MC Canada

‘The frontlines are where history is being made’

The CPT-MC Canada accompaniment team spent a month at Unist'ot'en camp in unceded Wet'suwet'en territory in northern B.C., learning from Indigenous land defenders and helping wherever they were needed. (Photo by Steve Heinrichs)

The healing centre at the Unist'ot'en camp provides cultural teaching, runs youth camps and reconnects people with the land. (Photo by Josiah Neufeld)

The Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) in Unist'ot'en territory, where life is deeply interconnected with creation. (Photo by Allegra Friesen Epp)

Allegra Friesen Epp did a six-month joint internship with CPT and MC Canada this year, doing Indigenous solidarity work. (Photo courtesy of Allegra Friesen Epp)

Allegra Friesen Epp is wrapping up a six-month internship with Mennonite Church Canada and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), but she is already brainstorming ways to continue doing solidarity work.

MC Canada and CPT send team to Unist’ot’en

Team members, from left to right: (Back row) Josiah Neufeld, Steve Heinrichs and Allegra Friesen Epp; (front row) Emily Green and Rachelle Friesen. (MC Canada photo)

Mennonite Church Canada, together with Christian Peacemaker Teams, has responded to an invitation to accompany Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en Territory. This past Friday, May 28, a group comprised of CPTers and members of MC Canada arrived at the camp in northern B.C.

The team members are:

Heinrichs launches online book club

‘It is a text that, if made flesh in Canada, would revolutionize the church’s relationship to Indigenous peoples, spiritualities and lands,’ Steve Heinrichs says of ‘Beloved Amazonia.’ (Photo by Steve Heinrichs)

Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations program is running a five-week online book club beginning this April.

The chosen text is Beloved Amazonia, a courageous collection of documents from the Pan-Amazon Synod, including an “apostolic exhortation” to the church from Pope Francis.

Join the crowd

Rachel Siemens, pastor of Carman (Man.) Mennonite Church, created her congregation’s website. It launched in August 2020 as part of Mennonite Church Canada’s website hub. (Photo by Mary Anne Falk)

Fifteen congregations have launched new websites through the Mennonite Church Canada congregational website hub. 

“On the one hand, it’s hard work but it’s creative work,” says Rachel Siemens, pastor of Carman (Man.) Mennonite Church, whose website launched in August 2020. “What kind of images do we use, what do we say about us, what are the words we use to talk about ourselves?”

‘A matter of principle’

The roof of the Mennonite Church Canada headquarters in Winnipeg before a $220,000 upgrade to the building’s energy efficiency. (Photo by Doug Klassen)

The roof of the Mennonite Church Canada headquarters in Winnipeg after a $220,000 upgrade to the building’s energy efficiency. (Photo by Doug Klassen)

Mennonite Church Canada is backing up the establishment of a new Sustainability Leadership Group (SLG) with a $220,000 upgrade to its head office in Winnipeg.

Under the sparkling stars

Middle Eastern Christians re-enact the Christmas story in Nazareth. (Photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

The carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” paints a Christmas card picture of the ancient town of the Nativity: sparkling stars lighting quiet streets, a Holy Baby resting in a manger as the townspeople sleep, unaware. That idyllic view was replaced by a fuller perspective when my family moved to Israel in 1996.

MC Canada calls for prayer for Ethiopia and Eritrea

Mennonite Church Eastern Canada staffers Fanosie Legesse (left) and Norm Dyck, pictured last year by the sign in front of the Meserete Kristos Church in Mekelle. Mekelle is the capital city of the Tigray region, which is at the centre of the war in Ethiopia. (Photos courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) held a nationwide fasting and prayer for peace on Nov. 16.

Embodying God’s mission with authenticity

The team planning the 2020 Mennonite Church Canada study conference is, clockwise from top left: Gerald Gerbrandt; Kim Penner (right, pictured with her partner); Doug Klassen; Ryan Siemens; and Marilyn Rudy-Froese. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

“Table talk: Does the church still have legs,” the 2020 Mennonite Church Canada study conference, is a virtual event happening on Oct. 24. Plenary speakers from MC Canada-affiliated schools will share on themes of ecclesiology, worship and mission.

MC Canada study conference goes virtual

‘Our separation as churches at this time is difficult, but it also presents an opportunity to take a step back and think critically about what it means to be the church,’ says Kim Penner, who sits on the planning committee for Mennonite Church Canada's upcoming study conference. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Mennonite Church Canada is moving ahead with its first study conference in October 2020.

Titled “Table Talk: Does the Church Still Have Legs?”, the conference will examine what it means to be the church and the role of worship. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, through Zoom, a virtual-meeting platform. 

Web of connections

(Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada)

In these days of pandemic responses we are continually reminded by public health officials that our individual actions affect our neighbours and that we are responsible for protecting those around us. We are connected.

This reminds me of the web of connections I witnessed during my ministry with Mennonite Partners in China (MPC).

Menno leaders publish Holy Week letter

'This is a difficult time for many.' (Image by elizabethalliburton/Pixabay)

The executive directors of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) have published a letter of encouragement to constituents this week during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter—which you can read below—acknowledges the unusual circumstances and challenges surrounding this year’s Holy Week, while offering a message of hope and unity.

