Specializing in a Google world

May 3, 2010 | Viewpoints | Volume 14 Issue 9
Arlyn Friesen Epp |

In a Google world where millions of written works are at your fingertips, it’s tough for the average user to discern appropriate resources for Christian formation, leadership, peace and mission. And it’s an even greater challenge to keep Anabaptist and related resources as visible and accessible as we’ve come to expect them to be.

Fortunately, there are circles of partnership in our wider Mennonite world that help us tailor bibliographies and help widen their accessibility:

  • Publishing: For a relatively small denomination, we’ve seen a remarkable amount of material pass through an Anabaptist “criterion grid” as part of the publishing process. Mennonite Publishing Network and other Anabaptist publishers offer a wide selection of curricula, theology, history, worship, fiction and other resources. Sample bibliographies, like the ones found in this Focus on Books & Resources issue of Canadian Mennonite (page 32), place unique titles before our eyes.
  • Denominational resources: Mennonite Church Canada, its area churches and congregations generate much material for our common use. Many of these items are available as free downloads through the MC Canada resource centre at mennonitechurch.ca/resourcecentre. On our website you’ll find all of our online videos, podcasts, denominational publications and departmental resources generated by staff and leadership. In addition, we have many tried and tested original resources developed by individuals and congregations, all free to download. Search for unique Sunday morning worship ideas, educational resources, workshop outlines and more. We also welcome new submissions, so please send us yours!
  • Church libraries: Libraries are sometimes the forgotten gem in the discipleship treasure chest. Read Ben Myers’s blog posting (mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/1319) to be convinced that a library is still the “embodiment of revolution,” is “dangerous,” and yet is “the safest and friendliest place on earth.” O that we might honour the riches that might lie there!
  • Resource centres: Resource centres serve as an extension of the church library and an arm of our denomination and publishing networks. MC Canada’s resource centre is one of a number of libraries that assemble family and congregational materials—Anabaptist and ecumenical resources—for your convenience. Subscribe to our monthly resource update to keep abreast of new, seasonal and Anabaptist resources at mennonitechurch.ca/tiny/347.

This spring, in an effort to increase accessibility and selection, four of our resource centres—Columbia Bible College, the MC Canada resource centre and MC Eastern Canada, as well as Mennonite and Brethren in Christ resource centre—are launching a joint project that will link our databases into an inter-library loan system. You’ll be able to access all of our materials through any one of our online catalogues.

As we partner to equip the home and church with accessible Anabaptist resources, we also welcome your feedback and resource suggestions. In the saturation of a Google marketplace, may we find and be fed by life-giving materials true to our Christian faith.

Arlyn Friesen Epp is the director of MC Canada’s resource centre in Winnipeg.

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