, it is made so by “the love that waits, scandalous in its patience, (which) will finally be unreserved in its haste to welcome us into the feast of reconciliation. In the meantime, we wait in joyful hope.”5

5  Kelly Johnson, “Hurry and the Willingness to Be Creatures,”


Associate Professor of Theology and Anabaptist Studies

Canadian Mennonite University.

Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. I’m drawing here on Kelly Johnson, “Hurry and the Willingness to Be Creatures,” in Attentive Patience: The Christian Reflection Project. DR. is at

Lor L ie Barkman

A life of creative engagement

“Dear Dad.”

That’s how Lorlie Barkman began the brief vignettes that he wrote alongside a cartoon that recalled some episode from his childhood which his father might also recall. They became a book. The wellknown cartoonist, tv producer and pastor wrote and drew the book while he was visiting his father who was gradually succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease.

He called the book Remember, Dad?

A Journey into Memory Loss.

Now it was Lorlie’s turn. On November 18 a funeral service was held for Lorlie in the Westwood Community Church of Winnipeg, a church where he had once been the pastor. He died at 81

When [Lorlie's] children and came forward to pay tribute to this gentle father, whose well-employed multiple gifts had blessed so many, each began with “Dear Dad.”

a week earlier of Alzheimer’s too, and when his children came forward to pay tribute to this gentle father, whose well-employed multiple gifts had blessed so many, each began with “Dear Dad.”

Lorlie’s life started out in the small south Saskatchewan community of Flowing Well. His parents Albert and Mary Barkman raised their family of four, Melba, Ellwood, Dwayne and Lorlie there, and farmed and were an active part of the small Mennonite Brethren church in the community. Flowing Well is a tiny place, now no longer with any businesses and the church too has closed. But for Lorlie it left wonderful memories from home, farm, church and school settings. No one could have said it hadn’t prepared him for a life of rich engagement.

Lorlie made a decision as a young


man to attend Bethany Bible Institute—a choice that cemented a few things for him. In the first place there he met a “lovely young lady,” Deanna Wall of Borden, Sask., who captured his heart and whom he married. And there he also chose to open himself to pastoral work. Lorlie and Deanna began their life together as pastors of a small Mennonite Brethren church in Moose Jaw, known as the Regal Heights church.

They were the church planters, beginning as a house fellowship in 1964. They chartered in 1967, were able to move into their own building a few years later, and there he remained as pastor until 1975. Three children were born to them during that time, Barry, Bonnah and Christy. The character of his work was laid during that time—he was always a modest man, who along with the preparation of sermons and Sunday services, enjoyed conducting marriage preparation classes, and doing weddings and funerals. Along with these he often found ways of incorporating his unique ability to tell stories and to which he added his special cartoon-like drawings. His motto, his children said, was “Be ready to preach, pray, sing or die at a moment’s notice.”

That seems to have been sufficient to give Lorlie and Deanna the courage to make a huge ministry shift in 1975. He had already been providing drawings with a bit of a twist to the MB Herald when he came to the attention of Mennonite Brethren-sponsored MB Communications (now known as Square One World Media). They were interested in starting a television series for children. The Barkmans moved to Winnipeg and Lorlie began the work of starting The Third Story. It was a creative venture that he relished. His able partner in the project was Marv Thiessen.

Neil Klassen, director of the ministry at the time, recalls an occasion when he was travelling through Saskatchewan with Lorlie and for a hundred kilometers Lorlie said nothing. Then for the next hundred or so he gave Neil “a detailed plan

[The Third Story] was a creative venture that [Lorlie] relished.

for the next Third Story series.” He “had the gift of total concentration,” says Neil.

During a time when programs like his would have to pay for airtime, Lorlie was able to persuade individual stations to carry the series free of charge, which they did for seven seasons, says J Janzen of Abbotsford, BC, a staffer at that time. Another person involved with MB Communications, when it became known as Family Life Network, recalls a time when Lorlie began to work on an adult version of The Third Story. A 1983 news account in the MB Herald describes how Lorlie went about it.

He set it in the home of Ron and Sharon Voth of Abbotsford (Ron taught at Columbia Bible College at the time) and segments picked up songs, items shot by Marv Thiessen around the country, interviews brought in with people like Dr. Frank C. Peters, the MB churchman and psychologist, that when pieced together resulted in a highly effective series. The Herald article quoted a Winnipeg Free Press writer who said “that never in the history of Canadian television production have so few operating on so little given to so many.” The 13-program adult series


had a budget of $100,000 and was “likely to be seen by seven million viewers through the Canadian tv stations and the U.S. Christian Broadcasting Network.”

