God at work in the Church
Purposeful and meaningful
The numerous staff changes at Mennonite Church Eastern Canada in the last year have been coming for a long time.
Saskatchewan youth explore what it means to answer their call
Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization retreats are an annual highlight, and the senior-high retreat held at Shekinah Retreat Centre has been an opportunity for youth to reunite with each other for a long time.
The in-between years
Emerging adult: it’s a relatively new category to describe the life stage between adolescence and the adult they will become.
The skill and soul of listening
Matthew Bailey-Dick, left, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop coordinator, gives instructions to panel members Tanya Dyck Steinmann, Roberson Mbayamvula and Jim Loepp Thiessen. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Matthew Bailey-Dick, left, the Anabaptist Learning Workshop coordinator, give instructions to panel members Willie Taves, Vic Krahn and Josie Winterfeld. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Listening to God in worship, contemplatively in a labyrinth, or in the Bible. Listening to each other across cultures, when your hearing is impaired or when with the elderly.
Mennonite Church Eastern Canada pastors, chaplains and congregational leaders gathered for a daylong seminar on listening on Jan. 20, 2018, at Redeemer College.
Wildwood Mennonite unplugged
Members of Wildwood Mennonite Church in Saskatoon go for a hike together along the South Saskatchewan River during one of the congregation’s Unplugged weekends. (Photo courtesy of Wildwood Mennonite Church)
Members of Wildwood Mennonite Church prepare to make pizzas for supper during one of their congregation’s Unplugged weekends. (Photo courtesy of Wildwood Mennonite Church)
Open space to enjoy a conversation or sit and work on a puzzle is an important feature of Wildwood Mennonite Church’s Unplugged weekends. (Photo courtesy of Wildwood Mennonite Church)
In this age of hectic schedules, electronic device dependency and human isolation, how can a church provide meaning, purpose and belonging? Saskatoon’s Wildwood Mennonite Church may have found an answer to this perplexing question.
Family celebrates permanent residency
Karalynn Warkentin, 7, loves colouring, playing with her dogs and being outside. (Photo courtesy of the Warkentin family)
The Warkentins are ringing in 2018 as official Canadians, but the journey to reach permanent-resident status was anything but easy. Jon and Karissa Warkentin and their five children, who attend Nordheim Mennonite Church in Winnipegosis, Man., received the announcement they could stay in Canada on Dec. 5, 2017.
Creating a mission partnership web
Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers George and Tobia Veith, right, receive thanks for their training work from local partners (names withheld). (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
Jeanette Hanson, left, and Yin Hongtao, with his back to the camera, interview potential Mennonite Central Committee International Volunteer Exchange Program candidates from China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
Jeanette Hanson, left, Wang Jing, Sun Zili and Huang Gexin discuss the progress Sun Zili's granddaughter is making in the New Hope speech therapy kindergarten run by Wang Jing. Former Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker Huang Gexin remains committed to this school and provides support during his retirement. MCC provides grants for teacher training and support of students. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
Dr. Wang Xuefu, second from left, and Sun Wen, second from right, directors of the Zhimian Institute counselling centre, talk with Yin Hongtao, left, and Jeanette Hanson of Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
What does mission look like in a country where the church is well established? From Jeanette Hanson’s point of view it’s a web of interconnected relationships.
‘We need the peace theology’
Sunday morning Bible Study at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church, led by Ongath Phounsavath, seated centre. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Worship display at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church. Note the towel and basin given to the congregation by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada on the congregation’s full membership last April. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Chinda Kommala is a serious Mennonite Church Eastern Canada booster. From the beginning of the Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church’s life, he has been relating to the regional church and encouraging others to do the same. “We need the emphasis on peace theology,” he says, remembering the years of war back in Laos between various factions.
Ten years of being good news
Kingsfield-Clinton celebrated its 10th anniversary on Nov. 5, 2017, with cake. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)
Stephanie Hammar, Kelly Lubbers, Nancy Huber and Derek Huber visit as part of a weekly potluck, which, on Nov. 5, 2017, formed part of Kingsfield-Clinton’s 10th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)
A decade ago, Zurich (Ont.) Mennonite Church, which was formed in 1908 by those who did not want to keep the restrictive dress code of the nearby Blake Amish Mennonite congregation, renamed itself Kingsfield-Zurich. Around the same time, it “multiplied” itself by spawning the nearby Kingsfield-Clinton congregation. Both congregations are in Huron County along Lake Huron.
The blood of modern-day martyrs
Weiny Hablemichael, left, Tim Reimer and Aron Hablemichael discuss the presentations at the Anabaptist Learning Workshop event held at Danforth Mennonite Church, Toronto, on Nov. 18, 2017, that focussed on East African persecutions. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
Sara Dula looks at a copy of Martyrs Mirror during a presentation about the suffering of 16th-century Anabaptists at the Anabaptist Learning Workshop event that focussed on the persecution of East Africans. Dula herself fled Eritrea because of the persecution and now lives in Toronto with her family. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
It was the Christian apologist Tertullian in AD 197 who first wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” As he watched Christians killed in the bloody entertainment of colosseums and in summary legal procedures, he saw the church grow.
