1. What has been the history of how a pastor is chosen in your congregation? How many people from your congregation have entered the pastoral ministry? How did the congregation help them develop leadership skills?
When a church is in need of a lead or associate pastor, do they nurture these characteristics in the youth and young adults in their congregation or search for ready-made pastors outside of their congregation? The trend among Mennonite churches is to search for pastors who are educated in seminary or at one of the many Mennonite schools in Canada and abroad.
Which is better for the church, a pastor with seminary training or a layperson groomed for the role and invited from the local context? While a seminary-trained pastor may be regarded as more professional, in some settings there are advantages to other models of leadership.
1. What foods evoke memories of your childhood, your family or your church? If you have special foods for holidays such as Easter or Christmas, what role do they play in your life? How strong are your connections between food and culture or food and religion?
Marlene Epp teaches History and Peace & Conflict Studies and is director of Mennonite Studies at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo.Among other things, she teaches a course on “Food, Culture, and History.” This article is based on a talk at the 37th annual Kitchener-Waterloo Inter-faith Community Prayer Breakfast, May 9, 2012.
1. What anniversary celebrations has your congregation participated in? How are these celebrations similar to or different from the one held in the Democratic Republic of Congo this summer? What is the value of these celebrations?
When a Belgian school inspector needed to recruit singers for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, he entrusted the task to two missionary women, one of whom was Lodema Short. Short served from 1947-1981with Congo Inland Mission, now Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM).
The Chorale Grand Tam-Tam (Big Drum Choir) walked nearly 100 miles to participate in the centennial celebrations of the Communauté Mennonite au Congo (Mennonite Community in Congo) July 16-22.
Fifty-some young musicians walked nearly 100 miles carrying their drums, luggage and a few babies to attend the centennial celebration of Communauté Mennonite au Congo—CMCO (Mennonite Community in Congo), July 16-22.
When Bob Lovelace, a chief of the Ardoch Algonquin of Northeastern Ontario, wrote about his people’s struggle over uranium exploration on their land, he did so from a Canadian maximum security prison. To protect their traditional territories from uranium exploration, the Ardoch Algonquin had set up roadblocks.
“Never in Canada’s 150 year history has an emerging generation been exposed to such an explosion of change and choice,” Tim Froese said in his “Scripture in Exile” workshop Saturday afternoon.
Many people remark that it’s difficult to get young adults interested and involved in church. But that wasn’t the case for the 44 registered young adults at the 2012 Mennonite Church Canada Assembly.
Kristina Toews, a youth leader from Eben-Ezer Mennonite Church in Abbotsford and a delegate, is very involved in the local, national, and global church.
Film has become the most important entertainment medium of this time and can shed light on scripture, said Vic Thiessen, Chief Administrative Officer at Mennonite Church Canada, in his workshop, “From the Prince of Egypt to Batman: Can Film Illuminate Scripture.” Thiessen said film can allow us to see biblical stories and themes in new ways and showed clips from The Prince of Egypt and The Las
The Bible was primarily written for the damned, proclaimed Gareth Brandt provocatively during a roving workshop called, “Word on the Street” on Friday afternoon. The nine participants went on an urban hiking and public transportation adventure around Vancouver to read Bible verses and tour around the city.
She wept as she told her gripping story of being criminalized by the Canadian government for exercising her indigenous rights to fish from the Fraser River. And she drummed a prayer for “indigenous” Mennonites attending the overflow “Sacred Scripture in Invaded Space” Assembly workshop as she appealed for help in fighting a lonely battle in the courts for the past decade.
Jesus plays the role of scapegoat so that we don’t have to hate, kill and blame each other for those sins, observed Rose Graber in discussing the “Three Views of the Atonement” workshop led by April Yamasaki. The workshop focused on Christ-the-Victor, Substitutionary and Moral Influence categories developed by biblical scholars over the ages.
Randy Wiebe, Mennonite Church Canada’s CFO, reported to delegates at Assembly 2012 that while total revenues increased by $55,000 over the previous year, the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2012 still ended with a $129,000 deficit. Wiebe showed the continuing downward trend since 2004, and warned that increasing or even maintaining current programming is not possible over the long term.
Brander McDonald, MCBC Indigenous Relations Coordinator, plays a West Coast native lullaby to say welcome to the natives on whose land the assembly was held.
The “Dust on the Bible” band—(l-r) Chad Miller (Associate Pastor at Foothills Mennonite, Calgary), Doug Klassen (Senior Pastor at Foothills), Jerry Buhler (MC Saskatchewan Conference Minister), and Joanna and Andrew Reesor-McDowell (Hagerman Mennonite, Toronto)—play the bluegrass classic, “Dust on the Bible.”
Participants of a humorous skit describing Korean social rules take a bow at the Friday evening barbecue at MC Canada Assembly 2012 in Vancouver.
Lily Cheung, an assembly volunteer, shepherds participants onto their bus after the Friday evening barbecue.
We know of Jesus writing only once, Tom Yoder Neufeld told the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly gathered here for Sunday morning worship. Urging his listeners to use more than the written word, he recalled the story of the woman adulterer’s accusers fuming while Jesus wrote in the dust on the ground.
1. How is the role of women understood in your congregation? Are women taught to be subservient and submissive? Are women given proper respect? Why might submissive women be more vulnerable to emotional abuse? What do you understand to be Paul’s message in Ephesians 5:22-33?
Ambroise Kabeya Kanda Mwanda of the Democratic Republic of Congo looks across the Limmat River as it passes through Zurich, Switzerland, where Anabaptist martyr Felix Manz’s death sentence was read on Jan. 5, 1527.
Walking along the bank of the Limmat River, Thioro Bananzoro ponders the challenges Anabaptists have turned into opportunities over the last five centuries.
1. How does your congregation go about making important decisions? Do you use discernment language? How do you listen for the voice of God when you are wrestling with an issue? Who takes leadership in discernment? What is the relationship between discernment and decision-making?
- Trust that God is with us throughout the discernment process no matter the decision.
- Figure out what the issue is. This is really important! We can spend a lot of time trying to discern something without knowing what the issue is.