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Mennonites: Significant involvement in CCC

   

December 22, 2003
- Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man.— Although Mennonite Church Canada is a relatively small denomination, the involvement and influence of some of its members in the broader church world is significant.

So said Dan Nighswander, MC Canada general secretary, in a recent report on his participation in Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) meetings in Mississauga, Ontario (November 12-14). The Council is “a network through which members meet to pray, learn about each other, reflect, and choose common actions” (from CCC web site).

Keith Regehr (Breslau Mennonite) representing the Council by the Canadian Ecumenical Anti-Racism Network brought a progress report to the CCC meetings. Nancy Regehr (Rockway Mennonite, no relation to Keith), presented a report on behalf of Project Ploughshares, a peace promotion project of the CCC whose staff includes several other Mennonites. Gord Alton, pastor at Community Mennonite Fellowship (Stouffville, Ontario) participated in a recent special CCC consultation on theological implications of HIV/AIDS in Canada and internationally. Members of MC Canada churches are also involved in other CCC-related programs: Dale Hildrebrand is Kairos team leader for Global Partnerships Program; Eleanor Epp-Stobbe is a member of the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada; Bill Janzen is a member of the CCC’s Justice and Peace Commission.

There are other CCC initiatives that would resonate with Mennonites. A conference Just Trade Agreements? Churches in North America Addressing Globalization is being planned for January 11-14, 2004 and will have Mennonite participation. The themes of state sovereignty, unilateralism and intervention were addressed at a ½ day forum in Ottawa on the topic, Challenges of State Sovereignty, Unilateralism and Intervention: Case Studies of Iraq, Ballistic Missile Defence and the Congo (October 15). CCC Youth Delegates presented a specific proposal for a Canadian Christian Youth Conference “which was received with enthusiasm,” said Nighswander. A Biotechnology Reference Group has produced a publication entitled Life: Patent Pending – a resource on biotechnology. News and reports can be found on the CCC web site at http://www.ccc-cce.ca/.

A resolution to become full members of CCC and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) at the annual assembly in St. Catharines this past summer was postponed until 2004.

Nighswander noted that a significant part of the meeting for him was the time devoted to participants who spoke about what they value in their faith tradition. “This kind of honest denominational-ecumenical sharing represents to me the most important quality of the CCC format and membership,” he said. “I continue to be impressed at the amount of time this group devotes to prayer and Bible study.”