Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is anticipating another successful year for the 55-plus senior courses they offer, due to Canadian-wide interest.
Xplore: Keep Thinking is CMU's six-week continued learning program for seniors ages 55 or older, however, it has received increasingly high interest from a slightly younger demographic as well.
Dr. Gerald Gerbrandt, President Emeritus, began the program in 2014. Classes were only offered in Winnipeg, but in a successful attempt to include other communities, classes were offered in Winkler. This caused the numbers to double from 25 students to 50 students. Numbers continued to go up when Xplore offered online courses due to the pandemic, last semester there were 300 registrations.
"When we went online, we also noticed that some people wanted to attend and asked if they could but who were not 55, maybe they had some free time during the day because we've always offered them in the mornings," says Abram Bergen, director of church and alumni relations. "We said of course you can attend, we don't want to keep you out it's just that we're kind of targeting this group and if the course interests you, go ahead. So, we've had an increase of persons of younger age."
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Staying true to its Christian-rooted education, CMU aims to incorporate faith perspectives in the six courses that are being offered this year, four of which will be offered through hybrid options (online or in person).
"Paul: A Radical Jew as God's Messenger to Non-Jews" will be taught by Tom Yoder Neufeld. The course will focus specifically on Paul's letters to learn about his ministry and his relentlessness to spread the word of God. This course is offered on Tuesdays.
On Wednesdays, there are many classes that will be offered. From Creation to Renewed Creation: Biblical Visions of God's Good Future, taught by Dan Epp-Tiessen, aims to explore biblical visions of God's future for his creation, with conversations around God's promise to heal what has been broken and to resurrect human bodies to enjoy the fullness of life in a renewed creation.
Other courses include "Connection with Self and Others in Adversity," "Mennonites in Canada - from 1970 to the Present," "Pacifism with the War in Ukraine in Mind and Heart," and "Dementia and Spirituality: Loss, Love, and Navigating Change Together."
"The course this term that's really been popular is a course we're calling "Pacifism with the War in Ukraine in Mine and Heart" and it's taught by our professor Emeritus of Theology and Philosophy, Dr. Harry Huebner. What we found is that many Mennonites who are pacifists by and large have found themselves sort of challenged in their pacifism when this war began. So, this is a course that will hopefully help people think through what are other responses to the war that's going on other than providing more manpower, so to speak, to fight each other."
Xplore: Keep Thinking courses are $50 each, available online or in person. Although the first week of classes starts tomorrow, Bergen says people can still register to join in.