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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
January 13, 2021

In this issue

E3 Prayer 
A Menno Minute
One Good Thing
Camp Valaqua Rentals 
Family Feud? 
and more

Plus... updates from our wider faith communities
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

Oh God as we gather virtually or carefully distanced,
we pray others still see your love, joy, hope and peace in our words and in our faces, even if they are masked.

 

Please also remember in your prayers those in our congregations for whom Covid-19 is much more than a daily statistic.
Pray for renewed health for those who are ill and comfort for those who are grieving.















Paul Bergen, Moderation First Mennonite Edmonton
A Menno Minute

The Challenges of Congregational Leadership

This has obviously been a year of challenge for our congregation. At the same time, we have experimented often and discovered much.  

Focusing as we did on safety at the outset, we were the first congregation in MCA to cease meeting in person for worship or any other activities, choosing instead to discover the joys of Zoom.  Our first “service” online was mostly a sharing time followed by heartfelt prayer.  It was so good to see everyone’s faces that it seemed to matter very little that we didn’t experience the full “agenda” of a typical Sunday morning.  Even the absence of a printed order of service presented no problem!

As soon as our Executive announced that we were ceasing in-person meetings out of concern for the safety of our more vulnerable, calls started coming in about how to connect, how to contribute, and how to reach out to those whose facility with technology might benefit from some support. Our administrator and Pastor were simply AMAZING as they quickly learned about Zoom and copyright and, and, and…  A volunteer techie spent hours in Zoom workshops learning the “how to’s” that we have now come to appreciate every time we gather.  Our church branch/committee chairs met weekly beginning in March (not really slowing down until August), offering support to one another and encouragement and wisdom to the Executive as we surfed the COVID wave together.  My heart is full as I remember with immense gratitude these and the many other ways the congregation pulled together to support each other during these tumultuous months.

Anyone keeping a journal of our congregation’s activities since March would have reported the following:

  • Sunday morning gatherings that began with around 50 devices/households and have recently climbed to 98, with participants signed in from across the country;
  • Seeing familiar faces online week after week after week;
  • Moving celebrations of life into which as many as 249 devices (that’s 500+ people by my rough reckoning!) signed in from around the globe;
  • Weekly Sunday school sessions with both youth and younger students;
  • Interesting life updates on FMC Gathering Place (on Facebook);
  • home drop-offs of candies, cards, hymnals;
  • Exploring how we can sing together via Zoom;
  • Connecting post-service in break-out rooms for “foyer conversations”;
  • Well-attended and engaging congregational meetings;
  • Seeing a wide range of people offering and exploring their gifts of music-making, story-telling, art, and thoughtful reflecting;
  • Engaging and moving rituals and especially communion;
  • Weekly Bible studies and virtual coffee times together;

Moving forward, we hope to be able to identify those positive things that have happened this year because of our need to meet virtually and determine how best to replicate them when we are able to be together in person again. It’s been both humbling and uplifting to bear witness to the Spirit’s movement in our midst this past year.

One Good Thing. Just One Good Thing.  
Louisa Adria, Foothills Mennonite 

On Saturday, it was such a joy to celebrate Voices Together with others from across Canada and the US. We were "at" the Laurelville Music and Worship Leaders online retreat. It was so life-giving to share in singing, prayer and story, gathered over music and worship material that is beautiful not only in form but also in spirit. Music is always One Good Thing. 
Calgary Chin Christian Church Update


The Calgary Chin Christian Church is anticipating moving into their new facility at the end of February, having received an extension for their current space. They celebrate the work that has been completed and are waiting for more inspections.
They will continue to fundraise for tech equipment and office furniture.  Donations accepted with gratitude!  

Itching to get out of the city for the weekend? A night?
Or maybe you want to do school with your kids in nature for the week.

