Mennonite Church Canada updates and prayer requests

Published on May 27, 2020

 

Mennonite Church Canada study conference will be virtual one-day event on Oct. 24, 2020   

Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather virtually for "“Table Talk: Does the Church Still have Legs?”, a virtual study conference on the nature and identity of the church and the role of worship. Plenary speakers from Mennonite Church Canada-affiliated universities and colleges will present on themes of ecclesiology and worship. Pre-released and pre-recorded plenaries are planned to allow more time for questions and engagement between speakers and participants. Go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/tabletalk2020. 

Mennonite Church Canada weekly worship service for Pentecost Sunday May 31, 2020 

Theme: “Will the Fire Change You?  Text: Acts 2:1-4  

Springstein Mennonite Church from Springstein, Man., invites you to join in worship as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Our theme is taken from this spring’s Leader magazine resources written by Joani Neufeldt of Lethbridge, Alta. This service includes communion so please be prepared with bread/cracker and wine/juice. 

Available to view at www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices and on the Mennonite Church Canada YouTube channel. 

 

International Witness

Witness worker writes paper commemorating 70th anniversary of Korean War 

Bock Ki Kim, Witness worker in South Korea, has been asked by a group of Methodist pastors and scholars to contribute to a book commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.  They want the perspective of a peace church and the introduction of peace theology.  Please pray for insight and inspiration as Bock Ki meditates and writes on this important topic.   

AIMM asks for prayer amid COVID-19 in Africa 

Mennonite Church Canada ministry partner Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission asks us to pray for our African sisters and brothers as COVID-19 continues to spread. People visit markets to buy food almost daily because most don’t have fridges or other ways to preserve food from day to day. Pray for provision, for protection, for courage and strength during this period of isolation. Pray that hospitals and medical staff provide the best possible care despite the lack of ventilators and other important medical tools  

Give thanks for connections of Chinese small groups to Mennonite Church 

Join George Veith, Witness worker in China, in prayers of thanksgiving for the good connections small groups in China are making through Chinese colleague Pastor Yin Hongtao from Mennonite Partners in China. These groups describe their study of Anabaptist writing as a “coming home to a faith tradition we didn’t know existed.”  They are excited to be connected to Mennonites worldwide to learn together what it means to be faithful followers of Jesus in the 21st century.   

 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

Make June a Jubilee! 

June is Indigenous History Month—a time to intentionally reflect on Indigenous-Settler relationships both past and present; a time to grow in right relations with host peoples and the lands in which we live. We encourage everyone to pick up a great book—like Chelsea Vowel’s Indigenous Writes, or Barker and Lowman’s Settler—to learn more about how we can pursue paths of decolonization (see www.commonword.ca/go/1512)To celebrate this time, all proceeds from purchasing ISR resources from CommonWord—like Unsettling the Word and the Intotemak TRC Trilogy—will go to Mennonite Church Canada’s Jubilee Fund, which supports Indigenous communities who are repairing and renewing relationships with ancestral lands (see www.commonword.ca/go/2042). 

Last chance to register for Indigenous theological online gathering (June 4-7) 

Want to explore Indigenous and decolonizing theology that’ll help you live into right relations? Next week, the North American Institute for Theological Studies (NAIITS) is meeting by Zoom for its annual symposium, from June 4-7. We would love to see a good number of participants from our regional church bodies join in this community of learningISR haseveral scholarships to help cover half the cost of registration. For more information and a schedule, visit https://naiits.com/sym2020.html#2. Contact Steve Heinrichs (sheinrichs@mennonitechurch.caif you would like to receive support from Mennonite Church Canada to attend. 

News from our partners 

Book a peacemaking preacher! 

If your congregation is connecting online, Christian Peacemaker Teams would love to be a part of your virtual gatherings. We have CPTers from around the world available to either give a 10-minute sermon relating peacemaking and faith or a 5-minute highlight on CPT’s ongoing work and how your support makes it possible. Be inspired by stories of change and help support collective efforts to transform violence and oppression. To coordinate, please email Julie at outreach@cpt.org or visit  https://www.cpt.org/participate/outreach. 

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Worship Calendar 

 May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

Jun 7                     Trinity Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1769 

Jun 20                   World Refugee Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1770  

Jun 21                   National Indigenous Peoples Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1474  

Jul 30                     International Day of Friendship - https://www.commonword.ca/go/771 

Aug 6                     Hiroshima Day - https://www.commonword.ca/go/772 

  

CommonWord online service continues during the pandemic 

Self-isolation should not mean a lack of reading material.  Loan items ship free. Visit www.commonword.ca.  

