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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
October 7, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - A Menno Minute
Special Zoom Meeting - Please Pray
Photos from YOU
Table Talk - Engage
Our Students 

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


Our E3 Prayer

Oh God, help me hear your voice in the crunching of the leaves beneath my steps.
A Menno Minute

     
Ruth Bergen Braun, MCA Communications Coordinator

A year ago, October 2019, I was standing and watching the tide come in at Reversing Falls in St. John, New Brunswick. The St. John River flows into the Bay of Fundy and, twice a day, as the tide rises, the bay fills up and the water is pushed upstream, reversing the flow of the river. Salt and fresh water mingle together.

We prairie people are particularly mesmerized by water so I happily stood and watched as protruding rocks were gradually covered and then uncovered by water. I watched the water swirl and change directions. I learned that the water is calm for a mere 20 minutes, a period known as “slack tide”. During this time, boats can safely pass through the gorge during slack tide. My friend, a New Brunswicker, who was standing beside me, called slack tide “perfect, but short”. 

As I’ve thought about communications in our wider community of faith, I thought of Reversing Falls. Sometimes the communication flows one direction, sometimes the other. Occasionally, it’s “perfect, but short’. 

Most of my work thus far, seems like disseminating information one direction — from MCA and MC Canada to you. Sending out information to those who subscribe to the MCA Communiqué and those who read their church’s bulletins — whether in paper or email form.  I gather information from various people and pass it on. That said, understanding communication as passing on information isn’t the intention of MCA Communications. Our intention is that our communication tools reflect that we are serving God together, that the readers of the Communiqué see themselves as Mennonite Church Alberta not as getting information from Mennonite Church Alberta. Likewise, Mennonite Church Canada. We are Mennonite Church Canada. 

When asked what my goals were for this position, one of my responses was to invite more of you to participate in the process of MCA communication, to encourage the flow going the other direction. That, instead of focusing on what we need to tell you, communication would shift to who we are together. Together, as both salt and fresh water, we are MCA. And it is this ebb and flow, this mixing and sharing, that makes MCA a vital faith community.

June Miller began the Menno Minutes column in the Communiqué. Last week we began a new series of short articles, Our Stories. Both are vehicles for reversing the flow. Both have potential for sharing what you have to say with others in MCA.

As I’ve often said in the past three months, a favourite question of mine (thanks to a former spiritual director) is “How have you seen God working today?” Pastors, congregational leaders, administrators and others — don’t wait for me to ask you to write a Menno Minute, volunteer. Don’t wait for Community Building to ask for a story from your congregation, contact them. Menno Minutes and Our Stories happen every day, we just need to keep our eyes open for them. And, at a time when we are all looking for hope, faith, love, encouragement, if you see some, please share.

MCA Special Check-In Zoom Meeting

November 7, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM.
All MCA congregations are invited to a Special Check-In Zoom meeting. 
At this event congregations will have the opportunity to give updates from their church and hear about the ministries we share. Although there will be no official motions, the MCA Executive looks forward to this time of mutual support and discernment about our MCA priorities and ministry direction.
All are welcome, with the hope that each congregation would be represented by their chairperson, pastor(s), treasurer, and at least 1-3 others.  Register at https://mcab.ca/  

Please pray for our MCA pastors as they gather at Kingsfold Retreat Centre, November 3 to 4.

Pastors, register with Tim Wiebe-Neufeld.  tim@mennonitechurch.ab.ca

Watch this space for more photos from our September 27 Worship Services.                                       

Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather for “Table Talk: Does the Church Still have Legs?”, a virtual study conference on Saturday, Oct. 24, on the nature and identity of the church and the role of worship. Plenary speakers from Mennonite Church Canada-affiliated universities and colleges will present on themes of ecclesiology and worship.    


Meet our Table Talk guest speakers: Jeremy Bergen.

