Celebrate International Witness this October with our nationwide community of faith

Mennonite Church Canada invites congregations across our nationwide community of faith to celebrate International Witness by participating in a special service on October 18, 2020, or any other Sunday in October. This webpage provides worship resources, ideas for promotion, video resources including sermons for your messages, and information on joining Witness Support Networks.

This year, on International Witness Sunday, we invite you to celebrate ministry centred around sharing gifts and building relationships; ministry across borders, languages and cultures. We invite you to participate in intentional ways through learning, giving and connecting directly with our Witness workers and partner ministries across the world.

All of the resources on this page are available in the International Witness Sunday PDF Resource. Download here.

If you have questions about International Witness Sunday, you can contact your regional church or Jeanette Hanson, director of International Witness, at jhanson@mennonitechurch.ca.

May you be richly blessed as you give and learn.

Prayers and Worship Resources

Please download our International Witness Sunday PDF, which includes prayers, hymns and suggestions for what to include in your message on pages 5 and 6.

Download IW Sunday PDF Resource

PROMOTE - ON SUNDAYS LEADING UP TO INTERNATIONAL WITNESS SUNDAY...

  • Play informational videos produced by Mennonite Church Canada (see below)
  • Distribute these promotional materials:  Poster  Witness worker infosheetsGraphics for social media
  • Publish bulletin announcements -  here's a sample:
    On [October 18], our church will join congregations across Mennonite Church Canada to celebrate the relationships we have through Mennonite Church Canada International Witness. We are invited to share our gifts and build relationships across borders, languages and cultures. On that Sunday we will take a special offering for [ministry] and the work of [Witness workers]. Please prepare to give prayerfully and joyfully to this ministry that is part of what we do together as Mennonite Church Canada.
  • Print a bulletin insert

 

VIDEO RESOURCES

  

 

Promotional videos for Sundays leading up to event or to post on your congregational website and social media accounts

To come: "Intro to International Witness ministries"

  • a three-minute introduction to International Witness

"Being Sent"

  • a two-minute introduction to ministry in Thailand, featuring Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong

"God's path to new creation through reconciliation"

  • a two-minute introduction to ministry in South Korea, featuring Witness workers Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park

Children's Story

"The Banyan Tree" - Children's story for International Witness Sunday

  • a three-minute children’s story about how the Kingdom of God like a Banyan tree

  • Script is also available (link)

Message

"The Kingdom of God is like a Banyan Tree" by Jeanette Hanson

  • a 16-minute message on Eph. 2:17-22
  • featuring short videos on International Witness in Thailand and Korea
  • Link for streaming to come

"Being Sent," in collaboration with Tom and and Christine Poovong

  • a 12-minute message based on Romans 10:11-17
  • focussed on ministry in Thailand
  • Link for streaming to come

"New creation," in collaboration with Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park

  • a 12-minute message based on 2 Cor. 5: 16,17
  • focussed on ministry in South Korea
  • Link for streaming to come

"Seize the Day" by George Veith, Witness worker in China

  • a 20-minute sermon based on the story of Philip from Acts 8:26-39 and Colossians 2-6
  • Link for streaming to come

Following Jesus in a Covid-19 World

  • a 16-minute sermon from the book of Philippians
  • presented by Dann and Joji Pantoja, Witness workers in Philippines
  • Link for streaming to come

PARTICIPATE

LEARN

• Find a story from International Witness worker newsletters or news releases and share on your church website or e-mail group.
• Use the video and worship resources for International Witness Sunday.
• Post newsletters, Canadian Mennonite articles, or Mennonite Church Canada website stories aboutinternational ministries.
• Use your congregation’s announcement or sharing time to give news and ask for prayer for international
partners and Witness workers.

CONNECT


• Ask a Witness worker to have a Zoom meeting with your mission/service committee members, or your Bible study group.
• Ask an international partner to meet online. Find a translator or ask a Witness worker to help you connect.
• Join a Witness Support Network.

DISCUSS & INVEST

•Giving to an international ministry as an investment in the Kingdom of God. We invest in many things: our children’s education, our retirement, our homes. How do we invest in the church? Where do we see God’s spirit moving and how do we get on board with what God is doing in the world?

