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God at work in the Church

Future Directions process accelerated

Coreena Stewart, MC Canada’s chief administrative officer, left; Alissa Bender, pastor of Hamilton (Ont.) Mennonite Church; and Calvin Quan, MC Canada moderator, visit before a pastors supper during the MC Canada fall leadership assembly held at Toronto United Mennonite Church on Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 07, 2016

“The timeline [for the Future Directions plan] from Saskatoon did not reflect what was possible,” Willard Metzger, executive director of Mennonite Church Canada, told the denomination’s fall leadership assembly in Toronto on Nov. 10, 2016.

‘When all you have is a hammer . . .’

Tom Yoder Neufeld, left, a retired Conrad Grebel University College professor, and Renate Klaassen from St. Catharines United Mennonite Church, centre, interact with Carol Penner after her presentation at Grebel’s annual pastors breakfast. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Dec 07, 2016

Carol Penner went into ministry to be a “humble tool in God’s tool box—to preach, go to meetings and love people,” like the hammer she brought to the lectern  with her. “But,” she said during her address to the annual Conrad Grebel University College pastors breakfast on Nov. 1, 2016, “the church is in a different space now.”

Extending the table

Mesfin Woldearegay, pastor of Bethel Ethiopian Evangelical Church in Kitchener, Ont., leads his congregation in worship at Central Baptist Church on Sunday afternoons. The congregation worships in Amharic, a Semitic language from East Africa. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Will Braun | Nov 16, 2016

English is still the dominant language in Mennonite Church Canada as a whole, but worship also happens every Sunday in Cantonese, Lao, Tigrinya, Oromo and 14 other languages. Unfortunately, links between Euro-Canadian Mennonites and Mennonites of other backgrounds remain limited.

From refugees to refuge

Lucy Roca, pastor and planter of Refuge de Paix in Sherbrooke, Que., receives her diploma for completing the Anabaptist Learning Workshop from Henry Paetkau, Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s area church minister, at the congregation’s 10th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 14, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 16, 2016

As Lucy Roca was leaving Colombia for her safety and that of her family 12 years ago, the Colombian national church commissioned her to establish Spanish-speaking congregations in Canada in coordination with Mennonite Church Canada. Landing in Sherbrooke, Que., she set to work immediately. Now there is a thriving 10-year-old congregation there, which has spawned seven other congregations from Montreal to Quebec City.

New home for an old church

Although there is still much work to do, the New Church building, the original home of Rosthern Mennonite Church, sits on its new foundation beside the Mennonite Heritage Museum, the original home of Rosthern Junior College. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

The little church that was home to the New Church Society of Rosthern for more than a century has a new home beside the Mennonite Heritage Museum on the Rosthern Junior College (RJC) campus.

It was built around 1905 by Rosthern Mennonite Church, but the congregation quickly outgrew the building, so around 1912 it was sold to the New Church, a small Swedenborgian congregation under the leadership of Gerhard Enns.

Living the good news in many ways

Claire Ewert Fisher, standing, interim pastor of Grace Mennonite in Prince Albert, Sask., and one of the MC Saskatchewan Equipping Day organizers, offers gifts of tobacco to elders of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation during a workshop entitled ‘So you’re going to a powwow—now what?’ (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Nov 16, 2016

With titles such as “Don’t be a culture monkey” and “I saw an orange glow on the horizon,” participants at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s annual Equipping Day had a difficult time choosing which workshops to attend. And with 11 workshops on offer in three time slots, there was much to choose from.

MC B.C. divided on BFC7

Gerd Bartel of Peace Mennonite Church in Richmond, left, John Klassen of Point Grey Inter-Mennonite Fellowship in Vancouver, and Betty Loewen of Langley Mennonite Fellowship discuss possible paths forward as Mennonite Church B.C. deals with disagreement concerning MC Canada’s passage of the Being a Faithful Church 7 resolution affirming same-sex marriage. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Nov 02, 2016

“Who is MC B.C.? What kind of family are we and what kind of family do we want to be?”

These questions were posed by Garry Janzen, executive minister of Mennonite Church British Columbia (MC B.C.), to a gathering of 200 billed as “Hearing each other with regard to the BFC [Being a Faithful Church] 7 decision in Saskatoon,” held at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford on Oct. 22, 2016. (See “Delegates vote to allow space for differences,” on the decision at Assembly 2016.)

Donna Entz has ‘a lot of sun in her bones’

Donna Entz is pictured with her award from A Common Word in Edmonton. (Photo by Donita Wiebe-Neufeld)

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Nov 02, 2016

Donna Entz, an outreach worker for Mennonite Church Alberta, has many friends in the North Edmonton communities in which she lives and works.

