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Something old is new


Susan Kehler (left) poses with two of her young friends at Abbotsford Vietnamese Fellowship and one of the banners they made to reflect how something “old” can be seen anew.

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July 15, 2011
-Deborah Froese

Waterloo, ONT. — In the early days of January 2011, an idea for something new caught hold of Susan Kehler and wouldn’t let go.

Kehler, a member of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford BC, had just finished reading “Gifts of the Church for a New Year,” an article from Mennonite Church Canada General  Secretary Willard Metzger, published in the Jan. 10 issue of Canadian Mennonite.

“That which is different can be new. Something routine for one person, if never experienced before by another, can be new. A different approach can be new. A different point of view can be new. A different understanding can be new,” Metzger wrote.

“How could we give gifts to the church at New Years time?” Kehler reflects in a telephone interview. “I read that and I had an idea.” She wanted to share the notion that old things viewed in different contexts can seem new again with the children of Abbotsford Vietnamese Fellowship, where she organizes the children’s program.

Some weeks later, Abbotsford Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship held a special  Vietnamese/Chinese New Years service to which Emmanuel Mennonite was invited. There, Kehler and the children shared special banners they had made, featuring examples experienced by students of “old” becoming “new”.

“When we brought a Vietnamese food dish to western food banquet [at Emmanuel Mennonite Church] at Christmas time, they liked it and that is something new,” said one child.

“In my school, a classmate who was always kind became a Christian and he became even more kind,” said another.

After the service, Kehler sent Metzger some photos of the banners along with a card explaining what she had done. “…one never knows what others learn from our penned or spoken ideas.” Kehler says.