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God at work in the Church

Where do we go from here?

Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board met for the final time just before the start of Special Assembly 2017 on Oct. 13 in Winnipeg. Now, the new regional churches are trying to understand the ramifications in the wake of decisions made there. (Mennonite Church Canada photo by Dan Dyck)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Nov 15, 2017

On Oct. 14, 2017, delegates at a special assembly in Winnipeg approved a restructuring plan to shift the centre of ministries from the nationwide church office to each of the five regional churches. A 94 percent vote gave a clear mandate for change, but how clear is the way forward for a new Mennonite Church Canada? (See more at “Overwhelming vote in favour of new MC Canada structure.”)

Focus groups hear of restructuring plans

Interested members of Mennonite Church B.C. listen as MC Canada executive minister Willard Metzger, left, explains how the new nationwide structure will affect giving and programs in the national church. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Nov 15, 2017

How the new structure of Mennonite Church Canada will affect congregations in B.C. was the topic for focus groups in Richmond and Abbotsford late last month. Donors who have been supporting both MC Canada and MC B.C. were invited to attend the meetings with Willard Metzger, the nationwide church’s executive minister, along with the regional church’s leadership and financial personnel.

In search of a collective narrative

MC Manitoba delegates who met for their fall gathering in Grunthal earlier this month express concern, wondering how they will be able to make the regional church budget when they can’t even make their own church budgets. (Photo by Katrina Woelk)

God at work in the Church | By Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe | Nov 15, 2017

In October, congregants from across Canada gathered for Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg, where they voted to implement a new structure, ushering in a new era for the new nationwide church and regional churches. Less than a month later, Manitobans met to discuss the implications of this change for them.

‘Strike while the iron is hot’

Ly Vang and Toua Vang, both of First Hmong Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., and David Martin, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s executive minister, discuss the results and plans coming out of Special Assembly 2017 at Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener on Oct. 17, the first of seven such regional meetings. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 15, 2017

The ink on the new covenant document between the five regional (formerly area) churches was scarcely dry before Mennonite Church Eastern Canada began to describe to its congregations what this new reality means now and could mean in the future.

Before MC Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 took place in Winnipeg in mid-October, MC Eastern Canada had arranged seven regional meetings to gather congregational representatives.

Staff changes at MC Eastern Canada

Norm Dyck, the newly appointed Mennonite Church Eastern Canada mission engagement minister, says, “The face of the church is rapidly changing! What appears to be emerging is the possibility of living into an intercultural witness as the church. In a time when racial tensions and violence often dominate the news, God has provided the church with an opportunity to model another way.”

Fort Garry Mennonite’s first five decades

Children enjoy their story at Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship’s 50th anniversary service on Oct. 15, 2017. (Fort Garry Mennonite Photo)

God at work in the Church | By John and Dorothy Friesen | Nov 15, 2017

On Oct. 15, 2017, more than 300 excited and exuberant members and guests gathered at Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship to celebrate the congregation’s 50th anniversary. Many had already enjoyed a delightful coffee house and artisan display the night before, celebrating the artistic gifts within the community.

Community: ‘The easiest way to live the Christian life’

Chan Yang, Sue Kim and Caleb Yang provide an insight into their communal living arrangement during a recent service at Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of Henry Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Henry Neufeld | Nov 01, 2017 | 1 comment

After 11 Koreans—two families plus two teenagers—began attending Point Grey in late 2016, interest in their intentional communal living was piqued. The 11, ranging in age from 11 to middle age, live in one home in Vancouver. They share meals, household tasks, money (one adult handles the finances), and all major decisions. They operate several home-based businesses, mostly of a high-tech nature, along with book publishing.

A hundred years of helping others

Founding directors of the Mennonite Union Waisenamt represented three Mennonite conferences. To learn more, visit mtrust.net/history/. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Trust Ltd.)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Nov 01, 2017

For many Saskatchewan Mennonites, the name Mennonite Trust is synonymous with wills and estate planning, but executive director Cory Regier is quick to point out that the company has not forgotten why it was founded a century ago.

Pastoral, vocational transitions in Alberta

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Nov 01, 2017
  • Donna Dinsmore began a one-year term as interim pastor of First Mennonite Church, Edmonton, on Oct. 1, 2017. Dinsmore is an ordained United Church minister who has served in various congregations. Most recently she was in Bella Coola, B.C., ministering to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Dinsmore has a master’s degree in Christian studies from Regent College in Vancouver, as well as a master’s degree in music education.

