The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
September 9, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - A Menno Minute:
Invitation to Dialogue - 
Invitation to Prayer
E3 Celebration 
Meet our Students
Table Talk 

And more!
Don't miss updates from Mennonite Church Canada, International Witness,
Indigenous Settler Relations, MWC, and Common Word, 
Donate today
E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life

Our E3 Prayer

God, I see your work in the trees changing colour,
help me to embrace your creative love,
and be open to grow into whoever you want me to be.
A Menno Minute

An October 31st Invitation to Dialogue with Muslims 

“Ashura” was commemorated on August 30, the culmination of 10 days of mourning in the Muslim Shia community. The martyrdom of the family of the prophet in Karbala, Iraq, in the year of 680, was carried out by a despicable leader of the fledgling Muslim movement. The grandson, Imam Husayn, took a stand against this corruption and is therefore honoured for his willingness to die in self-sacrifice.

For more see Karbala - Hussain's Everlasting Stand, the Ashura story   

 As I watched the sorrowful livestream at a local mosque, where I have often visited, my heart reflected that today our times are no better - still “so much wrong and so much injustice”.  With sudden astonishment, I recognized the words as a modern song by John Bell from the Iona community.  It was a surprise  to experience the same emotional tone in the song about Jesus’ death as I had in the Muslim event.  The lyrics continued the Ashura theme, calling us to follow Jesus who took a stand against injustice.  In fact that common vision for justice had brought us together in advocacy for the Occupied Palestinian Territory. I sent the song to these Muslim friends, and though it also highlighted deep theological differences, Dr Masoud Shadnam, chose these words to post to social media: 

"So much wrong and so much injustice,
so you shouldered a wooden cross.
Now, like you, my best dreams are shattered;
all I know is the weight of loss.


No fine song, no impressive music
can attempt to relieve my heart;
in this hour I am called to grieving,
lest no other will play this part."

Listen here: John Bell

Commonalities and connections are often experienced  at informal and formal Interfaith Dialogues.  My Mennonite-shaped reaction has often been to want to build ongoing connections among the participants.  In “A Common Word Alberta” a unique form of dialogue has emerged, where the majority of the time together is spent not in listening to presenters, but in sharing with those around a table (and in today’s Zoom world, break-out rooms). Our style of dialogue has been officially promoted among Canadian Lutherans and Anglicans, now also.  

Dialogues are where both faith communities give verbal  testimony to their understanding and experiences of faith.  I remember the year that a Moravian pastor shared many stories about Jesus and how he related with respect and care to people of all kinds.  My heart leapt  for joy to think that so many Muslims were introduced to these stories, so important in my life.  It was also around a table at a Dialogue that a Turkish friend shared her heart’s grief of the suffering women in her home country.  Our combined communities shared her pain.  These interactions are a common thread between my decades of work as a Witness worker in Burkina Faso and my years of work here in Edmonton  through Mennonite Church Alberta. 

Our  Christian Muslim Dialogue will have an online component this year. That means that folks from all across Canada can participate in these same experiences.   For details – and to register for the October 31 – event, click the poster or HERE.


Thank you to all those who participated in the creation of worship services shared with our wider Mennonite church family. 

From one appreciative member, sent to Mennonite Church Canada

    I just wanted to thank you for providing the video church services from across Canada during this time of church closures.  

    It was very interesting to be a part of the various types of worship and I felt connected spiritually to the larger Mennonite family for the first time.

   In addition to the local streaming, these were uplifting and meaningful to my personal spiritual growth as I looked forward to each one!   




E3 Celebration and Commitment Service

On Sunday, September 27 MCA Congregations have been asked to focus
on our E3 Theme: Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ…in Life

The service will include a time for individuals to share a commitment they would like to make to a prayer or spiritual practice. Or, to share a way they have already experienced “encountering, embracing, embodying Christ” in their life. 

In preparation for this service:

Ask yourself how, in the past year, you have become more open to encounter, embrace, and embody Christ. Or, how you can do so in the year to come.

Some ideas are

  • Commit to daily prayer 
  • Begin a gratitude journal 
  • Take up fasting 
  • Lectio divino 
  • Select a spiritual friend 
  • Develop a statement of faith 
  • Listen to a faith-based podcast 
  • Read a book on faith or prayer 
  • Try new kinds of prayers 
  • Take on an intentional practice 
  • Join a class or club Sunday School, Bible Study or Book Club
  • Pray through the day

More ideas can be found on Overview of Year One and the pdf Bucket Lists  HERE .

