The MCA Communiqué
December 8, 2021

In this issue

Our E3 Prayer and  Prayer Updates
The MCA Advent Calendar 
A Menno MInute 
Peacemakers Confessing Christ in Calgary (NEM event)
Camp Swag for sale.
PIN -- Remembering Palestinian people. 

And more from MC Canada, International Witness, Indigenous Settler Relations, our schools and Common Word. 
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MCA Calendar
December 11, Peacemakers Confessing Christ,Trinity Mennonite
March 18,19  Annual Delegate Sessions, First Mennonite Calgary 
July 29 - August 1, 2022    We Declare: Gathering 2022, Edmonton
July 31 - August 4, 2022    Amplify: Youth Gathering, Camp Valaqua

E3 = MCA             Year 2  Christ in Community

Our E3 Prayer
Oh God, help us to seek out and embrace the joy you offer in our ordinary and extraordinary experiences.

International Witness Prayer Updates
Please pray for Werner and Joanne De Jong. With their date of departure, January 17, 2022, getting closer they continue to live with uncertainty. They are committed to serve at Meserete Kristos Seminary in Ethiopia and yet, they wait.

Check in daily!

CLICK for the MCA Advent Calendar 
Created specifically for our MCA faith family by the E3 focus group! Enjoy and share!
A Menno MInute

a little more peace
written by Ruth Bergen Braun 

Recently retired, Darrel Heidebrecht recorded stories, memories, perspectives and his interpretations of those stories reflecting on his career in restorative justice. He initially wrote so his children and grandchildren would know what he did. That family manuscript is now the book a little more peace in the world:  Reflections on my Experience with Restorative Justice.

Asked why he wrote and then self-published this book, he replied that his experience taught him that institutional memory is short. By putting his manuscript in book form there would be a record that Mennonite Central Committee Alberta had a commitment to restorative justice in this province and a record of the partnerships MCC Alberta developed.

In the book, Heidebrecht reflects on pivotal moments in what he calls his accidental career. Moments where he crossed a threshold and couldn’t go back — experiences with Native Ministries, attending seminary, and then working with M2/W2 (Man to Man, Woman to Woman) a MCC prison visitation ministry. He found himself the director of a prison ministry before he had ever been in a prison. Working with M2/W2 he saw injustices and struggled to know what to do with them. For example, the prison was easier to access by volunteers than by family members, but addressing that fact could put the M2/W2 program at risk — the result, an ethical dilemma.

His trip in 1997 to the International Conference of Penal Abolition in Auckland, New Zealand was one of these pivotal moments. This conference opened his eyes to what restorative justice could be, a fundamental re-focusing of criminal justice issues. New Zealand was already implementing Family Group Conferences, with family members of both victims and offenders participating in a process in hope of mutual restoration. Could something similar be done here?   

Calgary Community Conferencing (CCC, which later was re-configured as RAFT, Restorative Actions for Transformation) was a collaborative effort between MCC, the City of Calgary, Calgary Board of Education and the John Howard Society. Like Family Group Conferences, CCC brought together young offenders and their victims. The challenge of a CCC conference was that both parties were given permission to fail. There was always the chance that the interactions would “go sideways.” And yet, more often than not, creating space for the process also created the potential for change in a very short time frame. Although RAFT has been discontinued, Heidebrecht holds to the hope that the spirit of restorative justice cannot be quenched and that in another form a restorative justice program will be born again.

Heidebrecht’s passion for restorative justice resonates throughout the book. He believes that restorative justice embraces you. As it focuses on accountability and responsibility it forces you to struggle with your own weakness. He learned as director of M2/W2 and in his work with CCC and RAFT that “Why don’t we try that?” opens both literal and figurative doors and has the potential to create a little more peace in individuals and in the world.

To purchase:

Or through CommonWord 

(If you have an idea for a Menno Minute or know a writer you would like to see here -- send any and all suggestions to 

December 11

Time:  11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Who is your neighbor next door or down the street? What is their story?

Do they know your story?

Does religion enter into the conversation? And how about Jesus?

Here is a fine opportunity for Calgary and Didsbury Mennonites to learn together how to share our faith for stronger relationships with our neighbours.  Details and to REGISTER HERE.

Order your Camp Valaqua SWAG today in time for Christmas!

And remember Camp Valaqua is again open for rentals. Contact Jeff   (
Camp has some groups booking the whole camp, as in previous years, with strict Covid protocols. There are other spaces (the white house, the brown house, the yurts) that are available for rentals -- a perfect family getaway? Call (403) 637-2510) or email for details. 
A new feature!  Sharing Our Gifts

Our faith community is gifted with poets and prayer writers --
for which we are grateful. As these gifts are for sharing, we now have a space on our website for poetry and prayers. Please send contributions to

The first,  a poem by robert peters (Foothills) 

in the dawn

in the darkness

    before the dawn

        when the temperature in the air


by two degrees

Read the rest       

Remembering the Palestinian people this Advent

The first Sunday of Advent this year, November 28, falls on the day before the United Nations’ International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. What better time to remember our brothers and sisters in the land of Jesus’ birth! This advent, you can make a difference in their lives by:

  1. Praying for peace with justice to take root between Israelis and Palestinians. As Christmas approaches, our PIN is focusing on the children of Palestine. Many of them, along with their families, are traumatized by Israeli military forces.
  2. Buying fair trade Palestinian products as part of your Christmas shopping. MC Canada PIN is recommending three outlets, listed here. Please click on the links to access their websites to learn what they do and how you can order or find local stores that carry their products.


