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The MCA Communiqué
January 12, 2022

In this issue

Our E3 Prayer and  Prayer Updates 
A Menno MInute -- Ryan Dueck
NEM  Interfaith Framework Rescheduled
Snow Camp and Camp update
Looking ahead -- ADS 2022, Gathering 2022,

And more from MC Canada, International Witness, Indigenous Settler Relations, our schools and Common Word. 
(If this newsletter does not format properly as an email, please click the link above to view in your browser)
MCA Calendar
January 26 First evening of Peacemakers Confessing Christ Interfaith Dialogue
January 29 Youth Camp Day
February 25, 26 Snow Camp
March 19 Annual Delegate Sessions ON ZOOM
March 20 All MCA Worship, hosted by First Mennonite Calgary
July 29 - August 1  We Declare: Gathering 2022, Edmonton
July 31 - August 4   Amplify: Youth Gathering, Camp Valaqua

E3 = MCA             Year 2  Christ in Community

Our E3 Prayer

Creator God, Help us to embrace our identity as your children, beloved and cherished by you.


International Witness Prayer Updates

Werner and Joanne leave for Ethiopia in 4 days -- Sunday, January 16! They currently have business visas which are valid for a month. During their first month in  Ethiopia they will be waiting for work and residency permits. Prayers for good health, safety and travelling mercies appreciated. Also please pray for Werner as he is preparing for his courses, including a new one which has recently been added to his schedule! His first day of classes is January 24.  Watch Step-by-Step for updates.

Praise God for steps toward healing in the life of Paul Phomsouvanh from Trinity Mennonite church. Paul has been in ICU due to COVID-19 for a number of weeks. Before Christmas there was little hope of recovery short of a miracle. Since then his condition has improved, although there is a long road to recovery. Pray for Paul, Vila, and the Trinity community as they continue to walk through this together. Also pray for the International Witness community in Thailand and Laos, where Paul and Vila have served as short term workers alongside Tom and Christine Poovong.

 

A Menno MInute

Ryan Dueck, pastor Lethbridge Mennonite

A few months ago, my wife and I watched a film called CODA. Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a child of deaf adults (CODA). Her parents and brother (who is also deaf) rely on her to interpret the outside world to them. They need her to be present on the fishing boat where they earn their living, to monitor radio communications, listen for warnings, etc. They need her to attend meetings and sign what’s going on for them. Ruby is quite literally the ears of the family.

Ruby also loves to sing and is coming to discover that she has a real talent for it. Her choir teacher encourages her to pursue this gift. It brings her joy and confidence. Yet one of the sad ironies of the film is that Ruby’s family has no access to one of her deepest passions in life. They attend her concerts and are thrilled to see her on stage, but they can’t hear her voice. They try to read the reactions of others; they clap and stand when others clap and stand. But they’re mostly guessing. There are places they can’t get to in each other’s experience of the world. Ruby’s family obviously can’t know what it’s like to live and move in a world of sound. And Ruby can’t ever fully know what it’s like to move through the world as a deaf person. They live in different worlds.

What is true of Ruby and her parents is true in the broader world. These last few years of pandemic, with all the divisions and incomprehension it has spawned across the ideological spectrum, has in many ways been an exercise in trying (and often failing) to understand across difference. Sometimes it feels like we’re staring across an uncrossable chasm when it comes to those who see things differently from us. We sometimes wonder, is there any hope? O do we simply live in different worlds?

I’m just enough of an optimist to say, “no.” I say this for a very specific reason. The most basic command that Jesus ever gave his followers, the way he summarized one of the most foundational ethical requirements of the life of faith, was to love our neighbours as ourselves. This command requires the imaginative capacity to place ourselves in the experience of one another, even when we are formed in very different ways, even when our ways of living in the world are profoundly shaped by the places we stand. Jesus seems to assume not only that we can do this, but that we must.

And I have had enough experiences with quite radical difference to really believe that no matter how different we might be, we are all, in the end, human beings. It sounds like a tired cliché, I know. But it happens to be true. We can’t ever fully enter the experience of another person, but we can get part of the way. All it takes is a bit of empathy, a bit of curiosity, a bit of openness. And a bit of confidence that we, too, have something worth sharing from where we stand.

There are two very moving scenes near the end of the film CODA. The first comes after Ruby’s choir concert. Back at home, her dad is sitting outside, looking at the stars, pondering this new world that his daughter is making her way in. Ruby comes outside to join him. They look at each other knowingly for a while. They both seem to know that something important has changed in their lives. Ruby’s dad asks Ruby to sing for him. As she begins to sing, he places his hands on her neck, around her vocal chords. She keeps on singing. He doesn’t hear her voice, but he feels it for the first time.

The second is when Ruby is auditioning for a spot in a music college. She’s feeling alone and struggling on an intimidating stage. And then, her parents and brother sneak into the balcony (against school policy) to watch her audition. Emboldened, she sings out with strength and conviction and joy. The song is beautiful. Even more beautiful is what Ruby does partway through her audition. She starts to sign along with the words she’s singing for her family. She helps her parents to enter her world, her experience, even if in a partial way.

And this is all we can do, isn’t it? To help each other to see what we see. To try to see what others see, even if it’s not easy or doesn’t come naturally. To love our neighbours as ourselves.
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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) 


RESCHEDULED as a  six-part weekly series beginning
Wednesday January 26 at 7:00 on ZOOM


As we begin our new year 2022, and given the continuing unpredictability of Covid 19, North Edmonton Ministries is offering the Peacemakers Confessing Christ Interfaith dialogue series as a 6-week Wednesday night ZOOM gathering.  The PCCI series is structured to be part worship, part Bible study and part learning about Islam and relationship-building with Muslims. 

