The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
November 4, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - An Urgent Prayer Request 
Our Stories 
MCA Special Check-In

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

Our E3 Prayer

Oh God, I feel the cool breezes move around me, even though I can’t see them.
May I embrace your constant, if unseen, presence.
Urgent Prayer Request  (as of Monday, November 2)
from Jacob Froese, Missions and Service Committee 

Please pray for Nayachar Pathot, wife of David Puok Riek and mother of their 6 children, is in Foothills Hospital, undiagnosed but gravely ill.

Jake continued with “My heart is quite concerned.  We need this mother to survive. These folks are part of South Sudanese community M&S is working with.

UPDATE:  For those who received this earlier -- thank you for your prayers! Please to continue to pray in thanksgiving as there have been some improvements in Nayachar's health. 

Our Stories 
First Mennonite Church Calgary
Reflections on a Summer Baptism

written by Ruth Griffeth, deacon 

Every so often, if your eyes are open, you get a glimpse of the Holy!  It is a holy encounter that wraps you in a time of wonder and awe, an encounter that needs to be experienced in the present – not remembered from the past or anticipated at some time in the future.  It is an encounter with God that defies description; mere words fail to do it justice.  Yet, some of us experienced the holy this past summer.

It had been months since our congregation at Calgary  First Mennonite had met in our sanctuary for worship, due to the pandemic-related restrictions.  So when two of our young people, who had been taking baptism preparation classes with Pastor Caleb over Zoom, wondered aloud if it would be possible to be baptized in the river, we prayed, and collectively held our breaths, hoping that restrictions would be lifted enough for even a few to meet at Camp Valaqua and have the baptism in the Little Red Deer River that runs through camp.  And God answered our prayers.   

On Sunday, August 23, a few of us from church, along with family and friends, gathered on the banks of the river to celebrate the baptism and receiving into membership of Margo Ratzlaff and Nathan Burgess.  Both Margo and Nathan felt that God had become real and personal to them in nature, specifically in church camps.  In Margo’s words:  “My baptism was wonderful. Even during my baptism classes I wanted to be baptized in the river at Camp Valaqua. With Covid-19, the river began to seem like less of a possibility since gatherings were being limited and camp being pretty much shut down. However, through God’s grace, we were still able to have a baptism service at camp and I was so happy. The weather was perfect, and I was able to have my baptism surrounded by my church family.” 

We met at the side of the river, in small cohorts, and  wearing masks, being aware of keeping a safe distance between the groups.  Moni Janssen led us in worship.  We sang of God’s love and faithfulness, and listened to Pastor Caleb’s message from Luke 15.  This was followed by the personal testimonies of Margo and Nathan.  We then moved into the river, where they were, in turn, immersed in the clean, clear water of the Little Red Deer.  Nathan’s words:  When I think of baptism, the metaphor of entering a new chapter in life comes to mind.  This past summer I had the opportunity to be baptized at Camp Valaqua in the Little Red Deer River.   

It was a special time and place; having my immediate family be witness to my baptism while being at Camp.  Although I didn't attend Camp Valaqua growing up, summer camp has held special memories as I remember it as a place to grow spiritually and make connections.   

With my wife and our two children present, I was able to share a significant growing experience with them.  I look forward to entering this new chapter in my life and seeing what God has in store for me.”

After the formal part of the service, we moved to higher ground to share a meal and the Lord’s Supper.  Of course, the “sharing” was limited to each cohort, but we could all see each other and for the first time in months, come close to having meaningful communion as a community of faith.  And for a few hours, we were taken “out of the pandemic” and given a chance to worship God in a way that was fresh.  

For a pdf version plus more photos see Our Stories.


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. 
Registration form at   (Scroll down.)
As Remembrance Day is next week,
and we are seeing poppies being worn.
Remember to work for peace. 

Latecomers welcome!
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 (, 403-637-2510) for registration information or access the link at

New anthology documents six decades
of Anabaptist response to Indigenous calls for justice


"The most important peacemaking agenda that we have now"

An interview with Be it Resolved editors Esther Epp-Tiessen and Steve Heinrichs and graphic designer Matt Veith

Be It Resolved: Anabaptist & Partner Coalitions Advocate for Indigenous Justice, 1966-2020 is a new publication from Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Central Committee. The near-500-page anthology is a compilation of over 90 documents that detail commitments Anabaptists have made to Indigenous justice and decolonization.

In our latest interview, co-editors Esther Epp-Tiessen and Steve Heinrichs, along with graphic designer Matt Veith, share their encounters with the commitments, the challenge to the live up to some of them and what a book like this means for the church now.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why is this book important now?

EET: It's important to know where we come from, what our story has been, what our relationships have been. Looking back doesn't mean getting stuck in the past. It enables our past to guide our present and our future. I do think it is important to keep on returning to the story and reinterpreting it to come to a deeper and a more faithful understanding.

Mi'kmaw-Acadian theologian Terry LeBlanc tells a wonderful story that illustrates this. A grandfather and grandson are walking through a forest. Every now and then the grandfather stops and looks back and then carries on. The little boy is worried. He says, "Grandfather, where are we going? We are going to get lost." The grandfather replies that he is looking back so that he will know how to return home. It's a beautiful story about the role that history plays in our self-understanding. We look back so that we can move forward in a good way. Sometimes that means having to repent for actions and understandings that have been harmful.

Read more

International Witness

Thailand Witness workers ask for prayers for peace 

International Witness workers, Tom and Christine Poovong, ask for prayers for peace in Thailand. Protestors and activists have been marching and demanding change in government since July. Pray for the safety of protestors and wisdom of government leaders and the monarchy as they respond to demands.    

New Anabaptist study groups in China 

Pray for the newly formed network of Anabaptist study groups in China. Pray that study resources and classes beginning next week will strengthen and encourage people’s faith. Pray that pastors and leaders guide with wisdom, led by the Spirit.   

AIMM annual meetings in November 

Pray for the online Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission annual meetings in early November. Pray for a Spirit of unity and understanding as people come together from five countries to discern and plan for this next year. Pray that the online nature of the meetings this year won’t stand in the way of strengthening relationships. Pray for wisdom as AIMM chooses a new executive director.   

The webpage of resources that Mennonite Church Canada  created for International Witness Day now contains streaming and download links for all of the video resources. 

The introductory videos can also be found on our newly updated International Witness web page. 

Indigenous Settler Relations   

In Nova Scotia, Ontario and B.C., we are witnessing conflicts over Treaty rights, Indigenous lands and resource development. What can the church consider these matters and how might we act? Be It Resolved, a new anthology, documents over 50 years of resolutions by Mennonite churches and partner coalitions to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples. An eight-session study guide helps us explore what these commitments mean for our responses today and will stoke group discussion or individual reflection. Study groups can purchase five copies for $75 through CommonWord

Worship and Mission: Book reviewers wanted! 

What does worship have to do with mission? How should our worship look and feel in order to embody peace and embolden justice?  The Anabaptist Witness journal is creating an issue that explores the connections between witness and worship. We have a bunch of amazing books on the topic and are looking for people to read and write personal reflections that engage church contexts. If you are interested, please contact Steve Heinrichs.   

Get involved!

Understanding and Engaging Movements for Justice in 2020

Equip yourself for nonviolent witness:

Access recordings of these sessions of an online series sponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and AMBS’s Witness Colloquium course led by Janna Hunter-Bowman and Jason Shenk:

  • Sept. 23: Sarah Nahar, M.Div.
  • Sept. 30: Maria J. Stephan, Ph.D., and David Cortright, Ph.D.
  • Oct. 7: Rev. Liz Theoharis, Ph.D.

Participate in any or all of the remaining online sessions of AMBS’s weekly Witness Colloquium:

  • Nov. 4: Elections, Anabaptism and Where We Are Now
  • Nov. 18: International Student Panel on Elections
  • Nov. 25: Patricia Gorostieta of Movimiento Cosecha
  • Dec. 2: People’s History of Elkhart

Wednesdays, 12:30–1:30 p.m. Eastern Time
There is no cost to participate, but registration is required. Register here

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

We are close to our goal! As a nationwide community of faith we have raised $40,000, 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. Help us reach, $50,000! Donations go through regional churches. Click here for more info. 

Missed the Table Talk Study Conference?  Wish you could listen a second time?
The videos are now available.   

from Mennonite Church Canada 

Be It Resolved

This anthology brings together over 90 documents that trace the history of Anabaptist commitments to Indigenous justice and decolonization since the mid-1960s.  Includes a study guide. 


Join CommonRead 

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 – 


Congregations who pre-ordered the hymnal and its related products from MennoMedia will receive them soon! 

Individual copies of the hymnal pew edition, Worship Leader’s edition, Accompaniment edition, and Audio recordings will soon be available through CommonWord.  Watch our website for more details. 


Virtual book launch 

Join us for an online conversation with Ray Friesen, November 12, 7 p.m. CDT, on the launch of his book Wandering the Wilderness


Salt of the Earth 

A unique Christian Seasons calendar - beginning Advent 2020. Buy -


Watch Recent Recorded Webinars/Zoom Events   

Seeing through the Pandemic – CMU Face2 Face panel conversation –  

Liberating the Politics of Jesus: Women’s Wisdom and Experience – MC USA Women Doing Theology –   

Doctrine of Discovery: Honouring our Connections to the Land – MCBC conversation –  

It Can Be Done: Children's Sunday School during COVID – MennoMedia Shine –  

Treaty as Sacred Covenant with Myeengun Henry – MCEC conversation –  

Join an Upcoming Online Event  

CMU’s ReNew:  Resources for Preaching – Nov 24  

Voices Together Digital Launch – December 13  

For more information, see 

Contact Us  

CommonWord staff are very knowledgeable about the breadth of materials available (for your church council, worship committee, small group, etc.) and offer customer support, by phone (1-877-846-1593), email ( or in-person (public hours @ CommonWord, Mon-Fri, 11:00-3:00). 


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?
MCA Calendar
Oct 14-Nov 18.      Engage: Learning to Walk with People from other Faith Backgrounds
Nov 7                     Special Congregational Zoom Check-In       
Facebook Group
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