Gordon Nickel, who wrote the story for the MB Herald, commented at the end, “I have to affirm the attempt of these producers to communicate the gospel in a way which is realistic to the way people talk, the music they like and the concerns which occupy their minds. That attempt must be lonely at times. But to this point, I haven’t seen anything on tv that does it better.” David Balzer who worked with Lorlie for a time said Lorlie’s mentoring became a model for him when he later began his own radio talk show and the work he now does as a teacher in communications at Canadian Mennonite University.

Pastoral work always remained a calling for Lorlie and Deanna and in 1990 Lorlie returned to full-time church leadership by becoming lead pastor for the Westwood Community Church of Winnipeg. A year earlier the church had moved into a well-equipped facility on Westwood Drive and the ministry opportunities were abundant. For Lorlie, Westwood was not only a “workplace,” his children said, “but truly a church family.” He relished the opportunity to

For Lorlie, Westwood was not only a “workplace,” his children said, “but truly a church family.”

serve in many ways in that setting. Deanna supported him strongly. He gave leadership at Westwood until he retired in 1998.

Andrew Dyck, a MB Seminary faculty member at CMU, got to know Lorlie at Westwood and led the funeral service in mid-November. He described how Lorlie noticed details about people, seeing what was special in the ordinary or noting how they dealt with difficulties in their lives. He loved to draw stories out of people and after his own retirement visited care homes. Often he drew on a white board what people were telling. He did the same for a singing group called The Brothers, when they went out to do country music concerts. Remember Dad? A Journey into Memory Loss grew out of visits to his own father who died of Alzheimer’s as Lorlie himself later did.

Andrew related that with their humble, gentle spirit Lorlie and Deanna weren’t afraid to “wade into hard complexities.” They came to church when Lorlie could no longer hold his choir music right side up or come up with the names of the people they were meeting. Andrew says one Sunday he met Lorlie in church and as they conversed asked Lorlie, “What if you get Alzheimer’s disease? How will you cope with that?” Lorlie’s reply was, “I’ll be okay.”

And as Andrew said and the children and grandchildren abundantly confirmed, “his journey with Alzheimer’s was also beautiful, it wasn’t a tragedy.” He had once colour-coded his Bible to highlight all of God’s non-verbal communications, what Lorlie called God’s “paraword.” When Lorlie himself could no longer speak, he became God’s paraword. He did it with his smiles and his response to the hugs of his family.

When Lorlie’s children and grandchildren got up to speak, their voices lent witness to a life lived with integrity and love. Granddaughter Indiana Unger said,


“Thank you for raising my mother the way you did, and for how strong and beautiful she is.” And “thank you for always finishing off my food off my plate when I was full.” A grandson now in seminary in Minneapolis, Matteo Unger, said, “Your example will live long in the legacy of our family—a legacy of God-honouring, pure, humble, peaceful and Christ devoted living.” Another of the grandchildren, Restonn, remarked about Lorlie’s unselfishness and gentleness, then added she would remember “the way you loved grandma (Deanna).” Rhythm Unger said Lorlie would “brighten up her day” when as a child she stayed overnight at their house. That was the tenor of all the grandchildren’s voices.

Lorlie and Deanna’s children were all born in south Saskatchewan and all spoke of the impact it had made on them, spending time in both Moose Jaw and Flowing Well, “the most beautiful place on earth,” daughter Christy said. A place of “freedom to dream and think” and also a place where Lorlie would “always be telling stories and pointing the focus on God and his presence in everything.” It changed her, she said.

“Your example will live long in the legacy of our family—a legacy of God-honouring, pure, humble, peaceful and Christ devoted living.”

— Matteo Unger, grandson

Carrie, married to son Barry Barkman, said that no matter what she served up, Lorlie would always eat heartily and rave about it afterward, and when they visited the parents, Lorlie would treat it as a big favour done to them. He made them feel important and appreciated. Barry spoke of a father who taught him to drive a tractor with a straight furrow before [he] was in grade 4, and helped him buy a car and fix it before he was 16. When Barry was older and struggling, Lorlie accompanied his son to police stations and “made it positive by saying how proud [he] was of how I handled my accountability for my actions.” Barry also added, “You loved Mom so well and you loved your expanding family so well.”

The storyteller became a story himself. He had lived a life rich in faith. Rich in love and practical wisdom. Creative. He is survived by Deanna, now also in care in Morden, Manitoba, and a growing family, three married children and ten grandchildren (one married), and two siblings and their families.

is former editor of MB Herald and ChristianWeek and a journalist.


Last days, first days

Seven key practices that help one navigate endings and beginnings


Itis the season of making resolutions. Sadly, it is also the season of failed ones too. The gym I used to go to always had a throng of newcomers the first week of January. These newly passionate champions for fitness with their pristine Nike exercise gear enthusiastically sweated out push ups, jogged on treadmills, and pumped iron. The energy in the place was amazing! A month later most had determined their resolve to become fit or lose weight had waned and subsequently reduced their attendance. Three months later most sought ‘greener pastures.’

