The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
September 2, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - A Menno Minute
Online Worship - Invitation to Prayer
E3 Celebration 
Meet our Students
Foothills Mennonite Guesthouse and Camp updates 
Table Talk 

And more!
Don't miss updates from Mennonite Church Canada, International Witness,
Indigenous Settler Relations, MDS, MWC, and Common Word, 
Donate today
E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life

Our E3 Prayer

Oh God, speak to me this week, help me to see your presence in the changing seasons.
A Menno Minute

The Leatherman Church
(by Brenda Tiessen-Wiens, MCA Moderator)

Near the beginning of our time with COVID, I was inspired by Ryan Dueck’s words of appreciation for the church networks and relationships that have been tended and grown over time. During stressful times, we realize the importance of our roots in larger systems and structures. As I think about the church with its multiple layers that seeks to respond to a multitude of concerns and grow in a variety of new directions, a Leatherman multi-tool comes to mind.

The church is not a single, one-purpose entity. We are a “multi” church that, like a Leatherman, has more individual facets and creative uses than you might ever discover. The church is full of numerous tools that you don’t even know you need...until the day you do.

Because we don’t encounter the expanse of Leatherman Church tools on a daily basis, we’re apt to take them for granted. Take education, for example. We might think of our church schools as simply one option among many as career paths are explored. However, considering the church over time and across borders, or finding ourselves on a search committee can reveal how important our church schools really are. The church needs people who have an understanding of our story, people whose heart’s desire is to delve into the Biblical story, and people who are trained to think theologically. We can’t assume that leaders, whether pastoral, lay or in partner organizations, will always be there unless we commit to their nurturing, training and calling.

The Leatherman Church grows together, even as it’s made up of individual parts. Integrating “me” and “we” happens when we deliberately engage with one another. Our October 24 study conference, “Table Talk: Does the Church still have legs?” is a place to explore questions like: Have we become too focused on self-preservation and comfort? Do people today still need God? Is “the church” more than Sunday morning worship? How we ask and answer these questions has implications for the congregational, regional and nation-wide choices we make as we live out God’s shalom vision.

Being a part of a global fellowship through Mennonite World Conference draws our attention to another tool of the Leatherman Church: capacity. We don’t have to look far to realize that, during this pandemic, our Canadian context provides us with the capacity to access supports, to offer resources, and to care for one another. Our churches in the global south don’t have the same capacity and are asking MWC to help them respond to the needs in their congregations and communities. Twenty-one proposals have already been approved, and your participation is requested to match or exceed MC Canada’s $50,000 commitment to walk with our brothers and sisters in the south.

These “tools” just barely scratch the surface of the Church. We’re a fascinating body. We’re multi-dimensional and multi-purpose and, like a Leatherman, sometimes there are parts that we can’t quite figure out. But, when held together by a common faith and purpose under God, we’re pretty amazing!


Online Service

Join Morden Mennonite Church in their homes and backyards this Sunday as they share their worship service with our nationwide community of faith. Drawing on lectionary texts for this Sunday, the service focuses on the relationship between "the law" and "love." Through song and story, readings and meditation, may we be drawn afresh into Jesus' way of love. Join us at   

This will be the last weekly shared nationwide service for the time being.
Thank you to all the congregations who shared their worship with us over these past few months. 

The Worship Committee at Trinity Mennonite Church assembled this visual display to invite their congregation to be mindful of the upcoming September 27th  service to expressing our commitment to the E3 vision (Encounter, Embrace and Embody Christ in Life, the Community and the World).

The first year’s focus is on deepening our personal experience of Christ and experimenting/embracing new ways to encounter Christ.  What you see on this table is some symbols that may prompt us to get excited about the many ways we can choose to explore and grow in our faith:  

  • The clock represents setting time aside to seek Christ. 
  • The candle represents coming into the light of love and/or centering our focus on the Spirit, not the physical distractions around us.
  • The bread and wine represent one of many church rituals, traditions and disciplines that remind us God is in all of life and for us to focus on God’s presence in all things.
  • The incense, prayer book, Bible, journal & pen, prayer beads and the Bible are all methods we can use in contemplation and prayer times.
  • The hymnal represents one way many people find inspiration and a way of entering into God’s presence.
  • The book “The Bible Unwrapped” is just one example of reading other writers—to  test, challenge and/or teach us.  This book, in particular, is one that the adult seeker’s circle was planning to work through this year (this may still happen yet, format to be decided). 

