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Resource Centre increases services: 24/7 purchasing online, and on the road


In addition to adding 24/7online purchase capacity for books, videos and more, Arlyn Friesen Epp (Resource Centre Manager) is available for “on-the-road” resourcing of congregations through preaching, drama, teaching, and inspirational input at retreats and workshops.

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June 9, 2006
-by Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. — Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre is expanding its services to congregations by adding an online purchase capacity for resources, and by offering Resource Centre staff to serve congregations in matters of faith and nurture.

The expansion is due in part to increased demand (up 40% from 2004 to 2005), and a strong desire to better equip congregations and individuals for lives of faithful discipleship, said Dave Bergen, executive secretary of Christian Formation. The Resource Centre houses one of the most unique and specialized collections of Anabaptist books, videos, and audio resources in Canada.

“This planned expansion is in harmony with two of Mennonite Church Canada’s priorities of forming a people of God and growing leaders,” added Bergen.

With the entire catalogue of titles now in an online database, the next step to offering online purchase of materials seemed natural, said Arlyn Friesen Epp, manager of the Centre.

A partnership with denominational publisher, Mennonite Publishing Network, and Cascadia Publishing (formerly Pandora Press US) will enable online sales of a wide range of unique titles such as the popular cookbook, Simply in Season to congregational resources like Sing the Journey. Opportunities with other publishers are also being explored. Transactions will take place on a Canadian site, in Canadian dollars. Traditional loans of titles as well as well as free downloads of selected materials will continue.

“One of the strengths of the Resource Centre is that you can find titles that you won’t find at or Chapters. We offer stuff that is uniquely grounded in Anabaptist and Mennonite theology that is hard to find in the mainstream,” said Friesen Epp, adding that these materials are finding a growing audience in other denominations and among individuals seeking alternatives to mainstream religious teaching.

In addition, Friesen Epp is taking the Resource Centre on the road, offering to visit churches for special events, workshops, retreats, seminars, or preaching. Recent themes that have been brought to congregations include Honouring Scripture in Worship, Sensing God in Worship, Following Jesus: Stories of Faith, Choices of the Cross, and Reconciliation.

David Jeffares worshipped at the Inter-Mennonite Holy Week services in Edmonton this past April. He says, “Arlyn’s recent dramatic interpretation … amplified my own personal understanding and strengthened my faith … I felt like I was there and also very present in my own contemporary context. Arlyn brought a fresh look… His retelling was so different and so much the same, all at once. In today’s world of competing ‘truths’ I was reassured in my faith by these powerful interpretations of our Christian story.”

Friesen Epp is gratified to know that his ministry is making a difference. “I am continually inspired by people’s faith stories and their commitment to the gospel and faithful living. I feel honoured to help equip people for such a journey.”