Full disclosure, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, at least in the commonly understood manner. I do concur that January is a natural space to end certain things in one’s life as well as begin new things. This is true for disciples of Jesus. What I have repeatedly noted, however, is that most efforts to make life changes – an ending or a beginning – are poorly weighed and planned. I was among this ill-equipped group and found it incredibly frustrating. And so, I

developed a set of principles regarding the process behind any significant life change whether it be in the winter, spring, summer or fall. I hope these principles will be of help to you.

Practice #1 – Pray about the trajectory of your life and ask God that it be in alignment with His will. This seems like a no-brainer for a disciple of Jesus and yet, it all too often plays a minor role; an after-thought. The reality is that the most powerful ‘tool’ for life change – either ending something or beginning something – is done upon one’s knees. Remember Daniel and the lion’s den or Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when it was death or life, an end or a beginning, they prayed seeking to be at the center of God’s will. Unfortunately, it is not common for disciples to commit their significant life change decisions under God’s ‘microscope’ beforehand, usually there is only a request for His blessing. I believe the counsel of James is paramount: “…you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15 NIV).


Practice #2 – Draft a clear, realistic, achievable, and informed goal.

This past fall my wife and I took a road trip to celebrate my 60 th birthday. We wanted to drive to several sites in the USA. After several days of deliberation, we pulled out a map and charted our travel noting what we wanted to see, where we wanted to stay and how much it would cost. Yes, we did leave lots of room for adventure and unplanned detours. I might be 60, but I’m still spontaneous! All this to say, if you are wanting to end something significant or begin something important, have a clear, relevant and informed goal. Some might find the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting resource helpful (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, T ime-bound).

Practice #3 – Be real about your circumstances and the degree of commitment needed to make a specific life change.

Self-awareness is crucial for making significant life changes. Understanding your history, past decisions and your present process of engaging life, is absolutely foundational for putting in place any course correction. You need to be brutally honest with yourself here; no rationalizing away either the trouble or the opportunity staring you in the face. Furthermore, weighing your capacity to ‘stick-it-out’ until the end – your commitment to the changes –is a must for any chance of success. In short, if you don’t have ‘gas-in-the-tank’ for the changes you want to see happen, you need to rethink your approach, enlist more help from the Holy Spirit and trusted others in order to bridge the resolve gap.

Practice #4 – Seek honest insight and forthright constructive counsel from trusted others.

Scripture reminds us that “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 5:22 NIV). It is simply wise to seek the counsel of mature and capable trusted others to speak to your desire to end something or begin something. Such counselors will no doubt know much about you and the path you are planning to travel, both will serve to be of helpful benefit.

Practice #5 – Remind yourself that, in and of itself, the JOURNEY of ending and beginning something is incredibly important and transformative.

Tennis star Arthur Ash once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” American Rock climber Yvon Chouinard stated, “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” I have discovered much wisdom in these words as I contemplated and then implemented my own significant life

changes. There is so much to learn in the process of ending or beginning something – the journey – and so, be mindful in that space.

Practice #6 – Strive for micro changes and small victories.

I am convinced that part of the reason so many people experience failed New Year’s resolutions is because they bite off more than they could or should ‘chew.’ It is much better to make small (micro) changes toward your goal than to jump in with both feet, make a big splash, but soon peter out. Attempting micro changes, and experiencing a victory in them, inspires one to take the next small step and the next one and so on. For example, the common wisdom on weight loss is not to reduce a huge amount of weight in a short period of time, but rather to make small progressive (micro) changes in your eating habits over an extended period. In other words, form a new lifestyle. Research has found such a tactic results in long-term weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

Practice #7 – Prepare yourself for the possibility that an ending or a beginning may require significant courage and resolve.

It has been my experience that the significant life changes I have pursued – endings or beginnings – have all required a notable degree of courage and resolve and, to be honest, faith. It takes courage to end a relationship or a particular work. It takes courage to deal with an addiction or accept chemotherapy. It takes courage to leave one job and start another or end one career with no prospects for another. It takes resolve to stick with your decision to end or begin something. My father taught me that when you choose a path, never look back, look forward and boldly march on. And, if you have made the wrong decision, don’t worry, God will be able redeem it. Remember, you will at times fail along the path you choose, but view them as failing forward and not falling back.

For now, blessings on the ending or the beginning you have set your eyes upon. God is with you. God is for you.


