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God at work in the Church

‘To be in harmony with all people’

As a way to mark the century milestone, Aberdeen Mennonite Church, Sask., erected a commemorative sign in front of the building. Former pastor Dave Neufeld, left, Ally Fehr and David Klassen unveil the sign during the June 5-6 celebrations.

God at work in the Church | By By Karin Fehderau | Jun 23, 2010

In the town of Aberdeen, Sask., population 600, a small but committed group of Mennonites that call this place home gathered together in early June to celebrate 100 years of witness to the community.

Numbering about 45 on a Sunday morning, Aberdeen Mennonite Church—now led by Vern Ratzlaff—began anniversary celebrations on June 5 with local tours to cemeteries and former church building sites. The day ended with a volunteer choir rehearsal and tea. Celebrations continued with a morning service and noon meal the next day.

No longer ‘sinful or strange’ to each other

From left to right, CMU graduates Michael Bueckert, Andrea Dick, Jessica Dyck and Tim Rempel reflect on their Mennonite Brethren and General Conference traditions, and how they related to their school experience at CMU.

God at work in the Church | By by Rachel Bergen | Jun 23, 2010

A century-and-a-half after the Mennonite Brethren (MB) Church and General Conference (GC) Mennonite Church divided, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) held a “Celebrating 150 Years” event on June 5, in an effort to listen to the stories of each denomination and learn from them.

Remembering God’s future: Youth Assembly 2011

The Mennonite Church Canada Youth Assembly 2011 Planning Committee includes, from left to right: (on floor) Jean Lehn Epp; (seated) Scott Eyre, Aaron Neufeld, Luke Derksen, Trang Tran, Anna Rehan, Emma Bartel and Kathy Giesbrecht; and, (in back) Rod Wiebe

God at work in the Church | By By Deborah Froese | Jun 04, 2010

As delegates begin to register for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2010, planners for Youth Assembly 2011 are remembering the future—a reference to the assembly’s theme text which calls on Christians to envision God’s future of a city where all people will live in harmony.

Youth Assembly 2011 will share the theme, “It’s epic: Remembering God’s future,” with the adult delegate assembly that will take place at the same time. It is based on Revelation 21:1-4 and Revelation 21:19 -22:6.

Willard Metzger to be next MC Canada general secretary


God at work in the Church | By By Don Friesen | May 31, 2010

Willard Metzger has been appointed to the post of general secretary of Mennonite Church Canada. He will succeed outgoing general secretary Robert J. Suderman, who has served in the post since 2005 and who will retire this summer. The leadership transition will begin this fall.

Moderator Andrew Reesor-McDowell made the announcement to staff on behalf of the general board on May 20.

Asking the wrong questions

Ed Janzen, chaplain at Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., moves that the Congregational Ministries Council prioritize youth and young adult ministry in its funding allocations.

God at work in the Church | By by Dave Rogalsky | May 31, 2010

Moderator Aldred Neufeld summed up Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s 23rd annual delegate sessions last month by saying, “Even the wrong decisions can get us to the right place through God’s Spirit.” And wrong decisions—or questions—came up a number of times over the day-and-a-half of meetings.

Let’s call it ‘formation hour’


God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | May 31, 2010

Calling for more involvement of children in worship by re-naming the traditional Sunday school hour “formation hour,” Lisa Carr-Pries told Mennonite Church Eastern Canada delegates, in their opening session on April 23, that children in Canadian culture are more segregated and isolated from adults than ever before.

A wall of memories

Photo courtesy of James Friesen

God at work in the Church | By By James Friesen | May 31, 2010

I write these thoughts only a few days after returning to Winnipeg, Man., and life at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, but the Middle East already seems so far away.

Twenty-four students and four chaperones (of which I was one) spent our last night on the roof of the Ecce Homo Convent in the Old City of Jerusalem reflecting on our time together. Each of us shared our highlights:

• We remembered Damascus—singing songs in the acoustic chambers of the Turkish baths and speaking to niqab-hidden women in the Umayyad Mosque.