There will be opportunity for all churches to contribute to a digital celebration of our personal and collective growth — and aspirations for the future. Your worship leaders will guide you! 

Watch for a Fall Update Digital Bulletin Insert September 20. 


The Worship Committee at Trinity Mennonite Church assembled this visual display to invite their congregation to be mindful of the upcoming September 27th  service to expressing our commitment to the E3 vision (Encounter, Embrace and Embody Christ in Life, the Community and the World).

The first year’s focus is on deepening our personal experience of Christ and experimenting/embracing new ways to encounter Christ.  What you see on this table is some symbols that may prompt us to get excited about the many ways we can choose to explore and grow in our faith:  

  • The clock represents setting time aside to seek Christ. 
  • The candle represents coming into the light of love and/or centering our focus on the Spirit, not the physical distractions around us.
  • The bread and wine represent one of many church rituals, traditions and disciplines that remind us God is in all of life and for us to focus on God’s presence in all things.
  • The incense, prayer book, Bible, journal & pen, prayer beads and the Bible are all methods we can use in contemplation and prayer times.
  • The hymnal represents one way many people find inspiration and a way of entering into God’s presence.
  • The book “The Bible Unwrapped” is just one example of reading other writers—to  test, challenge and/or teach us.  This book, in particular, is one that the adult seeker’s circle was planning to work through this year (this may still happen yet, format to be decided). 

To prepare ourselves for this special service, please visit the E3 portion of the Mennonite Church Alberta website, and look through the “personal bucket list” to see what sparks you and what you will be interested in pursuing this coming year. 

Meet our Students
2020-2021 Student Bursary Profile

Bryant Neufeldt 

My 2019 – 2020 year at Canadian Mennonite University has been a highlight for me. I have met and interacted with amazing people and have had conversations that have challenged and provoked critical thinking. The idea of critical thinking came up a lot during my year. Critical thinking was focused on in my psychology course to study and grasp the topics that the course highlighted.

CMU has allowed me to venture out of my comfort zone and explore my faith in an educational setting. CMU offers courses concentrated on religious topics which have had a way of impacting my faith. However, my faith was mainly challenged and provoked through the interactions I had with friends and staff that did not focus on religious courses. This stood out to me because it shows that my faith is ever evolving and is frequently expressed in new ways that I am beginning to learn. The main reason I chose to go back to CMU is the people.

The students that are now my friends have made CMU feel like home, and they have challenged and uplifted my faith in God. The staff as well have been supportive in my studies more than I originally thought. To me it truly feels like the staff care about my education and want me to succeed. Why is CMU worth it? It offers an experience like no other, the staff and the students all have made my first year of post- secondary education a memorable one. 

And from Jon, a late summer Camp Valaqua update: 

"Our garden continues to grow! We've made it through berry and pea harvesting season and look forward to arranging a day to harvest potatoes and carrots later in September. A BIG thank you to everyone who has come out to help!"

Also...please note these donations are needed for rentals: 
Another 1-2 BBQs, a washing machine and dryer, a small wooden kitchen table and chairs, a living room chair.


Mennonite Church Canada Study conference  October 24, 2020

Table Talk: Does the church still have legs?
a virtual one-day conference with Sara Wenger Shenk

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. For more information, visit  

Meet our Table Talk guest speakers: Gerald Gerbrandt 

President Emeritus of Canadian Mennonite University Gerald Gerbrandt lives in Winnipeg and will be a guest speaker at Mennonite Church Canada's study conference Table Talk 2020: "Does the Church still have legs?" on October 24. He will present on worship in the Old Testament.

Register for Mennonite Church Canada study conference on Oct. 24, 2020 . 

