On the weekend of Oct. 13 to 15, Mennonite church delegates and others took part in Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg. More than 400 of us gathered from across the country to consider the direction we, as Mennonite Church Canada, should take in the years to come.
Wherever Jesus goes, we see God’s kingdom descending from heaven to earth. Wherever Jesus appears, God’s loving power takes hold. A hemorrhaging woman is healed of her infirmity; a rich man gives away half his wealth. In Jesus’ healing, teaching, dying and rising, God is rescuing the world; the mending of creation has begun. Yet paradise has not yet been restored.
Manitoba church celebrates pastoral couple’s retirement
Carman Mennonite Church celebrated a retirement party on Aug. 27, in honour of Bob and Martha Pauls, who had served our church for 17 years.
Last week, Makai started Kindergarten at the same school in Metro Manilla as his older brother, Cody, who is now in his second year. Although we are very happy with the school—and Cody loves it—a complaint arose for me within Makai’s first three days, after his teacher played a television show during the 30-minute recess as students ate their snacks.
I wasn’t too sure about this idea of moving into a city. It didn’t seem much like the utopia I dreamed of.
There is no other food from our years in Africa that symbolizes community quite like injera, a type of flatbread.
Tsar Nicholas II, seated on a chair at centre of this photograph, is surrounded by patients, Red Cross workers and other staff at a hospital for wounded men in Ekaterinoslav, South Russia. Abraham Dick, a Mennonite non-combatant serving in the medical corps, was present that day. He carried this photograph with him when he emigrated to Ontario in 1924.
Do you remember any of the stories your grandma told you when you were little? I’m not referring to Bible stories, fairytales or super-hero stories, but stories about her life or the lives of other family members? Stories of memories about days gone by.
Regional Church moderators signed the Covenant and Operating Agreement that form the newly structured Mennonite Church Canada on Oct. 15, in Winnipeg. Pictured from left to right, seated: Ken Warkentin of MC Saskatchewan; Paul Wideman of MC Eastern Canada; Lee Dyck of MC B.C.; Paul Neufeldt of MC Alberta; and Peter Rempel of MC Manitoba; and standing: MC Canada moderator Calvin Quan. (MC Canada photo by Coreena Stewart)
A Covenant and Operating Agreement describing the intent of both the spirit and function of the new relationships among the five regional churches (formerly area churches) comprising Mennonite Church Canada were affirmed in principle after robust discussion by delegates on Oct. 14 at Special Assembly 2017.
To say that the ins and outs of International Witness ministry are complex would be an understatement.
It could take an entire study conference to explore a theology of mission as it relates to congregations, regional churches and the nationwide church as a united body.
The terms “financial plan” and “budget” were used somewhat interchangeably in reference to a spreadsheet in the Discernment Guide Supplement outlining how Mennonite Church Canada will be funded following the restructuring taking place after Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg l
“We don’t all see things through the same lenses. We don’t all agree on every little or big thing, but we are loved by you, and we love.”
That prayerful acknowledgement of diversity and unity as God’s community by Vernelle Enns Penner opened Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 on the evening of Oct. 13 at the Radisson Hotel in Winnipeg.
Mennonite Church Canada is changing and the need for communication has never been greater. This seemed to be the consensus at the Communications Focus Group discussion held during MC Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 on Oct. 14, 2017.
While some delegates at Special Assembly 2017 looked forward to the nationwide church restructuring process, others mourned the loss of what has been an important part of their church life.
At this juncture in Mennonite Church Canada’s history, it seems appropriate to reflect on the church’s work and the impact that work has had on the lives of MC Canada’s people across the country:
Ruth Friesen of First Mennonite Church, Edmonton, says her congregation has always had a strong connection to the Mennonite Church Canada national office in Winnipeg and the worship and education resources that came from there. Individuals from the congregation were involved in the larger national efforts, and they kept members informed about what was happening beyond their doors.
On a mid-October weekend, 13 youth from across Canada weren’t on the field playing soccer, at their desks studying or settling in with Netflix. Instead, they were helping decide the future of Mennonite Church Canada.
Madeleine Wichert, 23
When she missed the deadline to register for Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Assembly 2017, Madeleine Wichert found another way to get in the door—as a volunteer.
Once an avid Twitter user, Steph Chandler Burns almost never uses the social networking site anymore. That changed, however, when she attended Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Delegate Assembly in Winnipeg Oct. 13-15, 2017.
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.
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.
“What are the dreams that have been placed in us? What has God whispered in our ears? How has God invaded our thoughts?” asked Willard Metzger, Mennonite Canada’s executive minister (formerly executive director). Thus began his final address on Oct. 15 to those who gathered for Special Assembly 2017.
Decisions made at Special Assembly 2017 have resulted in staff reductions at Mennonite Church Canada and program realignment to regional churches serving congregations. (See “Overwhelming vote in favour of new MC Canada structure.”)
Delegates voted 94 percent in favour of taking Mennonite Church Canada’s existing structures off of life support equipment designed for a society and church culture from a prior century.