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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
July 15, 2020

Headlines

A Menno Minute    E3 Prayer   •  Invitation to Prayer •  Online Sunday service  Student Bursary Deadline   •  Help Double the Donation for MWC E3 Celebration
 
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Jon Olfert   Camp Valaqua director

A Menno Minute

Take, take off your shoes. You’re standing on my holy ground.

I’ve had this line from an old and mostly forgotten camp song bumping around my brain the last few days. Camp is a much quieter place this summer… eerily so. When we first announced that we would be unable to run camp programs this summer, we were overwhelmed with the response from camper families.  So many people reached out to us to express support and appreciation, but the biggest and most profound emotion was grief.  People were mourning the loss of the camp community that has helped to form and shape so many.

Just like everyone else we’ve had to adapt to this new reality. We have online staff gatherings, a physically distanced hike-a-thon, and a steady stream of volunteers coming out to help with the camp garden. In all of this the question lingers… what is camp without campers?  

I’ve often heard people describe Valaqua as holy ground. Can this ground be holy when no church gathers here? It’s enough to keep a guy up at night.  

This last week we had a group of families book the facility to spend time together. It is the piece of an answer that so many of these people, many of whom have no connection to Valaqua, have come up to me to tell me how special this place is. The line “there is just something in the air…” caught my attention.  So often this is my experience of the Holy Spirit; intangible, unnameable, but very much there.

Can Valaqua still be holy ground when there is no morning chapel, no laughter and shouts coming through the trees, no ring of the bell calling us to dine together? It still feels holy to me. Perhaps it is that the generations of holiness have soaked so thoroughly into the soil that it comes out in the trees.  Perhaps it is the focus of so many prayers and care filled thoughts. Perhaps it is the promise of us meeting together here soon. Whatever it is, I find myself called to take off my shoes to celebrate this holy ground. 

E3=MCA: Year 1 - Christ in life

God you have promised to be with me in good times and in bad.
Help me to embrace this promise, trusting you to give me strength
to face whatever comes.

Share a story or reflection

MCA Invitation to Morning & Evening Prayer


Congregants from across MCA are invited to join us on Zoom for morning and evening prayer, which began June 15, 2020. We will be participating in morning prayer on Monday’s and Wednesdays at 7:30 am and evening prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 pm for about 15-20 minutes, using Take Our Moments and Our Days. Register online at mcab.ca/events
More Info
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Online Service

2020: Mennonite Church Canada weekly worship service

Langham Mennonite Fellowship (Langham, SK) welcomes our nationwide community to join us for worship this Sunday, July 19th. Pastor Emily Summach will explore what it means to be known by God and be faithful in our New Kingdom calling as Jesus taught in the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds from Matthew 13. 
 Go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices for the link or watch on our YouTube channel
 
Read more


Student Bursary Application

Submission Deadline is July 31, 2020.

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

Beginning June 12,  Alberta moved into Stage 2 of its relaunch strategy. MCA continues to recommend caution. Congregations may hold worship services as long as they follow all distancing requirements and guidelines outlined for worship gatherings and for businesses. Watch for Stage 2 updates: https://www.alberta.ca/restrictions-on-gatherings.aspx.
 

Phase 2: Reopening Strategy

Now in Stage 2 of Alberta's relaunch strategy, MCA encourages caution, careful assessment, and preparations before congregations decide to reopen.

  1. Take time to discern together.
  2. Take the time to ensure readiness before opening.
  3. Share the work.
  4. Share the responsibility.
  5. If you decide to delay reopening,

Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash
 

Free, extra edition of Leader focused on COVID-19 

Articles are written by pastors and practitioners from the U.S. and Canada on topics including trauma and grief, how to keep church members connected, and pandemic pastoral care for marriages, among others.  

  


Help double the donation - Mennonite World Conference


Mennonite Church Canada donates $50,000 to Mennonite World Conference for COVID-19 relief fund; asks constituents to match or exceed donation. To contribute to the MWC relief fund please go to mcab.ca/giving.

Save the Date! Sept 27

E3 Celebration and Commitment Service

MCA is asking all congregations to include MCA’s E3 theme, “Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in Life”  in your worship service Sept 27. There will be a worship outline and resources available soon. Watch for further information in the coming weeks.


Guesthouse Reopened July 1!



Beginning July 1, 2020 the Foothills Mennonite Guest House began accepting guests who are visiting/supporting family members or loved ones in Hospital. To comply with new restrictions the Guesthouse  will be limiting guests to one family (cohort) unit at a time, without a live-in host.

The Guesthouse will be thoroughly cleaned when guests leave and before new guests are able to come in. Preference will be given to guests needing a stay of 3 days or longer.  

