The sky ablaze

Skies ablaze over the airtanker base in Edson, Alberta on May 5. (Photo by Art Koop)

‘I didn’t think we’d be the ones evacuating,’ says Art Koop. (Photo courtesy of Art Koop)

Art Koop was cleaning up after teaching his last class of the day when the emergency alert blared from his cell phone. The message called for an immediate, mandatory evacuation. A wildfire threatened Edson, Alberta, the community where Koop lives and works. The sky was an eerie orange colour and thick with smoke.

Engaging with ‘people not like us’

Dayna Goerzen of Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury, Alta. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Goerzen)

Ethan Haluza-DeLay of Edmonton First Mennonite Church makes his voice heard at the climate-change protest in Ottawa in September 2019. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Haluza-Delay)

A group of Mennonite young adults from Alberta has been gathering on Zoom for six Sundays in a row to learn about engaging with “the other.” Topics included “Engaging the religious other,” with a focus on Islam, and “Engaging the culturally other,” with a focus on connecting with people from other races and cultures, and exploring cross-cultural

Edmonton-Calgary trivia rivalry continues

Edmonton and Calgary have been rivals for decades, but for the past three years this rivalry between Edmonton First Mennonite and Foothills Mennonite in Calgary has been for a good cause: raising money for Camp Valaqua with a trivia night. The last two years involved live streaming between multiple Edmonton and Calgary locations. Edmonton First Mennonite hosted 43 people on six teams, including the winner, “Not Cheating Again.” The Edmonton teams raised $1,800 in total.

‘Won’t you be my neighbour?’

Enjoying VBS craft time at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary are, from left to right: Arianna Toews, Kaylynn Toews and Zoe Willms. (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

John Wiebe serenades the children with his harmonica during snack time at the Compassion Café. (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Pastor Chad Miller of Foothills Mennonite Church, left, and Pastor Leng Nawn Thang of Calgary Chin Christian Church lead worship together at the annual VBS program held at Foothills Mennonite Church last month. (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Pastor Chad Miller, centre, introduces new neighbours Rabah Swaidek, left, and Mohammed Awada from the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary at this year’s VBS program, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ (Photo by Ainsley Dunn)

Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers asked the question, “Won’t you be my neighbour?” every day for almost 40 years on Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood.

Sharing about our holy books

'Scriptural Reasoning invites us into each others’ faith tradition by choosing scriptural passages from the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Qur’an.' (Image by congerdesign/Pixabay)

As part of an effort among Alberta Mennonites to bridge understanding between Christians and Muslims, Christian-Muslim dialogues have been organized annually since 2013, under the banner of “A Common Word Alberta.” These have been taking place in Edmonton, but will soon be organized in Calgary as well.

MC Alberta embraces new life, hope and possibilities

During a litany of release and embrace, MC Alberta delegates lit candles to remember and release individuals who have passed away, churches that have left MC Alberta, and programs no longer present in the regional church. Candles also celebrated and embraced new and hopeful baptisms, churches who have joined MC Alberta and vibrant programs. (Photo by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld)

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta’s executive Minister, left, prays for Doug Klassen as Klassen prepares to leave pastoral ministry at Calgary’s Foothills Mennonite Church to become executive minister for MC Canada. The prayer was part of the blessing and commissioning of staff and volunteers at the MC Alberta annual delegate sessions at Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury, on March 15 and 16. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

It was an unusual delegate session, with the bulk of the time dedicated to discussion rather than business. “Discerning God’s call,” Phase 3 of Mennonite Church Alberta’s Vision 20/20 process, engaged participants in reflection on what was heard in congregations during the previous phase, “Season of prayer.”

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