To prepare ourselves for this special service, please visit the E3 portion of the Mennonite Church Alberta website, and look through the “personal bucket list” to see what sparks you and what you will be interested in pursuing this coming year. 

                                                 Coming soon September 27

E3 Celebration and Commitment Service

MCA is inviting all congregations to include MCA’s E3 theme,
“Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in Life”  
in your September 27 worship service.

Worship outline and resources available now.


Meet our Students
2020-2021 Student Bursary Profile

Anne Retzlaff 

My time at Columbia Bible College has been an amazing experience and has allowed me to grow in my faith. From the actual classes and in-class discussions to experiences outside the classroom, my overall experience has been one of fun and learning and I have made many friends that I am sure will be lifelong.

While I had looked upon my first year with trepidation, I am glad that I was given such an amazing opportunity to learn and grow and look forward to continuing the experience in my second year. The professors and other students challenged my views on different topics and made me think about the many different perspectives that I was being introduced to.

Attending Columbia Bible College has taken my understanding of the Bible and Christian values to a new level and allowed me to explore the different interpretations of Bible passages but still allowed me to come to my own conclusions and opinions. No class challenged my views like Introduction to Christian Theology and while it answered some of my questions, it generated more questions than I had before and instilled in me a yearning to learn more about the doctrine and practices of the Mennonite faith.

I look upon a second year at this school to help cultivate those views further and become more fully aware of the different ways in which I can lead a Christian life outside the walls and boundaries of Columbia Bible College or the walls and community of a church.

Foothills Mennonite Guesthouse
The past month or so has seen both very quiet and very busy times at the Guest House. We continue to operate without a resident host and accept only one family unit at a time. 

The Guest House committee is grateful to be able to provide a safe and comfortable home to these, and other people in need of a place to stay during challenging times in their lives. 

And from Jon, a late summer Camp Valaqua update: 

"Our garden continues to grow! We've made it through berry and pea harvesting season and look forward to arranging a day to harvest potatoes and carrots later in September. A BIG thank you to everyone who has come out to help!"

Also...please note these donations are needed for rentals: 
Another 1-2 BBQs, a washing machine and dryer, a small wooden kitchen table and chairs, a living room chair.

Camp Valaqua looks a bit different these days without summer camp happening, but there’s still lots going on! If you are looking to escape to the beautiful Alberta foothills for a bit, we have several small facility rental options for a family or small cohort. Email or call Jeff for more information: | 403-637-2510
(Photo credit: Ryan Hermanson) 


Mennonite Church Canada Study conference  October 24, 2020

Table Talk: Does the church still have legs?
a virtual one-day conference with Sara Wenger Shenk

Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather virtually for "“Table Talk: Does the Church Still have Legs?”, a virtual study conference 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. For more information, visit  

Meet our Table Talk guest speakers: Gerald Gerbrandt 

President Emeritus of Canadian Mennonite University Gerald Gerbrandt lives in Winnipeg and will be a guest speaker at Mennonite Church Canada's study conference Table Talk 2020: "Does the Church still have legs?" on October 24. He will present on worship in the Old Testament.

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

Interview by Katie Doke Sawatsky, Mennonite Church Canada.

Postures of trust: an interview with Tany Warkentin 

Liaison to Ministry in Africa for Mennonite Church Canada Tany Warkentin shares in our latest interview about the relationships formed between our Canadian congregations and the Burkina Faso Church and ways congregations can learn more and become involved in International Witness ministry in Africa.


Prayer request for friend of Pantojas 

Please pray for Toto Balono, colleague of Witness workers Dann and Joji Pantoja. He is in hospital requiring surgery following a vehicle accident. Pray for his family and their financial situation as they face the cost of this medical treatment.   

Prayers for African churches dealing with COVID-19 

Our partner in ministry AIMM (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission) asks us to pray for our African brothers and sisters in this time of COVID-19. Pray that those struggling to find resources to buy food and those needing medical attention find what they need. Pray that hospitals and medical staff will still provide care to the best of their ability even though ventilators and other important medical tools are almost nonexistent in most African countries.   

International Witness Sunday October 18, 2020 

Pray for congregations across Canada as they prepare for International Witness Sunday, October 18, 2020. Pray that God will open our hearts and eyes to see God’s family around the world in a closer way.  



