EVI announces workshop tour

Conversations about the future of Mennonite Church Canada

October 31, 2016 | Web First
Deborah Froese with files from Emerging Voices Initiative | Mennonite Church Canada

Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI) is embarking on a fall 2016 workshop tour. This group of concerned young adults hopes to encourage further discussion about the process of transitioning into a new church structure in response to Future Directions Task Force findings. (See ‘We are all responsible for what happens next’ on the decision at Assembly 2016.)

Members of the team will host workshops in each area church of Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) between November and December, on dates coinciding with area church executive meetings. (See the schedule below.)

In the Facebook invitation to these events, EVI writes: “Come with your questions, your concerns, and your dreams for the future. We are excited to listen, to respond, and to dream together! Everyone is invited to this event, no matter their age or knowledge of the changes facing MC Canada.”

EVI will host the workshops independently, with some financial help from the national church.

“This tour is part of our response to MC Canada’s call for more engagement during transition, after the Future Directions recommendation passed at Assembly 2016,” EVI writes in a press release.

Earlier this fall, members of the EVI team met with Willard Metzger, MC Canada’s executive director, and Coreena Stewart, chief administrative officer. Metzger invited them to share their dreams for continued engagement with the wider church.

“We want to encourage people to use this time of transition to dream big and to think outside the box.” says EVI member Anneli Loepp Thiessen. “As the structures that make up our national church go through transition, my hope is that we will use this time effectively to build more connections, to reach out even further, and to listen to each other more carefully. . . . I am so eager to see what we will accomplish together in the coming months and years.”

Loepp Thiessen’s enthusiasm seems to be contagious. “The passion and engagement of this dedicated group of young adults is inspiring to me personally, and from the responses they’ve had so far, it seems like others feel the same way,” says Stewart.

The new series of workshops follows positive reception of previous engagements by EVI at area church annual gatherings earlier this year and at the national church’s July Assembly in Saskatoon, Sask.

“We are grateful for new opportunities to bring people together and listen to voices across MC Canada,” EVI writes. “Please plan to attend your nearest workshop!”

EVI took shape earlier this year when a number of young adults from across Canada met to discuss the Future Directions Task Force (FDTF) broad-strokes proposal for reshaping national and area church structures. It quickly garnered interest and sparked conversation within the wider church. For more information and updates about the ministry of EVI, see here.

Workshop schedule:

Nov. 10 – Toronto, Ont. (Toronto United Mennonite Church, 7:30 p.m. updated time)
Nov. 11 – Waterloo, Ont. (Conrad Grebel University College, 7:30 p.m.)
Nov. 12 – Leamington, Ont. (United Mennonite Educational Institute, 7:30 p.m. updated time)
Nov. 26 – Saskatoon, Sask. (Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan, 7:00 p.m. updated time)
Nov. 27 – Winnipeg, Man. (Canadian Mennonite University, 7:30 p.m. updated time)
Dec. 2 – Edmonton, Alta. (First Mennonite Church, 7:30 p.m. updated date, location and time)
Dec. 4 – Abbotsford, B.C. (Columbia Bible College, 7:30 p.m. updated time)
Jan. 13 – Winkler, Man. (Emmanuel Mennonite Church, 7:30 p.m. (re-scheduled event)
Jan. 15 – Calgary, Alta. (Foothills Mennonite Church, 7:30 p.m. (re-scheduled event)

Watch for updates on EVI’s Facebook page. 
For more about EVI, see “Laments and hopes for MC Canada.”

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