Mennonite Church Eastern Canada

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Three churches withdraw from MC Eastern Canada

Kingsfield-Zurich Mennonite Church, pictured last month. (Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/kingsfieldzmc)

Earlier this spring, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada released the following statement: “We announce with great sadness Kingsfield-Clinton and Kingsfield-Zurich Mennonite Church, Living Water Christian Fellowship and Maple View Mennonite Church have left the MC Eastern Canada family.

‘I hear you, I see you’

Participants at a recent MC Eastern Canada youth workers retreat take part in a super heroes’ cape blessing, reminding each other that they are covered with the love of God. (Photo by Brent Musser)

“Youth need to experience God for themselves. . . . We need to offer Jesus to our youth,” said Michele Hershberger, a Bible and ministry professor and department chair from Hesston (Kan.) College with experience in youth ministry and postmodern culture, at a recent Mennonite Church Eastern Canada youth workers event.

MC Eastern Canada appoints first intercultural mission minister

Fanosie Legesse has been appointed as the first intercultural mission minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, a new position within the regional church team. He will begin his duties on March 1. More than 20 percent of MC Eastern Canada’s 104 churches are newcomer or first-generation Canadian congregations. “Intercultural awareness has become a growing edge” of the regional church, says David Martin, executive minister. “It is exciting as we move toward being an intercultural church, but it also generates some challenges as we learn to integrate various cultural backgrounds.

Three congregations leave MC Eastern Canada

The sign in front of Calvary Church in Ayr, Ont., hints at the significant shift taking place as the church merges with Calvary Pentecostal Assembly of nearby Cambridge. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

In September 2019, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada reported: “We announce with great sadness that River of Life, Calvary Church Ayr (Mennonite), and Milverton Mennonite Fellowship [all in Ontario] have left the MC Eastern Canada family.

Watch: MCEC church helps Montreal’s homeless

People in Montreal experiencing homelessness have access to 30 mattresses at Care Montreal, an outreach program of Hochma church. (Photo courtesy of YouTube)

Montreal has been hit with unseasonably cold weather this month, and a Mennonite Church Eastern Canada (MCEC) congregation is doing what it can to help members of the city’s homeless population get by.

Hochma church is the home to Care Montreal, an outreach program that opens its doors to around 30 people every night. The program gives folks food to eat and a place to sleep.

‘Jesus Christ is present here’

Norm Dyck, right, the new MC Eastern Canada mission minister, presents Brian Bauman with a tribute T-shirt as part of retirement celebrations for Bauman held at the regional church’s fourth annual Mission Festival at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

People from the Chin Christian Fellowship share a cultural dance at this year’s Mission Festival on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

Women from the First Mennonite Church Hispanic congregation share a Colombian cultural dance at this year’s fourth annual Mission Festival on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

People from Meheret Evangelical Church in Kitchener sing at the fourth annual Mission Festival on Oct 26. (Photo by Mollee Moua)

“Jesus Christ is present here. Alleluia!” sang enthusiastic worshippers in many languages to begin the fourth annual Mennonite Church Eastern Canada multicultural Mission Festival, held on Oct. 26 at First Mennonite Church in Kitchener.

West Hills congregation tries ‘messy church’

Children prepare to go for a tractor and wagon ride at a local farm for one of the West Hills congregation's ‘out’ Sundays. (Photo courtesy of West Hills Fellowship)

The West Hills congregation gathers for worship in a home on their ‘in’ Sunday. (Photo courtesy of West Hills Fellowship)

Two years ago, West Hills Fellowship, in Baden, Ont., faced up to its small-church realities. It had lost some families for a variety of reasons, and found it challenging to run programs and Sunday morning worship services.

That’s when the congregation tried a “messy church” model. 

‘It’s all worship’

Refuge de Paix, Sherbrooke, Que., a Spanish-speaking congregation ministering to Hispanic refugees are welcomed into full membership in MC Eastern Canada by MC Eastern Canada moderator Arli Klassen, left, and Henry Paetkau, right, MC Canada interim executive minister. (D. Michael Hostetler)

Markham Christian Worship Centre, Markham, Ont., a Tamil-speaking congregation with roots in Sri Lanka. (CM photo by D. Michael Hostetler)

Representatives of 107 congregations from Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick gathered at Steinmann Mennonite Church for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering on April 26 and 27, framed around the theme of “Deepening our relationship with God.” 

Ending with hope

Henry Paetkau addresses the final Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment for Leadership Training fundraising dinner on June 5, 2018, five days after his retirement from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

May 3, 2018, was Henry Paetkau’s last day in the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada office, but he wasn’t quite done yet.

