God at work in the Church

‘Following Jesus today’

Delegates at Mennonite Church B.C.’s annual general meeting discuss future directions for the area church. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

Sarah Lowen of the now-closed Clearbrook Mennonite Church gives thanks for the support of MC B.C. to the small German-speaking congregation over the years. (Photo by Amy Dueckman)

With a focus on being missional and staying vibrant, healthy and connected, delegates and friends of Mennonite Church British Columbia gathered for annual sessions at Peace Mennonite Church on Feb. 20 and 21, 2015.

What is the purpose of the church?

Pictured from left to right: members of Rainham Mennonite Church—Dave Dick, congregational chair Charlie Roth, Mary Makey and Mary Roth. (Photo courtesy of Susan Kennel Harrison)

When Rainham Mennonite Church, near Selkirk, Ont., was audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in the summer of 2014, the auditor wanted to see the congregation’s constitution. When it couldn’t find one, the church quickly developed a new one with four statements in the Purpose section of the document, two of which caught the CRA’s attention:

From Africa to Saskatchewan

The Asante Children’s Choir sings with feeling “He Knows my Name” during a recent performance at Eigenheim Mennonite Church.

Hellen shares “What Jesus means to me,” as part of the worship service led by the Asante Children’s Choir at Eigenheim Mennonite Church on Jan.18.

The Asante Children’s Choir brings a little bit of Africa with them as they perform during the Sunday morning worship hour at Eigenheim Mennonite Church recently.

With confidence this young member of Asante Children’s Choir drums as his female counterparts perform a traditional African dance.

Enthusiastic singing, energetic danc-ing and electrifying drumming set the tone as the Asante Children’s Choir worshipped African-style with Eigenheim Mennonite Church congregants, near Rosthern, Sask. on Jan. 18. Although not their typical Sunday fare, the congregation responded warmly to the choir’s music.

Buffalo shout, Mennonites discuss

MC Saskatchewan participants in the five-session discussion of Steve Heinrichs’s book Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry grapple with the complexities of indigenous/settler relations. Pictured from left to right: Craig Neufeld, Cheryl Woelk, Bernie Thiessen and Larry Epp.

They met in the library at Rosthern Mennonite Church, a good place for a book discussion group to meet. It wasn’t a typical book discussion group, but then they weren’t discussing a typical book.

RJC envisions a bigger, better school

Rosthern Junior College student council representatives Kelsey Dueck, left, Kylee Kosokowsky, Joseph Hachachena, Kelsi Siemens and Brandon Janzen hold up a $5,000 cheque to kick off the school’s five-year ‘Do more. Be more’ fundraising campaign.

“Do more. Be more.” These words sound a little like the mantra of a motivational speaker. They are, in fact, the name given to a new five-year strategic fundraising plan for Rosthern Junior College (RJC). The plan includes the ambitious goal of raising  $1.5 million to be allocated toward three clearly defined strategies:

CMU opens Marpeck Commons

An external view of the new Marpeck Commons at Canadian Mennonite University.

Librarian Vic Froese, left, Terry Schellenberg, Arlyn Friesen-Epp and Dave Bergen are pictured in the new library at Canadian Mennonite University’s Marpeck Commons.

A new pedestrian bridge links CMU’s north and south campuses.

For the past year-and-a-half, residents of Winnipeg have watched as Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) built a pedestrian bridge linking its north and south campuses over a busy thoroughfare. On Nov. 29, as CMU was preparing to open the doors for the public to view the new facility, the excitement was palpable.

MC Manitoba approves 2015 budget in principle

Peter Rempel, left, chair of the MC Manitoba board, addresses delegates at Bethel Mennonite Church in Winnipeg on Nov. 6. Treasurer Tom Seals looks on.

Despite falling short of a quorum, delegates attending Mennonite Church Manitoba’s fall gathering on Nov. 6 gave the board strong affirmation for its 2015 proposed budget.

The budget as presented calls for the same amount—$645,000—from congregations as the 2014 budget.

Equipped to listen, but not to agree

Jerry Buhler, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s area church minister, standing, and his wife Kara visit with John Bartel of North Star Mennonite Church in Drake at the Equipping Day event in Saskatoon on Oct. 25.

“Jesus, help us live in peace,” people sang at the outset of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s “Equipping to listen” event, expressing the sorrow—but also the hope—of a church deeply divided.

Creating beauty out of randomness

Participants at the Shekinah Retreat Centre’s Quilting and Scrapbooking Retreat gather for a group photo on their final day together. Many of the women are holding items they crafted during the three-day event.

As part of a ‘get acquainted show-and-tell’ at the Shekinah Retreat Centre’s Quilting and Scrapbooking Retreat, Edna Balzer of Rosthern, Sask., shares her story of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery using a quilt block she created depicting a butterfly.

Quilting instructor Anne Madden of Osler, Sask., seated, admires a Christmas stocking pieced and quilted by Becky Wiebe of Outlook, Sask., at the Quilting and Scrapbooking Retreat held recently at the Shekinah Retreat Centre near Waldheim, Sask.