Manna Ali, a member of the Somali community, is among them. She told a gathering at First Mennonite Church on Sept. 23, 2016, to celebrate MC Alberta’s North Edmonton ministry, that Entz started English-as-a-second-language classes and a community league, organized a Somali seniors group, and helped children with homework.

‘Social media: The good, the bad and the beautiful’

Paul Heidebrecht, left, the director of Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement at Conrad Grebel University College, discusses David Balzer’s presentation on social media with him during Rockway Mennonite Collegiate’s Spiritual Emphasis Week on Sept. 28, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Nov 02, 2016

Selfies just might be God’s idea. Remember, you are smarter than your smartphone. What if virtue went viral?

With these three ideas front and centre, David Balzer, assistant professor of communications and media at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, spoke to multiple audiences of students, faculty, staff and parents on the topic of “Social media: The good, the bad and the beautiful” during Spiritual Emphasis Week earlier this fall at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener.

Faith formation for leaders today

This visual image of lilies on water drew Deep Faith conference participants into worship each day. (Photo by Walt Wiltschek)

God at work in the Church | By Virginia Gerbrandt Richert | Nov 02, 2016

Spending half of Canadian Thanksgiving in the U.S. away from my family is not how I usually like to plan things. But this past summer as I was thinking through my fall schedule, the speakers and themes from the Deep Faith conference that was being planned at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., kept coming back to me and drawing me in. And I’m glad I went.

New moderator brings ‘non-anxious presence’

Calvin Quan

As a busy professional engineer and a young father, Calvin Quan’s days are full, yet he is ready and willing to serve as Mennonite Church Canada’s new moderator. Where does he find the time and energy for national church leadership during a season of uncertainty and change?

“God provides in unexpected ways,” says Quan. “I’ve seen God working most when I recognize I’m not in control, those times I’ve had to take risks and go places that I wouldn’t otherwise go. It’s a recurrent theme for me.”

Taking a chance on Menno-poly

Photo by Kirsten Hamm-Epp

God at work in the Church | By Kirsten Hamm-Epp | Oct 19, 2016

With special “Menno-poly” Chance cards, five different Monopoly boards scattered throughout Saskatoon and fun team challenges, the Mega Menno Monopoly Rally kick-off got groups excited for another year of youth events in Saskatchewan. The event took place on Sept. 9, 2016, at Mount Royal Mennonite Church, with about 40 youth and sponsors from eight different congregations participating. After a fairly epic game of musical chairs, teams were off to find the Pokémon-, Star Wars-, Saskatoon-, Red Green- and Simpsons-themed boards, each located at a different house.

Regehr named Future Directions transition director

Keith Regehr

Keith Regehr, a managing partner working in the field of conflict resolution and restorative justice for the L3 Group in Kitchener, Ont., formerly known as Associates Resourcing Churches, has been named the new transition director for Mennonite Church Canada, according to a new website of the national church’s Future Directions Task Force.

Yee resigns pastoral role

Donita Wiebe-Neufeld
God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Oct 19, 2016 | 1 comment

Kuen Yee, pastor of English ministries at Edmonton Vietnamese Mennonite Church, has resigned her three-quarter-time position effective Oct. 31, 2016. Yee is Chinese and has an Alliance Church background. In September 2012, she began serving as the pastor of English ministries with Vietnamese Mennonites. She formerly served as a lay pastor at Edmonton Chinese Alliance Church. She has also resigned as Mennonite Church Alberta’s representative on the Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service board.

Camp Koinonia 50th anniversary snapshots

Mennonite Church Manitoba photo 

Molly Schaeffer, standing rear, one of this summer’s resident managers, acts as emcee for Camp Koinonia’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Oct. 2, 2016. Close to 150 people gathered for the event, which included camp activities like wall climbing, ziplining, canoeing and pontoon boat rides that were supplemented by tours and cinnamon buns in the afternoon. (Mennonite Church Manitoba photo)

Summerbridge: Three detours in(to) ministry

Members of a walking neighbourhood tour of Winnipeg’s West End are given a surprise tour of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish. The tour was organized by Jim Cheng, Summerbridge participant and Home Street Mennonite Church member. (Photo by Matthew Veith)

God at work in the Church | By Matthew Veith | Oct 05, 2016

“Are you on a tour?”

Squinting in the summer sunlight, we glanced across the street as a man stepped out of his car. Guilty as charged. Our walking neighborhood tour, composed of members and friends of Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg, had come to stop at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish on Ellice Avenue in the heart of the city’s West End.

“Would you like to see inside?”

Finding a way to be together

Amy Dueckman
God at work in the Church | By Amy Dueckman | Oct 05, 2016 | 1 comment

A month after a pastors-only meeting, Mennonite Church B.C. congregations are being invited to give their personal views on the national church’s Being a Faithful Church (BFC) 7 resolution on same-sex marriage at Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Abbotsford, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 22, 2016.

