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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
December 2, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer -- Invitation to Prayer
A Menno Minute
One Good Thing
The MCA Advent Calendar

AND MORE from our wider faith communities
including an update from International Witness and Indigenous Relations
(If this newsletter does not format properly as an email, please click the link above to view in your browser)
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

Oh God, help me show grace and forgiveness to others as you have shown them to me.

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.
Our commitment to
Daily Communal Prayer continues.

New participants are always welcome! 


Anna-Lisa Salo, Pastor Bergthal Mennonite Church

A Menno Minute

Let me tell you a story. A couple of years ago, our Church Council did some brainstorming around how to begin reaching out to our neighbours. This being a rural community, the possibilities are limited and come with significant hurdles. During the discussion, one person piped up, “Why don’t we have a food truck night?” Every Friday night, she went on to explain, there would be food trucks parked on our property. People traveling home from work could stop and grab a bite to eat while visiting with their neighbours. Brilliant idea. It fit perfectly with our mandate. Nothing happened. 

Fast forward to this past summer; the summer of Covid-19. A couple I’ve known for years hauled in their fifth wheel trailer and set up camp for the summer on the church property. Long story. On one occasion, they approached me with what they believed to be a brilliant, creative idea. Why doesn’t the church bring in some food trucks? It would be so great, they said. Our friends from Calgary would be here in a heartbeat. Food trucks? Ring a bell? Great idea, right? Nothing happened. 

There is an idiom which goes, The third time's the charm. It means that if the first two attempts at something don’t work, perhaps the third will be successful. This being said, picture another Church Council meeting this past summer. During the meeting, one person shared that her husband had recently met a man who had just moved into the area. Oh, the best part? He owned a FOOD TRUCK! Could we consider approaching this person, she asked? Perhaps, he might be willing to bring his food truck to the church property. The bells were not only ringing, they were clanging like Notre Dame Cathedral.

How was it humanly possible that three people, on three separate occasions, could bring up the subject of a food truck as a way to build community in this rural area? Absurd, right? God, it seemed, was in the food truck business. Only God could have directed a random couple from BC to set up a food truck between two sloughs in the middle of rural Alberta, just a couple of kilometers away from the church. Not a recommended business strategy, by the way.   

During Gathering 2019, Elaine Heath presented four key points associated with living life in a contemplative stance: show up; pay attention; cooperate with God; release the outcome. Our responsibility, in this case, was to simply respond to what God was doing right under our noses. We didn’t have to lift a finger. It was actually rather humbling. Not every relevant mission effort emerges out of the church. Sometimes, the very thing we are searching for is already happening in our surrounding communities. This summer, I made it my mission to cooperate with what God was doing just down the road. In the process, I met, for the first time, some great people from outside the church, encouraged a fledgling business with a vision for creating community, indulged in delicious food, and gained a few pounds in the process. The summer of Covid-19 was a hard summer indeed! I’m already anticipating the return of the food truck in the spring. Perhaps, we can partner with the owners in a way that not only feeds the body but also nourishes the soul. 
 

MCA has put together an online Advent Calendar! Starting December 1, the virtual “doors” open each day to reveal Advent thoughts, scriptures, and activities for individuals, couples, and families along the theme of
Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ…in Life.

How might we prepare to “encounter” anew Christ’s presence this Christmas?
One Good Thing. Just One Good Thing.

Ernie Engbrecht, Lethbridge Mennonite Church

May we never underestimate the power of recognition! 
Like most everyone else, we have struggled with how to do church In these crazy times of Covid. We try to reach those who cannot leave their homes, by phone, by video, by live stream, high tech, low tech, to name a few. Our volunteers have worked countless hours to bring our church service into our homes in the most meaningful way possible, so when one senior member of our church community sent this short email to our Tech Team, it spoke volumes. 
The sound and coordination of the worship service was about the best ever!  Good tech work. 

Rental options and inquiries at www.campvalaqua.com/rentals

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.
We're renting individual units (members of the same household) -- 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 ❄️

Can you help the Calgary Chin Church move into their new building by Christmas?

This summer the Calgary Chin Christian Church purchased their first building. They are eager to move in, but need an additional $36,000 to complete the renovations. In light of the discussion at MCA’s November 7 check-in, the MCA Executive has decided to commit $18,000 from reserves to help with this effort. We invite congregations and individuals to also contribute, with the goal of doubling this amount so that the move can take place. One congregation has already committed $5000, meaning we are well underway to meeting this goal. 

Please visit mcab.ca/giving to donate or mail to Box 1839, Pincher Creek, AB   T0K 1W0  specifying your gift to help with the Chin Church renovations. 

RJC Christmas Program: There Is Still Hope - This online event will be held on Thursday, December 17, 7:30pm (SK CST) at https://rjc.sk.ca/christmas. The program will feature music, art, and other items of hope and celebration by RJC students and staff.

International Witness

 


Mennonite Church Canada calls for prayer for Ethiopia and Eritrea 

Mennonite Church Canada has just under a dozen congregations across Canada with roots in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia is the largest Anabaptist community worldwide with whom we have an intentional, sister-church relationship.  

