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Healing memories; reconciling in Christ

   
 


Healing Memories; Reconciling in Christ Study Guide

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November 15, 2010
-Deborah Froese

Winnipeg, MAN. — Historical records are shaped by the perspectives of those who write them – and perspectives that clash can cause centuries of pain.

On July 22nd, an apology to Mennonites from Lutherans for their historical persecution of Mennonites initiated a new relationship between these parts of the church and opened a door to revisiting their shared but distinctive histories.

“We have to change the way we teach our history ” said Janet Plenert, who as Executive Secretary, Mennonite Church Canada Witness and Vice-President of Mennonite World Conference, has been actively involved in the reconciliation process.

To provide a solid foundation for nurturing this relationship, reconciled through a common faith and commitment to Christ, Mennonite Church Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada jointly prepared a new study guide; Healing Memories; Reconciling in Christ for distribution to all of their congregations.

The guide, which is also available as a free download from the Mennonite Church Canada Resource Centre, reflects the historical relationship between Lutherans and Mennonites in a portrayal accepted by both churches. It illustrates how differences between them arose, helping to bridge the gap between misunderstandings.

The guide was created by Allen Jorgenson, Lutheran pastor and seminary professor; and Margaret Loewen Reimer, Mennonite editor and writer; both of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. It is based upon a report by the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission, a three year dialogue generated by the Lutheran World Federation and the Mennonite World Conference. 

Lutherans and Mennonites are encouraged to work through the study guide together wherever possible.  Four one-hour sessions include material from the study commission report, questions, relevant Bible studies and prayers.  Links to video clips are included.

In addition to print copies of the study guide, each Mennonite Church Canada congregation will
receive a copy of The Lutheran World Federation’s magazine, Lutheran World Information.  The issue to be distributed focuses entirely on the apology and reconciliation.

“We’re providing a lot of resources, but we need people to implement them,” Plenert said as she shared the material with Mennonite Church Canada’s General Board on November 12.  She encouraged congregations and Area Churches to implement this study however they feel is most effective within their own communities.

Resource materials are available at the Resource Centre.