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The MCA Communiqué
December 15, 2021

In this issue

Our E3 Prayer and  Prayer Updates
Christmas Greetings!
The MCA Advent Calendar 
A Menno MInute -- robert peters
NEM event postponed
Camp Swag -- Thank you!

And more from MC Canada, International Witness, Indigenous Settler Relations, our schools and Common Word. 
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MCA Calendar
March 19, 2022  Annual Delegate Sessions, First Mennonite Calgary 
July 29 - August 1, 2022    We Declare: Gathering 2022, Edmonton
July 31 - August 4, 2022    Amplify: Youth Gathering, Camp Valaqua

E3 = MCA             Year 2  Christ in Community

Our E3 Prayer
God of peace,  help us embrace the peace you offer even in the midst of news of strife and turmoil around us.

International Witness Prayer Updates
Please pray for Werner and Joanne De Jong as they continue to live with uncertainty. They are hoping and praying for a clear decision about their future in the coming week. 


Christmas Greetings from MCA Staff and Congregations! 
Check in daily!

CLICK for the MCA Advent Calendar 
Created specifically for our MCA faith family by the E3 focus group! Enjoy and share!
A Menno MInute

imagining god's embrace
robert peters
 

in this time of advent when we begin to hear the voices singing: come, o come and comfort, comfort we are challenged to re-envision our embrace of christmas in the absence of large and perhaps even family gatherings for what is now the second year in a row. but in doing so, we begin to separate out which of these comforts feed us like comfort food and which nurture the nature of our soul.

raised in the mennonite tradition, there was (and always has been – as far as i’m concerned) one food that has always invoked a feeling of comfort – zwieback. this small double bun (or tower buns as my nephews called them) brings out comforting memories of individual people and collective get-togethers. warm buns for faspa with melted butter and homemade jam or honey.
 

but in addition to satisfying our sense of physical as well as emotional hunger, the double bun is also a wonderful metaphor of our dual nature of body and spirit or our physical and spiritual being and … the zwieback reminded me for some reason of an experiment in quantum physics known as the double slit experiment. the experiment was created in an attempt to determine if - at its root -light is a particle or a wave. it turns out, that if you shoot a photon or light package like an arrow through one of these slits, it hits a target as if it were a particle. but if you split the light packet so that it goes through both slits simultaneously, it acts like a wave. further research in the field has revealed that this is true with larger and larger structures as well … and this made me think of how – by the nature of its duality, a zwieback might play into this.
 

the point is that we are often looking for comfort in a world of things … we prioritize nouns over verbs – the seen over the unseen and this is with good reason. but if we wish to experience the nature of god’s embrace, we will find that it pervades the living spiritual nature of embracing much like the living and pulsing nature of ocean waves. and we find that it is much more difficult to experience this kind of embrace in the comfort foods or comforting moments that make an embrace a thing – like a particle or a zwieback located within time and space. and while we look for and appreciate each and every one of these hugs just as we appreciate warm tower buns with apricot jam, we are reminded that each of these comforts only hint at god’s embrace – the spiritual dynamic that turns our attention away from the nature of the particle … or the bun and allows us to enter the living dynamic of god’s being … in god’s embrace.
 

for if it is our wish to experience the fullness of god’s embrace, we might practice turning from the things that hold us in their embrace … and learn to embrace god … fully.

after all … even zwieback – especially zwieback … are less filling than they are fulfilling, when we think of the love and the memories of the love in the hands that prepared them and the relationships they were prepared for.

may you experience the fullness of god’s embrace this christmas season …

and perhaps a zwieback … or even a pfeffernusse or two.

___________________________________

i try not to use capitalization in my writing to remind myself that we have given special preference to nouns - to things … while life or the significance aspects of life (in my mind) occur in the movement or the verbs of our being and in particular - god’s existence and being.

when we focus on the significance of nouns, we see the particles in the wave-particle duality - the committee responsibilities, our physical needs … and we miss the living presence of relationship, of existence and coexistence.


(If you have an idea for a Menno Minute or know a writer you would like to see here -- send any and all suggestions to communications@mcab.ca) 



NEM event postponed until the new year.  Stay tuned for details.

Thank you for all your orders!  Camp Valaqua Swag was a rousing success! 
Watch for another pop-up store again, sometime in the future. 

And remember, Camp Valaqua is again open for rentals. Contact Jeff   (manager@campvalaqua.com)
Camp has some groups booking the whole camp, as in previous years, with strict Covid protocols. There are other spaces (the white house, the brown house, the yurts) that are available for rentals -- a perfect family getaway? Call (403) 637-2510) or email for details. 





