Swimming, archery, horseback riding and campfires are typical summer camp experiences. While children and teens enjoy these activities each year at Youth Farm Bible Camp near Rosthern, so do about 250 adults with intellectual disabilities.
Volume 18 Issue 15
From July 3 to 6, 2014, Mennonite Church Canada held its biennial assembly, in Winnipeg, Man. Focusing on the theme, “Wild Hope: faith for an unknown season,” the church delegates and their families, church-wide staff and volunteers, along with international guests, worshipped together, discussed issues, participated in seminars, and connected with friends and acquaintances.
Words, words, words—millions of them filled the Loewen Auditorium during the four days of Assembly at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, earlier this month. Conversations, greetings, drama, spirited singing and good humour made this another inspirational gathering for delegates to the biennial event of Mennonite Church Canada.
A tornado warning was issued for southern Winnipeg just as Willard Metzger, Mennonite Church Canada’s executive director, was giving the final announcements at Assembly 2014 on July 5. Should delegates proceed to their seminars or should they stay in the Loewen Athletic Centre on the campus of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), where the assembly was held?
With the future of the church and issues of sexuality being prominent issues up for discussion at Assembly 2014, Karl Koop, a Canadian Mennonite University professor, asked César García, Mennonite World Conference’s general secretary who spoke about the global Anabaptist mosaic, how these topics could affect the global church.
1. As Mennonite Church Canada ponders the future, it recognizes that the church is changing. What changes have been happening in your congregation? What fears do you have about the future of your congregation and the denomination? Is maintaining the status quo an option?
In the face of an uncertain future, trepidation of shrinking budgets and programs, tired and fewer volunteers, and changing realities, encouraging stories were shared over two days of Assembly 2014 of vibrant Mennonite churches that are responding in creative and varied ways.
Where in the Bible can Christians turn to for “wild hope” if they are to have faith in an unknown season?
The biggest obstacle to working with people of other faiths is to deconstruct all the stereotypes and myths that the media have created and perpetrated, especially about Islam, Donna Entz told her packed “Experiencing hope with people of other faiths” workshop.
“Last year, Mennonite Church U.S.A. passed a resolution on creation care at its Phoenix assembly. Is it time for [MC] Canada to have a resolution as well, and, if so, what should it look like?”
It’s hard to organize a trip to Mennonite Church Canada’s assembly, knowing what to pack, how many books to bring and how to plan visiting times. The who to travel with, however, is a no-brainer for Bonnie Sawatzky. Leon, a black lab service dog, is her constant companion.
Who gets the help when a pastor marries a psychiatrist? At the 2014 Mennonite Church Canada minister’s conference, the answer was no joke, yet everyone left feeling better.
Embodying the love that Jesus Christ modelled and treating people the way we want to be treated are the best ways to face an increasingly pluralistic society.
They walked together through a valley of shadows for two years, yet Assembly 2014 is the first time Elizabeth Wall and Lorraine Reimer have met face to face.
“It only takes a scrap of time to turn to God.” April Yamasaki shared this anonymous piece of 14th-century wisdom in her “Cultivating spiritual disciplines” workshop at Assembly 14.
Sometimes it feels like a scrap of time is all people have, but that can be turned into a sacred pause, she told a roomful of participants.
What are the needs of women, and how are they working to meet those needs?
Rhoda Keener, co-director of Mennonite Women U.S.A., led a presentation and discussion surrounding these needs at the assembly.
Keener explained that Sister Care seminars, which are given all over the world, are made up of four units:
The Cree word “kiciwamanawak” means “we are all cousins.” In Canada, however, this familial relationship between settler and host is fractured.
After seminar leader Chris Lenshyn began his post-Christian landscape session by reading chapter 1 of Daniel, he invited participants—48 adults and one baby—to gather in twos to converse about this story of young exiles living out their faith in a foreign land.
Unique timing and collaboration led to one of Manitoba Church Manitoba Camps with Meaning sites hosting two days of the children’s assembly—a first in Assembly gathering history. And they did so in the midst of flood conditions.
Church should fund prison visitation
This winter on an evening journey to the airport, I encountered a substantial snow storm. Strong winds drove heavy snow across the roads. Even with my eyes wide open I was blinded, unable to see the front of my car. I inched forward without any idea where the road was. I didn’t know if I was wandering into the oncoming lane or edging towards the ditch—an extremely unnerving experience.
When our boys were younger, I wanted them to see how much we were giving to our church. I wanted to model cheerful generosity, and to demonstrate that this was normal and very intentional. If the truth be told, I was secretly hoping that our generosity would be contagious, as well.
“I’m turning 60 and I need help,” I wrote in the invitation to my recent party. I was disquieted by the approach of this milestone birthday, beset with, and surprised by, regrets, laments and some form of existential anxiety. Still, the passage of time continues whatever our reluctance towards what it brings.