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The MCA Communiqué
News & Notes for our Alberta family
August 26, 2020

In this issue

E3 Prayer - A Menno Minute
Online Worship - from the MC Canada blog
Foothills Mennonite Guesthouse update
Camp update -- Student Bursary Recipients
Volunteers Needed - Invitation to Prayer

And more!
Don't miss updates from MDS, MWC, International Witness, Common Word, and others. 
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E3 = MCA 
Year 1  Christ in life


Our E3 Prayer

God, as I make decisions in my day to day life,
help me to remember that all I do reflects on you.
Help me to make even the tough decisions
with a view to embody you to all those around us.

An MCA Invitation to Morning & Evening Prayer

(Click the photo for more information)

As part of the E3 call to more fully experience Christ in Life, join others from across MCA on Zoom for morning and evening prayer. 
Morning prayers on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 am.
Evening prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 pm

Register online at mcab.ca/events
A Menno Minute



Our Menno Minute writers are taking this week off to rest, relax and breath -- and gear up for fall.
We at MCA wish them peace and restoration and look forward to reading more Menno Minutes in coming weeks.

 


Online Service 

Join Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, Alberta, as they do what they do each week:  remember what matters most through scripture, story, song and prayer.

In addition, the worship team will be sharing what they are learning about themselves and God during a time of great staff and structural transition.      

 Watch at https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices 

‘Deconstructing race’: understanding the breadth of our diversity

(from the MC Canada Blog)
by Jeannette Hanson

When we lived in Nanchong, China, our three-year-old daughter Claire came home from Kindergarten quite indignant that some of her classmates had said her hair was blond. “My hair is black!” she declared. I looked at the golden curls on her head and had to break it to her, “No, your hair is not black.” Years later a neighbour in that same city looked at me closely and declared, “When you first came here you looked like a foreigner and now you look really Chinese, your nose has even gotten smaller.”
 
In Deconstructing Race: Multicultural Education Beyond the Colour Bind, Jabari Mahiri, Professor of Education at UC Berkeley, suggests that our socially constructed concepts of race limit our understanding of one another. He argues that our continually evolving “micro-cultural identities” provide a more helpful understanding of diversity. Categories like White, Black, Latino, etc., don’t capture the breadth of the experiences, emotions and moments in our lives that make us who we are. Claire’s lived experience didn’t align with others’ perception of her hair colour. My neighbour’s perception of my foreignness changed once I became familiar to her.
 
Deconstructing “race” as we know it is crucial as we reflect on the racist and white supremacist roots of the institutions around us. We must grapple with the implications of being part of systemic racism. It seems too big a task. It is difficult to see where healing can start.
 
Yet in my work in International Witness I reflect on this reality all the time. How do we cross cultural barriers in life-giving ways? How do we form relationships that build up everyone? How do we all share our God-given gifts in the global body of Christ?  
 
As a Witness worker in China I thought at times that I would never fit in alongside my Chinese colleagues until a local pastor gave me some advice: “We don’t need you to be Chinese; we need you to be who you are in relationship with us.” 
 
Here are some examples of what this looks like in the ongoing work of International Witness:
  • George and Tobia Veith, Witness workers in China, collaborate with Pastor Yin Hongtao, a Chinese graduate of AMBS, and several church leaders to provide Anabaptist discipleship-training to interested churches. 
  • Tany Warkentin represents International Witness in our work with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission, which brings leaders from Burkina Faso, Congo, France and the U.S. together to share financial and human resources for ministry in Africa. 
  • During her studies at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in Harrisonburg, Va., a Chinese youth pastor, through our partner organization Mennonite Partners in China, worked with local pastors to minister to the many Chinese students in the city. She now pastors in China but has left a legacy of caring for Chinese students in that American community. 
 
Building relationships is central to the work of Mennonite Church Canada International Witness. We live and work with each other across the broad categories of race, ethnicity, language and politics. Through this work both our Canadian congregations and our international sisters and brothers receive the gift of a rich understanding of the diversity of the Body of Christ. We see God through the eyes of the other, experience God’s gifts together and spread the hope and healing of God’s love to the world.
 