Bechtel Lecturer focuses on Mennonites in the Dutch Enlightenment

Ernst Hamm, left, this year’s Bechtel Lecturer at Conrad Grebel University College, discusses his presentation on “Science and Mennonites in the Dutch Enlightenment” with Michael Driedger, centre, professor of history and liberal arts at Brock University, and Conrad Grebel academic dean Jim Pankratz

God at work in the Church | By by Dave Rogalsky | May 19, 2010

During his 2010 Bechtel Lecture presentations at Conrad Grebel University College, Ernst Hamm held that as 17th and 18th century Dutch Mennonites were involved in commerce, industry, trade and society in general, they were also involved in the explosion of creativity of the “Dutch Golden Age” and the beginning of the Enlightenment.

Credit union opens its doors to non-Mennonites

Nick Driedger, who retired as chief executive officer of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union, poses with his farewell gift, a numbered Peter Etril Snyder print, at the credit union’s annual general meeting last month in Kitchener, Ont.

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | May 17, 2010

It was standing room only at the 46th annual general meeting of the Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU) last month in Kitchener.

Many were there to discuss a board proposal to change the membership bond defining who can and cannot be members of the credit union. The MSCU bond had been restricted to members of Mennonite and Brethren congregations, their children and spouses, and the employees of Anabaptist institutions, such as Mennonite Central Committee, that the congregations support.

Canada a ‘hard soil’ for the gospel


God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | May 03, 2010

Being the church in the 21st century is no easy task, Robert J. Suderman told the delegates and pastors gathered at Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack early last month for the annual gathering of Mennonite Church British Columbia. It was a sort of Pauline farewell for the retiring general secretary of MC Canada.

“Some writers suggest that Canada is a country with ‘very hard soil’ for the gospel of Jesus Christ—one of the hardest in the world,” said Suderman, who took time to personally visit all 230 congregations of the denomination during his tenure.

Church growth, expansion lauded by B.C. delegates

Garry Janzen, executive minister of Mennonite Church B.C., right, welcomes into membership Western Hmong Mennonite Church, represented by church chair Ge Yang. Janzen is wearing a tie handcrafted by a member of the Hmong congregation. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By By Amy Dueckman | May 03, 2010

Beginnings, endings and growth marked the Mennonite Church B.C. annual meetings at Eden Mennonite Church, Chilliwack, on April 10, under the banner of “The hope of the reconciling gospel of Jesus.” Delegates welcomed one congregation while saying goodbye to another, witnessed the passing of the leadership torch from one moderator to another, and heard about new ministries in the province.

When faith collides with academic freedom


God at work in the Church | By By Ross W. Muir | May 03, 2010

After stories went national earlier this year announcing that Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley, B.C., had fallen afoul of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) over issues of academic freedom, Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg now finds itself implicated in the same controversy.


From ‘life support’ to ‘blessed’

God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | Apr 19, 2010

In his welcoming comments to the 2010 Mennonite Church Alberta delegate sessions, Erwin Wiens, pastor of the host Trinity Mennonite Church, described the area church, made up of 16 congregations spread across the province, as a “patient on life support.”

But as the assembly progressed, it became apparent the patient was very much alive and sometimes kicking. The theme “Reclaiming Jesus, gladly wear the name,” was on nametags with “Jesus” in bold print. At first glance, it appeared all delegates were named Jesus, a vivid reminder of whom Christians are called to emulate.

Church may be ‘on to something’

God at work in the Church | By By Canadian Mennonite Staff | Apr 05, 2010

It’s been six months since Whitewater Mennonite Church in Boissevain, Man., laid aside its committee work, to rest, read Scripture, and engage in prayer and fellowship with one another as part of the congregation’s year-long “Sabbath rest.”

“All decisions or work that is deemed ‘nonessential’ has been deferred for the year and all other necessary issues and decisions are discussed at monthly congregational meetings,” explains pastor Judith Doell.