For detailed information regarding operating  details during this re-opening phase and bookings please contact the Foothills Mennonite Guest House at 403-282-7101.
SAVE THE DATE:

International Witness Sunday on October 18, 2020

Mennonite Church Canada International Witness invites congregations across our nationwide community of faith to celebrate International Witness Sunday on October 18, 2020. Come prepared to give, learn and get involved with International Witness ministries. To help church leadership prepare for this day, promotional material and worship resources, such as readings, prayers and music, will be made available in August. For more information contact the IW Communications committee via jhanson@mennonitechurch.ca or go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/international-witness.
               

Mennonite Church Canada Study conference goes virtual on 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 https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/tabletalk2020.  

International Witness


Vietnamese Mennonite church trains 10 pastors 

Praise God for the week-long pastoral training in mid-June taught by leaders of the Evangelical Vietnamese Mennonite Church (EVMC).  About 10 pastors gathered to study, pray and fellowship together.  Pray for the president of EVMC, Rev. Hong Thi Nguyen, as she gives leadership to this group of congregations and develops resources for pastoral training.   


Prayer request for the Veiths and MPC 

As political and economic tensions between Canada and China increase, pray for George and Tobia Veith, Witness workers in China, and the Mennonite Partners in China program.  Pray that God strengthens their bonds of friendship, common purpose and fellowship with church and education partners in the country.   


Prayer request for AIMM executive coordinator search 

Pray that God will lead in the search for a new executive coordinator of the Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission partnership. Pray that the international search committee gives wise council during this process.   


News from Mennonite Church Canada Palestine and Israel Network 

Israel to annex Palestinian territory in West Bank 

Israel’s government has announced it will begin annexing significant parts of the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. The Palestinian people, including Christian partners of Mennonite organizations, are concerned that this violation of international law will further deepen the dire human rights abuses, land expropriation and economic injustice experienced under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Pray for Palestinians, Israelis and advocates around the world who promote a durable and just peace, with equal rights and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians alike, using what Palestinian Christians call “the logic of love.” 

Prayer: God of peace and justice, you have created all people in your image to serve both Creator and creation in love. We lift up the people of Israel and Palestine on the eve of the threatened annexation in the West Bank. May all recognize that the “earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1), and that the forced acquisition and use of the land by one people at the expense of another is far from your will. Strengthen and give courage to those who speak your truth to the powers of this world. Protect the weak and the dispossessed. May your people shine the light of your love and care for this troubled but “holy” land. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Amen. 

Worship Calendar 

  

Jul 30         International Day of Friendship - https://www.commonword.ca/go/771 

Aug 6         Hiroshima Day - https://www.commonword.ca/go/772 

Sept 20      International Peace Sunday – www.commonword.ca/go/169   

Sept 30      Orange Shirt Day – www.commonword.ca/go/764 

Oct 4         World Communion Sunday – www.commonword.ca/go/1439 


The pandemic should not mean a lack of reading material.  Check out the new www.commonword.ca – your national online bookstore and resource centre with Anabaptist resources on COVID-19, anti-racism, and much more - to buy, borrow or access online.  All loan items ship free.   
 

2020 Summer Reading List 

Check out our 12th annual summer reading list – www.commonword.ca/go/2089.  Recommended titles for the lawn chair, hammock or beach blanket during the warmer months! Tip: These, and other titles, can be bundled together for an extended loan period with our Cheaper by the Dozen program. 
 

CommonWord launches new website 

On June 1 CommonWord launched a new website at www.commonword.ca that is mobile-friendly, easily searchable, and beautifully designed!  We are thrilled to offer this gift to the church and university communities, and the wider public – and invite you to take a peek, especially if you’ve never visited us before.  Our goal is to make Anabaptist and related resources easily found for the pastor and the parishioner, the student and the casual reader – and have them available in multiple forms:  to buy, borrow or access online.    

 

Anti-Racism Resources 

In this time of overt racial tensions (in the US ... and in Canada ... and confessionally, in ourselves), we humbly offer these resources - biographies, group studies, worship services, biblical retellings - to inspire us toward true reconciliation and love of neighbour.  See www.commonword.ca/go/2054
 

COVID-19 Resources 

Resources to help communities of faith live well in this time of pandemic.  See https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources 


Stories, Events, Announcements?
communications@mcab.ca


MCA Calendar

Jul 31           Application deadline for MCA Student Bursary
Sept 27        E3 Celebration & Commitment Service
Oct 18          International Witness Sunday
Oct 22 - 24   MC Canada Study Conference - Online
Oct 31          Christian-Muslim Dialogue
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