Please join together with our congregations across Canada as we celebrate these relationships on International Witness Sunday on October 18. For worship resources and more information on how to learn, participate and give, go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/IW-Sunday.
 
Jeanette Hanson is director of International Witness for Mennonite Church Canada. She can be reached at jhanson@mennonitechurch.ca.
 

Foothills Mennonite Guesthouse
The past month or so has seen both very quiet and very busy times at the Guest House. We continue to operate without a resident host and accept only one family unit at a time. 

One person was here to be close to the newborn baby she and her husband are adopting. The baby was born 6 weeks premature and being physically close in the NICU at the hospital was very important to her. Having a safe and comfortable house to come back to make her time much easier. After a week the baby was transferred back to Lethbridge and things are going well. 

Another family was waiting to come in as soon as she left. This situation involves a 29 yr old man who suffered a stroke. His wife and their 4-month-old baby, his parents, her mother, and several other family members rallied around him and are now all staying at the guest house. This extended family from the Holdeman community is now able to support, encourage, and care for each other in a very difficult time. The baby gets lots of cuddling and the man’s wife can spend as much time as possible with him at the hospital - coming back to family and home-cooked meals throughout the day. While there are some indicators of improvement, the road ahead seems long. This family is likely to be with us for some time. 

The Guest House committee is grateful to be able to provide a safe and comfortable home to these, and other people in need of a place to stay during challenging times in their lives. 

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.

Camp Valaqua looks a bit different these days without summer camp happening, but there’s still lots going on! If you are looking to escape to the beautiful Alberta foothills for a bit, we have several small facility rental options for a family or small cohort. Email or call Jeff for more information: manager@campvalaqua.com | 403-637-2510
 
(Photo credit: Ryan Hermanson) 
Our Student Bursary recipients
Fall 2020-Spring 2021


Anne Retzlaff - Columbia Bible College
Bryant Neufeldt - Canadian Mennonite University
Cassidy Brown - Canadian Mennonite University
Danika Warkentin - Canadian Mennonite University
Jaden Krahn - Canadian Mennonite University
Jonathan Wiebe - Columbia Bible College
Olivia Neufeldt - Canadian Mennonite University

Congratulations!  We wish you well in your studies!
Construction Volunteers Needed! 
 Calgary Chin Christian Church's renovation project continues to progress! As you can see, the walls are up and the space is humming with electricians and plumbers. The congregation would welcome volunteers for the next steps -- particularly taping, mudding and painting.
Email Peter at calgarychinchurch@gmail.com for details.
As many of their congregants were laid off due to Covid, they would also appreciate donations to their building fund. Donations accepted via https://calgarychin.mcab.ca/
 
MDS Canada Spirit of MDS Fund Issues Second Call for Applications 
 
     Helping Canadian Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations respond to COVID-19 The MDS     Canada Spirit of MDS Fund is issuing a second call for applications from churches in Canada     responding to COVID-19 needs in their communities. 
 
   About the Fund 
 
The goal of the Spirit of MDS Fund is to provide financial support to Canadian Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations that are assisting people in their communities affected by the pandemic. A total of $100,000 has been made available; to date 46 congregations and other ministries have received support from the Fund. With  funding still available, a second call for applications has been issued for fall. 
 
How it Works 
 
Timeline. This second call for funding is in operation from August 24 to October 31.  
 
Eligibility. Preference will be given to congregations that are part of an Anabaptist-Mennonite denomination (part of the MDS Canada support network). Applications from other churches will be considered. 
 
Grants. Grants will be a maximum $1,000, although there can be some flexibility on a case-by-case basis. Projects that can be funded include replenishing a deacon’s fund, restocking a food pantry, assisting with a family’s emergency financial needs, purchasing technology to help churches serve their members through online services or to help seniors or shut-ins connect with family and friends, assisting with rent for a refugee or other family, etc. Salaries will not be funded. 
 
Applications. Go to https://mds.mennonite.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Spirit-of-MDS-Fund-application_online_rev2_2020.pdf to fill out a downloadable form. It can be sent to somds@mds.mennonite.net or mailed to MDS Canada, 200-600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2J1. Congregations should expect to hear back in 5-7 days if their application is approved. 
 
Reporting. Congregations that receive funding must report back to MDS Canada how they used the funds. These reports will be used to create stories that show how the church was in action responding to this crisis. 
 