   ISR a signatory on document demanding UNDRIP implementation  


Indigenous-Settler Relations is a signatory on a declaration statement by The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which demands that the adoption of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in federal legislation must not be delayed. The public statement was published August 17, 2020 and is available for download at CommonWord.   

MDS Canada Spirit of MDS Fund Issues Second Call for Applications 
     Helping Canadian Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations respond to COVID-19 The MDS     Canada Spirit of MDS Fund is issuing a second call for applications from churches in Canada     responding to COVID-19 needs in their communities. 
   About the Fund 
The goal of the Spirit of MDS Fund is to provide financial support to Canadian Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations that are assisting people in their communities affected by the pandemic. A total of $100,000 has been made available; to date 46 congregations and other ministries have received support from the Fund. With  funding still available, a second call for applications has been issued for fall. 
How it Works 
Timeline. This second call for funding is in operation from August 24 to October 31.  
Eligibility. Preference will be given to congregations that are part of an Anabaptist-Mennonite denomination (part of the MDS Canada support network). Applications from other churches will be considered. 
Grants. Grants will be a maximum $1,000, although there can be some flexibility on a case-by-case basis. Projects that can be funded include replenishing a deacon’s fund, restocking a food pantry, assisting with a family’s emergency financial needs, purchasing technology to help churches serve their members through online services or to help seniors or shut-ins connect with family and friends, assisting with rent for a refugee or other family, etc. Salaries will not be funded. 
Applications. Go to to fill out a downloadable form. It can be sent to or mailed to MDS Canada, 200-600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2J1. Congregations should expect to hear back in 5-7 days if their application is approved. 
Reporting. Congregations that receive funding must report back to MDS Canada how they used the funds. These reports will be used to create stories that show how the church was in action responding to this crisis. 
The Spirit of MDS 
Through the Fund, we want to help local congregations respond in the spirit of MDS. That spirit is based in: 
Faith in Action. We believe in and practice a life of service and proclamation founded on the Bible and modeled after the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. 
Caring Relationships. Through our service we want to build relationships of mutual respect, humility and accountability. 
Service. We believe all Christians are called to serve others, and we welcome all who share our values to join us in volunteering, praying and giving. 
Compassion. Our service is offered freely to all.  
Integrity. We work in an ethical, honest, moral and legal manner. 
Sustainability. As God’s stewards, we strive to use resources entrusted to us wisely and carefully.  

Help double the donation -
Mennonite World Conference

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 will go through regional churches. Click here for more info. 

CommonRead Title Announced 


Together with MennoMedia, we are encouraging congregations, nationwide, to study a common title this fall:  Signs of Life:  Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses.  In the context of COVID-19, we have all experienced losses of one type or another.  This guide will inspire conversations of lament and hope.  

Join us for a zoom conversation with author Stephanie Lobdell, Thursday, Sept 3 at 11:00 Central.  Register here

Copies of Signs of Life can be purchased at CommonWord at discount prices –  

 1-6 copies – 10% off 

7+ copies – 25% off 

Worship and curriculum resources for fall planning 

Through our partnership with Together in Worship, we have enhanced our are able to offer hundreds of new Anabaptist worship materials free online – 

A dynamic Anabaptist curriculum for age 3 to grade 8.  

Online samples. More information 
Purchase copies  
Preview loan copy  

New website ready for fall planning 

Our new website ( has many new search features to help you find worship, study and devotional materials. 

  • Search by scripture text or keyword 

  • Filter search results by Type (e.g. videos), Genre (e.g. Curriculum), Expression (e.g. Drama), Topic (e.g. Indigenous-Settler Relations), Season & Event (e.g. Communion), Language (e.g. Korean), Availability (e.g. Buy), Audience (e.g. Children) 

Contact us 

CommonWord staff are very knowledgeable about the breadth of materials available (for your church council, worship committee, small group, etc.) and offer customer support, by phone (1-877-846-1593), email (
or in-person (public hours @ CommonWord, Mon-Fri, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.). 


The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for Phase 2 Reopening information. 

Stories, Events, Announcements?

MCA Calendar
Sept 27        E3 Celebration & Commitment Service
Oct 18          International Witness Sunday
Oct 24          MC Canada Study Conference - Online
Oct 31          Christian-Muslim Dialogue
Facebook Group
Mennonite Church Alberta
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