Tag Archives: church

A Grandmother for Jesus

Jesus’ grandmother Anne was one of the featured saints in a sermon in our church last Sunday.  The apocryphal Gospel of James has Anne’s story.  She was Mary’s mother and Jesus’ grandmother.  Artistic depictions of Anne show her playing an important role in her grandson’s life.  


Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Lucas Cranach the Elder 1520

The sermon about Anne last Sunday brought back memories of two churches dedicated to Jesus’ grandmother I’ve visited. ste. anne's church jerusalemThis is St. Anne’s Church in Jerusalem.  I visited it on a school trip with my Hong Kong students. pool of bethesda jerusalemThe church is located right beside the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. This is fitting because Anne is the saint of healing. Interestingly Anne’s church in Jerusalem is at the same spot where there used to be a shrine to the Greek god of healing Ascelepius.  

statue of mary and her mother Saint Anne Church Jerusalem

Statue of Anne and her daughter Mary in the St. Anne church in Jerusalem. Like the Old Testament character Hannah, Anne thought she wouldn’t be able to have children and was an older woman when Mary was born. 

st-anne-churchIn Quebec City I visited the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.crutches and canes st. annes

At the back of the church are all these cabinets filled with crutches and canes people have left behind. They didn’t need them anymore after visiting St. Annes’  church because St. Anne healed them. She is the saint of healing. 

da vinci the virgin and child with st. anne

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Leonardo da Vinci

I never knew about Ste. Anne till I visited the two churches built in her honor. It is interesting to realize there are religious writings that gives Jesus a grandmother who played an important role in his life just like many grandmothers do for all of us.


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Steinbach Pride- Homecoming, Forgiveness and Hope

pride parade (1)

Marching in the Pride Parade in Steinbach. Photo credit- Grant Burr

At the Pride Parade in Steinbach, I was walking with my brother. My brother grew up in Steinbach and experienced some of the same kind of discrimination and bullying speaker Chris Plett described in his moving address to the crowd. Having the opportunity to march proudly in his hometown with his family and his same-sex marriage partner meant a great deal to my brother.  

At the parade, I met other members of the LGBTQ community who grew up in Steinbach and had returned, some from quite a distance just for the occasion. The opportunity to walk through their childhood home in support of something so integral to their identity was very significant and a kind of coming full circle sort of experience. 

Some comments in the media say the crowd at the Steinbach Pride Parade consisted mostly of people who live outside of Steinbach, and while that may be partly true, I would say that a large percentage of the people at the parade had some connection to Steinbach.  Every time I turned around I saw people I knew who either live in Steinbach now or have lived in the Steinbach area in the past. It was a day of homecoming for many. 

Speakers Chris Plett and Tyrone Hofer particularly impressed me.  As they described their experience of being gay, they firmly stated how strong their religious faith remained and clearly demonstrated what forgiving attitudes they had. They were willing to give the people in their faith communities another chance even after they had been treated so badly. They had hope for change in their churches and in the city of Steinbach.  

I think marching in the parade was a way to extend, ask for, and receive forgiveness for many. One woman I met said she had gone to high school with my brother and she wanted him to know that if she had ever said or done anything to hurt him during that time she apologized. And if I am honest marching in the parade was a way to ask my brother for forgiveness too, because while I have always accepted and affirmed his sexual orientation in a private family setting, there were many years when I did not do so in a public way out of fear of what people would think. I am sorry for that.

It made me feel so hopeful to see all the children in the crowd. I noticed many families represented as mine was, with three different generations. I dreamed as I walked that there would be a time in the future when there would be no need to have Pride Parades anymore because everyone in Canada would feel safe and secure in publicly sharing their gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The Facebook post of Phil Campbell- Enns my Winnipeg pastor, who grew up in Steinbach, reflects well the spirit of the parade for many. I share it here with his permission.

Today all were loved, and all were safe.
Honest words were spoken.
Stories of pain and resilience were shared.
Optimism and joy filled the air.
Politicians and educators were called to look after everyone.
The church was challenged, and faith was declared.
What a great day for my home town!
So glad I was there to celebrate.

I’m glad I was there to celebrate too!

Other posts…….

Pride in Steinbach Isn’t Something New

Responding to Changing Understandings of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Take Time to Listen


Filed under Canada, Politics, Religion

Back on the Ice

The only sports trophy I’ve ever won was for curling. In grade nine I played lead on a team with three young men all expert curlers, in our school’s intermural curling league. We won the league and I was awarded a small wooden trophy with a little silver curling stone on it.
curling teamOn Sunday my church held a triathlon -a ping pong tournament,  followed by a curling game at the Granite Curling Club and finished off with faspa (for my non-Mennonite readers this is a Low-German Mennonite word for a small lunch on Sunday afternoons). My husband Dave signed me up for his curling team and we won our game. It was fun to be back out on the ice and Dave said I even made a couple of good shots. 

Other posts…….

Golfers With An Artistic Side

Watching the Blue Jays Win in Quebec City

I Slept With a Champion Last Night


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I Remember When…..

Church at the Mennonite Heritage Museum. I remember when I was a little girl my grandparents' attended a church like this and men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.

This is a photo I took of the church at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. I remember when….. I was a little girl my grandparents attended a church something like this and the men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.

I remember when…… a young woman who attended a church in my home town was forced to “confess her sin” in front of the congregation when she became pregnant before her wedding. Her fiancée did not have to confess.

I remember when….. I was speaking at a women’s conference at a church in my home town and they told me I would need to stand behind a special microphone at the front of the church because only men could stand behind the pulpit.

I remember when….. I made a motion at a church membership meeting in my home church that we use inclusive language rather than exclusively male language when we rewrote our church constitution and the motion was defeated.

I remember when…… a young woman in our church wanted to marry a divorced man and we had meetings for months to ‘discern’ whether this would be fine. Finally she had her wedding at her parents’ home rather than in the church building where she had gone to services every Sunday since she was born.

I remember when…… they would post lists of people who would set tables and bring food and do dishes for church suppers and there were only women on the list.

I remember when….. the women in my church were referred to by their husbands’ names. They were Mrs. Henry Janzen or Mrs. Herman Epp as if they had no first names of their own.

If you would tell any of these things to a teenager in most churches today they would shake their heads in disbelief that such a time could ever have existed.

Sometimes I wonder what I remembers.….. the next generation will write decades from now, and the teenagers of that day, will shake their heads in disbelief that such a time could ever have existed.

Other posts…….

Some Mennonites But Not All

Praying Naked in Front of the Mirror

A Photograph in the Mennonite

What Will You Be Building?


Filed under Religion