The Spirit of MDS 
 
Through the Fund, we want to help local congregations respond in the spirit of MDS. That spirit is based in: 
 
Faith in Action. We believe in and practice a life of service and proclamation founded on the Bible and modeled after the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. 
 
Caring Relationships. Through our service we want to build relationships of mutual respect, humility and accountability. 
 
Service. We believe all Christians are called to serve others, and we welcome all who share our values to join us in volunteering, praying and giving. 
 
Compassion. Our service is offered freely to all.  
 
Integrity. We work in an ethical, honest, moral and legal manner. 
 
Sustainability. As God’s stewards, we strive to use resources entrusted to us wisely and carefully.  

                                                        Save the Date! Sept 27

         
E3 Celebration and Commitment Service

MCA is inviting all congregations to include MCA’s E3 theme,
“Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ in Life”  
in your September 27 worship service.

 A worship outline and resources available now.

 
 BREAKING NEWS:
Mennonite World Conference (MWC)
has decided to postpone the global Assembly until July 5–10, 2022.In close consultation with the National Advisory Committee in host country Indonesia, the Executive Committee of MWC has decided not to hold the international gathering in 2021 as originally announced. 
Read more.


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. 
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.

Planning materials for Worship Leaders and Pastors now available.


               

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! 

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 https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/tabletalk2020.  

International Witness

Prayer for Pantojas’ response to injustice 

“Jesus is our strength to ‘show and tell’ the Good News that indeed, the Creator is with us in the midst of the sufferings and injustices we are experiencing.” Pray with Dann and Joji Pantoja, Witness workers in Mindanao, Philippines, as they find practical ways to respond to the injustice they see around them. Pray God would give them joy, strength and peace for their work.   

First issue peace journal coming in September 

Pray for the first issue of Peace Journal: Plan P, coming out in September. Pray that Bock Ki Kim, Witness worker in South Korea, and the other editors continue as they finish editing. Pray that this journal will be a tool for gathering people of peace to work together throughout South Korea.   

Prayer for teachers everywhere 

Pray for Tobia Veith, Witness worker in China, and all teachers around you as they step back into classrooms. Pray that they will be given a spirit of courage, caution and love for their students. Pray that they will be a non-anxious presence in a difficult time.  

 

CommonWord’s in-store services are now open from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Monday-Friday.  Come for your books and resources, fair-trade coffee and chocolate, local perogies and sausage, and much more.  We’re thrilled to welcome you back, and to open alongside folio café!  (COVID-19 safety protocols are in place; please come wearing a mask).  Our online retail, loan and digital services continue.

Fall Congregational Planning 

  • Shine curriculum, including new  – www.commonword.ca/go/2111
  • Worship resources, including hundreds of new online materials –www.commonword.ca/go/2070
  • New website with many new search features – www.commonword.ca
    • 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)
    • Search by scripture text or keyword
  • Contact us for assistance in locating resources for your church council, worship committee, small group, etc. – info@commonword.ca 
CommonRead
 
The global pandemic has created faith formation challenges for churches. With isolation,  digital issues, and Zoom fatigue setting in, CommonWord and Herald Press are again partnering to encourage Mennonites to engage in a “Common Read,” a shared reading experience focused on a specific book written to nurture Christian faith in this cultural moment.

Signs of Life: Resurrecting Hope Out of Ordinary Losses by Stephanie Lobdell is the CommonRead book chosen for this fall. Whether it’s the demise of a relationship, career plans, or our image of ourselves: we all experience losses. Lobdell leads readers to the power of the resurrection to heal daily hurts. 
 
CommonRead kicks off with a Zoom event on September 3 at 11:00 CST with the author, Stephanie Lobdell.
Please register for this event - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdBBGjiIM9k8H_9v6TmuOJiSPPPYfAlbaC5wykOfpaD67b5_Q/viewform
 
25% off orders of 7 or more copies (after September 3).  
 
9% off 1-6 copies – www.commonword.ca/go/2124
  

The Church and the Coronavirus Pandemic

See the MCA website for Phase 2 Reopening information. 
 


Stories, Events, Announcements?
communications@mcab.ca


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
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