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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
October 14, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - Our Stories
A Menno Minute
Christian-Muslim Dialogue - Engage
Meet our Students

AND MORE from our faith communities!
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

Oh God, I see your work in the changing colours of the leaves.
Help me embrace your artistry and be willing to change as you would see fit.
 
You didn't miss it!
Camp Valaqua Work Day is this Saturday, October 17.
Bring your work gear and help out!
Our Stories webpage has launched! 
Each month a story from one of our congregations will be featured here, in the MCA Communiqué, and added to our new webpage. These are our stories, from our people, in our congregations.
Do you have a story to share? Contact any member of the Community Building/Program committee or email communications@mcab.ca 















Will Loewen
Pastor, Trinity Mennonite Church

A Menno Minute

In the beginnings of the Anabaptist/Mennonite movement, most people in Europe couldn’t read. Instead, they committed large collections of scripture to memory, and the church leaders organized those verses topically. 

I have a written copy of that oral concordance and I refer to it often in my sermon preparation. It has many familiar categories, like ‘Fear of God,’ ‘Repentance,’ and ‘Discipleship’ at the top, and some spiritual but almost strange sounding names like ‘Concerning False Prophets and the Antichrist,’ ‘Do Not Depend on the Great Crowd,’ and ‘Useless Chatter.’ The one that I turn to often lately, however, is ‘God is not a Respecter of Persons.’

Causes and theological emphases change from decade to decade and century to century, so we should expect things, in a list like this, that we don’t understand or aren’t passionate about anymore. But, to consider that God doesn’t respect our personhood goes beyond strange into troubling. Why did early Anabaptists list this notion as one of the core Christian topics?

It’s never easy to know what people five hundred years ago were thinking, but they really weren’t that different from us. Many of our contemporary bookstores keep Christian books in the “self help” section. Evangelical Christianity places a high emphasis on recognizing Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Saviour. Even in Mennonite Church Alberta, we are emphasizing encounters with Jesus and many of us only know how to do that as individuals.

Early Anabaptists wouldn’t have an issue with using our Christian spirituality to help ourselves, with us talking about Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour or with us as individuals encountering Jesus. They would have been fine with all of that, as long as it didn’t end there. For many people in our world, their spirituality begins and ends with their own personal encounters, experiences, and opinions. Early Anabaptists and Christians throughout history and around the world have always pushed beyond that.

Lately, in our worship and community life, each of us has had ample opportunity to focus on our individual spirituality. For the rest of the church year we will be encouraged to focus on our own encounters with Jesus. But, one of many things that the pandemic response has taught us, even the quietest and most introverted among us need to express our spirituality in community. And, when we do that, and embrace the individuality of the people in our community as much or more than we embrace our own personal freedoms, we will see their needs as more important than our own. Our full humanity is only realized when we celebrate the full humanity in people around us.

Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” He stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.”

- Matthew 12: 48-50 CEB

North Edmonton Ministries
Christian-Muslim Dialogue is also online for 2020
Register today!

Starts tonight
Join the North Edmonton Ministries and Camp Valaqua as we host a 6 week Zoom conversation series on Wednesday evenings from October 14 to November 18 on how we can better engage with people of other faiths and backgrounds.  The series will feature presentations and conversations and will is focussed on creating an interactive space. 

Topics include:
-Unpacking our international or cross cultural experiences
-Basics about Islam.
-How to engage with Muslim people.
-Understanding the Iceberg of Culture
-Allyship, Racism, and BLM,
-Working for the Common Good and Neighbouring

Contact Jon Olfert (valaqua@xplornet.com, 403-637-2510) for registration information or access the link at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqdO2orTguGt2Ec0Ou4jwA2RmarSxylHnG



Meet our Students
2020-2021 Student Bursary Profile

Jonathan Wiebe  
Columbia Bible College

When I first started at Columbia in 2016, I came with the goal of learning more about the Bible in an intentional environment, and thus solidifying my faith. What I did not expect however, was in order to solidify my faith, I needed to question what I believed first. In my classes at Columbia, I have been continually challenged and encouraged to think critically on matters of faith. In wrestling with scripture and different expressions of faith, I have thus matured in my own faith in my time at Columbia. While I have learned a great deal, however I continue to realise that I will continue a journey of learning far beyond my post secondary years.