Xplore courses for +55 moving online
Xplore, a 55-plus enrichment program offered by Canadian Mennonite University, offers courses that investigate dimensions of the Christian faith, our world, and life in it. All without any assignments or examinations! Because of COVID-19, all Xplore courses in 20-21 are moving online via Zoom, thus making all courses available widely across the country. Eight stimulating courses are offered every Wednesday and Thursday morning over a six-week period, beginning September 30. View course, tuition, and registration information here  Courses and teachers this fall include: 
·         Reading the Bible with Jesus – Michael Pahl
·         Journaling through Grief – Wilma Derksen
·         Beyond the Numbers: Pandemic Reordering the World we Knew – Janet Plenert
·         Denominations:  What are they and what are they good for? – Gerald Gerbrandt
·         Race and Racism – Jobb Arnold
·         “ that through the church...” Vision and Challenge from the Letter of Ephesians – Robert J. Suderman
·         Exploring Mennonite Schisms:  Theology, Personality, or Church Practices? – Hans Werner
·         Life Sentences:  Writing for Yourself and Others – Larry Danielson

Interview by Katie Doke Sawatsky, Mennonite Church Canada.

Postures of trust: an interview with Tany Warkentin 

Liaison to Ministry in Africa for Mennonite Church Canada Tany Warkentin shares in our latest interview about the relationships formed between our Canadian congregations and the Burkina Faso Church and ways congregations can learn more and become involved in International Witness ministry in Africa.


Prayer request for friend of Pantojas 

Please pray for Toto Balono, colleague of Witness workers Dann and Joji Pantoja. He is in hospital requiring surgery following a vehicle accident. Pray for his family and their financial situation as they face the cost of this medical treatment.   

Prayers for African churches dealing with COVID-19 

Our partner in ministry AIMM (Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission) asks us to pray for our African brothers and sisters in this time of COVID-19. Pray that those struggling to find resources to buy food and those needing medical attention find what they need. Pray that hospitals and medical staff will still provide care to the best of their ability even though ventilators and other important medical tools are almost nonexistent in most African countries.   

International Witness Sunday October 18, 2020 

Pray for congregations across Canada as they prepare for International Witness Sunday, October 18, 2020. Pray that God will open our hearts and eyes to see God’s family around the world in a closer way.  





Canada at a Crossroads – join our online book club this fall!
What are the things that separate and unite Indigenous and settler peoples? What can we do to challenge structural racism and repair the broken relationship? Join Indigenous-Settler Relations director Steve Heinrichs for an online book club this fall, exploring the new book, Canada at a Crossroads by sociologist Jeff Denis. Beginning October 7, 2020, we’ll gather by Zoom each Thursday @ 7 PM (for 8 weeks) for a circle conversation, sharing with each other our questions and learnings, our hearts and hopes. Together, we’ll seek to understand how we might nurture Treaty friendships. Please email Steve if you’d like to join: Find the book here.

Help double the donation -
Mennonite World Conference

This spring Mennonite Church Canada donated $50,000 to 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. Now Mennonite Church Canada is asking its congregations to match this donation so that we collectively raise $100,000. Donations will go through regional churches. Click here for more info. 

CommonRead Title Announced 


Together with MennoMedia, we are encouraging congregations, nationwide, to study a common title this fall:  Signs of Life:  Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses.  In the context of COVID-19, we have all experienced losses of one type or another.  This guide will inspire conversations of lament and hope.  

Join us for a zoom conversation with author Stephanie Lobdell, Thursday, Sept 3 at 11:00 Central.  Register here

Copies of Signs of Life can be purchased at CommonWord at discount prices –  

 1-6 copies – 10% off 

7+ copies – 25% off 

Worship and curriculum resources for fall planning 

Through our partnership with Together in Worship, we have enhanced our are able to offer hundreds of new Anabaptist worship materials free online – 

A dynamic Anabaptist curriculum for age 3 to grade 8.  

Online samples. More information 
Purchase copies  
Preview loan copy  

New website ready for fall planning 

Our new website ( has many new search features to help you find worship, study and devotional materials. 

  • Search by scripture text or keyword 

  • Filter search results by Type (e.g. videos), Genre (e.g. Curriculum), Expression (e.g. Drama), Topic (e.g. Indigenous-Settler Relations), Season & Event (e.g. Communion), Language (e.g. Korean), Availability (e.g. Buy), Audience (e.g. Children) 

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 a.m.-3 p.m.). 


The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for Phase 2 Reopening information. 

Stories, Events, Announcements?

MCA Calendar
Sept 27        E3 Celebration & Commitment Service
Oct 18          International Witness Sunday
Oct 24          MC Canada Study Conference - Online
Oct 31          Christian-Muslim Dialogue
Facebook Group
Mennonite Church Alberta
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