Rental options and inquiries at www.campvalaqua.com/rentals

We're renting individual units to members of the same household.
No shared space due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

 Just 1 hour NW of Calgary. Starting at $50/night.
Get access to:
- Outdoor firepits
- Walking trails
- Cross country skis and trails (weather permitting)
- BBQ
And of course, NATURE'S BEAUTY ❄️
      Camp Valaqua meets Family Feud

Hello Mennonites! 
This year we will be changing our annual trivia night into a family feud evening. One of the categories we will be exploring is the answers to what Mennonites would say. You can help by filling out this short survey so that I can start collecting data. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKAuDix8G_eq2hoNVeeocLX2VyTmztfyoPn5QresGGKXD6cg/viewform?usp=sf_link

Kevin Stoesz, Camp Valaqua board chair

Mennonite Church Canada’s annual report, “Looking Back on 2020,” is available through CommonWord at https://www.commonword.ca/ResourceView/83/10101
A one-page summary and full report are both available for congregational AGMs

Indigenous-Settler Relations

Join a February bookclub on Unsettling the Word 

How might we read the Bible so that it can be an instrument of reconciliation and decolonization? In partnership with the New Leaf Network, Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations is co-hosting a four-week book club on Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization. Join editor Steve Heinrichs, along with Indigenous authors and activists Cheryl Bear and Sylvia McAdam, for life-giving conversations on justice, faith, reparations, and healing. Borrow or order the book through CommonWord. For more info, and to register, click here

International Witness

 

Is your congregation interested in mutual faith learning with brothers and sisters around the globe? 
Join a Witness Support Network and connect with other congregations who support International Witness ministries. 
Five networks currently support ministry in China, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Burkina Faso. Learn more at www.mennonitechurch.ca/witness-support-networks

Vietnam believers celebrate 

Praise God for the Christmas celebrations and services held by the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Vietnam. Over 2,000 people attended multiple gatherings during Christmas week in six different counties. Pray for the leadership of these congregations and for the new believers that are worshipping with them.   

Peace in South Korea 

This month pray for Song Kang-ho, founder of Frontiers (a Christian-based peace organization), who is appealing a two-year sentence for trespassing onto a military base during a peaceful protest. Pray for Witness workers Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park as they support and provide study resources for the Christian peace community in South Korea. 

Outbreaks in China put student holidays at risk 

Pray that the students of Tobia Veith, in Harbin, China, are able to end the semester well before returning to their homes for the Chinese New Year holiday. Students under end-of-term exam pressure are worried about being caught in Harbin for the holiday due to COVID-19 outbreaks and a potential lockdown. Pray for Tobia as she provides support and a calm presence in their lives.   

RJC Online Open House & Friday Night Live - Friday, January 22 - Prospective students (grades 5-11) and families are invited to our online open house at 7:00pm. Learn more about our academic, dorm, athletics, and music programs. Following the open house will be our annual Friday Night Live student coffee house at 8:00pm. Enjoy the evening from the comfort of your own home! Please register by email to admissions@rjc.sk.ca or call (306) 232-4222. 

RJC Early Application Incentive - New students who apply for Fall 2021 by February 1 will receive $500 off their tuition! Apply online at rjc.sk.ca/apply

Together in Worship launches in collaboration with CommonWord 

Together in Worship, at www.togetherinworship.net, is an online, curated collection of free and downloadable Anabaptist worship resources. It’s also a place where contributors can submit their own resources to be shared by the wider Anabaptist and ecumenical community. Read full story here.    Link also under Congregational Resources on the MCA website 

Update: The creators of this online space are excited for it's possibilities.
From Darryl Neustaedter Barg "I'm hoping it will develop some creative energy in our communities once we can move past the initial stages of creation. "  He referred to Together in Worship as "a place for creativity to live."

.                                            
 

Epiphany 

Resources for the season between Christmas and Lent – www.commonword.ca/go/2212 

CommonRead conversation with author MIchael McRay 

Join us for a conversation with CommonRead author Michael McRay, Thursday, January 14 at noon, Eastern.  Register here - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfPZBTRx9nS6-7lWcndIlpLtD__hKmWFuWh1gVOGZ_SimmaEg/viewform. Our winter 2021 CommonRead title – www.commonword.ca/go/2215. 20% off when purchasing five or more copies! 

 New Peaceful at Heart study guide 

 

A new companion study guide for Peaceful at Heart, Anabaptist Reflections on Healthy Masculinity – free to download at www.commonword.ca/go/2224. Watch for additional resources, including free audio book and video interviews, in the coming months. 

Calendar 

 

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for up-to-date Covid-19 information as it impacts our worshiping together.

Have a story to tell? One Good Thing to share? Feedback on the MCA Communiqué?
Email communications@mcab.ca
MCA Calendar
January 24, 2021.                             Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday
March 20/21, 2021                           Annual Delegate Sessions -- via ZOOM
  
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