I have continued coming to Columbia because I have continued to run in to new challenges and opportunities throughout my time there. Initially I came back in my second year to continue to learn more about the word, wrestle with my faith, and to participate in the community that is present at C.B.C. In the last few years, I have returned for the same reasons, however with the added incentive of worship leadership and the opportunities it granted for learning, growing, as well as giving back to the community. Specifically, this last year, I had the opportunity to lead weekly Tuesday night Vespers worship nights. Through this I was able to witness God work in many ways and learned a great deal about trusting God in leadership.

This coming semester will be my ninth and final semester at C.B.C. I hope to finish strong and remain invested in my studies. In my last couple years, I have greatly appreciated my relationships with students that are my seniors, both in age and/or years of schooling. Looking back on these friendships, I also hope to gain a few new opportunities to come along side newer students in their own journey, perhaps playing the role my own senior students did. In these things, I will aim to live into the lessons of faith, life and leadership that I have learned over the last four years. Ultimately, I hope to make a faithful transition out of bible school upon graduating in December, taking lessons I have learned thus far, and applying them in searching for/participating in whatever comes next.

Table Talk:  Does the Church Still have Legs?             October 24, 2020 
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.
 
Registration is now open!

Meet some of our speakers!

  1. Sara Wenger Shenk
    Former President of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  2. Brian Born
    President of Columbia Bible College
  3. Irma Fast Dueck
    Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Canadian Mennonite University
  4. Gerald Gerbrandt 
    President Emeritus of Canadian Mennonite University
  5. Jeremy Bergen
    Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies at Conrad Grebel University College
  6. Sheila Klassen-Wiebe
    Associate Professor of New Testament at Canadian Mennonite University.
  7. Jesse Nickel
    Professor of Biblical Studies at Columbia Bible College
REGISTER TODAY

MCA Special Check-In Zoom Meeting

November 7, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM.
All MCA congregations are invited to a Special Check-In Zoom meeting. 
At this event congregations will have the opportunity to give updates from their church and hear about the ministries we share. Although there will be no official motions, the MCA Executive looks forward to this time of mutual support and discernment about our MCA priorities and ministry direction.
All are welcome, with the hope that each congregation would be represented by their chairperson, pastor(s), treasurer, and at least 1-3 others.  Regististration form at https://mcab.ca/   (Scroll down.)
Please pray for our MCA pastors as they gather at King's Fold Retreat Centre,
November 3 to 4.

Pastors, register with Tim Wiebe-Neufeld.  tim@mennonitechurch.ab.ca


Discomfort and courage on Orange Shirt Day 

In our latest interview, Paul Peters, director of Student Life at Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Man., shares about his school’s participation in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Orange Shirt Day, this year. 

Indigenous Settler Relations   

Land reparations. Treaty rights. Political and spiritual covenants. Over the past 50 years,      Mennonites – at their best – have publicly resolved to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples, and promised to work for change. Be It Resolved is a new anthology that shares the commitments that our churches and partner coalitions have made, and explores what it might mean for today. With an 8-session study guide, this is a great tool to stoke Adult Ed conversations over zoom, or individual reflection. Groups can purchase five copies for $75 through CommonWord.  

  

Pray for Six Nations Land Defenders 

Since July 19, Haudenosaunee land defenders have mobilized near Caledonia, Ont., to stop a development in the Haldimand Tract that does not have the consent of the people. Many land defenders and their supporters have been arrested for violating an interim court injunction. Indigenous communities from coast to coast have demonstrated to show their solidarity for the land reclamation. On October 22, Justice R.J. Harper is set to rule on the injunction, but will not hear arguments from land defenders unless they vacate the occupied land. Please pray for a peaceful and just resolution to this situation. Christian Peacemaker Teams has been in touch with those at #1492LandBackLane site. Learn more


    RJC Annual Corporation Meeting: Saturday, October 24, 11:00am-12:00pm (CST). This year's meeting will
    be held over Zoom. Please visit the website rjc.sk.ca for further details or call the school at (306) 232-4222. 