  

Featured Resources 

Pandemic materials for home and congregation - https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources 

Including: 

  • Preaching to the Screen webinar – www.commonword.ca/go/2043.  MennoMedia’s Leader magazine hosted a discussion with a panel of Anabaptist pastors and church leaders to unpack practical advice as well as theological considerations for effective online preaching. 
  • Hope Unleashed – www.commonword.ca/go/2044.  A Mennonite Church Manitoba collection of congregational resources for use during the pandemic. 
  • Caring for the Mental Health of Youth and Families during Physical Isolation – www.commonword.ca/go/2045.  Includes ideas from MCEC youth ministers, workers and sponsors, online resource suggestions and links. 
  • Technology Best Practices for Virtual Meetings – www.commonword.ca/go/2046 and Work Tools - www.commonword.ca/go/2047.  Created by Crystal Washington, a technology strategist and certified futurist, for Mennonite Church USA. 
  • Copyrights During COVID-19 – www.commonword.ca/go/2048, and Ways to Sing Together if you are gathering online for worship – www.commonword.ca/go/2038.  By members of the Voices Together hymnal committee. 

 

New from Herald Press 

New from Herald Press – I am Not Your Enemy:  Stories to Transform a Divided World by Michael T. McRay – www.commonword.ca/go/2049. 

Past updates

Published on May 13, 2020

Mennonite Church Canada weekly worship service for Sunday, May 17 

Message:"An Accompanied Life" 

Text: John 14:15-21  

Holyrood Mennonite Church from Edmonton, Alta., invites you to join in worship as we consider Jesus' parting words to his disciples, words intended to comfort and strengthen them for the very uncertain days which lay ahead. View this service at www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices and the Mennonite Church Canada YouTube Channel. 

Administrator’s Day 2020 
Developing great content and layout
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 
12:00 p.m. (EDT) 
Online Networking and Resourcing Day for Administrative Assistants 

MCEC invites all congregational administrative assistants to a conversation designed specifically for you. From bulletins to newsletters, websites to emails - what is good content and layout? With so much information bombardment, how do we develop or edit pieces that rise to the surface? Join Gayle Goossen, Barefoot Creative, in this three-hour on-line interactive and informative discussion for administrative assistants across Mennonite Church Canada. In this time of physical distancing and even isolation, this is a day set aside for administrative assistants across the country for networking, information and fun. Catch a quick peek into the Mennonite Church Canada Congregational Website Hub. Register today for this on-line FREE event! 

Mennonite Church Canada study conference will be virtual one-day event on Oct. 24, 2020  

Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather virtually for "“Table Talk: Does the Church Still have Legs?”, a virtual study conference on the nature and identity of the church and the role of worship. Plenary speakers from Mennonite Church Canada-affiliated universities and colleges will present on themes of ecclesiology and worship. Pre-released and pre-recorded plenaries are planned to allow more time for questions and engagement between speakers and participants. Go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/tabletalk2020. 

 

International Witness

Sermon by IW director offered for use in congregational services 

In a recorded sermon “The Kingdom of God is like a banyan tree,” originally for Morden Mennonite Church, International Witness Director Jeanette Hanson looks at Ephesians 2:17-22 and shares how each expression of church enlivens the whole, using examples from International Witness ministries around the world. Share this resource with your church community. Available at https://youtu.be/fjYi7PcnFTY. 

Korean Mennonite church eager to meet face to face 

Pray for the Mennonite Seoul meeting group led by South Korea Witness workers Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park. They have cancelled meetings since the first Sunday of March due to COVID-19 and gather through online Zoom meetings. The group is eager to meet face to face.  Pray that they find peace as they stay at home and find ways to support one another.   

New worship building for Vietnamese congregation 

Pray for the construction of a worship place in Di Lang, Quang Ngai, Vietnam. This is one of the 78 congregations that are part of the Evangelical Mennonite Church Vietnam (EMCV). North American Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship relates to this conference.  

Witness workers getting vegetables to the hungry in Philippines  

In response to urban food security issues during the COVID-19 lockdown, Witness worker Joji Pantoja in the Philippines has secured food lane passes that allow vegetables to be transported into the cities from the 400 farmers that work with Coffee for Peace. Pray for Dann and Joji as they organize this social enterprise initiative through their Peace and Reconciliation teams in various parts of the country. Read more about this story here. 

 

 
 
 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

Indigenous theological gathering online – June 4-7, 2020 

The North American Institute for Theological Studies (NAIITS) is moving its annual symposium online, bringing Indigenous and settler peoples together to explore “Community Health and Well-Being: Conversations on Wholeness.” Indigenous-Settler Relations would love to see a good number of participants from each of our regional church bodies join in this rich learning. We have several scholarships to help cover the cost of registration. For more information and a schedule, visit https://naiits.com/sym2020.html#2. Contact Steve Heinrichs if you would like to receive support from Mennonite Church Canada to attend (sheinrichs@mennonitechurch.ca). 

 
 
 

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Worship Calendar 

May 21                 Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

Jun 7                     Trinity Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1769 

Jun 20                   World Refugee Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1770  

Jun 21                   National Indigenous Peoples Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1474  


CommonWord online service continues during the pandemic 

Self-isolation should not mean a lack of reading material. Visit www.commonword.ca to explore over 13,000 resources. You can also pick up a Herald Press title – for sale or loan at www.commonword.ca/go/heraldpress. 


