“We can all have good mental health. It is about having a sense of purpose, strong relationships, feeling connected to our communities, knowing who we are, coping with stress and enjoying life,” says a statement by the Canadian Mental Health Association.
In the midst of significant structural change in Mennonite Church Canada, a group of Canadian Mennonite University students came together in December 2015 around the question, “Do young people care about the future of the church?” This initial gathering generated surprising energy among the participants.
I often hear people describe the church as being behind the times. What this means is that by the time the church addresses issues that were important to society last year, or last decade, most people have already moved on to more pressing issues that the church will be sure to deal with in 17 years or so.
Hearing each other well is essential for being church. This is a delicate theme, because we aren’t doing it well. The effects of distance—both geographical and theological—are being felt within and among our churches.
Reading the responses we collected on our Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) 2016-17 workshop tour, and reflecting on my experience, I notice two major threads:
Clockwise from left: Sara Erb, Steph Chandler Burns, Kathy Janzen, Ed Janzen and Chris Brnjas consider the questions posed at the second Emerging Voices Initiative listening tour event on Nov. 11, 2016, at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)
During the EVI meeting in Saskatoon on Nov. 26, 2016, Graham MacDonald, second from left, discusses his views on the future of Mennonite Church Canada, while, from left to right, David Epp, Terri Lynn Friesen and EVI members Madeleine Wichert, Katrina Woelk and Kathleen Bergen listen attentively. (Photo by Donna Schulz)
Over the past three months, the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) conducted a cross-country listening tour, endeavouring to gauge the mood of Mennonite Church Canada congregants on what should happen next with the national church following the presentation of the Future Direction
Never let it be said that young people don’t care about the future of the church.
Late last year, Katrina Woelk, a sociology student at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and a member of the student council, was having a conversation with some other students and members of the university administration about the challenges facing Mennonite Church Canada.