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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
May 6, 2020

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A Menno Minute

by Craig Neufeld

One year in

 

A little over a year ago, I joined you fine folk in MC Alberta.  Having spent the last 10 years in MC Saskatchewan, it was a bit of a journey, and a bit of a transition. From rural to urban, from prairie to not-as-prairie, there have been many changes along the way.

One of the biggest changes for a Pastor in moving to a new congregation, and a new province, is re-establishing a support network.  Pastor’s usually get support from friends, colleagues and other professionals, spiritual directors, mentors etc.  When a pastor moves, some of those come with them, while others need to be re-established.  MCA offers opportunities for support and networking through the Congregational Leadership Committee (CLC).

Perhaps one of the most valuable ministries of CLC is how, through a variety of ways, they bring the MCA Pastors together.  Whether it’s through the regular Pastors Council meetings, or the faith studies times, or other events.  It’s times like these which make space for pastors to set aside their responsibilities, to connect with others who understand our settings, our longings, our needs, our hurts, our vulnerabilities, and can either help lift up and encourage or carry one and support one another.

For me, it’s been valuable because it’s helped me network, build connections and relationships, and create a new support network.   It’s these connections that have been invaluable not just in my transition, but also in the midst of this pandemic time. The support in knowing that you have colleagues across the province, folk that you know you can call on for help, is a priceless gift.

In the last year of transitioning in, and also in the midst of this pandemic time, the CLC has been a welcome source of support.  It’s been a gift to gather with colleagues for the faith studies times.  It’s a valuable time to network, connect and get to know one another.


Craig Neufeld
Pastor
First Mennonite Church,  Edmonton

Do you remember the Year 1 E3 questions?


How do we nurture our relationship with God?
How do we reclaim prayer & spiritual disciplines?
How do we remember that we are deeply beloved?
How are we spiritually formed so we are able to give ourselves in the world?

 

What has God been doing in your life? Share a story or reflection. Click link below. We'll post answers in future Communiqué's

Share a story or reflection


Click for a list of personal action items.

Click to read reflections from Laura Wiebe, Debbie Baergen, and Werner De Jong on Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ.
 

Congregational Leadership Committee (CLC)

Issue #2


Current members of CLC pictured above: (from left to right) Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, Werner DeJong, Anna-Lisa Salo, Ryan Dueck


The mandate of the Congregational Leadership Committee is to support and equip pastors and congregational leaders. This might sound somewhat vague or imprecise. What does “support” mean? Does it mean orienting new pastors to the conference? Providing opportunities for learning and spiritual growth? Connecting church leaders to worship resources? Mediating in times of congregational stress or conflict? Well, yes, all of these things and more are what we do.
 
But these individual supports all take place under the broad canopy of nurturing and strengthening relationships between pastors and churches in the larger family of faith. And we need these relationships. There are seasons of pastoral and congregational life where we easily take for granted the fact that we are part of a larger church with a shared history, theology, values and practices. There are seasons where it’s easy to just focus on our own little corner of the kingdom and not attend to these broader networks.
 
A global pandemic is not one of these seasons. I know I speak for many other pastors when I say that during this time where our church buildings sit empty, I have been deeply grateful to be part of Mennonite Church Alberta and Mennonite Church Canada. I have been able to access worship services and resources from across the province and nation, I have been encouraged to offer my own gifts, I have been encouraged by area church leaders to persevere in the midst of difficult times. I have, in short, experienced the profound benefit of having structures and systems of communication and relationships in place that have been tended over the years.
 
There is a sense in which giving to an “institution” can seem less than inspiring. It doesn’t have the emotional “sizzle” that donating to an immediate crisis (i.e., refugee sponsorship) or threat (flood relief) might. But we dare not neglect our institutions, financially or otherwise. We need them, during crises, certainly, but at all times. Perhaps more than we might even realize.
 
Submitted by Ryan Dueck (April 29, 2020)
 

How to support Congregational Leadership Committee


A meaningful way to support the ministry of CLC is to pray for your pastors and church leaders and to let them know that you are praying for them. Write them an encouraging note, or call them to express your appreciation. Please remember to pray for and encourage MCA staff and leaders as well. An encouraging word can go a long way to strengthen and lift the spirits of those who are called to offer gifts of leadership among us. 

