Volume 24 Issue 16D

Hope and faith . . . even when things don’t go as planned

Prairie Mennonite Fellowship gathered for the first time at an outdoor worship service on June 28. (Photo by Jill Hildebrand)

Pastor Erin Morash speaks to Prairie Mennonite Fellowship at its first gathering. (Photo by Jill Hildebrand)

Prairie Mennonite Fellowship is located in the church building of former congregation Crystal City (Man.) Mennonite Church. Congregants and leaders are easily able to physically distance appropriately and are fine-tuning their worship to work during COVID-19. (Photo by Jill Hildebrand)

There is a new church among the farmlands of southwestern Manitoba, but it has more than a hundred years of history.

This spring, Crystal City Mennonite Church and Trinity Mennonite Fellowship in Mather merged to create the new Prairie Mennonite Fellowship congregation.

‘Are you a pastor’s wife?’

Mennonite pastors Hieu Do and Hong Thi Nguyen, standing left and right, teach theological foundations in Daklak, Vietnam, in June. (Photo courtesy of Nhien Pham)

Mennonite pastors and leaders share a meal at training conference in Daklak, Vietnam, in June. (Photo courtesy of Nhien Pham)

Worship time at a Mennonite teaching conference in Daklak, Vietnam. Reverend Hong Thi Nguyen is wearing the purple T-shirt. (Photo courtesy of Nhien Pham)

Vietnamese Mennonite pastors, including Hong Thi Nguyen, right, receive bags of rice to distribute to those in need due to COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Nhien Pham)

Hong Thi Nguyen, with arms raised; Y Ya, on guitar; and Hieu Do, right, lead worship at a teaching conference in Daklak, Vietnam, in June. (Photo courtesy of Nhien Pham)

Pastor Hieu Do teaches theological foundations to pastors and local leaders in Daklak, Vietnam, in June. (Photo courtesy of Nhien Pham)

In Vietnam it is still uncommon to see female pastors. But the president of the Evangelical Vietnamese Mennonite Church (EVMC) is a woman and also a pastor. Reverend Hong Thi Nguyen is the leader of 40 Mennonite congregations throughout the southern part of Vietnam.

Worship is what I need

Josh Wallace is Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s interim church engagement minister.

During a Zoom call a month or so ago, a pastor friend mused, “Is worship all we have left?” Our virtual meet-up—all folks involved in congregational leadership—had been sharing various strategies we had tried to carry on with Sunday morning worship services.

‘Be on our side’

Johise Namwira, a human rights activist and member of Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg, takes part in a MennoMedia ‘adaptive church webinar’ addressing racism in the church. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Participants in the MennoMedia ‘adaptive church webinar’ addressing racism in the church are pictured from left to right, top row: Dennis R. Edwards, Johise Namwira and Amy Gingerich; middle row: Chantelle Todman, Jerrell Williams and Leah Fulton; and bottom: Delonte Gholston. (Screenshot by Janet Bauman)

Acknowledging that “the church has been awakened and reawakened to racial injustice in our midst after the death of George Floyd,” MennoMedia, an agency of Mennonite Church Canada and MC U.S.A., dedicated one of its ‘adaptive church webinars’ to addressing racism in churches.

‘House church with a building’

Northgate Anabaptist Fellowship members meet in their church building on the second Sunday of Lent, shortly before the pandemic forced them to worship from home. Ernie and Eileen Klassen, facing the front of the church, listen as Wayne Plenert leads worship, with Delores Plenert at the piano. (Photo by Esther Klassen)

With eight members, Northgate Anabaptist Fellowship of Dawson Creek is the smallest congregation in Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is also the most remote, located about 1,880 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, near the Alberta border.

From days gone by to ‘Richer Days’

Hilda Epp stands beside the Pleasant Point Mennonite Church cemetery gate. A portion of the cemetery houses the graves of early Moravian settlers. (Photo by Lorne Epp)

Pleasant Point Mennonite Church is the only MC Saskatchewan church building to boast a steeple and a bell. (Photo by Lorne Epp)

Like many rural congregations, Pleasant Point Mennonite Church isn’t as large as it once was. But, although small in number, the church enjoys a rich and interesting congregational life.

Pleasant Point also has an intriguing history. It’s the only Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregation with a building that boasts a steeple and a church bell.

Riverton Fellowship Circle closes its doors

Visitors to Riverton Fellowship Circle receive a mug “full of love.” Church leader Barb Daniels, centre, presents church mugs to translator Ed Toews, left; Brigido Loewen of Paraguay; Alina Itucama of Panama; and translator Liz Drewnisz. (CM 2010 file photo)

Riverton (Man.) Fellowship Circle decided on June 24 to close its doors, passing a motion to dissolve the church corporation and its assets.

Pastoral misconduct investigation mishandled, says complainant

Doug Johnson Hatlem, former co-pastor at Erb Street Mennonite Church, Waterloo, Ont., believes Mennonite Church Eastern Canada ‘persistently mishandled’ its investigation into Wilmer Martin. (Photo courtesy of Doug Johnson Hatlem)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada terminated Waterloo resident Wilmer Martin’s ministerial credentials last month, citing ministerial misconduct and ministerial sexual misconduct. (Facebook photo)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada conducted its investigation fairly and in good faith, says David Martin, the regional church’s executive minister. (MC Eastern Canada photo)

Wilmer Martin was the pastor at Erb Street Mennonite Church from 1978 until 1991. (Facebook photo)

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada should have taken action against Wilmer Martin at least two years ago, says one of the people responsible for bringing complaints against him to the regional church.

MEDA supporters across North America plan August move-a-thons

Jonathan and Jennifer Dick, along with their children Amelia and Gavin, and their dog Remy, are among families across North America who will be getting outdoors to raise money and awareness for MEDA in August. (Mackenzie Derksen Photography photo)

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) supporters, whose efforts to create business solutions to poverty, enjoy getting together. In normal years, groups across North America have regular meetings throughout the year, and annual barbecues in the summer to raise funds for MEDA projects.

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