TRANSFORM

Has international ministry changed how you think about your faith and life here in Canada? What can we learn from our international partners?
• Does your community need Peace and Reconciliation (PaR) teams like those formed and trained by Dann and Joji Pantoja in the Philippines?
• Could your community benefit from conflict transformation circles used by Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park in South Korea?
• Is your congregation studying the tenets of Anabaptist faith? Connect with groups in China, who are supported by resources developed together with George and Tobia Veith.
• What are the barriers to full participation for certain people in your congregation? Follow the example of Congolese Mennonite women who organized literacy training to boost female leadership in the church in DR Congo.
• Do you see the need for worshipping communities of peace where you live, like those whom Tom and Christine Poovong nurture in Thailand?

ORGANIZE AN EVENT

(Please keep in mind local guidelines and protocols for safety around COVID-19 as you plan.)
• Make a take-home kit for every family in your congregation that includes an information sheet on an international ministry or Witness workers, a snack from that region of the world as well as a craft or game.
• Use the resources in this document for International Witness Sunday. Take a special offering in your congregation for Mennonite Church Canada International Witness.
• Hold a serve-a-thon. Ask for sponsorship from your friends and family to do service tasks in your community. Pick up garbage, rake leaves, volunteer for a community service agency, deliver Meals-on- Wheels, etc. Post pictures and hours logged on your church Facebook page. Challenge others to join you. Serve locally and contribute to church work globally!
• Hold a fundraiser that is popular in your community. Give the proceeds to an International Witness program.
• Use your congregation’s Facebook page to hold a trivia contest about the international ministry you support. Have the prize be a Zoom-call meal with International Witness workers and a meal delivered from a restaurant that serves food from that region. Look at the Mennonite Church Canada website, Witness worker newsletters and ask Witness workers to help with the trivia questions.

JOIN A WITNESS SUPPORT NETWORK

Across Mennonite Church Canada, congregations are connecting in life-giving ways through International Witness Support Networks. Your congregation is invited to participate!

How does a Witness Support Network work?


Each network is a partnership between:
•your congregation and other congregations who wish to support the same ministry,
•your regional church,
•Mennonite Church Canada
•and our Witness workers.

Together, each network reaches out to international partners with the goal of nurturing mutually transformative relationships.

How can I be involved?


Congregations desire to be involved in various ways. The Witness Support Network Covenant suggests ways each member can contribute to their network. Discern together with your missions/service committee how you would like to participate. Each congregation’s gifts are unique so every Network Covenant of support is unique.

Tasks for congregations change depending on the Witness workers and area of ministry, but may include:
•distributing e-mails/printed newsletters written by Witness workers
•organizing annual fundraisers
•sending e-mails and encouragement to Witness workers
•contacting other congregations to encourage giving toward international ministries
•connecting with international partners online or in person through visits/learning tours
•sharing prayer requests with the larger church family and praying regularly.


Many of these are things congregations have already done for years. For this we are grateful!

Why is this important?

We meet our priorities
Congregations supporting international ministry help meet the five priorities of Mennonite Church Canada international-ministry initiatives:
1.Generate financial support
2.Form and nurture relationships between Witness workers and supporters
3.Provide personal support and care for Witness workers
4.Create opportunities of congregational engagement
5.Nurture relationships with international partners.


We nurture sustainable support
Witness Support Networks allow congregations to engage in international ministries in ways that are sustainable and meaningful for church members. Through the Networks, the congregation informs, inspires and connects with Witness workers to form relationships across political and ethnic borders through ministry together.

We connect our congregations
Congregations choose a representative to meet online with other representatives of other supporting congregations for encouragement and ideas. This forms important connections between congregations. Regional church staff and Mennonite Church Canada staff support you as you get to know each other. Witness workers may also attend meetings to get to know their supporting Canadian congregations.


Interested? Contact your regional church

Please contact your regional church for more information, or Jeanette Hanson, Director of International Witness for Mennonite Church Canada, at jhanson@mennonitechurch.ca.

 

Please consider joining growing networks of support for Mennonite Church Canada International Witness ministries.