Calgary Chin Christian Church is seeing vision becoming reality

(Excerpt from original article. Read entire article at our website.)

Greetings in the wonderful Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

First of all, we want to express our appreciation to the Vietnamese Mennonite Church who let us use their building almost free for the last 9 years. They are open-minded and fulfilled our need at the best they can. Moreover, the location was great because we never have a problem with parking. All members can travel within 5 to 10 minutes from their home. I think the building was so blessed, it was busy and there are lots of activities going on. However, all our ministries have been restricted by renting facilities. Our youth work and women’s ministry have been hardest hit.

Since the beginning of the church, almost 10 years back, the members established a vision to have a church building. Now, we think God is answering our prayer and fulling our dream. We found a very suitable, small worship place in the Sunridge community area in NE Calgary which we have already committed to purchase and have been approved for development permit from the city of Calgary. Our possession date is May 31, 2020. The property values is CAD $750,000 and we roughly estimated the construction will cost between $150,000 - $200,000. We anticipate the renovation project will start from the month of June 2020 and the completion date is June 2021.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we always need your prayers for this dream of having a place for worship to come true. We also need your financial assistance to accomplish the projects. You can support financially for this church building project through the online donation on the church website, https://calgarychin.mcab.ca/giving. Since 2011, the church has formed a church building committee and started saving funds for the building. However, we are still short of budget. The renovation cost will be way higher than we expected. All your donations, even a cent will meaningful for us. We also invited any who can volunteer in general constructions, all skills trades people are most welcome. The details renovation plan, budget, construction scheduled will available soon in https://calgarychin.mcab.ca/news-events.


Peter Sang
Secretary, Calgary Chin Christian Church

Read Full Article

Donate to their building fund

Church in our everyday, everyday as church


Pamela Obonde has worked with children’s and women’s rights organizations in Kenya for the past 17 years. Three years ago she switched her focus to women in the church when she realized the same issues “out in the world” remained the same issues for women in the church. In an interview with Mennonite Church Canada she speaks about demystifying "mission" and working towards shalom in the church.

Student Bursary Application


Anyone making plans to attend an Anabaptist post-secondary institution in the fall? AMBS, CMU, CBC to name a few.

Check out mcab.ca/bursary for more information. The application process has changed, please read the instructions carefully. Before you apply, follow steps 1-4 listed on the website.

The application is live.  Submission Deadline is July 31, 2020.
This bursary qualifies for church-matching grants offered by many schools. Contact your school for more information. 
Read More
To donate toward the bursary fund. Visit mcab.ca/giving


Mennonite Church Canada service for Sunday, May 10, 2020 

Mount Royal Mennonite Church from Saskatoon, Sask., welcomes you to join their worship service this coming Sunday, May 10. They are working through a series on Everyday Jesus Spirituality, and this coming Sunday focusses on the spiritual practice of blessing as we consider Genesis 18:1-15 and Matthew 5:3-11. Val Regier will lead us in worship along with a music team led by Darrell Bueckert. Claire Ewert Fisher will encourage us to consider our role in blessing.

Link to service

Mennonite Church Canada Study conference goes virtual on October 24, 2020 

Table Talk: Does the church still have legs?

During this global COVID-19 pandemic, the Holy Spirit calls us to re-examine what it means to be the church. While technology allows us to join each other on Sunday mornings, without gathering together how can we be Christ’s Body? What does this crisis reveal about our current practices of being the church? Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather virtually for a time of discernment on the nature and identity of the church and the role of worship. Sara Wenger Shenk, former president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and several other scholars from our Mennonite schools will reflect on themes related to 1 Peter 2:9-10. Mark your calendars!


International Witness

Financial strains for small schools in Thailand 

Pray for Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong as they, together with many around the world, homeschool their children Joseph and Phim. The children’s school is small and the COVID-19 lockdown puts it under severe financial strain. Pray that this place that has been life-giving for their family will re-open in the fall so that the Poovongs can continue ministry in this location.    

