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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
August 12, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - A Menno Minute
Online Worship - Hike-a-thon 2020
Student Bursary Recipients
Volunteers Needed - Invitation to Prayer
90 Seconds of Nature
And more!
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

God, everywhere we go we hear about being distant, being safe. It makes us feel so alone sometimes – but as Paul says in Romans: “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Help us embrace these words, knowing you are with us always
A Menno Minute











Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MCA Executive Minister 

Summer Vacation

If there is one thing I love about summer vacation it is the way it opens up space. The hectic pace and stimuli of modern society fills our time. It overwhelms our senses. It leaves little room to experience the new, or even to see and hear what may be all about around us. It may leave us with little time and space to pay attention—even to things that may be interesting or meaningful or significant. For me stepping out of the day-today, even for a short time, provides an opening to reflect, to reconnect to a fuller view of life, to attune to the spiritual, and to renew strength for living in a way that pays attention to what’s important.

This past weekend my family camped at Writing-on-Stone provincial park. We had never been there before, and with travel outside Alberta not recommended we now had the opportunity to visit a place we had always wanted to see. It was fascinating to walk through the hoodoos and see the petroglyphs—ancient etchings on the rock, there to provide spiritual guidance for those attuned to their message. They provide evidence to the history of a people largely ignored by society. It is a story of a people that have been largely forced to the margins.

I thought about this reality as I stared up at the stars of night—so much more plentiful than I ever see in the washed out sky above my Edmonton home. I thought about it again as I awoke in my tent to the sound of numerous bird calls, without the normal traffic noise of the city to drown out all but the loudest, boldest, and (at times, such as 4 am on a summer morning) potentially most annoying. It struck me, again, how easy it is in our modern world for amazing sights to be overlooked and voices to be overwhelmed.

Given this reality, it is reassuring to know our God is a God who sees and hears. Scriptures emphasize how God knows each one of us, even when we feel overwhelmed by the world around us. Our Bible is full of examples where God sees those in need, hears their cries, and responds. It’s a reality we may easily forget when we feel lost, unheard, or even burdened by the weight of daily life . For me, opening a space for connection with the spiritual allows me to live into that assurance more fully.

It also allows me to accept the challenge inherent in God’s eye and ear for the marginalized. How do I respond to those whom society fails to see and hear? Today the voices of the Indigenous, Black, and people of colour have broken through in a new way. How might this breakthrough lead to lasting change, the type of change that makes our world a better place for all? How might I align myself to hear and see, given the way Jesus saw and heard those on the margins in his day?

A week from now my “vacation space” will come to a close with a return to “normal” life. How do I bring my experience “home”? How do I ensure I continue to have space to see and hear? I look forward to the challenge—and the importance.

 

.           
 
 
Online Service 
      

       Mennonite Church Canada weekly worship service for August 16

   Join St. Jacobs Mennonite Church from St.  Jacobs, Ont., as they continue their summer theme of "Deadly Sins and Holy Virtues."
Kevin Derksen and Chip Bender will explore the pairing of Gluttony and Self-Control through a variety of scriptural and experiential contexts.
   Watch at https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices.  
A huge thank you to all those who participated in and supported Camp Valaqua’s first ever virtual Hike-a-thon! Many people hiked in a variety of places and raised money through the generosity of sponsors. A total of over $30,000 was raised to support Valaqua’s ministry – a hike-a-thon record! Special thanks to Ron Janzen who once again was the top fundraiser. Mention should also be made of Carol McNaughton who pledged to hike 100 metres of elevation for every $20 she raised. Surprising even herself with the success of her fundraising she is now committed to hiking almost 12,000 vertical metres – several thousand metres more than the height of Mt Everest! We look forward to seeing many of you at a non-virtual Hike-a-thon in 2021!

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: manager@campvalaqua.com | 403-637-2510
 
(Photo credit: Ryan Hermanson) 
Announcing our Student Bursary recipients for Fall 2020-Spring 2021!

Anne Retzlaff (Columbia Bible College)
Bryant Neufeldt (Canadian Mennonite University)
Cassidy Brown (Canadian Mennonite University)
Danika Warkentin (Canadian Mennonite University)
Jaden Krahn (Canadian Mennonite University)
Jonathan Wiebe (Columbia Bible College)
Olivia Neufeldt (Canadian Mennonite University)

Congratulations!  We wish you well in your studies!
Construction Volunteers Needed! 
 Calgary Chin Christian Church's renovation project continues to progress! As you can see, the walls are up and the space is humming with electricians and plumbers. The congregation would welcome volunteers for the next steps -- particularly taping, mudding and painting.
Email Peter at calgarychinchurch@gmail.com for details.
As many of their congregants were laid off due to Covid, they would also appreciate donations to their building fund. Donations accepted via https://calgarychin.mcab.ca/
 

MCA Invitation
to Morning & Evening Prayer

(Click the photo for more information)

Congregants from across MCA are invited to join us on Zoom for morning and evening prayer.  We will be participating in morning prayer on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 am and evening prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 pm for about 15-20 minutes, using Take Our Moments and Our Days. Register online at mcab.ca/events
90 Seconds of Nature  (or...Jon and the woodpeckers)    
Thanks Jon!
Click on Jon for a link to the video.
(originally published on Instagram).                                                  

                                                        Save the Date! Sept 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.

 A worship outline and resources
will be available soon.

 

Moving towards relationships and with our Indigenous neighbours

An interview with Bruce Clemenger and Aileen Van Ginkel from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada on urging churches toward right relationships with Indigenous Peoples.  
(Click headline or photo for interview.)

