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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
December 16, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer -- Invitation to Prayer
A Menno Minute
The MCA Advent Calendar
One Good Thing
Update on Calgary Chin Christian Church

AND MORE from our wider faith communities
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

Oh God guide me as I make decisions how to reach out to others in this time of distancing.


Please also remember in your prayers those in our congregations for whom Covid-19 is much more than a daily statistic.
Pray for renewed health for those who are ill and comfort for those who are grieving.
Our commitment to
Daily Communal Prayer continues.

New participants are always welcome! 












Craig Janzen Neufeld, Pastor, First Mennonite Church Edmonton
A Menno Minute

Celebrations have been on my mind this past week. Celebrations of all sorts. I’ve been thinking about how the church has celebrated communion, how the church will celebrate advent. I’ve been remembering how the church can celebrate weddings and funerals, and I’ve been wondering how the church might celebrate child dedication and baptisms.

How we celebrate in this pandemic time has changed dramatically. These changes have forced us to think about what’s truly important, what’s essential to mark life transitions. I think of the first few times we’ve celebrated the lives of members of our congregation who’ve died, I think of how we’ve remembered, and shared and grieved together. I remember the conversations with the families about what’s essential, what captures and reflects the person we are remembering. I think of my own recent wedding and the conversations my wife and I had about what were the essentials? What did we need so that we felt that we celebrated our marriage well. What was important? What did we really want, and would we put in the work to figure out? What could we do without?

And now I turn my attention to Advent and Christmas, a season and celebration that is quickly approaching. So much of Christmas and Advent are wrapped up with traditions. I remember an old family tradition of always gathering and grandma and grandpa’s on Christmas eve to visit and enjoy food and goodies. That’s not happening this year. I remember a tradition I started of going to Christmas morning mass with my grandfather - that’s not happening this year. I remember candlelight church services, concerts, church banquets, Christmas parties and family dinners. Those are going to look very different this year, if at all.  And so I ask the same questions of myself, and to you too, questions that I pondered earlier.  As we thinking about Christmas and Advent, what are the essentials? What is important? And what can we do without? 

A word that I’ve been leaning into when thinking about these celebrations is ‘meaningful.’ I want our celebrations to be filled with meaning. And so I ask myself, what would be meaningful as we think about Advent? What would be meaningful for Christmas Eve service? What would be meaningful as we celebrate Christmas?  If we have usually found meaning in lighting our advent candles together, while we might not be able to do so in the sanctuary, perhaps then having everyone create their own unique advent wreath and together on Sunday’s light advent candles, will carry its own special meaning. What are other things that would bring meaning to this upcoming season? Perhaps we’ll see Christmas cards and Christmas letters return to prominence.  Maybe distanced door-to-door carolling will find an old but new place in our communities?

Our celebrations will look different this year, and that’s OK. Sure, we might not want them to, and that’s understandable, but it also opens the door for possibility. I could never imagine the wedding my wife and I shared, and now, I can’t imagine anything else. Will we be able to say the same thing about Advent and Christmas? I believe that while they may look different, our Advent and Christmas celebrations will be filled with meaning and we prepare to welcome the Christ child, who comes bearing hope, peace, joy, and love.

MCA has put together an online Advent Calendar! Starting December 1, the virtual “doors” open each day to reveal Advent thoughts, scriptures, and activities for individuals, couples, and families along the theme of
Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ…in Life.

How might we prepare to “encounter” anew Christ’s presence this Christmas?
One Good Thing. Just One Good Thing. 

Adela Wedler, First Mennonite Edmonton

I am so thankful for our church community. I have always felt this way, but now, during the pandemic, I feel it even more so. Perhaps because I no longer take it for granted - we all have to work at it. Even though we have not met in person since March, the feeling of love and support is felt: through Zoom sessions, phone calls, cards, and many other ways. Community is a very good thing!

Itching to get out of the city for the weekend? A night?
Or maybe you want to do school with your kids in nature for the week.

Rental options and inquiries at www.campvalaqua.com/rentals

We're renting individual units to members of the same household.
No shared space due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

 Just 1 hour NW of Calgary. Starting at $50/night.
Get access to:
- Outdoor firepits
- Walking trails
- Cross country skis and trails (weather permitting)
- BBQ
And of course, NATURE'S BEAUTY ❄️

Calgary Chin Church has flooring and chairs!
Thank you to First Mennonite Calgary and all who contributed to their Move-in-by-Christmas campaign!

This summer the Calgary Chin Christian Church purchased their first building. They are 95% finished the renovations with just final touches -- baseboards, fire extinguishers etc. to be completed. Inspections begin next week. They know they have to be completely out of their current space by January 17 and are hopeful they will meet that deadline.