Sharon Schultz, pastor of Eyebrow Mennonite Church, speaks at the Quilting and Scrapbooking Retreat held recently at the Shekinah Retreat Centre. Schultz uses quilting as a metaphor to illustrate God’s creative work in the lives of his people.

Assembling random pieces of fabric or paper to create something beautiful is what quilters and scrapbookers do. And they do it with gusto at the Shekinah Retreat Centre’s annual Quilting and Scrapbooking Retreat. This year, “Random pieces into beautiful creations” was also the theme chosen for the retreat by speaker Sharon Schultz.

How do pastors keep the Sabbath?

Emily Toews of North Star Mennonite Church in Drake, and Kirsten Hamm, MC Saskatchewan area church youth minister, relax on the dock at Churchill River Canoe Outfitters as Craig Neufeld of Rosthern Mennonite Church and Jerry Buhler, MC Saskatchewan area church minister, stand nearby.

Dan and Rose Graber canoe on Otter Lake as part of MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors gathering. The Grabers are co-pastors of Grace Mennonite Church in Regina. Dan is also area church minister of MC Alberta.

MC Saskatchewan pastors play table games at their annual fall pastors gathering in Missinipe. Pictured left to right: Paul Bergen, resource person for the retreat; Craig Neufeld of Rosthern Mennonite Church; Kirsten Hamm, MC Saskatchewan area church youth minister; Bruce Jantzen of Laird Mennonite Church; and Emily Toews of North Star Mennonite Church, Drake.

A little synchronized swimming in Otter Lake! Clockwise from lower left, the swimmers are: Dan Driediger, Ric and Theresa Driediger’s son and a guide at the camp; Craig Neufeld of Rosthern Mennonite Church; Kirsten Hamm, MC Saskatchewan area church Youth minister; and Emily Toews of North Star Mennonite Church, Drake.

Host Ric Driediger canoes with Walter Jantzen of Horse Lake Mennonite Church.

Ric Driediger, at the rear of nearest canoe, and Walter Jantzen of Horse Lake Mennonite Church set off in one canoe, while their spouses, Theresa Driediger and Esther Jantzen, paddle another.

Daniel Janzen of Carrot River Mennonite Church, left, visits with Bruce Jantzen of Laird Mennonite Church at MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors gathering.

Paul Bergen, a chaplain at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, leads one of several devotional sessions during MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors’ gathering.

Host Ric Driediger, standing, entertains MC Saskatchewan pastors and their spouses with a few ‘tall tales’ on the shore of Devil Lake. The pastors were there as part of MC Saskatchewan’s fall pastors gathering.

“I would rather be out here thinking about God than in church thinking about paddling.”

Camp Valaqua builds for the future

It takes a lot of hands to raise a cabin wall! Families work together on the Mennonite Disaster Service cabin-building project at Camp Valaqua.

Samuel Friesen, left, Levi Jowet-Stark, Kobe Friesen and Asher Warkentin are hard at work pounding nails for the foundation of a new cabin at Camp Valaqua.

Camp programs were in full swing alongside Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) hammers at Camp Valaqua this summer. MDS teams are usually found on disaster sites, helping to rebuild homes, so why are they building cabins at a thriving church camp? And why are there children wearing hardhats, pounding nails and using staple guns?

Celebrating summer fun together

Sometimes one needs to step over the line in order to score a hit, as this youngster discovers at MC Saskatchewan’s ‘day in the park’ in Saskatoon last month.

Sometimes one needs to step over the line in order to score a hit, as this youngster discovers at MC Saskatchewan’s ‘day in the park’ in Saskatoon last month.

Children aren’t the only ones enjoying games at MC Saskatchewan’s recent ‘day in the park.’ Ken Warkentin of Nutana Park Mennonite Church has some fun knocking a stack of pails over with a foam ball.

Picnickers enjoy Vietnamese cuisine at MC Saskatchewan’s recent ‘day in the park.’ The meal was a fundraiser for Saskatoon Vietnamese Mennonite Church.

Thanh Tung, pastor of the Saskatoon Vietnamese Mennonite Church, thanks participants for their support following a fundraising meal held as part of MC Saskatchewan’s ‘day in the park.’

Musicians Sam Dlugokecki, left, Becky Reesor from Ontario, right, and Danielle Miller from British Columbia, centre, entertain members of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan at the area church’s recent ‘day in the park.’

The sun shone, the air was warm—but not too warm—and there were no mosquitoes. It was, in fact, a day perfect for a picnic.

On Aug. 10, people of all ages gathered at Scott Park, adjacent to Mount Royal Mennonite Church in Saskatoon, to enjoy Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s “day in the park.”

Men retreat to explore manhood from an Anabaptist perspective

Scott Brubaker-Zehr, left, Clayton Kuepfer, David Armes, Geoff Wichert and Hidden Acres staff person Patrick Singh discover at a June retreat at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp near New Hamburg, Ont., that doing their own dishes is part of male spirituality.

Aged 18 to 71, 20 men gathered at Hidden Acres Mennonite Camp from June 20 to 21 to explore what it means to be a Mennonite man in the 21st century. “Under construction: Reframing men’s spirituality” featured Gareth Brandt from the biblical/theological studies faculty at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, B. C.

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