CommonWord is curating pandemic materials regularly 

 Here are a few of the recent COVID-19 resource additions: 

  • Pandemic materials for home and congregation -  https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources
  • Seeking a Common Word: A Local Christian-Muslim Dialogue Guide.  A good primer for engaging inter-faith dialogue between Christians and Muslims. Representative of MCA’s work in Edmonton - www.commonword.ca/go/2032. 
  • Suffering the Truth: Occasional Sermons and Reflections by Chris K. Huebner.  A collection of chapel presentations, sermons and meditations by CMU prof, Chris Huebner – www.commonword.ca/go/2010. 
  • Bible Storytelling with Carrie.  Video stories for children, presented by Carrie Martens, former pastor in MCEC - www.commonword.ca/go/2022. 
  • Wandering the Wilderness:  A Guide for Weary Wanderers and Searching Skeptics.  Recent title by Ray Friesen, retired pastor in MC Sask - www.commonword.ca/go/1967. 
  • Advocating for Peace:  Stories from the Ottawa Office of Mennonite Central Committee, 1975-2008.  Recent title by William Janzen, former Director of MCC’s Ottawa office - www.commonword.ca/go/1954. 
  • New from Herald Press - Speak Your Peace:  What the Bible Says about Loving Our Enemies by Ron Sider – www.commonword.ca/go/2034. 

Check https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources for all the materials.

Published on April 30, 2020

Mennonite Church Canada weekly worship service for May 3, 2020

Join Niagara area pastors as we reflect on Acts 2:42-47 – All Things in Common in Uncommon Times. Louise Wideman (Vineland United Mennonite Church), Alissa Bender (Hamilton Mennonite Church) and Renate Klassen (Niagara United Mennonite Church) will guide us as we gather as a nationwide community of faith. 

Live-streamed at https://www.hmc.on.ca/mc-canada at 9:45 a.m. (EDT). Recorded service available afterwards at www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices.

Mennonite Church Canada Study conference goes virtual on October 24, 2020 

During this global COVID-19 pandemic, the Holy Spirit calls us to re-examine what it means to be the church. While technology allows us to join each other on Sunday mornings, without gathering together how can we be Christ’s Body? What does this crisis reveal about our current practices of being the church? Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather virtually for a time of discernment on the nature and identity of the church and the role of worship. Sara Wenger Shenk, former president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and several other scholars from our Mennonite schools will reflect on themes related to 1 Peter 2:9-10. 

 

International Witness

Financial strains for small schools in Thailand 

Pray for Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong as they, together with many around the world, homeschool their children Joseph and Phim. The children’s school is small and the COVID-19 lockdown puts it under severe financial strain. Pray that this place that has been life-giving for their family will re-open in the fall so that the Poovongs can continue ministry in this location.    

Uncertain futures for young adults 

As borders are closed and travel is restricted, pray for young adult children of Witness workers who are separated from parents at a time of uncertainty and anxiety.  Pray for those dealing with job losses and uncertain futures.  Pray that God will be near to them and that our family of faith will come be near to them.   

Rural healthcare and job loss in Vietnam 

Mennonites in Vietnam have asked us to pray for them during this pandemic. They ask for prayers for good health and safety especially for those in rural areas where the health care system is inadequate for this challenge.  Pray for those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic in a system with no employment insurance.  The churches continue to minister in this difficult time. Pray for wisdom and strength.   

Church closures in China affect salaries of staff 

The closure of churches in China due to COVID-19 has had devastating financial effects on several large congregations that have worked with Mennonite Partners in China for decades.  With no opening dates in sight even though other aspects of life are starting to get back to normal, church staff are taking drastic reductions in salary and making difficult decisions about selling property.  Pray that God will give wisdom and peace in this difficult time.  

 
 
 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

News from our partners 

Wet’suwet’en Resistance webinar – May 5 at 7 p.m. EST 

In February and March of this year, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) sent two teams of legal observers to unceded Wet'suwet'en territory in northern B.C. With no consent from the hereditary leadership of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have maintained a militarized occupation of their lands in order to enable ongoing construction of a fracked gas pipeline—even during the current pandemic. Join Jennifer Wickham from the Gidim'ten clan and three CPTers – including Mennonite Church Canada’s Steve Heinrichs – as they share stories from the frontlines of the Wet'suwet'en resistance on May 5 at 7 PM EST. Register for free online.   

Indigenous theological gathering online – June 4-7, 2020 

The North American Institute for Theological Studies (NAIITS) is moving its annual symposium online, bringing Indigenous and settler peoples together to explore “Community Health and Well-Being: Conversations on Wholeness.” Indigenous-Settler Relations would love to see a good number of participants from each of our regional church bodies join in this rich learning. We have several scholarships to help cover the cost of registration. For more information, visit https://www.naiits.com/sym2020.html. Contact Steve Heinrichs if you would like to receive support from Mennonite Church Canada (sheinrichs@mennonitechurch.ca). 