Ethiopia is experiencing a threefold threat of pandemic, famine and war. Crops are devastated due to a locust infestation and Ethiopia is now in the midst of intense conflict, while in the grip of a global pandemic. Pray for peace and healing in Ethiopia. Pray especially for the children; 42% of the population is below the age of 15. Pray also for the congregations here in Canada in our nationwide community of faith who carry deep concern for Ethiopia and Eritrea and for loved ones. 

MC PIN organizes online meet-and-greet with Bethlehem Bible College 

Meet several college representatives from Bethlehem Bible College through a one-hour Zoom gathering on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. Bethlehem time (11 a.m. EST). This event is organized by the Mennonite Church Canada Palestine Israel Network. Email mcmfriendsofpalestine@gmail.com to register for this encounter. Keep the people of the Holy Land in your prayers during these tumultuous times. 

Witness workers responding to deadly typhoon 

Pray for strength and wisdom as PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), together with Witness workers Dann and Joji Pantoj, respond to the disaster of the latest typhoon in the Philippines.  Typhoon Ulysses hit the north island of Luzon leaving an entire city submerged with more than 28,000 family homes under water. The PAR teams of Manila and Kalinga are responding. May God’s love be shown through them to people in need. Read more from the Pantoja’s blog. 

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   

Wrongs to Rights:
How Churches Can Engage the UNDRIP now free through CommonWord 


Over the next few weeks the Government of Canada will likely table legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is huge! According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Declaration is “the framework for reconciliation” for Canadian society. But what exactly is the Declaration? What does it mean for the church? To educate and raise public support, ISR is making Wrongs to Rights available for free through CommonWord. Short articles, poetry, artwork and a study guide make this resource perfect for individual or (online) group reflection. Order through CommonWord (shipping costs apply).

UPDATED: Mennonite Church Canada congregations donate $40,000 to Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 relief fund     

Since the spring, our nationwide community of faith we has raised over $40,000 for 
MWC’s Global Church Sharing Fund to help our sister churches around the world who struggle to meet basic needs due to pandemic-response measures in their countries.  Of this total, members of Mennonite Church Alberta have contributed approximately $12,000.  
We reached 80 per cent of our goal to match Mennonite Church Canada’s initial donation of $50,000 in the spring. Thanks to everyone for helping to build up our global body of believers. 

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CommonWord remains open during increased COVID-19 restrictions 

Staff remain available for congregational resourcing questions and are here to help connect you with Anabaptist and related materials, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m, CDT. Browse our website (www.commonword.ca) to find thousands of free digital resources or to place your online retail or loan order, or contact us (204-594-0527; info@commonword.ca) for assistance.  If you’re in Winnipeg area, we are glad to arrange for curbside pickup. We don’t want you to go without your fair-trade coffee, other local specialty foods or a good book to read! 

Christmas Gift Ideas 





 

  • Stocking stuffers: From chocolate to activity books, recommended reads to Sunday School ideas, there’s a gift for almost everyone. Curbside pick-up available to local residents.  https://www.commonword.ca/Browse/9352 
  • Gift cards: A flexible gift for your avid reader, student and loved one. Gift cards can be redeemed in-store or remotely by phone and used toward any purchase – merchandise, food, book or textbook.  https://www.commonword.ca/Browse/9372 

Advent Resources 

CommonWord has hundreds of resources for congregational worship and study, family and personal reading –https://www.commonword.ca/Browse/2676, including two digital at-home family worship options for Advent-Epiphany: 

  • We Wait for Jesus (www.commonword.ca/go/2189) is a new family resource similar to previous At-Home materials Mennonite Church Canada (now MC USA) has produced since 2002. 

  • Family Activities for Advent-Epiphany (www.commonword.ca/go/2188) are previous years’ At-Home materials reframed into a single Lectionary Cycle B resource. 


Together in Worship has launched 

Visit www.togetherinworship.net for hundreds of free Anabaptist digital worship materials. A partnership with CommonWord, Together in Worship curates words, music, other artistic expressions and teaching resources to support Christian worship. Also a platform for individuals and communities to create and contribute resources.  Bookmark it for the next time you’re planning worship! 

Voices Together products 

Congregations who pre-ordered the Voices Together hymnal and related products from MennoMedia will receive them soon! Individual copies of the pew edition of the hymnal, the Worship Leader’s edition, accompaniment edition, and audio recordings are available to order from CommonWord. T-shirts, masks and tote bags are also available to pre-order.  (We do not expect these to arrive in time for Christmas). www.commonword.ca/go/2199

  

Calendar 

Advent Season – www.commonword.ca/go/2190 

Christmas Season – www.commonword.ca/go/2191 

Christmas Eve – www.commonword.ca/go/2192 

Christmas Day – www.commonword.ca/go/2193 

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?
Email communications@mcab.ca
MCA Calendar

December 17, 7:30 p.m. (SK CST)  RJC Christmas Online "There is still Hope"
March 20/21, 2021                           Annual Delegate Sessions -- via ZOOM
     
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