Readers write: November 22, 2021 issue

November 17, 2021 | Opinion | Volume 25 Issue 24
(Graphic by Betty Avery)

‘We are in a climate emergency’: MC Canada
Mennonite Church Canada leaders released the following statement on Nov. 4 during the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland:

Climate scientists have been sounding the call for decades, and the urgency of this call is being emphasized again at the COP26 Climate Summit happening in Glasgow, Scotland. Out of devotion to God our Creator, we must hear and respond to the call to urgent action for the sake of God’s good creation. Out of love for our neighbour, we must hear and respond, for the sake of our human family, and especially those most vulnerable, to the devastating effects of climate change.

We are encouraged to see that concern for climate action is building within MC Canada. Initiatives such as the “7 Calls for Climate Action for Mennonite Church Canada” reflect an urgent desire for the church to lead in climate action, a desire which we share. These, and similar calls, are extensions of commitments we have made and are making as regional churches and as a nationwide body. From local church advocacy to regional church working groups to our nationwide Sustainability Leadership Group and more, we are demonstrating together our growing commitment to work for climate justice and a sustainable future for our church and our world.

As leaders within MC Canada, we commit ourselves anew to working for climate justice and a sustainable future for all God’s creation and all God’s children. We commit to engaging deeply as a nationwide community of faith, inviting congregations and regional churches into discernment regarding the ways we as a church can respond to the climate crisis. We encourage individual members of MC Canada congregations to make this same commitment, and to commit to working in and through their congregations and regional churches to pursue these goals.

Signed by:

—Calvin Quan, MC Canada moderator

— Doug Klassen,  MC Canada executive minister

—Leah Reesor-Keller, MC Eastern Canada executive minister

— Michael Pahl, MC Manitoba executive minister

—Ryan Siemens, MC Saskatchewan executive minister

— Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta executive minister

— Garry Janzen, MC B.C. executive minister

 

Congregations need to help their pastors be authentic
Re:
The misplaced pursuit of authenticity,” Sept. 27, page 12.

It was sad to read the comments about Troy Watson’s experience with pastors as he grows up: “Most ministers we met growing up came across as ego-driven, authoritarian or fake. Sometimes all three.” That does not reflect well on the theological/Bible school selection process and training of these people.

One of the causes might be the unrealistic expectations of parishioners. Pastors often are expected to be competent speakers, compassionate visitors of the ill and bereaved, marriage counsellors, serving the church daily, receiving hostile criticism, advocating for social justice, telling great children’ stories and dealing appropriately with youth. The list could go on.

Churches, when considering a pastor, should clearly identify the person’s strengths and weaknesses. If a person is an excellent speaker but dislikes visiting the sick, hire or appoint someone else to do the visiting. The same applies to other aspects of a pastor’s work. If visiting the elderly or sick is a problem, there is little point in trying to change that; accept it and work with it.

Help the pastor be authentic.
— Henry Neufeld, Delta, B.C.

 

Letters call into question ‘Indigenous rights’
Re:
Protesting pipelines in British Columbia,” Oct. 25, page 19.

I feel the title of the article does an injustice to the writers of the letter. They are not “protesting pipelines.” Rather, the writers are calling for Indigenous rights to be respected and our earth to be protected.

I want to celebrate the writers of the letter quoted in the article! I understand that Canadian Mennonite couldn’t publish the letter in its entirety, but it’s important to highlight this line: “We also recognize that the government and corporations have a monopoly on the power of the courts, RCMP and private security firms to push the pipelines to completion despite the lack of consent from Indigenous nations and a growing number of concerned citizens.”

Great work by Mennonite Church B.C.’s Indigenous Relations Task Group.
— Rachelle Friesen (online comment)

 

Still waiting for someone to address the conflict between the elected chiefs and councils who approved these projects and the hereditary chiefs who oppose them.

Seems like the former group, even though they are a construct of the Indian Act, have a clearer mandate, since they were elected by their people. But I’m certainly no expert.
— Don Janzen (online comment)

(Ed.: This issue was addressed in 2020. Visit https://canadianmennonite.org/stories/who-do-you-support-when-community-divided/.)

 

Is the need housing, homes or caring communities?
Re:
Seeking made-in-Leamington solutions to homelessness,” Oct. 25, page 18.

The questions of the costs related to homelessness that Pastor Ruth Boehm and others in Leamington, Ont., are struggling with have been with the major cities for years. It is now slowly but surely creeping into more and more small towns throughout Canada.

Do people just need housing? No, they need a place where they can feel at home. And then they want to be at home near to and with others. They want homes in communities, as do most people.

Leamington should think outside the box. Planning and discussing with organizations such as Habitat For Humanity for a more practical and beneficial solution that responds to the physical, mental and spiritual needs of this growing demographic of needy people.

Churches and parishioners receive huge tax exemptions, both with property taxes and personal income-tax exemptions. Perhaps they should be a little less preoccupied with their elaborate buildings and fancy sanctuaries, and should design more buildings that provide the security of a community. The homeless are not simply house-less, they are community-less. Who is willing to provide space for the community-less
— David Shantz (online comment)

(Graphic by Betty Avery)

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