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The MCA Communiqué
December 15, 2021

In this issue

Our E3 Prayer and  Prayer Updates -- Happy De Jongs!
Christmas Greetings!
The MCA Advent Calendar 
A Menno MInute -- Caleb Kowalko
Camp Swag -- Thank you!

And more from MC Canada, International Witness, Indigenous Settler Relations, our schools and Common Word. 
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MCA Calendar
March 19, 2022  Annual Delegate Sessions, First Mennonite Calgary 
July 29 - August 1, 2022    We Declare: Gathering 2022, Edmonton
July 31 - August 4, 2022    Amplify: Youth Gathering, Camp Valaqua

E3 = MCA             Year 2  Christ in Community

Our E3 Prayer
Thank you Lord, for the gift of Christ, with us and in us, always.

International Witness Prayer Updates
Werner and Joanne have tickets to Ethiopia at last! Pray that they will be able to take care of all the details still to be done before leaving January 16. Pray for Werner as he continues to prepare for his classes at Meserete Kristos Seminary. 

Click the photo below to experience some of their excitement! 


Christmas Greetings from MCA Staff and Congregations! 
Check in daily!

CLICK for the MCA Advent Calendar 
Created specifically for our MCA faith family by the E3 focus group! Enjoy and share!
A Menno MInute

Songs of Joy and Resistance
Caleb Kowalko, pastor Calgary First Mennonite

I often get the sense that we don’t quite take joy seriously enough.  This might be especially true in a season like the current one when joy is treated, at best, as a given, and at worst, as a commodity to be bought.   It often gets mixed up into the jumble of secular sentiments like “merriness,” “magic” and “Christmas cheer.”  Now there’s obviously nothing wrong with being happy but I think we all know that Christian joy runs much deeper than feelings and expressions of cheerfulness.  

The true biblical and theological depth of joy is brought into focus by Willie Jennings, who gives this powerful summary of how joy actually works in our broken world:  “joy is an act of resistance against despair.”   That’s a very important and helpful definition, and one to which we should hold on.  In our narrations and celebrations of Christmas we often gloss over or ignore the looming reality of despair.  Christmas cheer tries to just ignore despair; joy actively fights back against it.

Despair is a powerful force, one birthed from the shattering of worlds and grown in the darkness of isolation, segregation and oppression.  It is a force that tightens its grip on individuals and communities and turns them, either slowly or suddenly, towards death.  Like roots of a weed it buries deep within and between people; suffocating any air to breathe, eliminating options, and cutting off relationships that nurture.  But most importantly, it whispers poisonous words into ears and makes eloquent arguments trying to convince a person or people:   “you are worthless … there is no escape … might as well give up.” 

It is a layer of the implied context behind the phrase “In the days of King Herod of Judea”; a broken and occupied people in a forgotten corner of a sprawling and seemingly all-powerful empire.  Despair was rampant.  Yet, a chosen and lowly few become privy to some very, very good news delivered by messengers of God.  And we witness as this good news unleashes a profound joy that resists and fights back against the overwhelming despair that had rooted itself in these people.   

How does this joy manifest?  How do these witnesses actually resist the despair of their time?  They resist in the same way that so many others have resisted in the history of Israel, and the history of so many other suffering peoples: through song.  When everything is taken that can be taken, and one’s voice is all that remains, a song becomes the work of joy; of resistance to despair.

This is a reason why everyone seems to be singing in the first couple chapters of Matthew and Luke: Elizabeth, Mary, Zechariah, the angels, shepherds, Magi, Simeon, Anna and others. One can only imagine that this singing is as relentless as the despair that surrounded them.  It was the manifestation of a joy that had a lot of work to do in the lives of these people.  

This singing was so much more than feeling cheery and merry.  It was a proclamation of life and living with the fervent knowledge that God had not forgotten them.  The despair all around them was a lie.  God was near and active, and revealed in the life of this child that Mary carried with her.  

Despair is not far from many, today.  The list of reasons is too long to even begin here.  As we affirm during advent, our world is indeed a broken one.  But the Christmas story — full of song — is a critical instrument of joy for us during these days.  The telling, and singing, of this story is intended to join us with the chorus of witnesses resisting the forces of despair at work in the world.  It is my prayer that we can enter into the full depth of joy this Christmas and with voices raised in resistance proclaim with the apostle Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.”
 

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(If you have an idea for a Menno Minute or know a writer you would like to see here -- send any and all suggestions to communications@mcab.ca) 

Thank you for all your orders!  Camp Valaqua Swag was a rousing success! 
Watch for another pop-up store -- sometime in the future. 