 

 
 
 

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May 15                 International Day of Families - www.commonword.ca/go/1751 

May 21                 Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

Jun 7                     Trinity Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1769 

Jun 20                   World Refugee Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1770  

Jun 21                   National Indigenous Peoples Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1474  


CommonWord online service continues during the pandemic 

Self-isolation should not mean a lack of reading material. Visit www.commonword.ca to explore over 13,000 resources. You can also pick up a Herald Press title – for sale or loan at www.commonword.ca/go/heraldpress. 


CommonWord is curating pandemic materials regularly 

 Here are a few of the recent COVID-19 resource additions: 

 

Check https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources for all the materials 

  

New title from CMU Press 


Suffering the Truth: Occasional Sermons and Reflections by Chris K. Huebner, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Canadian Mennonite University 

Chris K. Huebner invites us to reflect on how we might inhabit truthfully the strange new life into which we have been called by God. Structured around the Christian liturgical calendar, Suffering the Truth begins with a meditation on Advent as a time during which we are called to cultivate a readiness for the unexpected presence of God and concludes with a sermon that challenging the conception of peace frequently celebrated on the day Mennonites call Peace Sunday. Huebner’s sermons elaborate a liturgical counter-temporality and display what it might look like when its rhythms inform the way we go about our ordinary lives. Available through CommonWord.

Weekly service provided by churches across Mennonite Church Canada

"The Marvelous Grace of Insecurity"

Text: Luke 24: 13-32

This week’s national Sunday service will be shared from Mennonite Church British Columbia’s Crossroads Community Church. Pastor Len Hjalmarson will be teaching from the road to Emmaus. The service will be available to view at https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices.

Transcript of sermon: Getting to Hopelessness

 

International Witness

 

Online teaching and learning adjustments 

South Korea Witness worker Sook Kyoung Park’s faithful presence in her English classroom everyday has been transferred to online and telephone connections. Please pray that her caring heart and efforts to make a safe space for her students will be portrayed as well in this way. Pray for her students as they interact with her in this time of anxiety.    

Complications with Anabaptist event planning for Latin American youth 

The Colombian Mennonite Church asks for prayer for the Anabaptist Andean youth meeting happening in Colombia on July 20-24. Three hundred youth usually come from Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, San Salvador, Argentina and Brazil. The theme of this meeting is "Anabaptist identity in the Latin American context." Pray that leaders know how to proceed with planning for this important event, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Technology challenges older generation of Thailand ministry 

Pray for Witness workers Christine and Tom Poovong as they reach out to new believers in the congregations around them in Thailand. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help them and other disciples make good use of technology to communicate since many are from the older generation and do not have a computer. 

News from our partners 

Please pray for the staff and students of Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) in the West Bank. The campus has been closed since March 5 and faculty scrambles to teach online. One faculty member and several students have been infected by COVID-19. BBC president Jack Sara says this has "put an edge to our prayers." In addition, the all-city lockdown has been devastating to Bethlehem's tourism-dependent economy, adding to the many restrictions that Palestinians already endure under Israeli military occupation. Pray that BBC and the Palestinian churches may be a beacon of hope amidst the suffering (from the Mennonite Church Canada Palestine-Israel Network. Mennonite Church Canada is exploring a more formal relationship with BBC, where Mennonite Church Canada short-term volunteers have served.)  

 
 
 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

 

Act for Indigenous Right to “Restrict Access” 

In this COVID-19 crisis where all Canadians—except “essential service” workers—are urged to stay home, thousands of resource workers are currently entering into remote Indigenous territories to build mega projects (e.g., the Site C Dam and the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia) and endangering the well-being of vulnerable Indigenous populations. The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples—which Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations is part of—has released a statement calling governments to respect the right of Indigenous communities “to set conditions of entry into their territories.” Historically, Indigenous peoples have been disproportionately impacted by disease and illness—and the same is true today. We invite our congregations to pray that those in authority would honour the rights and lives of Indigenous peoples. We also invite you to write Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (pm@pm.gc.ca) and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett (carolyn.bennett@canada.ca) to express your concerns and hope. 

News from our partners 

Prayers for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) 

Between April 22-25, Christian Peacemaker Teams will have its spring Steering Committee meetings, with participants zooming in from all around the world. Mennonite Church Canada is one of seven sponsoring bodies, and Steve Heinrichs (director of Indigenous-Settler Relations), serves as representative. It is a strange time for CPT. Due to COVID-19 there is the need for physical distancing, yet CPT field teams in Colombia, Iraqi-Kurdistan, Palestine, and Lesvos (Greece) continue a strong commitment to advocacy and online connections. COVID-19 has also brought uncertainty to CPT finances. Please pray for the CPT Steering Committee—that we would have wisdom, courage, and even the joy of the Spirit as we discern how to support the work of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression. To learn more about CPT, and to donate, please see www.cpt.org. 

 
 
 

CommonWord logo


 

 

Worship calendar: 

Apr 22                  Earth Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1733  

May 15                 International Day of Families - www.commonword.ca/go/1751 

May 21                 Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

Jun 7                     Trinity Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1769 

Jun 20                   World Refugee Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1770  

Jun 21                   National Indigenous Peoples Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1474  

  

  

CommonWord online service continues during the pandemic. Please visit www.commonword.ca! 