Pioneer Park celebrates 175 years of change

Elgin Shantz gets the first piece of cake at Pioneer Park Christian Fellowship’s 175th-anniversary celebration. Watching him are Carolyn Baechler and Lisa Yantzi. (Photo by Erin Yantzi).

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Oct 18, 2017

When Ed Snider left Kitchener to farm in the Hanover-Chesley area of southwestern Ontario, Pioneer Park Christian Fellowship, then known as the Weber Mennonite Church, was nearly five kilometres from the city limits.

On Oct. 1, 2017, at Pioneer Park Christian Fellowship’s 175th-anniversary celebration, he could see the houses of the Pioneer Park subdivision through the church windows, now fully inside the city boundary.

Harvesting ideas for a new Mennonite Church Saskatchewan

Craig Neufeld, standing, and Bruce Jantzen brainstorm ways of making the dream of ‘deeper spirituality’ a reality at MC Saskatchewan’s Refresh, Refocus, Renew mini-retreat. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Oct 04, 2017

It’s harvest time on the Prairies for farmers on their combines, and this year for members of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan as they met for their second Refresh, Refocus, Renew mini-retreat.

About 75 participants, representing 24 MC Saskatchewan congregations, gathered at Wildwood Mennonite Church in Saskatoon on Sept. 15 and 16, 2017. Betty Pries, a managing partner with Credence & Co. (formerly L3 Group), based in Kitchener, Ont., led the weekend workshop.

Saskatchewan congregation adopts new English name

Members of Fields of Hope Mennonite Church gather around their new church sign. Celeste Wright, far right, is the congregation’s pastor. (Photo by Alan Laughlin)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Oct 04, 2017

Hoffnungsfelder Mennonite Church has a new name. Now known as Fields of Hope Mennonite Church, the congregation once met in three neighbouring communities: Glenbush, Rabbit Lake and Mayfair, Sask., about 195 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Today, although the three churches still exist as legal entities, services are primarily held at the Glenbush church.

Tears shed over the closing of Riverdale Mennonite

Troy Watson, former pastor of Riverdale Mennonite Church, points out into the congregation, naming congregants who had welcomed and discipled him when he began to ministry there 19 years ago. Watson was one of the guests speaking at the congregation’s closing service on Aug. 20, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 20, 2017

After 71 years of faithful service, Riverdale Mennonite Church closed its doors on Aug. 31, 2017. The building is being taken over by the Berean Community Church, which assumed ownership and took over the charter of the congregation on Sept. 1.

Meeting the Creator in creation

Wendy Janzen at one of the locations Burning Bush Forest Church has worshipped in Breithaupt Park in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 20, 2017

Imagine deciding on Saturday that you want to begin a new congregation the next day. Then add to that the plan to meet outdoors in Canada on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s.

To Wendy Janzen’s surprise, an enthusiastic group of 15 was ready to do just that on Dec. 29, 2014. Janzen was finishing up a sabbatical from her half-time position at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church at the time and had become intrigued by the idea of worshipping in nature.

Celebrating 125 years of God’s faithfulness

Mary Krause, left, Barb Froese and Mel Siemens reminisce over a display of old photographs at Eigenheim Mennonite Church’s 125th-anniversary celebration. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Sep 06, 2017

When members of Eigenheim Mennonite Church realized it had been 25 years since the church’s centennial, they decided it was time for another celebration. To mark the congregation’s 125th anniversary, planners chose “Celebrating God’s faithfulness” as their theme.

Vietnamese Fellowship drops ‘Mennonite’ name

Pictured at the recent meeting of what is now the North American Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship, are from left to right, front row: Nhien Pham, pastor of the Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Vancouver and chair of the newly named organization; and his wife Lien; and back row: Garry Janzen, MC B.C. executive minister; and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta area church minister. (Photo courtesy of Garry Janzen)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Aug 23, 2017 | 1 comment

A name change, effective immediately, heralds a time of direction-setting for the former North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship.

Best practices begin with prayer

Louise Campbell poses with the New International Version Student Bible and a copy of the most recent ‘Season of reading guide’ used by Leamington (Ont.) United Mennonite Church to increase biblical literacy in the congregation for the past two years. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Aug 23, 2017

While many congregations are shuttering or repurposing their education wings, Leamington United Mennonite Church built a whole new addition in 2011, replacing a 1959 building that had been linked to their new worshipping and office space when they were built in 1984. The new wing includes a dedicated prayer space as well as a suite of offices and a board room that is in high demand for adult study and discussion groups.

