Pastors and other leaders from across the five regional churches joined together at First Mennonite Church in Edmonton for Spiritual Leaders Day, part of the Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2022.
After breakfast together on July 29, attendees were invited to spend the morning in worship. The theme for the morning was “be at rest.”
“We’d like to invite you, as leaders, to be able to take this time and receive, rather than on giving, as leaders so often do,” said Sarah Kathleen Johnson, one of the worship leaders for the morning.
Johnson, along with Anneli Loepp Thiessen, led attendees in songs, prayers, scripture readings, stories, personal meditations and small-group discussions.
The two-and-a-half-hour worship time was divided into five movements designed to help leaders articulate their experiences during COVID-19: lament, anger, fear, praise and rest.
Attendees were also invited to participate in a special time of prayer and anointing, offered by regional and nationwide church leaders.
The morning’s worship resonated with Len Rempel, a pastor from Saskatchewan: “I did find the worship time very valuable. The theme of ‘resting in God’ is an important one for all leaders, and, in fact, all who seek to be a part of God’s kingdom. It was good to have this guided time, because it is not just rest, it is resting in God. The music, psalm readings, reflection and sharing all led us into an encounter with God. For me, this time set the tone for the days of Gathering 2022 that followed.”
Glen Guyton, MC U.S.A.’s executive minister, was the guest speaker for the afternoon session. His session focused on key concepts from his book Reawaken: Activate Your Congregation to Spark Lasting Change. Guyton encouraged leaders to guide their congregations into knowing who they are—their unique identity as a church—and then allowing their identity and their story to shape who they are as witnesses in their communities.
“I really appreciated Glen’s whole idea of not just what do we believe? Or what are we thinking? But, really, what are we doing? How are we, the church, being physically present in this world?” said Gord Driedger, pastor of Petitcodiac Mennonite Church in New Brunswick.
More Gathering 2022 coverage:
Gathering 2022: MC Canada invited to declare and embody the gospel
‘Do you hear what I hear?’
In This Together aims to widen the circle of inclusion
Editorial: ‘We Declare’ and beyond