Neighbours, friends join new members

At. St. Agatha Mennonite Church

June 28, 2012 | Web First
Wilmer Martin | St. Agatha Mennonite Church
St. Agatha, ON
Sitting: Gary & Beatrice Wilkinson, Floris Leis (Absent-Wayne Leis) Standing: James & Halley Matthews, Marilyn & Gary Zehr, Donna Jantzi, Gail Nafziger.

Sunday, June 24, was a special Sunday for the St. Agatha (Ont.) Mennonite congregation.  Our Church Membership Sunday welcomed persons through baptism, membership by confession of faith, affirmation of membership, and membership by transfer from other congregations. Persons being received into the congregation invited neighbours and friends to join them.

Pastor Doug Snyder reminded the congregation that Christianity came to Ethiopia because Philip, a follower of Jesus Christ, was open to respond to a question by the Ethiopian eunuch. He spent time listening to his question and interpreted the scripture. Today, Ethiopia is the largest Mennonite assembly under Mennonite World Conference with a dynamic, growing church. We are to be open to walk with persons who have questions of faith.

Halley Matthews received baptism. Donna Jantzi, Halley’s Sunday School teacher, assisted the pastor in baptism, a wonderful testament to how faith is nurtured and confirmed through water baptism. Her father, James Matthews, confirmed his faith in following Jesus Christ, having been raised and baptized in the Anglican Church tradition. Gail Nafziger, recently returned to Ontario after living and working in Manitoba and Alberta, movingly shared her journey of faith, having been raised and nurtured in this congregation. She admitted that her journey has been warm and cool. She thanked the congregation for warmly welcoming her back and committed herself to follow Christ within this Christian community.

Seven persons, who felt called to use their gifts in our congregation, transferred their membership: Wayne and Floris Leis from Avon Mennonite, Gary and Marilyn Zehr from Erb Street Mennonite, Gary and Beatrice Wilkinson from Nairn Mennonite, and Donna Jantzi from Westhills Mennonite. It was very moving listening to their faith and life journeys and their sense of calling from God that their gifts were needed in sharing Christ’s love in our community.

During the fellowship lunch, a grandmother talked with me and shared how moving it was for her as her great-granddaughter received baptism, and her grandson-in-law was received upon confession of faith into her congregation. With moist eyes, both of us affirmed that there is nothing more moving than to witness a member of your family openly confess to follow Christ and receive baptism.

It was also a special Sunday for Janet and me since we responded to the call to become part of the St. Agatha congregation about ten years ago when the Waterloo North Mennonite Church released us and encouraged us to be supportive of the St. Agatha Mennonite Church who was inviting persons to come and help rebuild the congregation. At the end of the sermon, the person sitting next to us shared with Janet and me that he, too, is feeling that perhaps God is calling him to make this his church home. He said, “I’m not sure what this all means; however, if my gifts can be used to further the Kingdom of Christ, then I would like to be involved in this community.”

We rejoice and thank God for the gifts of all His children who worship at St. Agatha. May God continue to bless and direct our ministry. This is our prayer.

--June 28, 2012

Sitting: Gary & Beatrice Wilkinson, Floris Leis (Absent-Wayne Leis) Standing: James & Halley Matthews, Marilyn & Gary Zehr, Donna Jantzi, Gail Nafziger.

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