We will meet weekly from 7:00-8:00, and look forward to building a virtual community among our Mennonite Church Alberta family.  Everyone welcome.

REGISTER HERE.
 

Waterfront might be CLOSED
but registration for Snow Camp is OPEN!


February 25-27 for youth in Grades 7-12

Register HERE.



 
Summer camp registration is also now live! 
Our full slate of summer camp offerings are now up and registration is open to everyone.  More information and registration links are available at: campvalaqua.ca/summer-camp


Youth Camp Day
We are planning to host a Youth Camp Day on January 29.  Youth from MCA Congregations are invited to join us from 10am-4pm at Valaqua for a day of visiting, time around the fire, a hot dog lunch, and a game of survival.  It will be an outdoor event led by MCA's Youth Leadership Team.  Youth who are interested in attending should let Jon know by email (director@campvalaqua.com).  A $5 contribution per youth covers the cost of lunch and snacks.

Family Feud Fundraiser
We are excited to be hosting our Family Feud Fundraiser again this year! In order to get ready, we need your help. Fill in a survey to help make this event a success! 
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. 
                                                         Again on ZOOM. Save the date! 



Making summer plans? 

Be sure to include Gathering 2022! 

We Declare:  Edmonton, July 29-August 1
Amplify:  Camp Valaqua, July 31-August 5
CLICK for MC Canada Gathering 2022 Updates


 

 

Mennonite Church Canada 2021 annual report to come 

The annual report from Mennonite Church Canada will be available through CommonWord on Jan. 15, 2021. 

Greentech environmental offers discounted air purifiers to Mennonite Church Canada congregations 

Contact your regional church communicator for a 25% coupon code to purchase an air purifier from Greentech environmental. These portable air purifiers reduce airborn pollutants and pathogens. 
 

A thank you to donors, from Executive Minister Doug Klassen  

A big thank you to those who made giving to Mennonite Church Canada programs and ministries a priority over the past year. Despite continued uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ever-increasing climate disasters, our program directors, staff and affiliated partners remain dedicated to their areas of service and resourcing and grateful for the financial support shown across our nationwide community of faith. God’s blessing of grace and peace be with you. 

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


Conflict at Wet’suwet’en continues 

Please pray for Wet'suwet'en water protectors who are currently asserting their sovereignty in the face of yet another large-scale mobilization of militarized police. On Jan. 4, Wet'suwet'en water protectors executed a nonviolent, strategic retreat to avoid arrest and violence at the hands of dozens of militarized RCMP. Take action by following Gidimt'en Checkpoint on social media and watching a recent Mennonite Church Canada webinar about solidarity with Wet'suwet'en. 


Creator’s Call in a Climate Emergency: a Mennonite Church Canada community learning series 

Thursdays at 7 p.m. (CST), 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 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. 




The Cost of Colonialism / The Joy of Jubilee weekend retreat 


Feb. 11-13, 2022, at Star of the North Retreat Centre, St. Albert, Alta. (in person and online) 

Register: https://www.starofthenorth.ca/jubilee 

How does Canada as a settler colonial society 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 to discuss these important questions. 


A big thank you from ISR director Steve Heinrichs 

Twenty-twenty-one was a challenging year for Indigenous-Settler Relations. We grappled with the discovery of thousands of unmarked graves found at Indian Residential School sites. We witnessed the State’s repeated assault on land defenders in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. In the midst of great sorrow and violence, we celebrated the legislative passing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, a remarkable achievement accomplished by the linking of arms between Indigenous peoples, faith communities, activists and federal government officials. I want to express my sincere thanks to our Mennonite Church family, for supporting the work of reconciliation and reparations. It isn’t easy—trying to “carry each other’s burdens” —but we are doing our part and helping make a difference. Thank you for your persistent prayers, the local learning and advocacy that you do and for your financial support. I lift my hands and heart to you! 

International Witness


New Witness workers on their way to Ethiopia this January 


Join in praise and prayer with Witness workers Werner and Joanne De Jong as they make their way to Ethiopia to serve with the Meserete Kristos Seminary on January 16, 2022.  After waiting the fall semester for visas, they are finally able to travel. Learn more about their assignment here: https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/article/11996-mennonite-church-canada-welcomes-new-witness-workers-in-ethiopia 




Vaccines finally available in northeast Thailand 

After months of waiting, vaccines are now readily available in the Issan northeast area of Thailand where Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong live and serve. Praise God that people can get this help as the Omicron variant catches hold in the area.   

Pray for training of church leaders in Angola 

As part of Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission, leaders of the Mennonite Church of Angola have asked for prayer for the church's leadership training school which prepares pastors and other church workers for ministry. Pray for encouragement for participants and that they will be blessings to the church and to their communities. 

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.

Consider CMU... Where teaching is exceptional; faith & community matter; learning & career connect; professors know you. Sign up for our January 26 virtual open house (6:00 PM CST). Take part in a virtual campus tour and engage in one-on-one conversations with an Admissions Counsellor. For more information and to register, visit cmu.ca/virtualopenhouse

ReNew 2022: An Online Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders on February 8 | “Water from a Living Stream: Rejuvenation for Pastoring in a Complex World.”  Dr. Scot McKnight will offer pastors and church leaders three scripture-rich presentations to help pastors clarify or re-focus their calling. For schedule and registration, visit cmu.ca/renew

 

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Borrow a new book for the new year! 

All who affiliate with a MCA congregation are automatically members at CommonWord! Simply link your account to your current congregation – and receive free shipping on loan items, both ways. 






Resources for the New Year 

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

  • Beyond epiphany - thematic resources for special occasions and lectionary-based worship materials for the church seasons – www.commonword.ca/go/calendars  



Winter Common Read 

 

  • 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 





 

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