 Self-isolation should not mean a lack of reading material. Have a book dropped off at your door!   

(Loan items ship free.) 

  

CommonWord is curating pandemic materials daily 

Here are a few of the recent COVID-19 resource additions: 

 Check https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources for all the materials 

  

Shaping Faith in a Digital Culture 

Six video plenary sessions from the Deep Faith conference held at AMBS March 2-5. 

These discussions are perhaps more poignant now than even a few weeks ago!  Visit www.commonword.ca/go/2011. 

  

MennoMedia offers free Shine curriculum during the pandemic 

for use by churches for online learning or to send to parents for use at home 

https://shinecurriculum.com/shineathome/free-resources/. 


CommonWord physical store closure 


As a part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have closed the physical CommonWord store to the public and have our team working from home. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean a lack of reading material.  Our staff are still hard at work, making sure you receive the best resources. You can continue to contact us by phone or e-mail and we continue to ship resources to your door. Peace and good health to everyone during this time.

Published on April 1, 2020

 

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan provides Palm Sunday service for nationwide community of faith 

As part of Mennonite Church Canada’s weekly sharing of worship services, Eigenheim Mennonite Church, together with Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, will collaborate this week to bring a service to our nationwide community of faith for Palm Sunday on April 5. Ryan Siemens, Executive Minister for MC Sask, will focus on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11) and help prepare us to walk with Christ to the cross. Go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/worshipservices to view the video this weekend. 

 

International Witness

Prayer request to ease fears in Thailand 

On March 26 Thailand declared a national state of emergency. People in the Issan province, where Witness workers Tom and Christine Poovong are working, are afraid that closing businesses in Bangkok and other cities will send people back to their homes in the rural areas, further spreading COVID-19.  The Poovong family is practicing social distancing in their home and ministering to congregations and church leaders online and by phone. Tom asks for prayer that the hope that is within them will shine to those around them in this dark time.   

China churches reach out to help equip Canadian congregations 

Churches in China are praying for our Canadian congregations and offering their help as we begin to face what they have lived through in the last months. Praise God for the nearly daily messages of support and offers of masks and other protective gear from Mennonite Church Canada China ministry colleagues and friends, sent in the midst of the Canadian COVID-19 crisesThank God for this global family of faith that walks together in times of difficulty and times of joy.   

Prayer for Witness workers in quarantine 

Pray for George and Tobia Veith in their second week of quarantine in a hotel within walking distance of their home in Harbin, China. Praise God that they arrived back in China before the borders were closed to foreigners. Pray that their work on creating on-line classes and resources for the church engage them while they wait to return home.   

Coffee for Peace affected by COVID-19 shutdown 

Pray for Witness worker Joji Pantoja as she makes decisions for her business, as CEO of Coffee for Peace.  “As a social entrepreneur, I have to think of our workers at Coffee for Peace Café and their needs,” Joji says. “I have to think of our workers at Malipayon Peace Hub as they sort our coffee so that in their struggles to make ends meet while under community quarantine, their families will still survive, will eat, and will stay healthy.” Read more from Joji and pray that God will give her wisdom and peace as she serves.

 
 
 
 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

NAIITS bus trip cancelled, but virtual gathering happening! 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAIITS: Indigenous Learning Community is cancelling its annual June symposium. But there’s good news! Though Mennonite Church Canada can no longer send a delegation to participate in person, NAIITS plans to create a virtual, on-line symposium. We hope to have a significant number from our nationwide church take in the experience. Stay tuned for details in the weeks ahead! 

Jubilee Fund Praise 

Each year, Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Central Committee issue grants to Indigenous organizations seeking to rebuild and renew connections to the land. The grants come from the Jubilee Fund, created in 1992the quincentennial of Columbus’ non-discovery of the Americas. Over the years, we’ve helped an incrediblarray of Indigenous communities with land-based education, healing programs, repatriation efforts and more. This year we give thanks for an opportunity to give to two initiatives seeking to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples together on the land, to learn traditional ways of relating to the world of which we are a part. Find out more about and give to the Jubilee Fund. 

 
 
 

CommonWord logo


 

 

Worship Calendar: 

Apr 5                    Palm Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1463  

Apr 7                    World Health Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1324  

Apr 9                    Maundy Thursday - www.commonword.ca/go/1462  

Apr 10                  Good Friday - www.commonword.ca/go/1461  

Apr 12                  Easter Sundaywww.commonword.ca/go/1460  

Apr 22                  Earth Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1733  

May 15                 International Day of Families - www.commonword.ca/go/1751 

May 21                 Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

Jun 7                     Trinity Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1769 

Jun 20                   World Refugee Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1770  

Jun 21                   National Indigenous Peoples Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1474  

  

Pandemic outbreak resources from CommonWord: 


The current climate around the COVID-19 virus has many of us feeling out of sorts. To help, CommonWord has put together a list of pandemic resources and response that you can use to help you navigate this difficult time. We continue to update the list as congregations and organizations create new resources. 

