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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family

April 15, 2020

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A Menno Minute

by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld

Easter Hope in a Good Friday Time


Easter just wasn’t the same this year. Instead of hymns sung by the joyful voices of the full congregation, there was music played through laptop speakers. The online worship services were a far cry from the annual in-person celebrations I so much enjoy. Rather than big gatherings for Easter breakfast and Sunday dinner, it was Jacob, Donita, and me sitting around the kitchen table—just as it has been for every meal these past four weeks. Even the normal signs of spring were put on hold as we awoke Easter morning to a new skiff of snow.
As we enter what is normally called the Easter Season what strikes me is how much it still feels like the “wilderness” experience of Lent. We are still in a time of uncertainty. We are still huddled in our homes, physically isolated, awaiting word of when it will again be safe to be together. It is hard for anything to feel “normal” as we continue to cope with the global health pandemic. In recent weeks my own focus on event cancellations and economic struggles shifted as I first learned of people I know who have tested positive for COVID-19. As the number of infections and deaths continues to grow, it feels more like a season of Good Friday than the assurance of Easter Sunday.
 
Read full article

Praise Report!

The three children abducted in South Sudan have been located and returned safely to their homes. Two children belong to Pastor Reuben Tut's step-sister, Nyaluak Tuituit Nyoach and Reuben Tharjiath Tut Nyoach. The children's names are Nyakach and Nyabuoi Nyuon Dojiok. Praise God for the children, their families, and their safe return home.
Christian-Muslim Dialogue
Please pray for a special Zoom meeting to be held this Thursday, April 16 at 7 pm. Several people from Edmonton and a larger number from Calgary will meet to discuss the possibilities of Christian Muslim engagement in Calgary.  Pray that God inspire us to move forward and plan some first steps. 


MCBC hosts Sunday Service

Mennonite Church British Columbia will be hosting the online service for Sunday, April 19. Once available, you can view at https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices (scroll down) and on the Mennonite Church Canada YouTube Channel.

NOTE: Every week you can find videos through this link

Weekly Worship for MC Canada

What's available?

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

Rostern Jr. College Virtual Choirs & Cakes


RJC Virtual Choirs & Cakes: Join us online on Sunday, April 26 at 7:00 pm (CST) on the RJC website for our newly imagined online fundraising event.  The event will feature music by the RJC Concert Choir, a Virtual Alumni Choir, student and alumni reflections on community support during COVID-19, and an online auction. Visit rjc.sk.ca the day of the event to watch and to make your donation. 


 

INTERNATIONAL WITNESS 


Online teaching and learning adjustments 

South Korea Witness worker Sook Kyoung Park’s faithful presence in her English classroom everyday has been transferred to online and telephone connections. Please pray that her caring heart and efforts to make a safe space for her students will be portrayed as well in this way. Pray for her students as they interact with her in this time of anxiety.    
 

Complications with Anabaptist event planning for Latin American youth 

The Colombian Mennonite Church asks for prayer for the Anabaptist Andean youth meeting happening in Colombia on July 20-24. Three hundred youth usually come from Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, San Salvador, Argentina and Brazil. The theme of this meeting is "Anabaptist identity in the Latin American context." Pray that leaders know how to proceed with planning for this important event, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Technology challenges older generation of Thailand ministry 

Pray for Witness workers Christine and Tom Poovong as they reach out to new believers in the congregations around them in Thailand. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help them and other disciples make good use of technology to communicate since many are from the older generation and do not have a computer. 
 

News from our partners 

Please pray for the staff and students of Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) in the West Bank. The campus has been closed since March 5 and faculty scrambles to teach online. One faculty member and several students have been infected by COVID-19. BBC president Jack Sara says this has "put an edge to our prayers." In addition, the all-city lockdown has been devastating to Bethlehem's tourism-dependent economy, adding to the many restrictions that Palestinians already endure under Israeli military occupation. Pray that BBC and the Palestinian churches may be a beacon of hope amidst the suffering (from the Mennonite Church Canada Palestine-Israel Network. Mennonite Church Canada is exploring a more formal relationship with BBC, where Mennonite Church Canada short-term volunteers have served.) 

INDIGENOUS-SETTLER RELATIONS (ISR)


Act for Indigenous Right to “Restrict Access” 

In this COVID-19 crisis where all Canadians—except “essential service” workers—are urged to stay home, the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples—which Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations is part of—has released a statement calling governments to respect the right of Indigenous communities “to set conditions of entry into their territories.” 

Historically, Indigenous peoples have been disproportionately impacted by disease and illness—and the same is true today. We invite our congregations to pray that those in authority would honour the rights and lives of Indigenous peoples. We also invite you to write Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (pm@pm.gc.ca) and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett (carolyn.bennett@canada.ca) to express your concerns and hope.

 

News from our partners 

Prayers for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) 

Between April 22-25, Christian Peacemaker Teams will have its spring Steering Committee meetings, with participants zooming in from all around the world. Mennonite Church Canada is one of seven sponsoring bodies, and Steve Heinrichs (director of Indigenous-Settler Relations), serves as representative. It is a strange time for CPT. Due to COVID-19 there is the need for physical distancing, yet CPT field teams in Colombia, Iraqi-Kurdistan, Palestine, and Lesvos (Greece) continue a strong commitment to advocacy and online connections. COVID-19 has also brought uncertainty to CPT finances. Please pray for the CPT Steering Committee—that we would have wisdom, courage, and even the joy of the Spirit as we discern how to support the work of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression. To learn more about CPT, and to donate, please see www.cpt.org.

MCA Calendar

Apr 18           All Committee meeting, Zoom
Apr 28-30      Come Away - Pastor & Spouse retreat - Cancelled
May 22-23     MCC Sale - 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 - Going Virtural

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.


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


CommonWord online service continues during the pandemic. Please visit www.commonword.ca! 

 Self-isolation should not mean a lack of reading material. Have a book dropped off at your door! (Loan items ship free.)

CommonWord is curating pandemic materials daily

Here are a few of the recent COVID-19 resource additions: 

 Check https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources for all the materials 

  

Shaping Faith in a Digital Culture 

Six video plenary sessions from the Deep Faith conference held at AMBS March 2-5. These discussions are perhaps more poignant now than even a few weeks ago!  Visit www.commonword.ca/go/2011.  

MennoMedia offers free Shine curriculum

During the pandemic, MennoMedia offers free Shine curriculum for use by churches for online learning or to send to parents for use at home .https://shinecurriculum.com/shineathome/free-resources/

Worship Calendar: 

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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