Mission nurse, educator, mentor and church leader continued ministry in ‘retirement’ 

Frieda Schellenberg Erb, 81, who touched many lives through her lifetime of ministry in Bolivia and Argentina, died November 14, 2021, in Choele Choel, Argentina. Read our tribute. 



Former Witness worker offers leadership coaching in Angola and Congo 

Rudy Dirks, former Witness worker for Mennonite Church Canada is a leader in the Africa Leadership Coaching Network, small groups of community leaders in Congo and Angola who gather online to share and learn every two weeks. Read our story about the network. 

 

 

International Witness

Prayer for Burkina Faso 

Calixte Bananzaro, president of the Evangelical Mennonite Church of Burkina Faso, has shared that terrorists have chased habitants in the northwest regions of the country from their villages, stolen their livestock and burned their stores of grain. Pray for an end to the violence in Burkina Faso.
 
Mennonite World Conference Indonesia 

Please keep the leaders and staff of Mennonite World Conference in your prayers as they plan for the July 2022 gathering in Indonesia amidst uncertainty of worldwide travel. They will decide in February 2022 how those meetings will take place, on site or online.  Pray for strength, grace and wisdom as they find ways for us to be church together in this way. 

Are you looking for ways that you and your congregation can connect with E3 Year 2?

Worship Leaders, are you looking for a pre-recorded sermon to use as part of your E3 Sunday? 

All E3 Y2 Resources, including sermons by Tim, Will, and Brenda, are available HERE. 

Thank you to Common Word for again compiling E3 Resources for us!
 
Indigenous Settler Relations

Wet-suwet-ten Solidarity webinar – Learning and supporting together]
Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 – 7 p.m. CDT

Register: www.mennonitechurch.ca/wetsuweten
Join Esther Kern and David Janzen (Valleyview Mennonite Church, London, Ontario), and Allegra Friesen Epp (Home Street Mennonite Church, Winnipeg), who recently spent time in Wet'suwet'en territory in northwestern B.C. Hear stories from the frontlines of the Wet’suwet’en struggle for land sovereignty and get updates about the current situation on the ground.




Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery: A Litany for Churches 

In 2016, in response to TRC Call to Action #49 Mennonite Church Canada committed to repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. The MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Group has created a litany to help the church publicly acknowledge a long, untold history and to re-imagine our life together in a new way that respects all peoples, Indigenous and Settler. Free for download through CommonWord - www.commonword.ca/go/2692. 
 

Creator’s Call in a Climate Emergency – a community learning series 

Jan. 20 to March 17, 2022 

Register: https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/community-learning-series 

Join Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations and the Sustainability Leadership Group for a spirited eight-week conversation exploring the two paths of decarbonization and decolonization. Participants will discuss Seth Klein’s A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency (2020), and listen to Indigenous activists and climate action leaders in real-time conversation. 

TONIGHT: RJC Christmas Concert - December 15 | 7:00pm (SK CST). Join us as we celebrate the Christmas season! Music and performances by RJC students and staff. Livestream for those who wish to enjoy the program at home can be found at rjc.sk.ca. Saskatchewan public health orders will be followed at this event. 

On behalf of the students, faculty, and staff we thank you for assisting CMU in promoting our programs and activities in your church. We do not take for granted the time and “ink” you use to assist CMU in furthering its mission. 

Thank you for being a part of an incredible network of churches across Canada that continues to support our work of forming lives for service, leadership, and reconciliation.  
 
We wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas season!

.     

Upcoming book launch 

Suffering the Truth:  Occasional Sermons and Reflections by Chris K. Huebner 

In-person registration, live-stream link, and more information, available here – www.commonword.ca/go/2659 




Looking for a stocking stuffer, last-minute Christmas idea, or gift for your pastor? 

A CommonWord gift card can be redeemed remotely or in-store – www.commonword.ca/go/giftcard.   

  

Resources 

  

New from friends of CommonWord 

 

Guiding Diverse Flocks: Tales of a Rural Mennonite Pastor by Ernie Hildebrand – www.commonword.ca/go/2590 



Mennonite Farmers: A Global History of Place and Sustainability by Royden Loewen – www.commonword.ca/go/2715 



A Little More Peace in the World: Reflections on my Experience with Restorative Justice by Darrel Heidebrecht – www.commonword.ca/go/2716 






Benchmark: Countering COVID through Painting and Poetry (book-launch video also available) – www.commonword.ca/go/2653 

 

Have a story to tell?  Feedback on the MCA Communiqué?
Email communications@mcab.ca
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