Waiting to return

Months after the fire, many residents have yet to return to Fort McMurray, Alta, some questioning whether they can go back. (Mennonite Disaster Service photo by Bethany Daman) 

God at work in the Church | By Donita Wiebe-Neufeld | Sep 21, 2016

The road ahead for the recovery of Fort McMurray, Alta.—devastated this spring by wildfires that forced the evacuation of 88,000 residents while consuming and scorching large swaths of residential areas—will be dictated somewhat by the reality of the local and provincial economy, but also by when and if people return to the city.

One couple’s perspective

Bergthal, Chin congregations meet for joint worship service

A small number of the joint Bergthal-Chin worship service on Aug. 28 in Calgary.

God at work in the Church | By Anna-Lisa Salo | Sep 21, 2016

Several members from the Bergthal Mennonite Church left their own place of worship in Didsbury, Alta., on Aug. 28, 2016, to join with their Chin brothers and sisters in worship at Calgary Chin Christian Church.

Recognizing the coming shift in the structure of Mennonite Church Canada, the members of Bergthal felt that it was important to extend the hand of fellowship beyond their own community, to those congregations that are relatively new and finding their place within MC Alberta.

Dormitory to create equal opportunity for women

Construction of a women’s dormitory for Meserete Kristos College, anticipated for completion by the end of April 2017, is expected to make it easier for women to attend the college and increase their participation in leadership roles within the church. (Photo courtesy of Darrell Jantzi)

God at work in the Church | By Deborah Froese | Sep 07, 2016

To ensure women receive the education and training they need to help build the body of Christ, Meserete Kristos College, a ministry of the Ethiopian Meserete Kristos Church, is building a women’s dormitory on its main campus in Debre Zeit.

Two-thirds of the required $1.37 million has been raised, and a generous Canadian couple are encouraging donations for the last third. They have agreed to match up to $200,000 in gifts and pledges committed to the project by Sept. 30 and payable by March 30, 2017.

The importance of ‘memory institutions’

The Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives in Winnipeg has an extensive collection of multi-media items. (Mennonite Church Canada photo)

God at work in the Church | By Beth Downey Sawatzky | Sep 07, 2016

Here is a question you do not hear every day: When was the last time you visited an archive? Not your email archive, a but a local bricks-and-mortar archive.

MDS builds at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp

Helping during the MDS Family Project at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp this summer are Wendy and Kyle Stirbet. The new lifeguard hut is visible in background. (Photo courtesy of Mennonite Disaster Service Ontario)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Sep 07, 2016

Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Ontario started discussions with Dave Erb, executive director of Silver Lake Mennonite Camp, over a year ago, to explore the possibility of partnering on a “family project.” The goal was to provide a service opportunity for families with younger children in a safe multi-generational setting while building new structures at the camp.

SEED comes to an end

SEED program participants on their winter camping experience, from left to right: Dustin Siemens, Kimberly Hartman, Nigel Wismath, Tamaya Hamm, Melissa Brubacher and Geoff Gould, director of SEED. (Photo courtesy of Geoff Gould)

God at work in the Church | By Angelika Dawson | Aug 24, 2016

When Geoff Gould ponders his six years directing the SEED program at Camp Squeah, it is with mixed emotions: pride, joy, humility, gratitude. But there is also sadness. After much prayer, discussion and discernment, the decision was made in June to close SEED (Seeking to know God as your Father, Exploring yourself, Experiencing loving community, and allowing God to Develop your character as well as your gifts) after this year’s group had finished.

Marching to ‘Onward’ from ‘Zion’

The Rockway Mennonite Church ‘Ark’ is carried out of its former home in the now-sold Zion United Church building as the congregation marches ‘to Onward [Avenue] from Zion’ on June 26, 2016. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

God at work in the Church | By Dave Rogalsky | Aug 24, 2016

Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener has worshipped in rental properties for all of its 56-year existence. Until now.

On June 26, 2016, the congregation had its final regular service in the Zion United Church  building on Weber Street West. During the service, Ann Weber Becker added one more item to an “Ark” built by her husband Byron while at a congregational retreat in February: the chair used by the children’s storytellers in worship.

‘What begins in God goes back to God’

Kathy Reidt, representing the congregation, left, Pastor Walter Jantzen and Ryan Siemens, MC Saskatchewan’s area church minister of congregational and pastoral relations, lead worshippers in a litany of release and blessing at the closing service of Horse Lake Mennonite Church. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

God at work in the Church | By Donna Schulz | Aug 10, 2016

It had probably been a while since Horse Lake Mennonite Church welcomed so many worshippers. Filling every pew, they gathered to celebrate the life of this small country church and to grieve its closing.

During the decommissioning service, held June 26, Pastor Walter Jantzen shared the church’s history.

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