young adults

Canadian delegates sought for GYS 2021

Applications for young adult representatives to the Global Youth Summit (GYS), to be held from July 2 to 5, 2021, in Salatiga, Indonesia, are being sought by Mennonite Church Canada’s Joint Council. The theme of GYS 2021 is “Life in the Spirit: Learn, serve, worship.” MC Canada is looking for one young adult from each of the five regional churches—one of whom will be the official delegate—to represent the nationwide church at GYS 2021, and also to attend the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly a few days later.

Youth panel explains what keeps them in church

Pictured from left to right: moderator Irma Fast Dueck and panellists Colin Friesen, Emily Hunsberger, Maria Klassen, Yeabsra Agonfer and Jonathan Klassen speak on the topic ‘Taking the plunge: Young adults and the church,’ as part of this year’s Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College. (Grebel photo by Jen Konkle)

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Christian youth and young adults are seeking church spaces that are authentic, safe and open, but also supportive of their role in leadership.

At least, that’s what five people who took part in a youth panel had to say at the 2019 Bechtel Lectures at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., on Feb. 8.

Tending the in-between spaces

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‘A politics of tending is centred on shared practices, habits and memories that define a place and community in its particularity, and describe how that community will negotiate its future,’ writes Anika Reynar. (Photo © istock.com/baks)

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.

Forming intentional community with young adults

Terri Lynn and Thomas Friesen are the founders of the Vine and Table intentional community. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

Located in Saskatoon’s Riversdale neighbourhood, the Vine and Table can accommodate 10 residents. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

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Eating delicious, healthy food is central to life at the Vine and Table. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

‘It’s kind of a step in faith,’ Terri Lynn Friesen says of starting the Vine and Table. (Photo courtesy of Terri Lynn Friesen)

When Thomas and Terri Lynn Friesen met, Terri Lynn was a guest at the Burrow, an intentional community Thomas was living in with eight other young adults.

This coming September, a few weeks before the couple’s second wedding anniversary, they will embark on a new adventure together: opening their Saskatoon home to form an intentional community called the Vine and Table.

A biblical call—to justice and peacebuilding

Jessica Reesor Rempel co-founded Pastors in Exile in 2015. (Photo by John Rempel)

Jessica Reesor Rempel leads a session at PiE’s recent Winter Camp for Grown-ups’ retreat. (Photo by Jacquie Reimer)

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‘I don’t think anyone else has a job quite like this,’ says Jessica Reesor Rempel, right, pictured with PiE co-founder Chris Brnjas, left, and Tamara Shantz, centre, PiE’s current pastor. (Photo by Dave Klassen)

Jessica Reesor Rempel lives in Kitchener, Ont., with her husband Steven and their daughter Anna Julian. (Photo by John Rempel)

Participants worship in Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ont., at an Easter sunrise service organized by PiE. (Photo by Dave Klassen)

Jessica Reesor Rempel enjoys bringing people together and helping them find meaning.

‘The tensions of taking Scripture seriously’

James DeGurse, centre, a Roman Catholic, finds value in reading the Bible communally. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Braden Siemens’s take on Scripture is informed by attending both Pentecostal and Anglican churches. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

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Claire Hanson, Braden Siemens, James DeGurse, Marnie Klassen and Kenny Wollmann share their views of Scripture at CMU on Feb. 5, 2018. (Photo courtesy of CMU)

‘What actually does the Bible tell us?’ CMU professor Dan Epp-Tiessen, left, asks during his introductory remarks. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

Scripture is a massive, ancient, messy archive of God’s relationship with humanity that many claim to interpret correctly.

But with such diverse understandings of the Bible, how can Christians approach it with humility while granting God’s words authority over their lives? How can young people take Scripture seriously in an increasingly secularized world?

A big fan of Jesus . . . the church not so much

‘In the last couple of years, I’ve been embarrassed to tell people that I went to church or was a Christian.’—Aaron Dawson (Photo courtesy of Angelika Dawson)

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‘I have also been deeply hurt by experiences in the church and have sometimes wondered why I stay. But I have stayed because, in the end, unlike Aaron, I find that it does matter to me. This is my tribe, warts and all.’—Angelika Dawson (Photo courtesy of Angelika Dawson)

Aaron Dawson and his mother Angelika in their Star Wars ‘Force for change’ T-shirts. (Photo courtesy of Angelika Dawson)

A lot has been said and written about millennials: What’s wrong with them? What’s influenced them? What does their future hold?

EVI listening tour roundup

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)

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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)

Small groups put their heads together on Mennonite identity and purpose at the Jan. 13 EVI event in Winkler Man. (Photo by Beth Downey Sawatzky)

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

10 under 30

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We asked and you responded.

This past fall, Canadian Mennonite put out a call to readers. We wanted to hear about the young adults who are making a difference in your community—the emerging Mennonite leaders from across Canada who care about and support the church.

Laments and hopes for MC Canada

EVI members Laura Carr-Pries and Peter Epp speak to delegates during a seminar at Assembly 2016. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

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From left to right: EVI members Alex Tiessen, Anneli Loepp Thiessen, Jonas Cornelsen, Laura Carr-Pries and Tim Wenger stand in front of an art piece featuring the laments and hopes of MC Canada Assembly 2016 delegates. (Photo by Aaron Epp)

When Laura Carr-Pries got together with fellow students at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg last year to discuss the challenges facing Mennonite Church Canada, she wasn’t sure how things would go.

Do young people care about the future of the church?

Anika Reynar presents the vision of Emerging Voices Initiative to the Mennonite Church Manitoba annual general meeting at Bethel Mennonite Church, Winnipeg, on March 5, 2016. (Photo by Beth Epp)

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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.

Church geeks serve PiE

Board member Caleb Redekop, centre, cuts the PiE pie with Chris Brnjas and Jessica Reesor Rempel at Pastors in Exile’s kick-off on Sept. 27, 2015, at the Queen St. Commons Café in Kitchener, Ont. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

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Both Jessica Reesor Rempel and Chris Brnjas are fond of puns, as perhaps only geeks are.

Self-professed “church geeks,” they kicked off their new ministry, Pastors in Exile (PiE) at the Queen Street Commons café in downtown Kitchener on Sept. 27, 2015, with many pies being consumed by the 85 people who attended.

"You lost me"? Young adults in/and/of the church

A 17th-century Dutch church. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this month, I was one of many who gathered in the new Marpeck Commons building at Canadian Mennonite University to hear from a panel of “young adults” on their age group and the church. [1] Judging by the size of the audience (they had to go get extra chairs!), and a feature article on a similar topic in the Feb. 16, 2015 issue of Canadian Mennonite, [2] this is an issue that many churches are currently profoundly concerned and anxious about.

Clarity and confusion in the Middle East

Hearing the stories of both Israelis and Palestinians was a highlight of the Middle East learning tour Seth Ratzlaff participated in two years ago. (Photo by Seth Ratzlaff)

Yella participants walk through Palestine during a 2012 learning tour. (Photo by Seth Ratzlaff)

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Seth Ratzlaff

Seth Ratzlaff was part of a group of young adults who travelled to the Middle East in 2012 for a three-week Israeli-Palestinian learning tour. ‘I would love to go back,’ Ratzlaff writes. (Photo courtesy of Seth Ratzlaff)

It’s easy to get fed up with talking about things while studying in college or university; the desire to do something hands-on can be overwhelming. When my religious studies professor told me about a three-week learning tour of Israel and Palestine called Yella, organized, by Mennonite Central Committee Ontario and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

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