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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
September 30, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - A Menno Minute:
Our Stories - E3 
Camp Valaqua  - Rosthern Junior College
Table Talk, the upcoming Study Conference
and more from Mennonite Church Canada

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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

God, Help me to embrace the message of love
you have given through the scriptures,
and know that, though I am imperfect, you love me as I am
 
A Menno Minute

                                    









Coreen Froese, Community Building Committee                                                                                                                  


Introducing Our Stories 
A new series in the Communiqué, co-ordinated by the Community Building and Program Committee

As we think about stories we could ask: 

What are our stories as congregations and as individuals within congregations?

Who tells our stories? How are they told? How do our stories inspire and shape us?  What is the purpose of stories? How can we learn from each other’s stories?

How can our stories help us live out our mission as Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in life, in community and in the world? 

What are the stories in your congregation? Who is telling them? Who is hearing them? Who is writing them? Does your congregation have that certain person who pays attention, noticing and listening to how others are living out their faith? The person who watches what is happening in the church and enjoys telling others about it? This person does not necessarily have to be a writer, the pastor, or the office administrator, but simply someone who watches and takes note.

During a time when much of our interaction is online, how can we create visual stories?

By sharing our stories we can become more connected, stay connected, and learn from each other.

Each month for at least the next year one MCA congregation will have the opportunity share a story. If you or someone you know would be willing to be the eyes and ears of MCA Storytelling, please let the Community Building and Program Committee know. We want to hear from you! 

Steve, Emily, Lahna, Walter, Luka

Our Stories -- from Bergthal Mennonite Church, Didsbury
What does a church do when they haven’t met in person since the middle of March due to a pandemic and now it’s July? You bring in a Pastoral Intern! Steve Guigovaz and his family have been attending Bergthal Mennonite Church for just over 2 years and he had approached Pastor Anna-Lisa Salo about doing his internship with us as part of his Pastoral Ministry studies.

Since starting his internship Steve has created a 6 sermon series on the excuses we use to avoid answering God’s call, participated in one funeral and visited as many congregation members as possible either by phone or in person to better understand their views on church and pastors. Pastoring in the midst of a pandemic means thinking outside the box so he’s presented one sermon by audio and one sermon by video. Steve and and Anna-Lisa meet once a week to discuss what he’s learning and observations he has made. “He’s made me think and look at things differently; it’s been a very good experience” Anna-Lisa says. We are grateful Steve was able to take time from his busy schedule of class work, interning and parenting to answer a few questions about his experience.
_________________________________________

What/where are you studying? I am currently in my final year at Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, where I am studying Pastoral Ministry.

What was your first surprise about Alberta when you moved here.When we moved to Alberta, the first thing that struck me was how long the sun stays out in the summer. When we lived in Ontario, we used to tell the kids that they had to go to sleep when the sun goes to “sleep”, but that didn’t work as well in Alberta when the sun would be up well after 9:00pm. I remember it getting late one night, and the kids were arguing with us that the sun was still up, so they didn’t need to go to sleep. So, we had to change our strategy and tell them that was an “Ontario” rule. In Alberta, they needed to be in bed by 8:00pm, even if the sun is still “awake”.

How do you see God working in what you are doing right now?God has really given me a great opportunity to do my internship in the church at a time when things are not “normal.” I believe that this has allowed me to be able to meet with people at a time when they are deeply craving connection and fellowship, which has led to some amazing conversations. I have loved hearing the hearts of the people, and have been so grateful for their willingness to share their hearts with me. Every time I meet with someone, I can just sense God at work in the conversation, not only in how people talk to me, but in how I listen to people. He has shown me so many things through my conversations. Also, I have to say, that I have been amazed at how people have received the sermons that I have had the pleasure of delivering on Sundays. I am often very nervous on Sundays when I have to speak, but it is all worth it when I see that God has used the message to really speak to someone's heart. There is nothing more joyful for me than to see God at work in someone's life, and to be able to be even a small part of that work is so humbling and rewarding. 

What do you hope to learn during this time?The biggest thing that I am hoping to learn is how to engage with the congregation on a personal level, and to discern how God has been at work in each of their lives both individually, and corporately. I know that one day God will entrust a group of His people under my care, and I never want to lose site of the fact that these are HIS people. He has been at work in their lives, in the community and in the church long before I came along, and I want to partner with Him in what He is already doing. I believe one of the jobs of a pastor is to help the people to discern what God is trying to do in them and through them, and then to partner with Him in “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12). This requires an ability to sit with people, pray with them, ask them questions and really listen to them and to the Spirit at work. Active listening is a discipline that I am really trying to work on, and this internship has really helped me to do that. I am eternally grateful to the people at Bergthal Mennonite Church for their willingness to grant me this opportunity, and to God for how He has worked in my life during this time.

                                       

         E3 Celebration and Commitment Service

  On September 27 MCA Congregations focused
  on our E3 Theme: Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ…in Life.
 
  We are looking forward to receiving your images and short video clips of how         you incorporated E3 into your worship time!

  Stay tuned for a peak into the creative worship spaces of our faith family. 


Good news is always worth sharing!
Don't miss the Canadian Mennonite article on Camp Valaqua's Hike-a-thon! 
Click here for more. 

And... more photos

   RJC Employment Opportunity: Head Custodian RJC High School is inviting applications for a
   full-time Head Custodian position. Skills and experience in caretaking, cleaning, and maintenance would be an asset.       Come and join our team! Applications close Tuesday, October 13. For more information visit our website at rjc.sk.ca, or contact Principal, Ryan Wood, at ryan@rjc.sk.ca

Sheila Klassen-Wiebe will lead a Bible study during Table Talk 2020: Does the Church still have legs?, Mennonite Church Canada's study conference on Oct. 24. Klassen-Wiebe is associate professor of New Testament at Canadian Mennonite University.

In her interview with Katie Doke Sawatsky, she says...

I fell in love with teaching the Bible to young adults when my husband and I shared an interim teaching position at Elim Bible Institute in Altona, Man., many years ago. I had attended Canadian Mennonite Bible College and the University of Manitoba before that but then continued my education at Associated (now Anabaptist) Mennonite Biblical Seminary (M.Div.) and Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (Ph.D.). I have been teaching students the Bible at Canadian Mennonite University since 1993. My primary areas of study and teaching have been Jesus and the Gospels, but I have recently enjoyed expanding my research interests with my work on the Believers Church Bible Commentary on the letter of James.   Read more.

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

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.    

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.  

.    For the past four years, playwright Alison Casella Brookins and actors Michelle Milne and Ted Swartz have travelled across North America, raising awareness about the Doctrine of Discovery (the legal fiction used to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands) through their drama, “We Own This Now.”

Join us for a webinar conversation to learn more about the Doctrine of Discovery, how it impacts us today, and how we might join others in the struggle to dismantle it. Please register in advance.
Sponsored by Mennonite Church BC Indigenous Relations Group.


 

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. 

  Does your congregation have COVID-related financial needs?
    Time limited grant money is available via MDS.
    Read more here. 










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

Common Read
An important read (as a study group or reading club) during COVID-19 when we all have faced many losses. 

Buy at discounted rates: 

  • 1-6 copies are 10% off 

  • 7+ copies are 25% off 

Also available to borrow. Study guide and link to a discussion with author Stephanie Lobdell also available. Go to www.commonword.ca/go/2124

 Although the live event has passed, watch this recent public conversation at CMU. 

Seeing through the Pandemic:  The Art of Noticingwww.commonword.ca/go/2144  

Past Face2Face conversations also available. 

Other Fall Resourcing Events – www.commonword.ca/go/events

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
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