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?
“To be clear, this is not a missions consultation.”
So said Ryan Siemens, executive minister of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, in his opening address to key regional leaders on March 29. From opening statements to the closing benediction two days later, MC Canada’s mission consultation was more about being a people with a mission than about “doing” missions.
Performing before hundreds of Mennonites and passersby at a park in downtown Buenos Aires, a drama troupe from the Mennonite church in Villa Adelina, Argentina, mimed challenges and struggles facing youth: violence, drugs, promiscuity, greed, and death itself.
Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers George and Tobia Veith, right, receive thanks for their training work from local partners (names withheld). (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
Jeanette Hanson, left, and Yin Hongtao, with his back to the camera, interview potential Mennonite Central Committee International Volunteer Exchange Program candidates from China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
Jeanette Hanson, left, Wang Jing, Sun Zili and Huang Gexin discuss the progress Sun Zili's granddaughter is making in the New Hope speech therapy kindergarten run by Wang Jing. Former Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker Huang Gexin remains committed to this school and provides support during his retirement. MCC provides grants for teacher training and support of students. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
Dr. Wang Xuefu, second from left, and Sun Wen, second from right, directors of the Zhimian Institute counselling centre, talk with Yin Hongtao, left, and Jeanette Hanson of Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)
What does mission look like in a country where the church is well established? From Jeanette Hanson’s point of view it’s a web of interconnected relationships.