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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
January 20, 2021

In this issue

E3 Prayer 
A Menno Minute - Derek Cook
One Good Thing - Linden Willms
Chin Church Update
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

Thank you God for the sunshine, even on the coldest days, and for your presence, even when I can’t feel you.

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.












Derek Cook,  Foothills Mennonite
Director of the Canadian Poverty Institute at Ambrose University

A Menno Minute

Pain and Potential

After a long period of waiting, we learned in December that a Covid-19 vaccine had been approved and distribution was beginning. We are told that by the beginning of September we all should have received the vaccine and life can begin to return to “normal”. Normal might be once again gathering as a church community, sharing a meal with friends and family, going for coffee with a neighbour, or just simply being able to hug someone in need of a hug. There was so much was put on hold and there are so many losses to grieve of things we simply took for granted. As we reflect on these past months and the ones ahead we can say along with the Psalmist that we have literally walked through the valley of the shadow of death. 

But in our faith, death is never final; it only presages a re-birth to come. Anticipating the time when we can return to normal, it occurred to me that the date when we can expect to emerge from the valley is exactly 9 months away. Perhaps we might think of the time between now and then as a gestational period as we wait for the birth of a new life together. If so, can we treat the time between now and then as an expectant mother would her developing child? 

We know that a developing life is fragile and there a few things we need to do to nurture it into being that nourish both mother and child. As a father I recall many years ago how my wife and I gently ushered our developing child into the world. A healthy pregnancy requires you, first of all, to stay active. Even though we cannot physically gather, we have stayed active in our church communities using new ways like zoom to maintain virtual community. Secondly, it is also important during pregnancy to avoid toxins, like tobacco and alcohol, that can harm the child. So too the temptation to consume that which is toxic, like the anger and conspiracies that swirl around us, must be avoided in favour of that which nourishes the spirit. 

Another thing we are told to do is make a plan. We attend pre-natal classes, have a birth plan, set up a nursery … So too we might think about making a plan for our new world on the other side of the valley. What do we need to do to prepare and get set up for that new world? This requires us also to monitor the health of the new life growing within us, expectantly watching and waiting for each new stage of development. As we wait for this new life to emerge we dream about who that might be and we begin to bond with her or him. I recall my wife and I singing to our child before she was born letting her get to know the sound of our voices as we tried to imagine what she would look like and who she would become.

So too can we sing our new world into being. As Mennonites, we have a deep tradition of singing, our canon rich with songs of peace, justice, grace, community and love. In verse 3 of For the Healing of the Nations we sing “All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned: pride of status, race or schooling, dogmas that obscure Your plan. In our common quest for justice may we hallow life’s brief span.” This is the new life we must sing into being now, the one we must imagine, nurture and prepare for.

Over the past 10 months the injustices of our old world have been brought into sharp relief:  racism, poverty, inequality, violence. Can we imagine that the valley of death we have just passed through is the death of all that robbed us of life? And though we walk through that valley for just a little while longer, let’s sing as we walk and prepare to welcome a new life and do all that we can and must do to nurture and prepare for it. There will be pain in the labour, but so much potential in the birth.

One Good Thing. Just One Good Thing.  
Linden Willms, Springridge Mennonite

Unlike so many others, I have been able to appreciate the slowdown over the past months. It has given me time to read, reflect and ask important life questions of myself. Richard Rohr has mentored me in Falling Upward into the second stage of my life. My first stage of building what he calls a ‘container’ which includes building security, success and identity are over and now I am in the process of filling that container. I hope that means I become a more loving, less defensive, more inclusive and non-dualistic person.

Calgary Chin Christian Church Update


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 May 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 tour of photos 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!  

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

Save the date!
Camp Fundraiser Update:
March 6 -- Camp Valaqua Family Feud

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

Mennonite Church Canada congregations match $50,000 donation for MWC COVID-19 fund in 2020

Congregations across Mennonite Church Canada have matched a $50,000 donation made by Mennonite Church Canada to a COVID-19 relief fund operated by Mennonite World Conference / Congreso Mundial Menonita / Conférence Mennonite Mondiale (MWC).
 
The fund, which is part of MWC’s Global Church Sharing Fund, helps MWC-member churches struggling because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
 


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

The book chosen for Common Read's winter title is I Am Not Your Enemy: Stories to Transform a Divided World by Michael T. McRay. Read more about the author and book here: https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/article/10893-commonword-herald-press-and-mc-usa-partner-for-common-read-winter-title

Indigenous-Settler Relations

35 years and going strong: A webinar with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) 

 For more than three decades, Mennonite Church Canada partner CPT has been transforming violence and undoing oppressions around the world. Join us for a webinar this Jan., 28, noon CT, to learn about the current work in Colombia, Greece, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine and here on Turtle Island. Be inspired and discover ways that you can support. To register, visit https://cptaction.org/looking-back-acting-now-planning-ahead/

Join a February book club on Unsettling the Word 

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

Anabaptist Global Fellowship Sunday – January 24, 2021 

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, is Anabaptist Global Fellowship Sunday! MWC calls us to prayer on this day. Praise God that Anabaptists around the world are united in faith in God’s kingdom across language and cultural differences. Give thanks for the growing networks in the MWC family: mission, service, health, peace and education.  

Myanmar congregation builds church 

Pray for the Mission Anabaptist Church in Chin State, Myanmar, as they build a place where they can worship with and train members of their community. Pray that God will bless this place and use it to be a blessing to their region and country.   

Daycare program offered by Bolivia Mennonite Church forced to close 

Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Bolivia (IEMB) community daycare program for vulnerable and marginalized children in Santa Cruz has been forced to close due to COVID-19 numbers in the area. Pray for the families affected by this closure. Pray they can find ways to work while taking care of their children. Pray for the staff of the daycare program who have been without work for many months due to the closure. 

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

.                                            
 

Lent resources 

  •  Including resources for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday – www.commonword.ca/go/2213 






  • Lenten Guided Prayer from Mennonite Spiritual Directors of Eastern Canada – www.commonword.ca/go/2221 

 

     CommonRead 

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

  
Featured Mennonite Church Canada resources: 

  • What happens to Mennonite Church Canada plastic communion cups once they are blessed and then used?  In 2016 Lois Siemens was asked to "take care of them." So she did! She began to photograph them in Mennonite worship spaces across Canada to remind us that we are all beloved children of God - www.commonword.ca/go/2236 
  • A personal memoir by former General Secretary of Mennonite Church Canada - www.commonword.ca/go/2238 

  • A novel set in Lusaka Zambia in 1974 by First Mennonite Church, Edmonton writer – www.commonword.ca/go/2239  

  • A new companion study guide by Dan Epp-Tiessen for Peaceful at Heart, Anabaptist Reflections on Healthy Masculinity – free to download at www.commonword.ca/go/2224.   






MC USA devotional guides for family  

An At-Home devotional guide for families
from Mennonite Church USA – www.commonword.ca/go/2240






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
Sunday, March 21                  Online Worship for ALL MCA congregations
  
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