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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family

March 18, 2020

A Menno Minute

by Tim Wiebe Neufeld, MCA Executive Minister
 

What a difference a week makes!


It was barely a week ago that I received news of my first cancelled event: a Mennonite World Conference gathering scheduled to take place in Abbotsford at the end of the month. By Friday MCA had cancelled its Annual Assembly, First Mennonite Edmonton had cancelled Sunday worship services, and a long-planned family gathering was shelved. When my wife Donita arrived back from an MCC trip in the United States she followed recommendations to self-isolate and moved into the spare bedroom. Even Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada was cancelled, replaced with reruns of curling and poker.
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We are in this together!

The COVID-19 crisis has had a dramatic impact on all of us. Many congregations have already cancelled worship services and are looking for ways to respond. During this unprecedented time we are reminded that we are a part of a faith family that extends across Alberta, nationwide, and around the world.  Here are some resources that may be of help during the days and weeks ahead:
  • MC Canada has put together a package of resources for responding to pandemics as congregations.
  • Several Mennonite online worship services will be available, including a worship posting of music and a sermon from Doug Klassen, Executive Minister from MC Canada (see article below)
  • CommonWord has curated a resource list on pandemic preparedness and resources.
  • MC Eastern Canada has announced a webinar for early next week to talk about ways to conduct funerals during this state of emergency. Keep an eye on the website mcab.ca for more information.
  • Pastors are encouraged to call MCA’s Executive Minister Tim Wiebe-Neufeld for resources or if they have questions, ideas, or concerns.
  • Pray for all those around the world who have become ill from the coronavirus or had loved ones pass away
  • Pray for those feeling isolated or alone from measures taken to slow the spread of illness. Pray assurance for those feeling fearful in this uncertain time.
  • Keep our congregations in your prayers as they seek ways to minister in the midst of cancelled worship services, social distancing, and heightened anxieties.
  • Keep our shared ministries and programs in your prayers. There is significant disappointment that we needed to cancel the MCA Assembly this coming weekend. Camp Valaqua has experienced numerous cancellations of rental groups, and faces uncertainty in registrations for the summer. These concerns have financial implications for our broader church in addition to the lost ministry opportunities.

On-Line Worship Service

Mennonite Church Canada will post a sermon from Executive Minister Doug Klassen for congregations to view this coming Sunday, March 22, 2020.

“The beauty of John 9 is that while healing happens, other complications are introduced,” says Doug. “The COVID-19 crisis is immensely complicated, but where is Jesus coming to us in the midst of it all? Let’s explore together.” 

The video will be uploaded to the Mennonite Church Canada YouTube Channel and available through a link on the nationwide website: https://www.mennonitechurch.ca.

We may not be meeting in person, but we are still the church.
Please continue to support your local congregation.


CommonWord has put together a list of resources on pandemic preparedness and response that you can use to help you navigate this difficult time.

Mennonite Church Canada updates pandemic web resources  https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources

RESCHEDULED - MCA  Delegate Session

Many things have changed in the days since we canceled plans for holding MCA delegates sessions in Edmonton, and continue to change daily! Closures have touched all areas of life and people are beginning to find creative ways to engage in community while maintaining 2020's new buzz word "social distancing."
 
MCA Executive and staff have been hard at work preparing alternative plans to our assembly. We are pleased to announce that we will be holding an online zoom meeting on Saturday, March 28, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Please note that this is a change in date from our original announcement.
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MCA Calendar

Mar 28           Delegate Sessions - online
Apr 18           All Committee meeting, Bergthal
Apr 28-30      Pastor & Spouse retreat
Jun 5-7,         MCA Women's Retreat
Jun 13           Camp Valaqua Hike-a-Thon
Jun 14           Camp Valaqua Garden Party
Oct 22 - 24    MC Canada Study Conference

Stories, Events, Announcements?
communications@mennonitechurch.ab.ca


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International Witness

Increasing threats to pastors and farmers in Colombia 

The Colombian Mennonite Church ask us to pray for peace in Colombia. Although there has been a peace plan signed with the FARC forces (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), they report an increase in threats and violence against peasant leaders and pastors in some areas. Pray that God’s peace that transforms lives will reign in this region. 

MWC pastor visits prairie provinces and urges prayer over terrorist activity in Burkina Faso 

In the last few weeks Pastor Siaka Troare from Burkina Faso, chair of the Deacons Commission for Mennonite World Conference (MWC), has been speaking in several places in Manitoba and Alberta. He urges us to pray for peace as terrorist groups randomly kill people gathered in churches, mosques and markets. After a visit from the MWC leadership to pray for groups in Burkina Faso, the head of the military said that this cannot be changed by military force but only by prayer that God will transform the hearts and minds of these groups. Pray that God’s power of transformative love will flood this land. 

COVID-19 emergency eases for Witness workers in Asia; self-isolation in Philippines begins 

As the COVID-19 emergency begins to ease for Witness workers in China and South Korea, Dann and Joji Pantoja in Mindanao, Philippines report the beginning of their time of self-isolation. They report on the devastating effects of this pandemic on the poor in the cities. Read their blog post for more information. Pray that God’s healing and hope will flow through us to those around us at this difficult time.

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www.commonword.ca
 

However, our staff are still hard at work, making sure that you receive the best resources. You can continue to contact us by phone or e-mail (info@commonword.ca; 1-877-846-1593). Peace and good health to everyone during this time.

Featured Resources: 

Wandering the Wilderness is a guidebook for individuals who are unsure of their path or are questioning the trails they were taught in the past. Author Ray Friesen is a former pastor and, at the same time, a life-long "believing skeptic." He's an advocate for "abundant living" and the guideposts that mark it. This informs Friesen's thoughtful submission for a renewed approach to finding meaning in a life informed by the Bible in a time when the relevance of those ancient writings is often thrown into question. 

 The March 26 book launch for Wandering the Wilderness has been cancelled, however, you can still show your support of author Ray Friesen by ordering the book from our website. 


Worship Calendar:

Mar 21             International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Mar 22             World Water Day
Apr 5                Palm Sunday
Apr 7                World Health Day 
Apr 9                Maundy Thursday 
Apr 10              Good Friday 
Apr 12              Easter 
Apr 22              Earth Day 

May 15             International Day of Families
May 21             Ascension Day

May 31             Pentecost

 

 

 

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