God at work in the Church

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Creating a mission partnership web

Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers George and Tobia Veith, right, receive thanks for their training work from local partners (names withheld). (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Jeanette Hanson, left, and Yin Hongtao, with his back to the camera, interview potential Mennonite Central Committee International Volunteer Exchange Program candidates from China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Jeanette Hanson, left, Wang Jing, Sun Zili and Huang Gexin discuss the progress Sun Zili's granddaughter is making in the New Hope speech therapy kindergarten run by Wang Jing. Former Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) worker Huang Gexin remains committed to this school and provides support during his retirement. MCC provides grants for teacher training and support of students. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Dr. Wang Xuefu, second from left, and Sun Wen, second from right, directors of the Zhimian Institute counselling centre, talk with Yin Hongtao, left, and Jeanette Hanson of Mennonite Partners in China. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

Zhang Wenli, left, a teacher and speech therapist from the New Hope speech therapy kindergarten, describes the training process for this preschool student (name withheld) to help prepare her for primary school, to Jeanette Hanson. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Hanson)

What does mission look like in a country where the church is well established? From Jeanette Hanson’s point of view it’s a web of interconnected relationships.

‘We need the peace theology’

Vi Phounsavath leads worship at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Sunday morning Bible Study at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church, led by Ongath Phounsavath, seated centre. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Worship display at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church. Note the towel and basin given to the congregation by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada on the congregation’s full membership last April. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

A potluck lunch at Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church includes pad thai, red curry and other ‘comfort’ foods. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Chinda Kommala is a serious Mennonite Church Eastern Canada booster. From the beginning of the Lao Canadian Evangelical Mennonite Church’s life, he has been relating to the regional church and encouraging others to do the same. “We need the emphasis on peace theology,” he says, remembering the years of war back in Laos between various factions.

Ten years of being good news

Kingsfield-Clinton celebrated its 10th anniversary on Nov. 5, 2017, with cake. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)

Stephanie Hammar, Kelly Lubbers, Nancy Huber and Derek Huber visit as part of a weekly potluck, which, on Nov. 5, 2017, formed part of Kingsfield-Clinton’s 10th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)

Joel Siebert and Travis Lubbers play guitar for worship as part of Kingsfield-Clinton’s 10th anniversary celebration on Nov. 5, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Melanie Siebert)

A decade ago, Zurich (Ont.) Mennonite Church, which was formed in 1908 by those who did not want to keep the restrictive dress code of the nearby Blake Amish Mennonite congregation, renamed itself Kingsfield-Zurich. Around the same time, it “multiplied” itself by spawning the nearby Kingsfield-Clinton congregation. Both congregations are in Huron County along Lake Huron.

The blood of modern-day martyrs

Weiny Hablemichael, left, Tim Reimer and Aron Hablemichael discuss the presentations at the Anabaptist Learning Workshop event held at Danforth Mennonite Church, Toronto, on Nov. 18, 2017, that focussed on East African persecutions. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

Sara Dula looks at a copy of Martyrs Mirror during a presentation about the suffering of 16th-century Anabaptists at the Anabaptist Learning Workshop event that focussed on the persecution of East Africans. Dula herself fled Eritrea because of the persecution and now lives in Toronto with her family. (Photo by Dave Rogalsky)

It was the Christian apologist Tertullian in AD 197 who first wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” As he watched Christians killed in the bloody entertainment of colosseums and in summary legal procedures, he saw the church grow.

Challenges and excitement

Willard Metzger, Mennonite Canada executive minister

Calvin Quan, Mennonite Church Canada moderator

Calvin Quan was “happily surprised” by the positive spirit and efficiency of the first meeting of Mennonite Church Canada’s new Joint Council. “There was a strong sense of collaboration and shared agenda [among regional representatives],” said MC Canada’s moderator of the two days of meetings held on Dec. 8 and 9, 2017.

Introducing the new Joint Council of MC Canada

The new Joint Council of MC Canada is composed of, from left to right, front row: Ken Warkentin, moderator, MC Saskatchewan; Paul Neufeldt, moderator, MC Alberta; Lee Dyck, moderator, MC B.C.; Paul Wideman, moderator, MC Eastern Canada; and Peter Rempel, moderator, MC Manitoba; and back row: Jacquelyn Janzen, MC Saskatchewan rep; Vince Friesen, interim MC Alberta rep; Betty Loewen, MC B.C. rep; Calvin Quan, MC Canada moderator; Alicia Good, MC Eastern, Canada rep; Allan Hiebert, secretary/treasurer; Gerald Gerbrandt, MC Manitoba moderator elect and MC Manitoba interim rep; and Geraldine Balzer, assistant moderator, MC Canada. (Photo by Ryan Siemens)

On Dec. 7 and 8, the new Joint Council of Mennonite Church Canada met for this first time. (See a follow-up to those meetings here.

A renovated Westgate welcomes students back home

The newly renovated Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, featuring the atrium at the front. (Courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)

The middle section of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate being demolished in the summer of 2016. (Courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)

Visitors walk around Westgate Mennonite Collegiate’s new atrium at their building dedication in September. (Canadian Mennonite Photo by Nicolien Klassen-Wiebe)

Vic Pankratz conducts a choir class in the new choir room, which overlooks the river. (Courtesy of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate)

They say it takes a village to raise a child. For Westgate Mennonite Collegiate, it takes a village to not only raise its 300 students, but also to complete a $10.3-million redevelopment project. Westgate, a private school located in Winnipeg, finished renovating its building just in time for the 2017-18 school year.

Recognizing potential in an uncertain future

Mennonite Church Canada executive director Willard Metzger, standing left, explains changes to the structure of the new nationwide church to congregational leaders gathered for MC Saskatchewan’s fall leadership assembly. Standing beside Metzger is Ryan Siemens, MC Saskatchewan’s area church minister of congregational and pastoral relations. (Photo by Donna Schulz)

Potential. That word kept surfacing at Mennonite Church Saskatchewan’s fall leadership assembly, as pastors and congregational leaders met with MC Canada’s executive minister, Willard Metzger, to learn about their regional church’s role in the newly covenanted nationwide body.

Focus groups hear of restructuring plans

How the new structure of Mennonite Church Canada will affect congregations in B.C. was the topic for focus groups in Richmond and Abbotsford late last month. Donors who have been supporting both MC Canada and MC B.C. were invited to attend the meetings with Willard Metzger, the nationwide church’s executive minister, along with the regional church’s leadership and financial personnel.

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