MC Canada congregations offering online worship services

‘This is an unexpected opportunity to work at rebuilding our sense of peoplehood nationwide,’ says Doug Klassen, executive minister for MC Canada. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Mennonite Church Canada, in collaboration with its regional churches and their local congregations, will share worship services each week for congregations across our nationwide community of faith. 

MC Canada offers pandemic preparedness web resources for congregations

'Because the most common spread of the virus is through hand transmission, it is important to get into the habit of washing your hands often with soap and warm water.' (Image by JKerner/Pixabay)

As of March 11, the World Health Organization is now describing the global outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic. This move is not to incite fear but to motivate governments to ramp up their preparation efforts before the virus spreads more quickly in their own countries.

Structure and identity

Doug Klassen, executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada (left), serves communion to Calvin Quan, moderator of MC Canada, and Lee Dyck, moderator of MC British Columbia, at Assembly 2019 in Abbotsford last July. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

After Gathering 2019 last summer, Doug Klassen, then newly hired as executive minister of Mennonite Church Canada, sat down with me for a chat in the Abbotsford, B.C., airport. Amid the chatter of travellers and loudspeaker announcements, we considered the work ahead for our church. We talked about structure and identity.

Life on the geographic fringes of MC Canada

Nordheim Mennonite Church in the village of Winnipegosis, Man., is a four-hour drive northwest of Winnipeg.

Mennonite Church Canada is characterized by various geographic concentrations of churches, some thicker than others. But a few congregations exist far from any other MC Canada sisters and brothers. What is church like in the farther flung reaches of our denomination? What do congregations do to stay connected? What are the advantages of remoteness?

Going deeper together

'We desire to go deeper in our relationship with God and with our neighbours both inside and outside the church walls.' (Image by congerdesign/Pixabay)

If you have been paying attention to what the regional churches are up to recently, you may have noticed a common question and a common longing. A question expressed at both regional and nationwide levels: What is God calling Mennonite Church Canada to do, as a church?

Crokinole boards sold for China mission

Sales of custom-made crokinole boards from Yarrow (B.C.) United Mennonite Church are helping support Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Wooden game boards made in Yarrow, B.C., and a crokinole tournament at this summer’s Mennonite Church Canada Gathering 2019 have made a connection with modern-day Chinese Christians and a 16th-century Dutch Anabaptist martyr.

Holy Spirit fire and imagination

Pictured from left to right: Darryl Neustaedter Barg; Bruno Cavalca; John Briner, hidden behind the music stand; and Anneli Loepp Thiessen lead the congregation in songs new and old. The other Gathering 2019 worship team members were Moses Falco, Sarah Johnson, Kathy Lumsden and Glenn Sawatzky. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

Many hands were needed to display a 10-metre banner with the theme of Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019. Witness worker Bock Ki Kim presented it to the assembly as a gift from their Mennonite sisters and brothers in South Korea. Throughout the gathering, attendees wrote their blessings and prayers on the banner. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

Many hands were needed to display a 10-metre banner with the theme of Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019. Witness worker Bock Ki Kim presented it to the assembly as a gift from their Mennonite sisters and brothers in South Korea. Throughout the gathering, attendees wrote their blessings and prayers on the banner. (Photo by Amy Rinner Waddell)

During the worship service on July 1, newly installed executive minister Doug Klassen, left, serves communion to Calvin Quan, moderator of MC Canada, and Lee Dyck, moderator of MC British Columbia. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

At the Xáy:tem Longhouse Interpretive Centre in Mission (Hatzic), B.C., tour members enter the replica of a pit house, a traditional dwelling of local Indigenous people. The bus excursion took visitors along the Fraser River, where Indigenous tour guide Sonny McHalsie (Naxaxalhts’i) identified traditional territories of the Stó:lō Nation. Visitors also had a brief visit at the former St. Mary’s Residential School. (Photo by Virginia A. Hostetler)

Four youths and an equal number of leaders went on retreat at Camp Squeah in Hope, B.C., during Mennonite Church Canada’s nationwide Gathering 2019. Pictured in front: Rachel Onsorge, a young adult leader from B.C.; and back row from left to right: Liam Kachkar, a young adult leader from Alberta; Sara Ehling and Christine Lee, youth from B.C.; Mike Wiebe, a Canadian Mennonite University representative from Manitoba; Mykayla Turner, a Conrad Grebel University College representative from Ontario; Aidan Morton Ninomiya, a youth from Ontario; and Caleb Friesen Epp, a youth from Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Liam Kachkar)

Mike Wiebe, left, a youth leader at the Gathering 2019 youth retreat, and youth participant Aidan Morton Ninomiya of Ontario make a fire for the others to enjoy at Camp Squeah. (Photo courtesy of Liam Kachkar)

An intergenerational crokinole tournament on the evening of June 28 pitted 48 participants against each other for a time of fun. Teams played on 10 boards custom-made by Christopher Epp, Andrew Kornelson and Darnell Barkman of Yarrow (B.C.) Mennonite Church. Three boards, embellished with the MC Canada logo, were sold in a silent auction and raised $700 towards the work of Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo by June Miller)

“Sing a new church into being,” sang the 300-plus people gathered for the first nationwide meeting of Mennonite Church Canada since its restructuring in 2017. Behind the blended voices was the vision, “Igniting the imagination of the church,” the theme of Gathering 2019, held in Abbotsford, B.C., from June 28 to July 1.

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