A picture of gradual decline

Above: Donations from congregations and individuals to national and area/regional church bodies. (All dollar figures adjusted to 2018 dollars.)

Above: Dollar amounts to be forwarded to MC Canada in 2018. (Not included are contributions from regional churches to post-secondary schools or added budget lines for staff to take over some tasks previously performed by MC Canada staff.)

Often our society relies too much on numbers. In gravitating to quantification we tend to short-circuit the truth, which is nuanced and multilayered.

But when it comes to our denomination, I would like to see more numbers. Specifically, how has overall giving to area/regional churches and Mennonite Church Canada changed over time?

‘Connected: Striving side by side with one mind’

Ellen Kim and Nick Hamm take part in an Anabaptist Learning Workshop exercise led by coordinator Matthew Bailey-Dyck at the 31st annual MC Eastern Canada church gathering at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont. The purpose of the exercise was to write and draw together, and then reflect on the experience. (Photo Dave Rogalsky)

Michel Monette, co-pastor of Eglise Hochma in Montreal, hands translation equipment to Michel Allionna of the Assemblée de la Grâce, also in Montreal, at the 31st annual MC Eastern Canada church gathering at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont. The sessions were translated into French and Spanish. (Photo Dave Rogalsky)

The theme of this year’s Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual church gathering—stated in the headline—had many facets, both inspiring and challenging, for those gathered at Redeemer College in Ancaster on April 27 and 28, 2018.

Impassioned plea to stay connected

MC Eastern Canada welcomes two new congregations

Members of the Assemblée de la Grâce and the Matu-Chin Christian Church are welcomed into emerging church membership by Brian Bauman, mission minister, at the 31st Mennonite Church Eastern Canada annual church gathering. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Two new congregations were welcomed into emerging membership during Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s annual church gathering at Redeemer College on April 27 and 28, 2018. 

Evangelistic work still paying dividends today

Bible study in the Martins’ basement apartment in 1958. Pictured left to right: Pauline Reesor, Marc Reesor, Christian Chano, Deborah Martin, Harold Reesor and Mr. Chano from France, their first contact. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Tilman Martin in October 2016, at age 89. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Tilman Martin knocks on doors as he begins to plant a church in Montréal Nord in 1958. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

House in Ville Lemoyne on Montreal’s South Shore, where the Martins lived while studying French. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Harold Reesor and Tilman Martin in chapel 1960 at 11123 L'Archeveque, Montreal. Harold built the pulpit. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Pictured from left to right: Harold and Pauline Reesor, with Janet and Tilman Martin, holding their daughter Deborah, at the front entrance of the Institute Biblique de Montreal in Longueuil, where they studied French from 1956 to 1957. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Pauline and Harold Reesor and Tilman Martin in basement apartment on Avenue Lamoureux, Montreal, in 1957. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Picture taken after a morning English service at the chapel entrance in 1962; there was also an evening French service. The Martins, including daughter Deborah, are in the back row. Harold Reesor is at left in the front row. (Historical photo courtesy of Tilman Martin)

Tilman Martin turned 90 on Jan. 3, 2017. He is the last of the four original church planters sent from Ontario to Quebec in 1956 whose work continues to pay dividends to this day. The other original planters were the late Harold (d. March 12, 2017) and Pauline (d. April 6, 1980) Reesor from Wideman Mennonite Church in Markham; and Janet (Mills) Martin (d. July 29, 2002) from St.

Finding God in my neighbourhood

Brian Quan (left) pastor of the Toronto Chinese Mennonite Church, and MCEC assistant moderator, and Missions Minister Brian Bauman give a plant to Jonathan Abraham, pastor of the Shalom Worship and Healing Centre, to welcome the congregation as an emerging congregation in MCEC. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Jordan Thoms, church planter from Toronto, is introduced by Colin McCartney who works with supporting and training church planters in under resourced neighbourhoods in Toronto. Thoms also released a CD of his Christian infused rap music which was produced with help from the MCEC Legacy Initiatives Fund. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Fred Driedger, Janet Woelk and Debbie Janzen welcome MCEC delegates to Leamington at the beginning of the birding season at Point Pelee National Park. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Church planters Lyne Renaud and Michel Monnette, a married couple from near Montreal, share their vision of a church in the highly secularized environment of Quebec at the MCEC annual church gathering. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Stuart Murray, author of The Naked Anabaptist, encouraged Mennonite Church Eastern Canada delegates to become mobile temples, moving out of their buildings and into the neighbourhood to speak out the good news of God’s redeeming presence.

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