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Growing young pastors

Rebecca Steiner (left) and Serena Smith at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly in Vancouver.

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.

Choosing a pastor

Harold Peters Fransen, leading pastor at North Kildonan Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

Rob Wiebe of Burns Lake, B.C., works full-time at a sawmill and serves a church an hour away.

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.

For Discussion

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?

Congolese Soccer and Song

Robert Irundu Mutundu, National Youth President for Communauté Mennonite au Congo—CMCO (Mennonite Community in Congo), and Dwight Short shake hands as they plan for future evangelism and sports clinics.

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).

Congolese Mennonites celebrate 100 years of God’s faithfulness

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.

Adolphe Komuesa Kalunga, CMCO President.

Menno Simons’ favourite verse was chosen for the cloth commemorating the centennial celebrations. The eight original mission stations of what is today Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission are also printed on the cloth.

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.

Many young adult delegates attend Assembly

Kristina Toews at a young adults event at Assembly.

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.

Dusting off our DVD collection


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

Reading the Bible with the damned

Gareth Brandt (left) reads the creation story in Minoru Gardens during the Word on the Street workshop.

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 is fighting a lonely battle

Steve Heinrichs gives Kwitzel Tatel a peace lamp as a symbol of support, while Anthony Hall, who has written up her case, is given a jar of jam to represent “Mennonite food.”

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.

Year-end changed as overall revenues continue to fall

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.

Writing in the dust

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.

(l-r) Hilda Hildebrand, new moderator for MC Canada, blesses outgoing moderator Andrew Reesor-McDowell with Willard Metzger, Executive Director of MC Canada.

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.

For discussion

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?

Killing her softly

It’s Sunday morning, and you greet Sandy* and Bob* as they sit in the pew behind you. You smile and shake hands. What you see is a nice couple, good parents who are active in the church. What you miss are the emptiness and pain in Sandy’s eyes because her husband is abusing her.

A long way home

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.

Thioro Bananzoro of Burkina Faso stands at the foot of a statue of militant Reformed Church leader Ulrich Zwingli in front of the Wasserkirche (Water Church) in Zurich, Switzerland.

Walking along the bank of the Limmat River, Thioro Bananzoro ponders the challenges Anabaptists have turned into opportunities over the last five centuries.

For discussion

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?


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