    RJC Homecoming Fundraiser: This Hour Has 115 Years! Join us virtually on Sunday, October 25 at 7:00pm (CST) for an evening of entertainment, playing off the CBC program of a similar name. The evening will feature: an online auction, alumni interviews, musical performances, and more! Visit rjc.sk.ca/homecoming to watch the event. 
INTERNATIONAL WITNESS Sunday October 18

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 and praise 

Siaka Traoré, Burkina Faso Mennonite church leader who suffered from typhoid fever and COVID-19, is now well on the way to recovery. He writes, "Thank God, and thank you for your prayers.” Continue to remember our partnering churches in Burkina Faso and the Congo in your prayers. 

Help for Bolivian families during COVID 

Pray for the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Bolivia as they serve a poor community outside of Santa Cruz. The daycare centre they run has had to close because of COVID-19. The church is helping families who cannot work due to lack of childcare to start small businesses. See https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/bolivia for more information.   

Partnership with Bethlehem Bible College 

Praise God for the recent signing of an agreement between Mennonite Church Canada and the West Bank's Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) calling for people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning about the biblical call to peace and justice.  Pray for BBC president Jack Sara, faculty and students as they resume classes during the pandemic, while also dealing with the hardships of living under Israeli military occupation. 

Praise God for the gift of international connections as we as Mennonite Church Canada work and learn together with partners in more than 15 countries. 
Celebrate these relationships together on International Witness Sunday.  See https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/IW-Sunday 
May we be transformed as we follow Jesus together across borders, cultures, and languages.   

 

               

Help match Mennonite Church Canada’s donation to Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 relief fund!       

Since the spring our nationwide community of faith has raised over $30,000 for 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. If you haven’t already donated, please help us reach our $50,000 goal. We’re almost there. 

Just arrived from Mennonite Church Canada!  Be It Resolved is an anthology that brings together over 90 documents that trace the history of Anabaptist commitments to Indigenous justice and decolonization since the mid-1960s.  A valued reference book and inspiring group study.  Affordable – and it ships free.  www.commonword.ca/go/2142      


    An important read during COVID-19 when we all have faced many losses.  Available to buy at     discounted rates.  Group study guide and a link to a discussion with author Stephanie Lobdell      is also available – www.commonword.ca/go/2124 




Consider the Palestinian Christian call to “Preach Palestine” this November 29 (first Sunday of Advent and International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People).  Worship resources can be found here – www.commonword.ca/go/2157 


Watch Recent Recorded Webinars/Zoom Events  

Seeing through the Pandemic – CMU Face2 Face panel conversation – www.commonword.ca/go/2144 

Liberating the Politics of Jesus: Women’s Wisdom and Experience – MC USA Women Doing Theology – www.commonword.ca/go/2153  

Doctrine of Discovery: Honouring our Connections to the Land – MCBC conversation – www.commonword.ca/go/2154 

It Can Be Done: Children's Sunday School during COVID – MennoMedia Shine – www.commonword.ca/go/2155 

Treaty as Sacred Covenant with Myeengun Henry – MCEC conversation – www.commonword.ca/go/2156 

Join an Upcoming Online Event 

MCA’s Engage: Learning to Walk with People from other Faith Backgrounds – Oct 14-Nov 18 

MCBC’s Searching for Peace in Palestine/Israel – Oct 15 

Mennonite Church Canada’s Table Talk:  Does the Church Still have Legs? – Oct 24 

CMU’s Renew:  Resources for Preaching – Oct 27, Nov 24 

Voices Together Digital Launch – December 13 

For more information, see www.commonword.ca/go/events 

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 17                    Camp Workday
Oct 18.                   International Witness Sunday
Oct 14-Nov 18.      Engage: Learning to Walk with People from other Faith Backgrounds
Oct 24                    MC Canada Study Conference - Online
Oct 31                    Christian-Muslim Dialogue -- Online
Nov 3/4                  MCA Pastors Retreat at King's Fold Retreat Centre
Nov 7                     Special Congregational Zoom Check-In       
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