 

Cheaper by the Dozen:


You can order resources through our Cheaper by the Dozen program, which allows congregations to borrow our resources for a longer loan period. Your congregation can also share the materials among members during the loan period.

 

Featured Resources

Mennonite Church Canada Director of Indigenous-Settler Relations Steve Heinrichs recently spoke with Liam Miller of Australia’s “Love – Rinse/Repeat” podcast about editing the book Unsettling the WordSteve speaks of his own journey with Scripture and decolonization, how the book came together, what surprised him in its compilation and how churches in settler-colonial contexts might start hard but necessary conversations.

 

 

CommonWord physical store closure 


As a part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have closed the physical CommonWord store to the public and have our team working from home. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean a lack of reading material.  Our staff are still hard at work, making sure you receive the best resources. You can continue to contact us by phone or e-mail and we continue to ship resources to your door. Peace and good health to everyone during this time.

Published March 18, 2020

 

A message for Mennonite Church Canada congregations

Mennonite Church Canada executive minister will record a sermon for churches to use this coming Sunday 

Video will include sermon and worship music, recorded in Winnipeg church 

March 18, 2020 

Mennonite Church Canada leadership recognizes the difficult situations in which many congregations now find themselves as they take measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. To meet federal and provincial public health recommendations, it is expected that many of our congregations will not meeting this coming Sunday and for several Sundays afterwards.  

We know that the leadership of many churches across our denomination are working hard to come up with alternative options for worship services. Churches in large cities are choosing to video stream their sermons so congregants can view them at home. In an effort to help congregations that aren’t able to do the same, this week, Mennonite Church Canada will post a sermon preached by Executive Minister Doug Klassen for congregations to view this coming Sunday, March 22, 2020.  

Klassen will preach on John 9, which is the lectionary text for this Sunday. The sermon will be recorded later this week at a church in Winnipeg. Musicians leading worship music will also be recorded. The video will be no longer than an hour. 

“The beauty of John 9 is that while healing happens, other complications are introduced,” says Klassen. “The COVID-19 crisis is immensely complicated, but where is Jesus coming to us in the midst of it all? Let’s explore together.” 

The video is a resource for congregations to use, if they would like, as part of their alternative worship practices. The video will be uploaded to the Mennonite Church Canada YouTube Channel and available through a link on the nationwide homepage: https://www.mennonitechurch.caRegional church communicators will e-mail congregations the links once the video is up and ready for viewing. 

If you have questions, please contact your regional church communicator or Katie Doke Sawatzky, Mennonite Church Canada Communications Officer. 

We continue to pray for you congregation’s health and spirits, 

Katie Doke Sawatzky 

Communications Officer 

Mennonite Church Canada 


Mennonite Church Canada updates pandemic web resources 

As schools cancel classes across the country and congregations gauge whether or not to hold services,  Mennonite Church Canada has updated web resources created by the Mennonite Church Canada Pandemic and Response Taskforce during the last flu pandemic in 2009-2010. Go to https://www.mennonitechurch.ca/outbreakresources for information on how to adjust congregational practices before, during and after an outbreak. At this time, Mennonite Church Canada urges every congregation to stay up to date with recommendations from their provincial health authorities on appropriate measures to take for limit the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Table Talk: Does the church still have legs? 

A Mennonite Church Canada Study Conference  
Thursday, October 22 – Saturday, October 24, 2020  
Steinmann Mennonite Church, Baden, Ont.  

Does your congregation seek renewal? Does it feel as though you are “going through the motions”? Is the church still the answer to corporate discipleship? Why continue to invest in the church when religious structures are buckling under the weight of our time? Why the church when so many people are content to live life without stepping into a sanctuary or being part of a small group?  

Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather around the table in Ontario this fall for Mennonite Church Canada’s inaugural study conference. Together we will lament, listen and learn, moving forward with hope, as we ask these important “Why?” questions. Sara Wenger Shenk, former president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, will help us to reflect on the scripture text from 1 Peter 2. Mark your calendars; more details will follow. 

 

International Witness

Increasing threats to pastors and farmers in Colombia 

The Colombian Mennonite Church ask us to pray for peace in Colombia. Although there has been a peace plan signed with the FARC forces (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), they report an increase in threats and violence against peasant leaders and pastors in some areas. Pray that God’s peace that transforms lives will reign in this region.  

MWC pastor visits prairie provinces and urges prayer over terrorist activity in Burkina Faso 

In the last few weeks Pastor Siaka Troare from Burkina Faso, chair of the Deacons Commission for Mennonite World Conference (MWC), has been speaking in several places in Manitoba and Alberta. He urges us to pray for peace as terrorist groups randomly kill people gathered in churches, mosques and markets. After a visit from the MWC leadership to pray for groups in Burkina Faso, the head of the military said that this cannot be changed by military force but only by prayer that God will transform the hearts and minds of these groups. Pray that God’s power of transformative love will flood this land.  

COVID-19 emergency eases for Witness workers in Asia; self-isolation in Philippines begins 

As the COVID-19 emergency begins to ease for Witness workers in China and South Korea, Dann and Joji Pantoja in Mindanao, Philippines report the beginning of their time of self-isolation. They report on the devastating effects of this pandemic on the poor in the cities. Read their blog post for more informationPray that God’s healing and hope will flow through us to those around us at this difficult time. 

 
 
 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

ISR organizing bus journey to NAIITS 2020   

Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations (ISR) is organizing a bus journey to take 50 Indigenous and settler persons to this year’s NAIITS gathering in Sioux Falls, South Dakota—June 4-6, 2020. Would you like to join us? NAIITS is a Christian Indigenous Learning Community that hosts theological gatherings intended for pastors and activists, young and old. ISR wants to bring a diverse group of friends from across our nationwide church to attend this event that will explore “Conversations on Health and Wholeness.” The bus ride from Winnipeg is free, registration is covered, and we’re looking to crash at a local church (dorm rooms are an option, but at your own expense). If interested, please e-mail Steve Heinrichs for more details (sheinrichs@mennonitechurch.ca). It’s going to be a lot of fun! 

 
 
 

CommonWord logo


 

 

Worship calendar: 

Mar 21                 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination -   www.commonword.ca/go/1693  

Mar 22                 World Water Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1694  

Apr 5                    Palm Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1463  

Apr 7                    World Health Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1324  

Apr 9                    Maundy Thursday - www.commonword.ca/go/1462  

Apr 10                  Good Friday - www.commonword.ca/go/1461  

Apr 12                  Easter - www.commonword.ca/go/1460  

Apr 22                  Earth Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1733  

May 15                 International Day of Families - www.commonword.ca/go/1751 

May 21                 Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

  

Pandemic outbreak resources from CommonWord: 


The current climate around the COVID-19 virus has many of us feeling out of sorts. To help, CommonWord has put together a list of resources on pandemic preparedness and response that you can use to help you navigate this difficult time. 

 

Share your works 


Are you writing an original Lenten resource?  CommonWord would love to share it further by posting it on our site.  Please visit www.commonword.ca/go/1666 for more information about our “Community-Developed” materials. 

 

Featured Resources

Wandering the Wilderness is a guidebook for individuals who are unsure of their path or are questioning the trails they were taught in the past. Author Ray Friesen is a former pastor and, at the same time, a life-long "believing skeptic." He's an advocate for "abundant living" and the guideposts that mark it. This informs Friesen's thoughtful submission for a renewed approach to finding meaning in a life informed by the Bible in a time when the relevance of those ancient writings is often thrown into question. 

Due to measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the decision has been made to postpone our March 26 book launch for Wandering the Wilderness. However, you can still show your support of author Ray Friesen by ordering the book from our website. 

 

CommonWord physical store closure 

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 we have closed our physical CommonWord store to the public. However, our staff are still hard at work, making sure that you receive the best resources. You can continue to contact us by phone or e-mail. Peace and good health to everyone during this time.

Mennonite Church Canada Study Conference

Table Talk: Does the church still have legs?

A Mennonite Church Canada Study Conference 
Thursday, October 22 – Saturday, October 24, 2020 
Steinmann Mennonite Church, Baden, Ont. 

Does your congregation seek renewal? Does it feel as though you are “going through the motions”? Is the church still the answer to corporate discipleship? Why continue to invest in the church when religious structures are buckling under the weight of our time? Why the church when so many people are content to live life without stepping into a sanctuary or being part of a small group? 

Join our nationwide community of faith as we gather around the table in Ontario this fall for Mennonite Church Canada’s inaugural study conference. Together we will lament, listen and learn, moving forward with hope, as we ask these important “Why?” questions. Sara Wenger Shenk, former president of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, will help us to reflect on the scripture text from 1 Peter 2. Mark your calendars; more details will follow.

 

International Witness

Coronavirus affects daily life of Witness workers in South Korea 

In the last week the rise of coronavirus in South Korea has changed affected millions of lives. Bock Ki Kim and Sook Kyoung Park, Witness workers in Chuncheon, write:  

“In the last four to five days there was a public announcement that most public systems will be closed for one or two weeks. These include kindergarten, public libraries, public schools, universities and religious institutions. We have cancelled or postponed all our meetings, including Mennonite Seoul (our church group).” 

Bock Ki Kim writes, “The coronavirus is overwhelming many people and many of us stay at home these days. I am no exception. The situation outside the house is difficult; the number of infected people is rapidly rising. But I don't want to spend time in vain, so I am finishing the final proofread of two forthcoming books that I am translating into Korean: one is new, John Roth’s Stories, one is old, Waldemar Janzen’s Work and Rest.” 

Prayer: Please pray for public health authorities in South Korea as they deal with the spread of the virus. Pray that Bock Ki and Sook Kyoung will be a presence of peace to their community.

