Monday, 16 January 2012

The bicentennial year is here!!!

by Jonathan Seiling
So many people have been undertaking projects and preparations leading up to this year so let the fanfare begin....

Currently there are web pages on the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario website on this topic.  They commemorate experience of the historic peace churches in Upper Canada, including Quakers, Brethren in Christ and Mennonites (otherwise known historically as the "Society of Friends", the "Tunkers" and "Menonists" in case you're looking for some oddly-spelled proper nouns for your next Scrabble match that accepts standard English words not in the dictionary!)

Visit the site and you’ll find: 1) an events calendar; 2) the texts and some photos of historic markers in Niagara (with translations into French); 3) a link back to this blog! 4) other materials to be added soon.

The historic markers can be visited in reality and, thanks to the MCCO website, they can be visited in virtual reality.

A forum in war-full times

by Carol Penner
Two hundred years ago, in 1812, groups of Christians in the Niagara Peninsula and other parts of Upper Canada, refused to participate in the hostilities between the British and the Americans. These Christians, from three denominations, (now known as) the Quakers, the Brethren in Christ, and the Mennonites, all sought conscientious objector status from the government. They had been promised this option when they first arrived in Canada as immigrants.

What was it like to be peaceful in a world at war? What did that position cost them, in terms of their standing in the community? Were there dissenting voices even among these peace churches? How did being peaceful Christians in war-full times play out in the lives of women and men of that time? 

As Canada and the United States begin to commemorate the War of 1812, how do we as modern-day peacemakers respond? How are our beliefs the same or different?  What is our relationship to our governments in this current war-full time? There are so many questions: we hope this blog will be a place of lively discussion and dialogue.