As the new moderator of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, I am dealing with feelings of anticipation, apprehension, excitement and a little fear.
As with the other area churches, we are an association of individual churches. These churches are located in different areas, understand some scripture slightly differently, and see their role of living out the Christian message in unique ways. However, we still work together enthusiastically in the ministry of camps, seniors’ housing, education, etc.
In an ever-changing society, and an ever-changing understanding of God’s creation and God’s work, it is sometimes difficult to stay on the same page as we try to work together. It is understandable that it is difficult and troublesome when the way one has been taught and instructed for many years is now viewed and understood differently by others. We can still support each other and work together on many things when we have different beliefs and understandings on some of these issues. I believe that we can support each other in churches, our area churches and our national church as we work together to understand each other and encourage each other.
We do church differently these days. With winter and summer getaways, children and grandchildren scattered around the world, we need to find ways to stay connected. How do we do church now?
There are many needs in our society. There are also many marginalized in our society who are in great need of the Good News. How each of us and our churches live out that Good News varies with how we see the need, the abilities we have, and our willingness to get involved. I look forward to working together as we support each other in the work.
Some are very apprehensive about the future of the organized church. There is no doubt that we need to change and adjust how we will function, but I am encouraged when I see the possibilities in our new young pastors. They have vision, drive and ability and are willing to work as a team in their churches, with fellow pastors, and in society in general. We also have pastors with experience and many other church workers who have done and continue to do much good work.
It is my hope that with love, care, forgiveness and grace, we can encourage each other as we seek to live out the love of Jesus in a world that needs that Good News. We can leave the judging to God and give our energy, guided by the Holy Spirit, to living the Jesus way.
Ken Warkentin is moderator of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan.