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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
February 3, 2021

In this issue

E3 Prayer 
A Menno Minute -- Darrel Heidebrecht
One Good Thing - LIsa Rosenberg
Chin Church Update 
Missions and Services Updates
Camp Valaqua Rentals 
Family Feud Fundraiser
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 many look to a groundhog to predict the winter days ahead,
help us to look to you, our all knowing and all loving God for guidance.

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.

A Menno MInute
Darrel Heidebrecht, Foothills Mennonite

Darrel has worked with MCC for over 30 years, most recently Restorative Actions For Transformation (RAFT) in Calgary. 

Who are my People?

Apparently my first language was Low German – I have no memory of that but buried somewhere in the recesses of my memory are lodged a few expressions and a surprising familiarity with the language. For the most part, Low German was the language of choice for my parents when they didn’t want us kids to know what they were talking about, and I had a vested interest in never letting on that I could understand anything of what they spoke!  My family’s move from Tofield to Calgary in the early 1960’s marked another significant departure from any regular interaction with family and others who might be more comfortable with Low German.  

I recently read a book, Menno Moto, which resonated with my sense of having a somewhat buried and forgotten identity. The author, Cameron Dueck, travels by motorcycle from the Red River region of Manitoba to Argentina, visiting with as many Old Colony Mennonites as he can along the way.  

Dueck moved away from his home in the Inter-lake region of Manitoba, leaving behind his life as a Mennonite in a very traditional community. His home is now in Hong Kong where he lives and works as a writer.  He embarked on this journey as something of a quest to explore his roots, family connections, and sense of identity and belonging. It seemed he did not start out with a strong sense of who he was or even if he self-identified as Mennonite at all, although his love for Mennonite foods had not abated! 

During this journey, Dueck visited Mennonite Colonies in Mexico, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina, and he found relatives all along the way. These visits could  very well have served to reinforce for Dueck the reasons he left all this behind, but they also re-connected him to his own story and sense of identity.  

The “ghost rapes” that took place on one colony in Bolivia (written about by Miriam Toews) was by far most disturbing and repulsive to Dueck. And yet, he reserved judgement, listened to all perspectives, and didn’t find it necessary to denounce everything about life in that place.

Toward the end of his journey he finds himself staying with a Mennonite family in Argentina. He describes having medach’schlop in his tent and hearing the girls from the family discussing him nearby. Trying to figure out who he is, one asks,  “is he a weltmensch?”. No, he’s a Mennonite but not like us. He speaks Plautdietsch, and says he comes from those Mennonites in Canada.”  

Dueck smiles, and says to himself, “Yes, I am a Mennonite.”

I was struck by the rawness and honestly of Dueck’s journey and wondered how much energy I and “my people” have put into distancing ourselves from what he discovered. I wonder what my journey would look like, who I would encounter, and how my sense of identity might be enriched.

In a recent Canadian Mennonite article, Troy Watson describes a visit to Scotland to reconnect with the places of his ancestors. I was impressed with the sense of belonging, peace, and calm that he seemed to experience in this journey.  

While I am quite unlikely to recover Low German, I have had a few occasions recently to visit Low German speaking people in a few Alberta communities. To my surprise, I could follow enough of the conversation to usually catch the drift of what they were talking about with the help of them throwing in the occasional English word!  More significantly, I felt a sort of affinity with many of these people; there was a sense of kinship that was stirred in me.  

Menno Moto reminded me of the importance of identity, of belonging, and of being curious about the identity of others. Who are my people? Who are your people?  Perhaps a healthy starting point for respectful relationships!

Read more Menno Minutes HERE

One Good Thing. Just One Good Thing.  
Lisa Rosenberg, Foothills Mennonite

Prior to the pandemic, my calendar was full, I always had 2-3 unfinished books on my bedside and I never seemed to have enough time to call and connect with old friends. There was something shocking about seeing my calendar instantly empty. There is something liberating now about rethinking what I really want to put back into my calendar when things go back to 'normal'. I have really enjoyed reading and finishing those books. More importantly, though, I have really enjoyed the time to re-connect with old friends.
Calgary Chin Christian Church 
On Monday, February 1, Mennonite Church Canada asked our nationwide community of faith to pray for the people of Myanmar as well as for our Myanmar siblings here in Canada.
Please remember our brothers and sisters in the Calgary Chin Christian Church in your prayers. 


Having received an extension to continue in their current space, the Calgary Chin Christian Church has made the decision to delay their official move-in date. On March 14, 2021 they will celebrate both their Grand Opening and their 10-year anniversary.
They celebrate the work that has been completed and have shared a virtual tour on the MCA Facebook page.  
They will continue to fundraise for tech equipment (TVs, projectors, monitors, computers, a sound system)  and office furniture. Donations accepted with gratitude!  

If you missed it last week, be sure to read Walking together -- with so much to Learn, a relationship building update, thanks to Jake Froese, Missions and Service committee.
And, For more news.

Missions and Service Committee
is inviting you to join two events beyond our Mennonite family.

1.  Continuing the Conversation.   BEGINS TONIGHT!

A three part monthly  series patterned after the yearly Christian Muslim Dialogue

This series brings together people in small Zoom Rooms, on the first Tuesday of the month. 
Dates:  Feb 3, March 2, April 6.  7-8 p.m. Mountain Time.

Topics: Know your Neighbour, Hospitality, Embassy, and Unity.  

Registration required

2. United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week,
a week long event hosted by  Calgary Interfaith Council


Theme is "Harmonious Relations"  

Opened Monday, February 1, 7- 8 pm  with Mayor Nenshi

Will close:  Sunday February 7, 3-4 pm. 

For more information and to register.  


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 ❄️
     
   from Kevin Stoesz, Camp Valaqua committee chair

Camp Valaqua's Family Feud Fundraiser 
March 6, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

We are changing things up this year for our annual Camp Valaqua Fundraiser! Join us on March 6th from 7-8:30 for our first Family Feud evening. This event will be held over Zoom.

Sign up with a group of people or sign up as an individual and I will find a team for you. Please fill out the Registration form. I look forward to seeing you all on March 6th. Feel free to email kbstoesz@gmail.com for any additional questions. 

MCA Annual Delegate Sessions will be held via Zoom March 20. 
Pre-assembly workshops have been scheduled for the dates below. 
Check www.mcab.ca for times and registration. More details re Workshop Content to follow.

February 13         MC Canada  and Community Building & Program
February 20         MC Canada (1 p.m.)
February 27         RJC and MCA Executive
March 6               Constitution & Bylaw and Mission & Service
March 13             CMU and Camp Valaqua
Mark your calendars and plan to join our MCA family of congregations
for Worship via Zoom 


as we launch Year Two of our E3 Action Plan:
Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in Community

March 21, 10:30 a.m.
See www.mcab.ca to register.

Thank you! 
Mennonite Church Canada congregations successfully matched the $50,000 donation for MWC COVID-19 Sharing Fund in 2020.  Of this, $11,901.90 came via Mennonite Church Alberta! 

Call for RJC alumni & friends to join virtual choirs: We invite anyone interested to join one or both of the virtual alumni & friends choirs that Richard Janzen is putting together for RJC's upcoming Virtual Choirs & Cakes fundraiser event on March 14. There will be a mass choir (alumni, friends, greater community, & RJC students) and an alumni & friends choir. All are welcome. If you are interested in singing, email richard@rjc.sk.ca.  


CommonW
ord, Herald Press and MC USA partner
for Commo
n Read winter title 

“The intersection of peacemaking and storytelling is where I feel alive”: Common Read author discusses peacemaking during online webinar 

In an online webinar hosted by Herald Press and MennoMedia on Jan. 14, Michael T. McRay, who is from small-town Tennessee, said his father, a doctor who tended to the poor, taught him that “Matt. 25 was a cheat sheet for the final exam,” particularly the part about clothing and caring for “the least of these.”  

Indigenous-Settler Relations

Anabaptist Witness Journal – Protest and the Church’s Mission 

At the 1967 Mennonite World Conference assembly, civil rights activist Vincent Harding challenged the Mennonite Church not to remain distant from the protest movements of oppressed peoples, but to engage and “march out” with them. What is the relationship between protest movements and the mission of the church? Anabaptist Witness is inviting poets, preachers, activists and academics to explore this question, and offer your reflections. Check out the call for submissions here

 

International Witness
 

Mennonite Church Canada issues call to prayer for Myanmar 

Mennonite Church Canada calls on our nationwide community of faith to pray for the people of Myanmar. Pray also for our Myanmar siblings here in Canada. They are deeply concerned for their loved ones and the effect that recent actions will have on peace within Myanmar. 



Witness worker serving Lao migrants 

Pray for the fellowship of Lao migrant workers near Bangkok and their leadership as they form a community of faith that focuses on discipleship and leadership training.  Pray that Witness worker, Tom Poovong will have wisdom and strength to support this group as together they serve God in their local and home communities.   

Patience during changing lockdown measures 

Praise God for the support Witness worker Sook Kyoung Park gives to her students and their parents amidst the opening and closing COVID-19 orders for after school programs. Pray she will have wisdom, patience and a calm presence in a difficult time.   

Burkina Faso Mennonite Church elects young leaders, first woman 

 There are exciting changes in the Eglise Évangélique Mennonite du Burkina Faso (EEMBF), the nationwide Mennonite church in Burkina Faso. Last month, the Executive Committee elected new, promising young leaders, as well as the first woman to ever serve on the Committee.

New pastors ready to serve in Burkina Faso 

Nine young pastors were ordained (pictured together with their wives) in addition to three more young men finishing their biblical training and ready to begin pastoring. Thank-you for your prayers for these promising new leaders within the Burkina Faso Mennonite churches. 

 

.                                            

Resources for Lent 

 CommonRead Title 

Our winter 2021 CommonRead title – www.commonword.ca/go/2215.  Additional savings for group studies:  20% off when purchasing 5 or more copies! 

 




From Friends of CommonWord 

A family memoir, racial analysis and decolonization workbook by Elaine Enns and Ched Myers. Due to be released in a few weeks. Shipping generously subsidized by Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations office – www.commonword.ca/go/2243

A joint Canadian Mennonite University, A Rocha, MCC Manitoba and Canadian Foodgrains Bank publication on food, faith, farming and the land. Pre-order your copy (due to be released May 1) – www.commonword.ca/go/2248

 






New from Herald Press 

Purchase access to the streaming video curriculum through MennoMedia.  Purchase the leader’s guide and participant’s journal through CommonWord – www.commonword.ca/go/2247 

 

MCEC’s recent Leaders Event on “Intercultural Church” 

Safwat Marzouk of AMBS, in two video sessions, offers a biblical vision for what it means to be an intercultural church, one that fosters just diversity, integrates different cultural articulations of faith and worship, and embodies an alternative to the politics of assimilation and segregation - www.commonword.ca/go/2249.  Also see a variety of related resources available – www.commonword.ca/go/2205

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
Annual Delegate Sessions  Advance Workshops
February 13         MC Canada  and Community Building & Program
February 20         MC Canada (1 p.m.)
February 27         RJC and MCA Executive
March 6               Constitution & Bylaw and Mission & Service
March 13             CMU and Camp Valaqua


March 6                    Camp Valaqua Family Feud Fundraiser


March 20-21, 9:30 a.m.                            Annual Delegate Sessions -- via ZOOM
Sunday, March 21, 10:30 a.m.                  Online Worship for ALL MCA congregations
  
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