No longer ‘a repository of artifacts’

Oliver Friesen displays a ribbon found in a hatbox that likely belonged to Elder Peter Regier of the Rosenort Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Aug 23, 2017

Oliver Friesen’s face lights up when he talks about history. “There’s something about the past,” he says. “It’s alive and so interesting.”

For the past two summers Friesen has been making history come alive for visitors to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Rosthern. A student of history at the University of Saskatchewan, Friesen has been helping to develop one room of the museum into a Mennonite interpretive centre.

Camp Moose Lake now sold

After 51 years of youth camping at Camp Moose Lake, a deal for the Mennonite Church Manitoba facility will close on Sept. 29, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Manitoba)

Camp Moose Lake, one of Mennonite Church Manitoba’s three Camps with Meaning (CwM) locations, has been sold to the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine. Possession date for the camp, located in the southeast corner of Manitoba near the community of Sprague, is set for Sept. 29, 2017.

Immersive experience

Jim Brown, Tavistock (Ont.) Mennonite Church’s intentional interim pastor, emerges from the dunk tank during the congregation’s 75th-anniversary celebration on June 25, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Jul 18, 2017

On June 25, 2017, Tavistock Mennonite Church’s intentional interim pastor, Jim Brown, got his feet—and more—wet, as the congregation acknowledged three-quarters-of-a-century of worship and mission in the village, and had fun dunking him in the process.

The congregation also offered a free chicken dinner to the first 400 who signed up. While some of those were former members and from neighbouring churches, the hope was to open the doors to the community at large. A service filled with music and trivia helped celebrate what God has done over the years.

A vision for growth

As Pastor Yared Seretse, right, prays, Josef and Teddy Ekle sing and play during a time of contemplation after Seretse’s hour-long sermon on seeking, finding and obeying God’s guidance during the Meheret Evangelical Church worship service at St. Marks Lutheran Church on June 11, 2017. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Jun 28, 2017

Meheret Evangelical Church has been meeting for worship in Kitchener for 20 years. Founded by four families, the church of about 15 saw slow growth over the years, as refugees from Ethiopia—who dispersed to South Africa, Greece, Sudan, Egypt and elsewhere—made their way to Canada.

But after hiring Pastor Yared Seretse directly from Ethiopia a couple years ago, the congregation has seen growth in many ways. Currently, about 20 percent of the congregation is made up of people who have recently accepted Christ.

Fostering dialogue in the body of Christ

Mennonite Church B.C. participants Jon Nofziger, left, and Artur Bergen pause for discussion during a break at the Anabaptist theology conference at Trinity Western University on June 8, 2017. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Jun 28, 2017

Creating more dialogue between the 16th-century Anabaptist tradition and the context of the Global South, and learning about how Mennonite women “do” theology, were two of the keynote addresses at this year’s “Anabaptist theology: Methods and practices” conference, held in early June 2017 at Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley.

An adventurous junior-high retreat in Saskatchewan

Derek Neufeld, foreground, does his best during the coffee house at SMYO junior-high youth retreat. (Photo by Kirsten Hamm-Epp)

God at work in the Church | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Jun 28, 2017

Say yes, and get out of your comfort zone. These were the two main take-aways from the Mennonite Church Saskatchewan junior-high retreat, held from May 26 to 28, 2017, at the Shekinah Retreat Centre.

Growing leaders in five years

Jean Lehn Epp, centre, leads youth pastors/workers through a visioning process within their church or support group, drawing congregational leaders, youth sponsors and youth together.

God at work in the Church | By Lisa Williams | Jun 14, 2017

“Kenda Creasy Dean writes in one of her books that youth ministry is a spiritual discipline,” says Jean Lehn Epp, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s youth pastor/worker coach. “To me, that was eye-opening—my ‘aha!’ moment. I was not just doing youth ministry, but it felt to me that I was embracing ministry.”  

Lehn Epp has been involved in youth and family ministry throughout the area church as an ordained minister.

PhD student saves ‘history’ from the shredder

When Jeremy Wiebe heard that the remaining inventory of Mennonites in Canada (Vols. 1–3) were in danger of being shredded to save warehouse storage fees, he took action. (Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies photo)

God at work in the Church | By Conrad Stoesz | Jun 14, 2017 | 1 comment

When Jeremy Wiebe heard that the remaining inventory of Mennonites in Canada (Vols. 1-3) were in danger of being shredded to save warehouse storage fees, he took action. Using his computer programming skills and an offer from the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies to take care of transportation to Winnipeg, storage and shipping, Wiebe established a web store with e-commerce capabilities that went live on April 12, 2017.

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