Volume 23 Issue 16D

Digital church

(Image by FotoRieth/Pixabay)

A while back, a friend pondered whether it is possible to have a meaningful experience of church primarily through digital means. I doubt it. But that got me thinking about how much of our congregational experience is lived digitally.

Valaqua: A place where people express God’s love

"Conversations about God, Jesus, love, life and other big topics are abundant" at Camp Valaqua, Michael Taves writes. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

I have worked at Camp Valaqua for a total of six summers, and this summer I am back on staff after being away for a few years.

Valaqua is a place where I learned many things. It was my first job. I learned how to work with a large group of people cooperatively. Valaqua is a very isolated place, so I got a taste for what it is like to live in close community.

Creating a wardrobe to match your values

Elise Epp’s sneakers are ethically and sustainably made and sourced. (Photo by Elise Epp)

Elise Epp’s socks are made of certified organic cotton. (Photo by Elise Epp)

Elise Epp’s shirt, jeans and shoes are ethically and sustainably made and sourced. (Photo by Krista Hawryluk)

If you wear clothes, then you need to care about how they were made and who made them. Even if you aren’t interested in “fashion.” Even if it means giving up your favourite stores and finding new ones. Even if you think it won’t be available in your budget, style, or size (it is). 

How do you get over these hurdles? Connect it with something you’re already passionate about.

West Hills congregation tries ‘messy church’

Children prepare to go for a tractor and wagon ride at a local farm for one of the West Hills congregation's ‘out’ Sundays. (Photo courtesy of West Hills Fellowship)

The West Hills congregation gathers for worship in a home on their ‘in’ Sunday. (Photo courtesy of West Hills Fellowship)

Two years ago, West Hills Fellowship, in Baden, Ont., faced up to its small-church realities. It had lost some families for a variety of reasons, and found it challenging to run programs and Sunday morning worship services.

That’s when the congregation tried a “messy church” model. 

Auction raises funds for Amish private schools

Horses were among the items for sale at the Amish school auction. (Photo by Se Yim)

Quilts were an important part of the Milverton Amish school sale held on July 20. (Photo by Se Yim)

Sprawled across a recently harvested hayfield on the Kuepfer farm, north of Milverton, Ont., the Amish school sale included lots of farm implements. (Photo by Se Yim)

The local Amish in their straw hats made up a big part of the crowd, but there were also lots of other bidders and onlookers. (Photo by Se Yim)

Rows of quilts wait to be auctioned. (Photo by Se Yim)

Each summer, on the third Saturday of July, the Milverton Amish communities organize a large auction to raise funds for their parochial schools. Hosted on Amish farms throughout the community, this year’s sale, held on July 20, was sprawled across a recently harvested hayfield on the Kuepfer farm north of Milverton.

Singing, serving and studying

Members of North Star Mennonite in Drake pack relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee as part of Sunday worship devoted to service. (Photo by Heidi Martens)

Members of Regina’s Grace Mennonite Church spent the month of August studying a single Scripture text. Using Lectio Divina, they listened to the text, meditated on it and responded in table groups. (Photo by Rose Graber)

Members of North Star Mennonite in Drake build picnic tables for a nearby hospital and seniors residence as part of Sunday worship devoted to service. (Photo by Heidi Martens)

Three congregations sing together as Eigenheim Mennonite Church hosts its neighbours from the Tiefengrund and Zoar Mennonite congregations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Congregants from Tiefengrund and Zoar Mennonite churches enjoy a potluck lunch hosted by Eigenheim Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

When summer comes, many churches experience a drop in attendance. But being fewer in number can be an opportunity to try new forms of worship.

Singing together

This summer, several Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregations chose to worship in creative and perhaps less conventional ways.

12 organizations worth recognizing during Mennonite Heritage Week

Jasem Mohammed carries a food package distributed by MCC partner Zakho Small Villages Project at the Garmawa displaced persons camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. MCC is an example of an organization that expresses values important to Mennonites. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler)

At the end of May, Parliament passed a motion declaring the second week of September as Mennonite Heritage Week. 

The motion, put forward by Abbotsford MP Ed Fast, cited the role Mennonites have played “in promoting peace and justice both at home and abroad” as one of the reasons for the recognition.

Three generations find working for MCC a blessing

Jon Lebold, Beth Hovius and Bob Lebold agree that continuing the legacy of their mother and grandmother at MCC has been a blessing. (MCC photo by Shoua Vang)

Laverne and Elaine Lebold, pictured in 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Lebold family)

Jon and Beth now continue Grandma Lebold's legacy at 50 Kent Avenue. (MCC photo/Ken Ogasawara)

Bob Lebold made his first donation to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) when he was about 10 years old. It was Christmas, sometime in the late 1960s, when he tagged along to the MCC centre in Kitchener with his mom Elaine, who was the material aid supervisor. His task was to help sort and bale clothing to be shipped overseas.

Expect to have your worldview challenged

North American delegates to GYS 2015 are pictured from left to right: Chris Brnjas of Canada, Rianna Isaak-Krauss, Andrea De Avila, Larissa Swartz and Trent Voth. (MWC photo by Emily Ralph Servant)

A small group discussion with GYS delegates and participants in 2009. The conversation includes Kristina Toews of Canada, second from left, and others from North America, Europe and Asia. (MWC photo by Liesa Unger)

Are you over 18 years old with a love for your regional, nationwide and global Mennonite church?

Mennonite Church Canada is seeking representatives from each of the five regional churches to represent their respective communities at the next Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Global Youth Summit (GYS) in Salatiga, Indonesia, in 2021.

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