More details to come re their financial needs next week. 
Donations are still welcome. 
(And if you know anyone getting rid of office furniture...please call!)

Please visit mcab.ca/giving to donate or mail to Box 1839, Pincher Creek, AB   T0K 1W0  specifying your gift to help with the Chin Church renovations. 

RJC Christmas Program: There Is Still Hope - This online event will be held on Thursday, December 17, 7:30pm (SK CST) at https://rjc.sk.ca/christmas. The program will feature music, art, and other items of hope and celebration by RJC students and staff.

International Witness
 

Watch for information regarding becoming part of the International Witness Support Networks coming to your congregation soon. 






AIMM appoints new executive coordinators: John Fumana and Bruce Yoder 

John Fumana of Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bruce Yoder of Listowel Mennonite Church in Ont. will work as a team to give leadership to this Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission. Outgoing executive coordinator Former executive coorindator Rod Hollinger-Janzen says, "The complementary skill sets of Bruce Yoder and John Fumana, together with their shared passion for Christian mission... position AIMM well for an exciting future." Read the press release here.  

 

Restorative circles in Chuncheon well received by schools and teachers 

Praise God for response to recent restorative circle processes led by Witness worker Bock Ki Kim in South Korea. Schools have been asking trainers from the Chuncheon Community Peace Center for training in communication and conflict transformation. One teacher responded, “I realize that I haven’t been really listening to my students. Today they expressed themselves so well.” Pray that God will use this training to bring peace to schools and homes in Chuncheon. 

UPDATED: Mennonite Church Canada congregations donate $40,000 to Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 relief fund     

Since the spring, our nationwide community of faith we has raised over $40,000 for 
MWC’s Global Church Sharing Fund to help our sister churches around the world who struggle to meet basic needs due to pandemic-response measures in their countries.  Of this total, members of Mennonite Church Alberta have contributed approximately $12,000.  
We reached 80 per cent of our goal to match Mennonite Church Canada’s initial donation of $50,000 in the spring. Thanks to everyone for helping to build up our global body of believers. 













 

‘For God all things are possible’: Mennonite Church Colombia continues its witness despite great risk 

In late October, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia issued a public statement declaring that there have been 60 massacres (killings of five people or more) so far in Colombia in 2020. Victims include young people and small farmers, as well as 200 civic leaders. The violence stems from a decades-long, multi-layered conflict between guerilla, paramilitary and drug cartel groups who fight for control of the country’s land for their own interests. Read full story here.

Together in Worship launches in collaboration with CommonWord 

Together in Worship, at www.togetherinworship.net, is an online, curated collection of free and downloadable Anabaptist worship resources. It’s also a place where contributors can submit their own resources to be shared by the wider Anabaptist and ecumenical community. Read full story here.    Link also under Congregational Resources on the MCA website 

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CommonWord remains open during increased COVID-19 restrictions 

Staff remain available for congregational resourcing questions and are here to help connect you with Anabaptist and related materials, Monday-Friday, 9-5 Central.  Browse our website (www.commonword.ca) to find thousands of free digital resources or to place your online retail or loan order.  Or contact us (204-594-0527; info@commonword.ca) for assistance.  If you’re in the Winnipeg area, although the doors to Marpeck Commons are now locked, we are glad to arrange for curbside pickup.  We don’t want you to go without your fair-trade coffee, other local specialty foods or a good book to read! 


Voices Together products 

Congregations who pre-ordered the Voices Together hymnal and related products from MennoMedia will receive them soon! Individual copies of the pew edition of the hymnal, the Worship Leader’s edition, accompaniment edition, and audio recordings are available to order from CommonWord. T-shirts, masks and tote bags are also available to pre-order.  (We do not expect these to arrive in time for Christmas). www.commonword.ca/go/2199

Worship calendar 

Christmas Season – www.commonword.ca/go/2191 

Christmas Eve – www.commonword.ca/go/2192 

Christmas Day – www.commonword.ca/go/2193 

Epiphany Season – www.commonword.ca/go/2212 

Lent Season – www.commonword.ca/go/2213 

Free Book 

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation (Bill C-15) to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  To educate and raise support Mennonite Church Canada is offering this study for free - https://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/82/18343 

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for up-to-date Covid-19 information as it impacts our worshiping together.

Have a story to tell? Feedback on the MCA Communiqué?
Email communications@mcab.ca
MCA Calendar

December 17, 7:30 p.m. (SK CST)  RJC Christmas Online "There is still Hope"
March 20/21, 2021                           Annual Delegate Sessions -- via ZOOM
     
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