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First ever assembly stirs passion for church


July 10, 2009
- Deborah Froese

SASKATOON, Sask. — A deepening interest in church drew Melanie Kampen to her first national church assembly.

Kampen just completed her second year at Canadian Mennonite University with a double major in theology and peace and conflict transformation. She’s part of praise and worship team in her home congregation, Springfield Heights Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. She also preaches and is participating on the Ministerial Search Committee – and “wherever I feel I can use my gifts.”

For Kampen, Assembly highlights included the table discussions surrounding discernment and resolutions, and the willingness of everyone to engage. “It’s interesting for me because I’ve never been to a national gathering of churches… mostly just regional [where] I know everybody. I don’t know everybody here.”

“There is no such thing as individual Christianity,” she goes on to say. “Gathering as a community, especially nationally, is important for reminding us of what our vision is, what our identity is, whose we are and where we’re going. It helps us to realize that we’re part of a global body, part of a much larger vision for the world than that of our own congregation.”

Kampen says that she found the proposed peace in the public square and advertising campaigns proposal to be interesting, but felt the discussions indicated there was a need to strengthen congregational identity as a peace church. “This is what the gospel tells us. This is part of our commission. What are the actions we can take?”

She plans to share her assembly experience with her congregation at an afternoon or evening event.