Get to know the folks who will be leading discussion at our study conference in October

Jeremy Bergen is associate professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ont. He is one of our guest speakers for Table Talk 2020: Does the church still have legs? and will share thoughts on worship.

From an interview with Katie Doke Sawatsky:

Briefly describe your academic journey and interests.
I have been deeply involved with the Mennonite church and its institutions for my entire life. My passion for theology was sparked at Canadian Mennonite Bible College. I believe theology can help us to reflect on Christian faith in light of ever changing circumstances and contexts. I also think theology can help all Christians notice the limits about what we as humans can say about God, and all things in relation to God. I wrote a book called Ecclesial Repentance about churches apologizing for historical wrongs and am currently working on one about Christian martyrdom and the unity of the church.

Do you think the church still has legs?
The church has legs because it a community convened by Jesus Christ who is present in and through the community. What that means in practice and how Jesus is encountered will vary and may be hard to see at times, but I believe this must be the starting point. In my experience, we Mennonites often emphasize the church as a human community in which there are many good and important tasks for us to do. There's a great strength in this but also a danger of failing to notice God's presence and activity. The centrality of Jesus is the enduring foundation of the church, even though the forms the church may take will rightly change over time.

Read more.

Register for Mennonite Church Canada’s virtual study conference on Oct. 24, 2020.

 

October 3 was a great day for Edmonton First Mennonite Church’s Ride for Refuge group! Seven riders came together for a 25km ride through the coloured trees of Edmonton’s river valley. This year over $3000 was raised for the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, an organization committed to enhancing the quality of life of newcomers to Canada. 

Join the North Edmonton Ministries and Camp Valaqua as we host a 6 week Zoom conversation series on Wednesday evenings from October 14 to November 18 on how we can better engage with people of other faiths and backgrounds.  The series will feature presentations and conversations and will is focussed on creating an interactive space. 

Topics include:
-Unpacking our international or cross cultural experiences
-Basics about Islam.
-How to engage with Muslim people.
-Understanding the Iceberg of Culture
-Allyship, Racism, and BLM,
-Working for the Common Good and Neighbouring

Contact Jon Olfert (valaqua@xplornet.com, 403-637-2510) for registration information or access the link at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqdO2orTguGt2Ec0Ou4jwA2RmarSxylHnG














Meet our Students
2020-2021 Student Bursary Profile

Jaden Krahn 

I continue to attend a Mennonite Institution because of the community it connects me to. It is a social community, an academic community, and a community of faith. All three of those aspects are dearly important to me during these formative years of my life. It is worth it because it is a place where I feel like my professors know who I am, and where I am learning instead of repeating that which is in front of me.

I love being able to go to chapels and forums throughout the week, and I love the small groups which foster unique discussions. It feels good to have a connection to a piece of my heritage like CMU offers me through anabaptist focused theology, mandatory anabaptist courses, and a community which my father was a part of. CMU gives me the chance to be who I am in a place of academic rigour, instead of putting me in a place where the goal is mostly a piece of paper.

At CMU, I am striving to understand the world around me more. In the previous year I was in a course called “Theologies of Power”, and that was an interesting space to interrogate my perception of what Power is, and many theological notions related to that. It helped me become stronger in my faith through unique perceptions of God’s character, and how people interact with each other. The kind of assignments were varied, between reading reflections, group presentations, and essays, giving a well rounded learning experience.


    RJC Annual Corporation Meeting: Saturday, October 24, 11:00am-12:00pm (CST). This year's meeting will
    be held over Zoom. Please visit the website rjc.sk.ca for further details or call the school at (306) 232-4222. 