New residence hall to be built at CBC

An artist’s rendering of the new Columbia Bible College residence, anticipated to cost $3.5 million.

God at work in the Church | By By Amy Dueckman | Apr 05, 2010

Fundraising for a new residence hall, estimated to cost $3.5 million, is underway at Columbia Bible College (CBC).

The four-storey residence for 134 students will be located on a section of campus that now contains several houses. This location was chosen to maximize campus life participation, being only a half-minute’s walk from the dining room, classrooms and library. The suites are planned in a modular style allowing several students to live in each suite.

MC Manitoba records slight deficit

God at work in the Church | By By Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Mar 22, 2010

Tom Seals, Mennonite Church Manitoba treasurer, reported that donations from congregations in 2009 were down by 3.4 percent, or $23,442. Although the congregational giving budget had been decreased from the year before, it still meant giving was 2.8 percent less than budgeted.

Other donations, however, exceeded budget. Much of that difference came from unbudgeted donations for the Faith and Life Men’s tour to South America and income from some of the camps.

MC Manitoba churches urged to get their youths ‘Outtatown’

Delegates frequently called for times of prayer as they discerned new directions for the future of MC Manitoba at the annual delegate sessions in Winnipeg in February.

God at work in the Church | By by Evelyn Rempel Petkau | Mar 22, 2010

Although much of last month’s Mennonite Church Manitoba annual delegates sessions was concerned with the area church’s camping ministries (see “Camping issues top MC Manitoba delegate session,” March 8, page 31), the event ended with an ambitious challenge from Glenlea Mennonite Church to the other 49 congregations.

‘Breath of Life’ for MC Saskatchewan

Patti Friesen, left, and Erna Funk ham it up during a report on Rosthern Mennonite Nursing Home at this year’s MC Saskatchewan annual delegate sessions.

God at work in the Church | By by Karin Fehderau | Mar 22, 2010

Saskatchewan delegates took a step into the future during their annual delegate sessions at the end of February, when they accepted a new congregation into their midst and moved to take action on an MC Canada proposal passed last summer.

Breath of Life Mennonite, formed by a group of people that broke away from First Mennonite Church, Saskatoon, in 2006, had asked to join the 33 congregations that make up Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, and was officially welcomed last month.

From ‘exhortation to incarnation’ in witness

Alan Kreider, keynote speaker at this year’s Mennonite Church Saskatchewan annual delegate sessions, helped participants overcome obstacles to witnessing to their faith in Christ in a multicultural and multi-faith world.

God at work in the Church | By By Dick Benner | Mar 22, 2010

Freed from some of the Mennonite ethnic restraints of the past, some 50 pastors from Mennonite Church Saskatchewan attending the annual delegate sessions last month conversed with Alan Kreider about how they could move from “exhortation to incarnation” in helping their members give testimony to their Christian experience in a postmodern world.

‘Youth ambassadors’ a new addition to Assembly 2010

Youths work together to pull a farm tractor forward during the 2009 MC Canada youth assembly.

God at work in the Church | By By Deborah Froese | Mar 08, 2010

For the first time ever, the 2010 Mennonite Church Canada assembly will include youth ambassadors as participants in delegate sessions.

“Youth are an integral part of the church,” says MC Canada youth ministries facilitator Anna Rehan. “We need to hear their voices as we shape the future of our denomination. We want to tap into their vision and energy, and we need the help of individual congregations to make this possible.”

Reclaiming Jesus at Assembly 2010

God at work in the Church | By By Deborah Froese | Mar 08, 2010

From June 29 to July 3, delegates from across the country will meet at Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alta., for Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2010, with the theme, “Reclaiming Jesus™: Gladly wear the name.”

In an era where Christianity has been branded in ways that diverge from Anabaptist values, the assembly will explore Colossians 3:15-17, and how Mennonites are shaped and hallowed by the One whose name we bear: the “Jesus” brand. Worship, seminars and discernment sessions are woven around this theme.