Uncertain futures for young adults 

As borders are closed and travel is restricted, pray for young adult children of Witness workers who are separated from parents at a time of uncertainty and anxiety.  Pray for those dealing with job losses and uncertain futures.  Pray that God will be near to them and that our family of faith will come be near to them.   

Rural healthcare and job loss in Vietnam 

Mennonites in Vietnam have asked us to pray for them during this pandemic. They ask for prayers for good health and safety especially for those in rural areas where the health care system is inadequate for this challenge.  Pray for those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic in a system with no employment insurance.  The churches continue to minister in this difficult time. Pray for wisdom and strength.   

Church closures in China affect salaries of staff 

The closure of churches in China due to COVID-19 has had devastating financial effects on several large congregations that have worked with Mennonite Partners in China for decades.  With no opening dates in sight even though other aspects of life are starting to get back to normal, church staff are taking drastic reductions in salary and making difficult decisions about selling property.  Pray that God will give wisdom and peace in this difficult time.     

INDIGENOUS-SETTLER RELATIONS 

News from our partners

Indigenous theological gathering online – June 4-7, 2020 

The North American Institute for Theological Studies (NAIITS) is moving its annual symposium online, bringing Indigenous and settler peoples together to explore “Community Health and Well-Being: Conversations on Wholeness.” Indigenous-Settler Relations would love to see a good number of participants from each of our regional church bodies join in this rich learning. We have several scholarships to help cover the cost of registration. For more information, visit https://www.naiits.com/sym2020.html. Contact Steve Heinrichs if you would like to receive support from Mennonite Church Canada (sheinrichs@mennonitechurch.ca). 

What's available?

Links and list of resources from across MC Canada can be found at mcab.ca/pandemic-prep.

Rostern Jr. College


RJC Virtual Open House - Tuesday, May 12 at 7:00pm: Prospective students & families are invited to learn more about RJC from the comfort of their own home! Experience a virtual school tour, a brief presentation, as well as an opportunity to hear from current students and teachers. The event will be held over Zoom. Please register at admissions@rjc.sk.ca to be sent the Zoom link. 

Young Anabaptist Fellowship Week


Young Anabaptist: Mennonite World Conference: 5th annual Young Anabaptist Fellowship Week (virtual platforms). For ages 18-30, meet with young adults around the globe to encourage and celebrate together through sharing, bible studies, worship and prayer. You can download the invitation and the worship resources here.
MCA Calendar
Jun 5-7,         MCA Women's Retreat - Cancelled
Jun 13           Camp Valaqua Hike-a-Thon - Cancelled
Jun 14           Camp Valaqua Garden Party - Cancelled
Oct 22 - 24    MC Canada Study Conference - Going Virtual

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

In the current state of emergency and in accordance with health guidelines,

MCA urges the cancellation of all in-person congregational gatherings until further notice.

MCA will continue to reassess this recommendation as new information emerges.


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


CommonWord online service continues during the pandemic 

Self-isolation should not mean a lack of reading material. Visit www.commonword.ca to explore over 13,000 resources. You can also pick up a Herald Press title – for sale or loan at www.commonword.ca/go/heraldpress.

 

CommonWord is curating pandemic materials regularly 

 Here are a few of the recent COVID-19 resource additions: 

  

  

New title from CMU Press 

Suffering the Truth: Occasional Sermons and Reflections

by Chris K. Huebner, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Canadian Mennonite University 

 

Chris K. Huebner invites us to reflect on how we might inhabit truthfully the strange new life into which we have been called by God. Structured around the Christian liturgical calendar, Suffering the Truth begins with a meditation on Advent as a time during which we are called to cultivate a readiness for the unexpected presence of God and concludes with a sermon that challenging the conception of peace frequently celebrated on the day Mennonites call Peace Sunday. Huebner’s sermons elaborate a liturgical counter-temporality and display what it might look like when its rhythms inform the way we go about our ordinary lives. Available through CommonWord

Worship Calendar: 

May 15    International Day of Families - www.commonword.ca/go/1751 

May 21    Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31    Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

Jun 7       Trinity Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1769 

Jun 20     World Refugee Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1770  

Jun 21     National Indigenous Peoples Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1474  

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