REV. PHILIP A GUNTHER is director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches

Finish lines


Elsa was born Nov. 4, 1939, in Neu Halbstadt, Sagradovka. When Elsa was 4, she, her parents, and 2 siblings fled their home during the German army’s attack on Russia. They were captured by the Russian army and sent to an exile camp in Altai, Siberia. Although their time in the camp was difficult, Elsa still said she had many fond memories. Her favourite was singing German hymns with her mother and father. After they were released in 1956, they moved to Nevyansk in the Ural Mountains. In 1957, Elsa met Peter while she was visiting family in another village. After writing letters for a short while, they became engaged in 1958. They married Jan. 1, 1959. They settled in Nevyansk, Russia, and welcomed twin boys. In 1962, they moved to Frunze, Kyrgyzstan. Here the family added 7 more children. Sadly, one son became very ill at 7 months and did not survive. In April 1974, with help from Peter’s brother Jake, the family immigrated to Canada, settling in Abbotsford, B.C. Here they welcomed 4 more children. Elsa and Peter got involved with their King Road MB Church and made many friends. Even though she had a full house of children, Elsa always had room for more. It wasn’t uncommon to have their own 12 kids and another 12 from the neighbourhood. Her home and table were always open to anyone who came in the door. Elsa greeted everyone with a smile, a hug, and something to eat. She was an amazing self-taught seamstress. She would sew dresses for her girls with just a picture from a magazine. She loved singing and poetry. Elsa had an incredible ability to recite lengthy poems from memory. Elsa went to be with her Lord and Saviour very suddenly, Jan. 3, 2021. Her family and friends mourn the loss of their mom, Oma, and friend but rejoice knowing she is reunited with Peter. Together they are celebrating with the Lord. Elsa loved Jesus and lived out her faith with the knowledge that heaven would be her reward.

Birth: November 4, 1939

Birthplace: Neu Halbstadt, Sagradovka Colony, Ukraine

Death: January 3, 2021

Parents: Heinrich & Aganetha (Duerksen) Funk

Married: Peter Jacob Tielmann, Jan. 1, 1959 [d. 24 Oct. 24, 2017]

Family: children Vic (Denise), Walera (Patti), Henry (Leanne), Jake (Lesa), Helen (Eldon), Walter, Irene (Chris), Eddie (Belle), Agnes (Elmer), Linda (Wil), Anita (Dean), Danny (Sherri), Eduard [d. in infancy]; 36 grandchildren; 4 greatgrandchildren

Church: King Road, Abbotsford, B.C.

Baptism: Aug. 6, 1958


Martin grew up in Yarrow, B.C., on Lumsden Road. He met his future wife at the fruit packing cannery in Yarrow, and after she completed her nurse’s training, they married and moved to New Hazelton, where Kelly and Ken were born. After being personally challenged by Jesus’ teachings, Martin determined to serve God among the poor. This led them to leave the house Martin had built in New Hazelton. The family moved to Yarrow for a year while waiting for a placement with MCC in Brazil. Between two 2.5-year volunteer terms in Brazil, the family lived in Winnipeg (where Tim was born) for a year for Martin to study at MB Bible College. In 1983, they moved back to New Hazelton where Martin continued volunteering his time to serve the community in innumerable ways, including for Community Gospel Chapel, HELP Society, the food bank, and Skeena Bakery board, and through employment support, recycling, singing at the hospital and school, gardening, and driving bus for school teams. He could repair virtually anything for anyone who needed it, and nothing went to waste when he was around. His motivation for all these activities was his devotion to God. He would get up before anyone else to walk, read, and pray every day. Martin’s love for learning, his problem-solving skills, and his curiosity continue to influence his three children as teachers. Martin and Marian, “the M&Ms,” were a harmonious team and usually seen serving together. Martin will be sorely missed by family and his many friends.

Birth: August 24, 1940

Birthplace: Saskatchewan Death: November 12, 2022

Parents: Heinrich & Maria Penner Married: Marian Hooge, Sept. 5, 1964

Family: Marian; 3 children Kelly (Ron Suhan), Ken (Linda MacDougall Penner), Tim (Carmen); 8 grandchildren Kenya (Daniel Franz), Ketra (George Naziel), Kyron; Alex, Matthew; Ben, Amelia, Ellawyn; 1 great-grandchild Joel; 2 brothers Peter, Neil Church: Yarrow (B.C.) MB; Community Gospel Chapel, New Hazelton, B.C.


A moment in time

With 36 short letters addressed to his dad, Lorlie Barkman recalls some treasured memory they shared, accompanying each with a drawing. The idea for the book came from Lorlie’s practice of sending notes and drawings to his dad in a personal care home. Because of dementia, his dad’s memory of the past was better than his awareness of the present. In moments of clarity, his dad was able to connect to these glimpses from the past. This is the cover of Lorlie’s book. It is part of the collection at the Centre for MB Studies in Winnipeg.