And remember, Camp Valaqua is again open for rentals.
Contact Jeff   (manager@campvalaqua.com)
Camp has had some groups booking the whole camp, as in previous years, with strict Covid protocols. There are other spaces (the white house, the brown house, the yurts) that are available for rentals -- a perfect family getaway? Call (403) 637-2510) or email for details. 
CLICK for MC Canada Gathering 2022 Updates





Korea Anabaptist Center celebrates 20th anniversary 

 
The Korea Anabaptist Center celebrated its 20th anniversary this month. KAC is a hub of Anabaptist resourcing and community building in South Korea that has had deep impacts for Mennonites across the globe, including many from Mennonite Church Canada.  

 

 

Are you looking for ways that you and your congregation can connect with E3 Year 2?

Worship Leaders, are you looking for a pre-recorded sermon to use as part of your E3 Sunday? 

All E3 Y2 Resources, including sermons by Tim, Will, and Brenda, are available HERE. 

Thank you to Common Word for again compiling E3 Resources for us!
 
Indigenous Settler Relations
 

Wet’suet’en webinar recording available 

A recording of the Wet’suwet’en Solidarity webinar from Dec. 13, 2021, is now available on Mennonite Church Canada’s YouTube channel. Watch: Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Webinar - Dec 13 2021 


The Cost of Colonialism / The Joy of Jubilee weekend retreat, Feb. 11-13, 2022 

If Canada is a settler colonial society, how does that shape Christian understanding and vocation? If dispossession is the fundamental breach of the Indigenous-settler relationship, what biblical resources can address that? Join Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-Settler Relations, in a weekend retreat at Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert, Alta., to discuss these important questions. Attendance is in person or online. Register: starofthenorth.ca/jubilee.  

 

Creator’s Call in a Climate Emergency – a community learning series 

Jan. 20 to March 17, 2022 

Register: https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/community-learning-series 

Join Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations and the Sustainability Leadership Group for a spirited eight-week conversation exploring the two paths of decarbonization and decolonization. Participants will discuss Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (2020), and listen to Indigenous activists and climate action leaders in real-time conversation. 

International Witness

Remember Bethlehem 

As you celebrate Christmas, pray for peace on Earth in Bethlehem. Visit  https://bethbc.edu/10549-2/ for Christmas messages from faculty and staff of the Bethlehem Bible College. Use these Bible Live videos to follow the magi, the shepherds and the Holy Family/  

Super typhoon hits Philippines 

Pray for PeaceBuilders Community and Lakan and Lakambini (Witness workers in the Philippines) as they deal with the aftermath of the Supertyphoon Rai (Odette).  Communities in northern Mindanao were hardest hit.  In initial reports we know that Pantojas are fine and that the partners who they are working with are also safe. 

Peace in Ethiopia 

This week Mennonites in North America sent a letter of solidarity to our family in faith in Ethiopia, Meserete Kristos Church.  Hear the letter read. Join with us to pray for peace in Ethiopia.   

RJC Tournament of Memories (Basketball & Hockey), January 7 & 8, 2022 - Alumni & friends of RJC are invited to our annual basketball & hockey tournament. Basketball will take place on Friday, January 7 and Saturday, January 8. Those interested in basketball should register by Dec. 28 by email to Denelda Fast (deneldafast@hotmail.com). Hockey will take place only on Saturday, January 8. Those interested in hockey are encouraged to contact Paul Ayres (paul.ayres@hotmail.com). Questions for the school can be directed to (306) 232-4222. 

RJC Open House & Friday Night Live - January 21, 2022 - Prospective students and families are invited to the RJC campus for a look into life as a student at RJC. There will be campus tours and RJC's annual Friday Night Live student coffee-house. Register by email to admissions@rjc.sk.ca or call (306) 232-4222. 

On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff we thank you for assisting CMU in promoting our programs and activities in your church. We do not take for granted the time and “ink” you use to assist CMU in furthering its mission. 

Thank you for being a part of an incredible network of churches across Canada that continues to support our work of forming lives for service, leadership, and reconciliation.  
 
We wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas season!

.     

Resources for the New Year 

Resources from Jan 6 to Ash Wednesday, including thematic materials on Jesus’ early ministry - www.commonword.ca/go/2212  

Common Read title for Winter 2022  

 

  • Our CommonRead title for January – March.   

  • Read it individually or as a small group.  Purchase 5 or more copies to receive 20% off. 

  • Buy or borrow the book – www.commonword.ca/go/2628  

 



2022 Lenten Guided Prayer Experience 

A contemplative prayer resource for individuals, small groups and congregations during Lent.  Prepared by the Mennonite Spiritual Directors of Eastern Canada. For more information and to register – www.commonword.ca/go/2221 


AMBS Faith Formation Conference 

  • Pastors and Leaders annual conference 

 

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