Once Around the Barn: Radisson Assembly

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December 14, 2017 | Opinion
Will Braun, Senior Writer
Video: Church looks different from the pig pen. With a nod to Ranting Rick Mercer and with a black sheep grazing in the background, senior writer Will Braun offers a few thoughts as he strolls round his barn south of Morden, Manitoba. 

 

 

In this inaugural edition of "Once Round the Barn," Braun unravels the less-with-more choice of a downtown Radisson as the venue for the 2017 Mennonite Church Canada Special Assembly (which he chose to skip). 
 
See Assembly coverage here: Focus on Special Assembly.
 

Video: Church looks different from the pig pen. With a nod to Ranting Rick Mercer and with a black sheep grazing in the background, senior writer Will Braun offers a few thoughts as he strolls round his barn south of Morden, Manitoba. 

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Bravo to CM and Will B. for this new (to CM) format. May stimulated discussion ensue bi-weekly!

Will's rant. Perfect pitch. I too am troubled when I see Mennonites meeting in opulence around church concerns. The arguments of course are: how do you feed, water and house a large group when volunteers are limited. Our reputation as a community, however, is that we can get a job done with a small budget, considerable inconvenience, while at the same time including everyone that would like to be there. Many of us on limited incomes might feel excluded from a conference like this. We might be well advised to talk to our youth about this. They too might want to get involved but can't get past the impediments. Huh, just thinking.

An angel told me that the church(es) of the future will be born in a smelly place. Will Braun "stepped in it" when he chose to complain about an expensive meeting place when he wasn't even there, and says hardly a word about the important decisions that were made there. I was. (I slept on my parents' hide-a-bed in North Kildonan, so they saved me the $255 bucks.) What did they talk about at this Special Assembly? Well, for a couple of hours Saturday morning they suffocated themselves talking about old fading identities and new bylaws. Everyone seemed "sore afraid" that we will never meet again in rich hotels. But eventually the atmosphere started to change, and some voices emerged, as if singing a new church into existence. I met one poor young woman who missed the exclusive registration deadline, but she came out anyway and got into the hotel by volunteering in the dining hall. Sunday morning really stank because anyone who wanted to worship had to leave their name tag at the door to prove they had paid. But Willard Metzger had invited a half dozen young people to give their view of the church of the future. We seemed to breathe easier after that. The Spirit started opening some windows. So let's rant on! Where there's a Will, there's a way.

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