Table Talk: Does the Church still have Legs?

2020 Mennonite Church Canada Study Conference

Saturday, October 24, 2020



Mennonite Church Canada study conference goes virtual

Plans for inaugural study conference in October 2020 change to a one-day virtual conference incorporating pre-released and live plenaries

Winnipeg, Man., May 11, 2020--Mennonite Church Canada is moving ahead with its first study conference in October 2020.

Titled “Table Talk: Does the Church Still Have Legs?”, the conference will examine what it means to be the church and the role of worship. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, through Zoom, a virtual-meeting platform.

“Our separation as churches at this time is difficult, but it also presents an opportunity to take a step back and think critically about what it means to be the church,” says Kim Penner, who sits on the conference planning committee.

Originally to be held at Steinmann Mennonite Church in Baden, Ont., Oct. 22-24, the conference will now be an online event due to COVID-19 pandemic gathering restrictions that are not expected to lift for months.

The conference is intended for pastors, lay leaders and anyone interested in an academic-oriented approach to discerning the purpose and nature of the church.

“Our lack of in-person worship due to this pandemic has made questions about the nature, identity and essence of the church even more relevant,” says Doug Klassen, executive minister for Mennonite Church Canada.

“Going ahead with this conference, but in an online format, ensures we will still connect in the fall to discern important questions about the church,” he says.

The conference will consist of four sessions featuring plenary speakers from Mennonite Church Canada-affiliated universities and colleges:

  • Sara Wenger Shenk, former president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, will give the first plenary exploring the nature and identity of the church;
  • Irma Fast Dueck, Jeremy Bergen, Gerald Gerbrandt and Jesse Nickel will examine the role of worship in the Bible and in the church in the Western context;
  • CMU New Testament Professor Sheila Klassen-Wiebe will lead a Bible study on the parable of the great banquet in Luke 14;
  • and Bryan Born from Columbia Bible College will share what is means to be missional in this time.

Pre-released and pre-recorded plenaries are planned to allow more time for questions and engagement between speakers and participants. A recommended readings list will be released to registered participants leading up to the conference.

More information about the conference and registration will be added to this webpage in the coming weeks.


Media contact:

Katie Doke Sawatzky

Communications coordinator

Mennonite Church Canada