    RJC Homecoming Fundraiser: This Hour Has 115 Years! Join us virtually on Sunday, October 25 at 7:00pm (CST) for an evening of entertainment, playing off the CBC program of a similar name. The evening will feature: an online auction, alumni interviews, musical performances, and more! Visit rjc.sk.ca/homecoming to watch the event. 
  Does your congregation have COVID-related financial needs?
    Time limited grant money is available via MDS.
    Read more here. 
INTERNATIONAL WITNESS


Online resources for International Witness Sunday on October 18, 2020, (or any Sunday your congregation deems appropriate) are now available! These include recorded sermons, videos, worship ideas, children’s stories, pictures and information about International Witness to inform and inspire are now available to your congregation through our website. Ways to give. Ways to learn. Ways to get involved! Go to mennonitechurch.ca/IW-Sunday

Prayer requests 

 Church leader tests positive for COVID 

Siaka Traoré, a church leader, pastor and church planter, is an integral bridge-builder in Mennonite Church Canada's longtime partnership with the Burkina Faso Mennonite Church.  We recently received news that after suffering from typhoid fever, Siaka has tested positive for COVID-19. Please pray that through God's power, Siaka's body and spirit would successfully recover from the virus. Pray also for his family as they await test results. 

Thai church ministry works with Laos migrants 

Friends of Grace Church Association, the Thai ministry group that Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong work alongside, is establishing a new ministry for Laos migrant labourers who work as manufacturers in a suburb of Bangkok. Pray that God will bless this ministry to help those who displaced due to economic need.   

Witness Support Networks taking off in Mennonite Church Canada regional churches 

Across all regional churches in Mennonite Church Canada, congregations are joining together to form support networks for international ministries. Pray that God will use these connections to strengthen relationships with international partners and to enliven and strengthen our faith here in Canada, as we grow and learn together.  (To learn more about Witness Support Networks go to www.mennonitechurch.ca/IW-Sunday.

Witness worker honoured with peace award 

International Witness worker, Joji Pantoja, has been named one of three global honorees for the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award. Praise God for this recognition of years of faithful work in the Philippines. Read more at https://waves.ca 


               

  INDIGENOUS-SETTLER RELATIONS 

    Online bookclub Oct 8-Nov. 26, 2020 

Register at mennonitechurch.ca/crossroads-bookclub 

What are the things that separate and unite Indigenous and settler peoples? What can we do to challenge structural racism and repair broken relationship? Join Steve Heinrichs for an online book club this fall, exploring the new book Canada at a Crossroads by sociologist Jeff Denis. Beginning Oct. 8, we’ll gather by Zoom each Thursday at 7 p.m. (CST) for 8 weeks for a circle conversation, sharing with each other our questions and learnings, our hearts and hopes. Together, we’ll seek to understand how we might nurture Treaty friendships.  


 

Help match Mennonite Church Canada’s donation to Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 relief fund!      

This spring Mennonite Church Canada donated $50,000 to MWC’s Global Church Sharing Fund to help our sister churches around the world who are struggling to meet basic needs due to pandemic-response measures in their countries. Now Mennonite Church Canada is asking its congregations to match this donation so that we collectively raise $100,000. Donations go through regional churches. Click here for more info.










Be It Resolved:  Anabaptists and Partner Coalitions Advocate for Indigenous Justice 
– free shipping in Canada and United States; additional savings for group studies. 

This anthology brings together over 90 documents that trace the history of Anabaptist commitments to Indigenous justice and decolonization since the mid-1960s. While not exhaustive, this rich collection represents some of the ways Anabaptists have addressed concerns such as:  Indigenous land rights; access to water, education and housing; missing and murdered women and girls; the legacy of residential schools; restorative responses to crime; self-determination and sovereignty; and reconciliation. 

Includes a study guide. 

Pre-order – www.commonword.ca/go/2142

Featured Resources 

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for Phase 2 Reopening information. 

Have a story to tell? Feedback on the MCA Communiqué? Email communications@mcab.ca
MCA Calendar
Oct 18          International Witness Sunday
Oct 24          MC Canada Study Conference - Online
Oct 31          Christian-Muslim Dialogue -- Online
Nov 7           Special Congregational Zoom Check-In       
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