"May our hearts reflect the hope and generosity of the shepherds, the magi and most of all our God, who came to us this season in Jesus Christ"
Advent greetings from Mennonite Church Canada


Mission nurse, educator, mentor and church leader continued ministry in ‘retirement’ 

Frieda Schellenberg Erb, 81, who touched many lives through her lifetime of ministry in Bolivia and Argentina, died November 14, 2021, in Choele Choel, Argentina. Read our tribute. 

Former Witness worker offers leadership coaching in Angola and Congo 

Rudy Dirks, former Witness worker for Mennonite Church Canada is a leader in the Africa Leadership Coaching Network, small groups of community leaders in Congo and Angola who gather online to share and learn every two weeks. Read our story about the network. 



International Witness

Prayer for Burkina Faso 

Calixte Bananzaro, president of the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso, has shared that terrorists have chased habitants in the northwest regions of the country from their villages, stolen their livestock and burned their stores of grain. Pray for an end to the violence in Burkina Faso.
Mennonite World Conference Indonesia 

Please keep the leaders and staff of Mennonite World Conference in your prayers as they plan for the July 2022 gathering in Indonesia amidst uncertainty of worldwide travel. They will decide in February 2022 how those meetings will take place, on site or online.  Pray for strength, grace and wisdom as they find ways for us to be church together in this way. 

Are you looking for ways that you and your congregation can connect with E3 Year 2?

Worship Leaders, are you looking for a pre-recorded sermon to use as part of your E3 Sunday? 

All E3 Y2 Resources, including sermons by Tim, Will, and Brenda, are available HERE. 

Thank you to Common Word for again compiling E3 Resources for us!
Indigenous Settler Relations

Wet-suwet-ten Solidarity webinar – Learning and supporting together]
Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 – 7 p.m. CDT

Join Esther Kern and David Janzen (Valleyview Mennonite Church, London, Ontario), and Allegra Friesen Epp (Home Street Mennonite Church, Winnipeg), who recently spent time in Wet'suwet'en territory in northwestern B.C. Hear stories from the frontlines of the Wet’suwet’en struggle for land sovereignty and get updates about the current situation on the ground.

Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery: A Litany for Churches 

In 2016, in response to TRC Call to Action #49 Mennonite Church Canada committed to repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. The MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Group has created a litany to help the church publicly acknowledge a long, untold history and to re-imagine our life together in a new way that respects all peoples, Indigenous and Settler. Free for download through CommonWord - 

Creator’s Call in a Climate Emergency – a community learning series 

Jan. 20 to March 17, 2022 


Join Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations and the Sustainability Leadership Group for a spirited eight-week conversation exploring the two paths of decarbonization and decolonization. Participants will discuss Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (2020), and listen to Indigenous activists and climate action leaders in real-time conversation. 

RJC Christmas Concert - December 15 | 7:00pm (SK CST). Join us as we celebrate the Christmas season! Music and performances by RJC students and staff. Livestream for those who wish to enjoy the program at home can be found at Saskatchewan public health orders will be followed at this event. 

Christmas at CMU – Watch this year's Christmas at CMU program from the comfort of your own home. Christmas favourites performed by current CMU instrumental and choral ensembles, this is our gift of glad tidings and joy to you! Visit

Handel's Messiah performed by the CMU Festival Chorus and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on December 15 at 7:30 PM. Visit for more information. To watch online (for only $10) visit

Through this Place - Stay connected with CMU's monthly e-newsletter about the inside, outside and all about CMU. Visit


Upcoming book launch 

Suffering the Truth:  Occasional Sermons and Reflections by Chris K. Huebner 

In-person registration, live-stream link, and more information, available here – 


With an RSS Reader or by integrating an RSS feed into your blog, website or other interface, you can access our latest resources – 


Looking for a stocking stuffer, last-minute Christmas idea, or gift for your pastor? 

A CommonWord gift card can be redeemed remotely or in-store –   




New from friends of CommonWord 


Guiding Diverse Flocks: Tales of a Rural Mennonite Pastor by Ernie Hildebrand – 

Mennonite Farmers: A Global History of Place and Sustainability by Royden Loewen – 

A Little More Peace in the World: Reflections on my Experience with Restorative Justice by Darrel Heidebrecht – 

Benchmark: Countering COVID through Painting and Poetry (book-launch video also available) – 


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