Mennonite Church Canada’s International Witness program invites congregations across its nationwide community of faith to join networks of support for its International Witness ministries.
“Being part of the network for the Philippines reminds us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves,” says Marlene Friesen of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, B.C. “We see the work that is being done in the name of God’s kingdom.”
International Witness works with 18 ministry partners in 13 countries around the globe and has eight Witness workers in four countries.
Witness Support Networks are a new way for Canadian congregations to support and participate in this work.
“In these networks congregations can connect more deeply to at least one of those ministries,” says Jeanette Hanson, director of International Witness, of the five networks currently in operation.
Four of the networks support ministry in countries where there are Witness workers: China, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. The fifth network supports ministry in Burkina Faso. The goal of the networks is mutual sharing, learning and giving through relationships.
Each network contains four partners:
- Congregations that wish to support the same ministry
- Regional churches
- MC Canada
- Witness workers
Congregations individually determine how to contribute to their network. Distributing newsletters, organizing fundraisers, connecting with international partners (online or through visits or learning tours) and sharing prayer requests are examples of support congregations can give.
“As part of the Thailand network, it has been a real blessing to be part of Zoom meetings with the Poovongs and hear firsthand what they are doing,” says Sharon Schultz, pastor of Eyebrow (Sask.) Mennonite Church.
Hanson says another benefit of the networks is that congregations across Canada will connect with each other through their support of international ministries. “The opportunities for learning and sharing are endless,” she says.
Congregations interested in joining a Witness Support Network can contact their regional church representative:
- MC British Columbia: Kevin Barkowsky (email@example.com)
- MC Alberta: Tim Wiebe-Neufeld (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- MC Eastern Canada: Norm Dyck (email@example.com)
- MC Manitoba: Rick Neufeld (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- MC Saskatchewan: Josh Wallace (email@example.com)
Visit mennonitechurch.ca/witness-support-networks for information and resources.