Assembly 2016 bits and pieces

What's going on and some ways you can connect

July 4, 2016 | Web First
Canadian Mennonite staff |

Five hundred Mennonites from across Canada will gather in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, July 6 to 10, 2016, for the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly. This gathering brings together people for worship, fellowship and decision making for the national church.

Go to the MC Canada website for information about Assembly 2016, schedule, discussion documents, a video and more. 

See here to learn about key topics the delegates will discuss.  

You can watch the worship and plenary sessions via livestream. See the Assembly schedule here. (Remember that it’s based on Saskatoon time.) 

Here’s information about the main speakers.

Subscribe to the daily news sheet, The Assembled News. 

Follow Assembly 2016 through social media:

On Twitter, follow: @mennochurch and @CanMenno and the hashtag #menno2016.

On Facebook follow Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite.

See below for other events happening around the time of Assembly 2016.  

Ministers’ conference

Mennonite pastors will meet during the day on July 6. Susan Beaumont, a consultant, author, coach, and spiritual director, will speak on, “Leading in a Time of Change.”

Her morning address will be “Leading in a Liminal Season.” There are times in the life of every organization when we find ourselves “in between.” Something has ended, but we are not yet prepared for a new beginning. How do you lead in a season of disorientation, when the new way of being is not yet clear? This session will explore four basic leadership stances that encourage learning and innovation.

The afternoon address is titled “The Adaptive Leader.” Your organization isn’t dysfunctional. It is perfectly designed to achieve the results it is getting. If you want different results from your ministry efforts, then something new is called for. Mobilizing and sustaining people through the period of risk that comes with adaptation is difficult leadership work. In this session participants will explore the core principles that undergird authentic adaptive work.

Beaumont currently has her own consulting business after nine years as a senior consultant with the Alban Institute and continues the Alban legacy to “build up congregations and their leaders to be agents of grace and transformation.” She is an ordained minister who is known for engaging the best of business practice, filtered through the lens of careful theological reflection. She moves easily between discernment and decision-making and nurtures the soul of the leader along with the soul of the institution.

Youth activities

Canoe trip, anyone? Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2016 may have been cancelled due to low registration, but that hasn’t dampened the desire of the host area church, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, to create a fun-filled, faith-forming get-together.

As a result, youth from across the country will participate in #CovenantCrew 2.0—an event that includes a two-day canoe trip. The event will coincide with the Assembly 2016 dates.

The canoe-trip portion is facilitated by Churchill River Canoe Outfitters in Missinipe, Sask., about 500 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

Guest speakers include Chris Lenshyn, an associate pastor at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford, B.C., and Ric Driediger, owner of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters.  Lenshyn was originally scheduled to speak at the cancelled youth assembly. (See more about him here.

Driedger is a member of Rosthern Mennonite Church and served as interim pastor at Zoar Mennonite Church in Waldheim, Sask. earlier this year. “I would rather be canoeing while thinking about faith than thinking about canoeing while sitting in church,” Driediger says. (See more about him here.

“An overnight canoe trip is something that is great with a smaller size,” says Krista Loewen, who leads the planning for #CovenantCrew 2.0. “It allows us to build community, a sense of spiritual and physical adventure, and worship in nature. Youth are so over programmed these days—the church needs to offer alternatives to the ethos of productivity, individualism and consumerism. Spending time unplugged in community, learning about God’s covenants with us and working together to dream of a new church are all possible while visiting Churchill River Canoe Outfitters.”

When the canoes are docked on Friday evening, the youth will return to Saskatoon and stay at the Holiday Inn Express so they can take part in service opportunities in the city. “We will also be integrating with the MC Canada Assembly and representing the countless youth across Canada for whom the church is important,” Loewen says.

Follow Assembly 2016 #thecovenantcrew on Facebook. 

Seminars, tours, exhibit, drama

Over 40 seminars will be offered on topics such as confession of faith, reconciliation with indigenous neighbours, dystopian films, scriptural storytelling, reading the Bible, Mennonite history, global witness, relearning community, creation care, and Anabaptist conscientious objectors.

Theatre of the Beat will present This Will Lead to Dancing, described as “a play about wholeness, belonging, and LGBTQ inclusion.” The theatre group has presented the play in various venues across the church, with positive feedback. Click here for more information and a review of the play. 

Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz, a comic folk play, will be presented at the Station Arts Centre in Rosthern, Sask.

Participants of Saskatoon 2016 will be able to visit the exhibit “Along the Road to Freedom: Mennonite women of courage and faith.” These paintings by Ray Dirks remember and honour the journeys of Russian Mennonite women who led their families to freedom in Canada, mostly in the 1920s and 1940s. The exhibit is a project of Mennonite Church Canada’s Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery and will be on display at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. (See more about the exhibit here.

Tours offered include a visit to Muskeg Lake First Nation, Mennonite Village and Hague Museum tour, Stoney Knoll tour, and an evening of Frisbee fun at Shekinah Retreat Centre.

Creation care

Scheduled to follow Assembly 2016, the seminar “Caring for God’s Good Creation” will take place on July 10, 2016, at Wanuskawin Heritage Park, 15 minutes northeast of Saskatoon. The event was organized by the Service, Peace and Justice Committee (SPJ) of Mennonite Church B.C. and Mennonite Creation Care Network. It is designed to bring interested groups and individuals together to share best practices. See more information here. 

To learn more about Assembly 2016, see:
What you need to know about the Assembly 2016 discussions
Assembly 2016 speakers to focus on God’s covenant

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