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Speak Jesus

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(Image by Thomas B./Pixabay)

In the mid-1960s, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman coined the phrase “the social construction of reality.” The phrase emphasizes that the world of power and meaning is created through the careful management and manipulation of social symbols.

Where heaven and earth meet

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The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is the largest building in the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China. (Image by Johannes Plenio/Pixabay)

The Temple of Heaven is one of my favourite places in China. It was the place where the emperor went several times a year to offer sacrifices and receive wisdom from the spiritual realm, in order to rule wisely. The temple, with its three-tiered, round, blue roof representing heaven, is surrounded by a square courtyard with green walls representing the earth.

A collaborative leadership approach

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"For Jesus... There would be no hierarchy, no coercive power, no one person ruling over and above another person. His model is mutual, shared leadership under one Lord." (Image by rawpixel/Pixabay)

We have a lot of pastoral transitions happening at the moment in Mennonite Church British Columbia. It is a time that has given me pause to think about how we do church ministry and what our pastoral ministry positions look like.

Valaqua: A place where people express God’s love

"Conversations about God, Jesus, love, life and other big topics are abundant" at Camp Valaqua, Michael Taves writes. (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

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I have worked at Camp Valaqua for a total of six summers, and this summer I am back on staff after being away for a few years.

Valaqua is a place where I learned many things. It was my first job. I learned how to work with a large group of people cooperatively. Valaqua is a very isolated place, so I got a taste for what it is like to live in close community.

The most important word

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"With" may be the most important word in the Christian faith, Sam Wells argues in his book, "Incarnational Ministry." (Photo courtesy of stmartin-in-the-fields.org)

“With” may be the most important word in the Christian faith. So argues Sam Wells, an Anglican priest-theologian, in Incarnational Ministry, a book about being with the church.

Things I noticed at Gathering 2019

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Members of the worship team lead the singing at Gathering 2019. (Photo by Jane Grunau)

I didn’t used to get nervous leading singing. There were times before leading at Mennonite Church Canada’s Gathering 2019 when I was nervous. I was less nervous leading 6,500 youth and sponsors at the St. Louis ’99 Youth Convention than some points before leading a few hundred in Abbotsford, B.C., last month.

Walking with youth toward a fearless faith

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At a youth ministry visioning event in April, MCEC participants explored new possibilities for walking with youth “towards a fearless faith in Christ Jesus.”

It is difficult to know what the future holds for youth ministry within Mennonite churches in Canada. Change is happening fast for some churches as they experience more immediate declines in the number of youth and children in their congregations.

Building resource connections

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CommonWord is partnering with Herald Press to make 'The Bible Unwrapped' available for small-group study at a discounted price. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

CommonWord is just over four years old. In that short time we have doubled our sales (reaching more than 10,000 retail customers last year), more than doubled the number of website users, and have continued to circulate half of our loan materials outside Manitoba—and increasingly to people outside our immediate Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University communities.

Church relations on so many different levels

'If we look far enough we can all find similarities among each other.' (Image by Christine Schmidt/Pixabay)

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You are what you eat, or can it be said you are who you work with? There’s also the phrase, “two peas in a pod,” but this time there’s three of us.

On the surface, it could be said that Kevin Barkowsky, Garry Janzen and I are nothing alike, but, as Mennonite Church British Columbia staffers, we certainly can relate to each other in our personal lives.

Walking together

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'This call to deepen our walk with one another calls for the kind of courage we may not possess in and of ourselves.' (Image by Sasin Tipchai/Pixabay)

This year, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan has been “deepening our walk with one another” as part of a three-year initiative to call us to deeper life with Christ, ourselves and our neighbours.

Experiencing God’s love affair with the world

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‘In our Canadian context, growth is not happening. How then do we think about our role? Do we need to water more? Do we need to plant in a different space?’ (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

So I’m out walking in the beautiful spring sunshine and I pass a church that has a large empty parking lot with a sign that says “No Parking.” As I turn the corner, I see the official church sign that states “Everyone is Welcome.”

Whose are we?

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'In the coming weeks, we move together towards the cross, reaffirming the presence of the resurrected Christ in our midst, and therefore reaffirming whose we are.' (Image by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

“It isn’t the authority which is given to me, but the authority under whose I am,” was the answer of a friend when I asked, “So what is it like to wear a clerical collar?” In other words, it isn’t so much who I am, but whose I am, to whom I belong and under whose authority I reach out and speak from.

Interdependence

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Image by corinna-kr/Pixabay)

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“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV).

Most likely, you have heard these words during a wedding ceremony. Although they are fitting for the marriage context, I would suggest that this verse also speaks to our need for each other.

Dreaming of possibilities

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'We pray that a significant number of our dreams come to be fulfilled,' Vince Friesen writes. (Illustration courtesy of Pixabay)

As we explore new possibilities in our journey with a new church structure, the Mission and Service Committee of Mennonite Church Alberta has been dreaming about possibilities in a variety of areas. Some of these dreams will remain dreams, while others, hopefully, will come to fruition.

Deepening our walk with each other

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'Throughout the biblical story there is a direct correlation between our love of God and our call to love each other,' Ryan Siemens writes. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

During this past year, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan has focused on the theme of “Deepening our walk with Christ,” in the hope of increasing our openness to encounters with God’s presence in our lives. This theme grew out of an awareness that, if we desire to live well in this day of great turmoil and uncertainty, we need to come back to the One who calms the storm and brings us peace.

Stepping into the gap

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Lontfobeko Manana and Brenda Tiessen-Wiens

Creating space for important cross-cultural discussion is crucial work for the church today. Our paths for the coming year have merged at Foothills Mennonite Church, where Lindo is serving with Mennonite Central Committee’s International Volunteer Exchange Program (IVEP) for a term as a pastoral assistant, and Brenda is a part of Lindo’s mentoring group.

Listen to the silence

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Recently, I heard a story about a young prince named Hullabaloo. He lived in a land where everyone and everything was noisy. When people talked, they shouted at each other. When they ate their soup, they inhaled it with a loud air-over-tongue sound. When they worked, they clanked and bumped until the air was filled with noise.

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