Challenges and excitement
Calvin Quan was “happily surprised” by the positive spirit and efficiency of the first meeting of Mennonite Church Canada’s new Joint Council. “There was a strong sense of collaboration and shared agenda [among regional representatives],” said MC Canada’s moderator of the two days of meetings held on Dec. 8 and 9, 2017.
Introducing the new Joint Council of MC Canada
The new Joint Council of MC Canada is composed of, from left to right, front row: Ken Warkentin, moderator, MC Saskatchewan; Paul Neufeldt, moderator, MC Alberta; Lee Dyck, moderator, MC B.C.; Paul Wideman, moderator, MC Eastern Canada; and Peter Rempel, moderator, MC Manitoba; and back row: Jacquelyn Janzen, MC Saskatchewan rep; Vince Friesen, interim MC Alberta rep; Betty Loewen, MC B.C. rep; Calvin Quan, MC Canada moderator; Alicia Good, MC Eastern, Canada rep; Allan Hiebert, secretary/treasurer; Gerald Gerbrandt, MC Manitoba moderator elect and MC Manitoba interim rep; and Geraldine Balzer, assistant moderator, MC Canada. (Photo by Ryan Siemens)
On Dec. 7 and 8, 2017, the new Joint Council of Mennonite Church Canada met for this first time. (See a follow-up to those meetings here.)
A renovated Westgate welcomes students back home
The newly renovated Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, featuring the atrium at the front. (Courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
The middle section of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate being demolished in the summer of 2016. (Courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)
Visitors walk around Westgate Mennonite Collegiate’s new atrium at their building dedication in September. (Canadian Mennonite Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)
They say it takes a village to raise a child. For Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, it takes a village to not only raise its 300 students, but also to complete a $10.3-million redevelopment project. Westgate, a private school located in Winnipeg, finished renovating its building just in time for the 2017-18 school year.
Recognizing potential in an uncertain future
Mennonite Church Canada executive director Willard Metzger, standing left, explains changes to the structure of the new nationwide church to congregational leaders gathered for MC Saskatchewan’s fall leadership assembly. Standing beside Metzger is Ryan Siemens, MC Saskatchewan’s area church minister of congregational and pastoral relations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
Potential. That word kept surfacing at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s fall leadership assembly, as pastors and congregational leaders met with MC Canada’s executive minister, Willard Metzger, to learn about their regional church’s role in the newly covenanted nationwide body.
Where do we go from here?
On Oct. 14, 2017, delegates at a special assembly in Winnipeg approved a restructuring plan to shift the centre of ministries from the nationwide church office to each of the five regional churches.
Focus groups hear of restructuring plans
How the new structure of Mennonite Church Canada will affect congregations in B.C. was the topic for focus groups in Richmond and Abbotsford late last month. Donors who have been supporting both MC Canada and MC B.C. were invited to attend the meetings with Willard Metzger, the nationwide church’s executive minister, along with the regional church’s leadership and financial personnel.
In search of a collective narrative
In October, congregants from across Canada gathered for Mennonite Church Canada’s Special Assembly 2017 in Winnipeg, where they voted to implement a new structure, ushering in a new era for the new nationwide church and regional churches. Less than a month later, Manitobans met to discuss the implications of this change for them.
‘Strike while the iron is hot’
The ink on the new covenant document between the five regional (formerly area) churches was scarcely dry before Mennonite Church Eastern Canada began to describe to its congregations what this new reality means now and could mean in the future.
Staff changes at MC Eastern Canada
Norm Dyck, the newly appointed Mennonite Church Eastern Canada mission engagement minister, says, “The face of the church is rapidly changing! What appears to be emerging is the possibility of living into an intercultural witness as the church. In a time when racial tensions and violence often dominate the news, God has provided the church with an opportunity to model another way.”
Fort Garry Mennonite’s first five decades
On Oct. 15, 2017, more than 300 excited and exuberant members and guests gathered at Fort Garry Mennonite Fellowship to celebrate the congregation’s 50th anniversary. Many had already enjoyed a delightful coffee house and artisan display the night before, celebrating the artistic gifts within the community.
Community: ‘The easiest way to live the Christian life’
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.
A hundred years of helping others
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.
Pastoral, vocational transitions in Alberta
Pioneer Park celebrates 175 years of change
When Ed Snider left Kitchener to farm in the Hanover-Chesley area of southwestern Ontario, Pioneer Park Christian Fellowship, then known as the Weber Mennonite Church, was nearly five kilometres from the city limits.