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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family

April 8, 2020

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.

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A Menno Minute

by Joani Neufeldt
Lethbridge Mennonite Church
 

Why do we do what we do?


What was the average age of people at the last church event you went to? When my husband and I attend church events we have sometimes been the only people in our age demographic. We are in our late 30s and we have been that couple for at least a decade. So why do we continue to serve and go to church when so many our age don’t? I’ll admit – I’ve served on committees because no one else would and I stepped up. I’ve taken on roles that I don’t feel gifted in so that a program can continue. So why do we do what we do? I believe that our experience working at Camp Valaqua is to blame.

It taught us at a young age that we can do anything; it taught us that there will be times when everything that can go wrong will go wrong, but good will come from it; it taught us that there will be times when the river rises and we can sink or we can grip hands and get to the shore; it taught us that others face much more challenging struggles and we are capable of helping them; it taught us that taking time in nature is healing; it taught us that mopping a big floor takes many trips to refill the bucket, and figure eights with a mop get into all the corners; we were taught to wash the toilets feet.

We both have held leadership roles in our churches and conference because we want to remain connected to that place. We want to help shape where Camp Valaqua and our church go, so that when our children are older they can work at camp, learn those lessons and be active in their church too.
 
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Nationwide Good Friday & Easter Services online by MCA



Calgary-area Mennonite churches have a history of conducting an area-Mennonite Good Friday service. This year we get to share with all of Alberta and the nationwide church. On Good Friday, "The Towel, the Cup and the Cross" will focus on John 13, 15 and 18 and explore how Jesus, when speaking of his own death, often paired it with the suffering of those following him.

Lethbridge Mennonite Church is hosting the Easter Sunday service. Ryan Dueck's sermon, "Raised with Christ," will take us through Mark's account of the resurrection, in which the good news of Christ's victory over death was not obvious to the first witnesses. In this time of pandemic, in which fear and confusion are dominant, Christ's victory comes to us in our moment, in every moment.

The services will be available to view at https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices and on the Mennonite Church Canada YouTube Channel.



NOTE: Every week you can find videos through this link

Weekly Worship for MC Canada

U.S. and Canadian Mennonite Churches publish letter of encouragement during Holy Week


April 7, 2020: The executive directors of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) and Mennonite Church Canada have published a letter of encouragement to constituents this week during the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter acknowledges the unusual circumstances and challenges surrounding this year's Holy Week, while offering a message of hope and unity.

 
Continue Reading

What's available?

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

Resources for Church finance during Covid-19.


Mennonite Church Eastern Canada has put together a helpful letter and links regarding the financial support available during this pandemic.
Read Here
Edmonton Interfaith Message - Apr 8, 2020
"These are all leaders that I have collaborated with closely in Edmonton and was invited to contribute.I declined but really support the initiative." Donna Entz, Director, North Edmonton Ministry

Rostern Jr. College UPDATE

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting closure of our dormitories and school campus, RJC is experiencing a loss of revenue from a variety of sources. We have issued layoffs affecting over half our staff, and have significantly reduced wages for all who remain. We are currently offering distance learning and supports for our students, and will continue through to the end of this school year. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, and for considering a gift to RJC at this time. Donations can be made by cheque, e-transfer, or online at www.rjc.sk.ca.


 

INTERNATIONAL WITNESS 


Prayer request to ease fears in Thailand 

On March 26 Thailand declared a national state of emergency. People in the Issan province, where Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong are working, are afraid that closing businesses in Bangkok and other cities will send people back to their homes in the rural areas, further spreading COVID-19.  The Poovong family is practicing social distancing in their home and ministering to congregations and church leaders online and by phone. Tom asks for prayer that the hope that is within them will shine to those around them in this dark time.   


China churches reach out to help equip Canadian congregations 

Churches in China are praying for our Canadian congregations and offering their help as we begin to face what they have lived through in the last months. Praise God for the nearly daily messages of support and offers of masks and other protective gear from Mennonite Church Canada China ministry colleagues and friends, sent in the midst of the Canadian COVID-19 crises. Thank God for this global family of faith that walks together in times of difficulty and times of joy.   


Prayer for Witness workers in quarantine 

Pray for George and Tobia Veith in their second week of quarantine in a hotel within walking distance of their home in Harbin, China. Praise God that they arrived back in China before the borders were closed to foreigners. Pray that their work on creating on-line classes and resources for the church engage them while they wait to return home.   


Coffee for Peace affected by COVID-19 shutdown 

Pray for Witness worker Joji Pantoja as she makes decisions for her business, as CEO of Coffee for Peace.  “As a social entrepreneur, I have to think of our workers at Coffee for Peace Café and their needs,” Joji says. “I have to think of our workers at Malipayon Peace Hub as they sort our coffee so that in their struggles to make ends meet while under community quarantine, their families will still survive, will eat, and will stay healthy.” Read more from Joji and pray that God will give her wisdom and peace as she serves.  

MCA Calendar

Apr 18           All Committee meeting, Zoom
Apr 28-30      Come Away - Pastor & Spouse retreat - Lord willing
May 22-23     MCC Sale - Cancelled
May 23-24     Joint Council - Cancelled
Jun 5-7,         MCA Women's Retreat - Lord willing
Jun 13           Camp Valaqua Hike-a-Thon - Lord willing
Jun 14           Camp Valaqua Garden Party - Lord willing
Oct 22 - 24    MC Canada Study Conference - Lord willing

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


The current climate around the COVID-19 virus has many of us feeling out of sorts. To help, CommonWord has put together a list of resources on pandemic preparedness and response that you can use to help you navigate this difficult time. We continue to update the list as congregations and organizations create new resources. Visit www.commonword.ca/go/1966.  

You can order resources through our Cheaper by the Dozen program, which allows congregations to borrow our resources for a longer loan period. Your congregation can also share the materials among members during the loan period. Visit www.commonword.ca/go/1584.

Mennonite Church Canada Director of Indigenous-Settler Relations Steve Heinrichs recently spoke about with Liam Miller of Australia’s “Love – Rinse/Repeat” podcast about editing the book Unsettling the Word. Steve speaks of his own journey with Scripture and decolonization, how the book came together, what surprised him in its compilation and how churches in settler-colonial contexts might start hard but necessary conversations. Visit www.commonword.ca/go/1970 to hear the podcast.  

As a part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 we have closed the physical CommonWord store to the public and have our team working from home. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean a lack of reading material.  Our staff are still hard at work, making sure you receive the best resources. You can continue to contact us by phone or e-mail and we continue to ship resources to your door. Peace and good health to everyone during this time.

Worship Calendar: 

Apr 9      Maundy Thursday - www.commonword.ca/go/1462  

Apr 10     Good Friday - www.commonword.ca/go/1461  

Apr 12     Easter Sunday- www.commonword.ca/go/1460  

Apr 22     Earth Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1733  

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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