Many years ago, I made this butterfly for my former pastor and dear friend, Bertha Landers. This afternoon I was privileged to visit with her briefly in her new home in a retirement  complex, and the butterfly graced her coffee table.

The butterfly is often used as a symbol for new life. And Bertha was, for me, a midwife for a new life. After Volker died, when I struggled to come to terms with the changed world I lived in, Bertha listened and advised, walking with me through the darkness.

I chose to make the butterfly of stain-glass. It was a craft that Volker indulged in for several years before his death. He taught me, though I could never make the neat welds that he did. And so, this butterfly spoke of both the old and the new.

Thank you, Bertha. I am forever grateful for your faith, for your love, for your influence in my life!


An Anabaptist Learning Workshop

Following Jesus Together While Having Very Different Beliefs

How does kimchi relate to following Jesus? Pablo (Hyung Jin) Kim-Sun and Jinah Im were quite happy to explain last Saturday (April 7).

Kimchi Ingredients (Simple version) Congregational Ingredients
green onions varying genders
chives singing styles
sea salt praying styles
red chili powder ‘heart’ language (first language spoken)
fermented shrimp who is Jesus?
anchovy sauce what is the meaning of Jesus’ death
onion what is the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection?
Fuji apple how do we live faithfully?
Asian pear what does it mean to live justly?
garlic (and many more)
sticky rice


  • There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi, just as there are hundreds of varieties of congregations.
  • Most of us recognize cabbage kimchi, but other vegetables can also be used. Those of us in the workshop are ‘European’ Anabaptists, but often now our congregations include people from other parts of the world.
  • Kimchi has evolved over the centuries; Napa cabbage and chili powder are more recent additions to traditional recipes. Our Anabaptist beliefs and understandings have also evolved over the last 500 years and hopefully will continue to do so.
  • Some ingredients in kimchi get blended together, some are left distinct. So too the ingredients of our congregations, some things get mashed together, some things stay distinct.
  • Kimchi needs time to ferment, to create that unique flavour, each day tasting a little sharper. Can we recognize how the church also needs time to ferment, how over time we can become more flavourful?
  • In Korea making kimchi is a community event. So together we learned how to make kimchi and how we might use diversity to demonstrate the vastness of God’s love to the world.

On the Anabaptist Learning Workshop website

Beautification Project

Our gardening committee is working hard trying to make this place look better. It is slow work, but it is happening.

Here is a view of the south-west corner of the property before we began our efforts:IMG_1658Sue, Gina and I have been working at getting all the hawthorn roots out of the ground:

These old hawthorn roots have to come out of the ground so we can plant something nicer.

Today we transplanted hostas: IMG_0790DSCF5695 Now doesn’t that look a lot better?

Making Mermaids

A few days ago I got a message from Trina:

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.44.29 PMI’ve booked my tickets for September — I will be in California for the wee girl’s 6th (!) birthday. This could be a good birthday present. Being too cheap to buy a pattern, I looked online and found this free one: YARNutopia By Nadia Fuad – mermaidafghan3sizes.pdf. I’ll use it as a guide to make my own.

This past weekend my friend Sandy went to the Southampton Market. There she found Benat’s Jacquards yarn in a variegated green, purple, aqua and white, three skeins for $8. I thought these colours would look good on a mermaid’s tail.IMG_0574This week all the First Mennonite Church pastors are away at the Mennonite World Conference Assembly in Harrisburg, PA, so it has been very quiet in the church office. Consequently, I have taken my project to work and have been able to get a good start on it.

The afghan part of it is a simple shell stitch. I am using a 6.0mm hook. This is going to make a rather heavy afghan, I think, especially for California. I wonder if using a larger hook would have made a difference? I started with a chain 121 stitches long. That now seems wider than it would need to be for a child, but I will wait until it is finish to judge for sure.

IMG_0577 IMG_0578I’m looking forward to getting it done.

Prayer Beads

I wonder what my Amish grandparents would think of my Catholic ways?

For several years now I have listened to the Jesuits’ Pray-as-you-go podcasts on a daily basis, usually part of my bedtime routine. As well, I have started reading through the Carmelite’s Lectio Divina every morning with my first cup of coffee.

Growing up I never heard of “Seasons of the Church,” or Advent or Lent, yet now they are celebrated in our worship.

This week I decided to make a set of “Anglican Prayer Beads” (what’s the difference between a rosary and Anglican Prayer beads, I wonder). I’m not sure I will follow any formulaic pattern for my prayers — that just isn’t how I have talked with God all my life. But the idea of having something in my hands when I pray, if it is just to give each bead a person’s name, or to give a thanksgiving to each of the beads in one “week”, a petition to each bead in another or some other pattern, I look forward to finding a way to deepen my relationship with God through yet another Catholic practice.