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is committing to help its affiliate congregations, denominations, organizations and institutions move forward on the path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Mennonite Church Canada is one of the 44 denominations affiliated with the EFC. There are also 73 ministry organizations, 33 higher-education institutions and 537 congregations affiliated with the EFC.

“Our affiliation with the EFC is recognition that the Body of Christ extends far beyond our denomination. Mennonite Church Canada has journeyed toward reconciliation with First Peoples for decades. It is exciting to see the bold commitments undertaken now by EFC. Praise God!” says Klassen.

In June EFC’s Indigenous-Settler Relations Working Group presented a paper entitled “Stewarding Sacred Seeds,” at the 2020 symposium hosted by NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community. In the paper EFC makes seven commitments to help its affiliates move forward on the path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. 

“This is both a significant step of remembering past promises and a courageous commitment to walk forward in a good way. I am so proud to be a part of the EFC circle that’s working at this,” says Steve Heinrichs, who is director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for Mennonite Church Canada and sits on the Working Group.

One of the commitments is to reacquaint EFC affiliates with the Reconciliation Proclamation, a document that came out of the 1995 Sacred Assembly in Hull, Que., a 2000-strong gathering of spiritual leaders—including Indigenous and non-Indigenous Christians—Elders and politicians who came together at the request of then Manitoba MLA Elijah Harper, to lay “the groundwork for reconciliation and healing in this land.”

Bruce Clemenger is President of EFC and helped draft the Proclamation in 1995. Aileen van Ginkel is EFC’s Vice-President of Ministry Services and is also a member of the EFC’s Indigenous-Settler Relations Working Group. They share why the Proclamation is so important, the intention behind the seven commitments and the challenges of encouraging churches to commit as well.

INDIGENOUS-SETTLER RELATIONS 

Final stages of new book project 

Indigenous-Settler Relations and MCC Canada are collaborating on an exciting new book—Be It Resolved, an anthology of commitments Anabaptists have made to walk in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. We are in the final stages of designing this work that’s intended for small-group and congregational engagement. Please pray for us, that the Spirit would use this resource to encourage and equip our community. 

Persistent Widows Needed for Declaration Legislation 

Jesus reminds us in the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-1-8), that holy persistence can pay off. Over the last few years we have asked you, time and again, to advocate for legislation that implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are so grateful! And we need you to keep at it. Please raise your voice and let the government know that you care by signing your name to this Mennonite Central Committee Canada letter to the Minister of Justice—see www.tinyurl.com/UNDRIPNOW

 


Help double the donation -
Mennonite World Conference


Updates available soon!

Mennonite Church Canada donates $50,000 to Mennonite World Conference for COVID-19 relief fund; asks constituents to match or exceed donation. To contribute to the MWC relief fund please go to mcab.ca/giving.
SAVE THE DATE:

International Witness Sunday on October 18, 2020

Mennonite Church Canada International Witness invites congregations across our nationwide community of faith to celebrate International Witness Sunday on October 18, 2020. Come prepared to give, learn and get involved with International Witness ministries. To help church leadership prepare for this day, promotional material and worship resources, such as readings, prayers and music, will be made available in August. For more information contact the IW Communications committee via jhanson@mennonitechurch.ca or go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/international-witness.
               

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! 

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 https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/tabletalk2020.  

International Witness

Anabaptist training for local Chinese congregations 

Pray for George Veith, Witness worker in China, and Chinese colleague Yin Hongtao, as they organize and translate Anabaptist materials for congregations asking for training. Pray that they would produce a program that meets the needs of local believers and built on by local leaders.  Praise God for the opportunity to meet with congregational leaders face to face at the end of July.   

Creative responses to pandemic in Philippines 

Dann and Joji Pantoja, Witness workers in the Philippines, and their organization PeaceBuilders Community, Inc., are creatively meeting the challenges of COVID-19.  Read their blog post for examples of five women working new jobs due to the pandemic. Praise God for seeds of resilience planted in the lives of these families and communities.   

Witness worker leads restorative-circle workshop this month 

Pray for Bock Ki Kim, Witness worker in South Korea, and the Chuncheon Community Peace Center as they work at restorative-circle practices in local families and schools. Pray for the three-day workshop on August 3-6, for training 20 facilitators to help in this work of healing in their communities.     

New and expanded Sunday School resources from MennoMedia. 

Shine: A dynamic curriculum for age 3 – grade 8. 

Many new features: 

  • New weekly story cards help facilitate the teaching of the larger “biblical arc of shalom” by connecting the quarter’s stories each week 

  • All of Us retells the biblical story twice – a longer version, closely retold from the Bible, and a shorter version retold with pictures 

  • A stronger emphasis on the child’s active participation in God’s work of love and justice 

  • Teachers are generously affirmed and equipped as spiritual leaders with additional helps and lesson plans that are clean and simple 

  • The core outline is now the same for all age levels allowing greater coordination in worship and at home 

 Additional help during COVID-19 

  • Shine At-Home (for parents at home) 

  • Shine Connect (for online teaching) 

Online samples and more information 

Purchase copies 

Preview a loan copy 

Salt and Light 

A new quarterly Anabaptist Bible study that replaces the former Adult Bible Study series 

  • Includes daily spiritual practice suggestions for each week’s study 

  • Available in English and Spanish 

Purchase copies 

Preview a loan copy 

2020 Summer Reading List 

Our 12th annual list of recommended titles for the lawn chair, hammock or beach blanket during the summer months! 

Including: 

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for Phase 2 Reopening information. 
 


Stories, Events, Announcements?
communications@mcab.ca


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
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