 
 
 

Indigenous-Settler Relations

ISR organizing bus journey to NAIITS 2020   

Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations (ISR) is organizing a bus journey to take 50 Indigenous and settler persons to this year’s NAIITS gathering in Sioux Falls, South Dakota—June 4-6, 2020. Would you like to join us? NAIITS is a Christian Indigenous Learning Community that hosts theological gatherings intended for pastors and activists, young and old. ISR wants to bring a diverse group of friends from across our nationwide church to attend this event that will explore “Conversations on Health and Wholeness.” The bus ride from Winnipeg is free, registration is covered, and we’re looking to crash at a local church (dorm rooms are an option, but at your own expense). If interested, please e-mail Steve Heinrichs for more details (sheinrichs@mennonitechurch.ca). It’s going to be a lot of fun! 

 
 
 

CommonWord logo


 

 

Worship Calendar: 

Mar 8                    World Women’s Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1692  

Mar 21                 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - www.commonword.ca/go/1693  

Mar 22                 World Water Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1694  

Apr 5                    Palm Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1463  

Apr 7                    World Health Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1324  

Apr 9                    Maundy Thursday - www.commonword.ca/go/1462  

Apr 10                  Good Friday - www.commonword.ca/go/1461  

Apr 12                  Easter - www.commonword.ca/go/1460  

Apr 22                  Earth Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1733  

May 15                 International Day of Families - www.commonword.ca/go/1751 

May 21                 Ascension Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1752 

May 31                 Pentecost - www.commonword.ca/go/1759  

  

Lent 


Lent is a time of reflection, fasting and prayer as we prepare for Easter. Whether you’re looking for a family or adult study, a DVD series, or a book of prayers, CommonWord has lots of resources to choose from. 

  

Share Your Works 


Are you writing an original Lenten resource?  CommonWord would love to share it further by posting it on our site. Check out our community-developed materials for more details. 

  

Featured Resource 


“During Lent God’s children reflect on the life and death of Christ. This year we are invited to ask God to show us how to find our hidden God as well as our own safe hiding place; how to remember God’s faithful, loving presence; how to reconnect with the Rock of our salvation; how to really see. As we do so, our Lenten journey will help us remember God’s power over death and help us learn how to balance joy and sorrow from Jesus on the hard but worthwhile path to resurrection.” 

This resource for the home is adapted from congregational worship resources for Lent, printed in Leader magazine, which is published by MennoMedia.

International Witness

News from our partners 

AIMM asks for prayer over violence in Burkina Faso 

Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission (AIMM) asks us to pray that God restores peace to the continually deteriorating security situation in Burkina Faso. Thousands of people have been displaced by increasingly frequent, violent attacks by radical Islamic terrorist groups. These attacks target mosques, churches, schools and government military and police outposts. Pray for courage and trust for leaders and members of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in this challenging environment. Pray for acts of love between Christians and Muslims that show a better way forward. 

Upcoming AIMM event in Winnipeg: how is God at work in Burkina Faso? 

Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission International Central Council is holding an event in Winnipeg on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m. Featuring a complimentary supper buffet, the evening will feature a report from Pastor Siaka Traoré, who will report on how the Spirit is leading the church today in Burkina Faso amid significant national turmoil due to increasing terrorist attacks on churches, mosques, schools and police outposts nationwide. To RSVP call 574-612-6091 or e-mail rod@aimmintl.org. Or just show up with a friend or two! 

Mennonite Church in Colombia faces much need by Venezuelan refugees 

Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia asks us to pray for the situation in Venezuela. At this time more than 3 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia in absolute poverty. As church members in Colombia reach out to these people, they are also supporting Mennonite congregations in Caracas, Isla Margarita and Yaracuy, Venezuela. Pray that the church in Colombia will be given God’s strength and wisdom as they seek to provide in the face of overwhelming need. Pray that the Mennonite congregations in Venezuela will feel God’s presence in this difficult time.  

Christians provide masks in Wuhan communities 

“God loves you and is walking with us through this difficult time.” This is the message that Christians in Wuhan, China, are giving to people as they provide much needed face masks to people in their communities.  Please continue to pray for those affected by this epidemic. Pray that believers in China will be able to share the reason for their hope in a dark time. Pray for wisdom as plans are made for Mennonite workers in China in the next few months.   

MCEC pastors return from Thailand 

Pray for pastors from Mennonite Church Eastern Canada as they return from visiting and ministering with Tom and Christine Poovong in Thailand. Pray that God will speak to their hearts about what they have seen and heard. Pray that Tom and Christine will be encouraged by their visit and that the ministry will be strengthened through these relationships.

Indigenous-Settler Relations

Mennonite Church Canada offers resources to help us learn about and from Wet’suwet’en 

A message from Steve Heinrichs, director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for Mennonite Church Canada: 

“Over the last weeks, the eyes of Canadians have turned to Wet’suwet’en territory in north-central British Columbia as the Crown, RCMP and Coastal Gaslink have sought to remove Indigenous land defenders from their homelands in order to continue work on a natural gas pipeline. Many in the church have questions about how to understand the situation. This resource list contains news articles, videos, church statements, technical reports, books and more—that can help us learn, facilitate further, and different, questions, encourage prayer…and maybe even acts of solidarity. It is by no means exhaustive, and the content varies in substance and the ways in which it narrates the various relationships. Nonetheless, we hope it will serve to open compassionate conversation and deeper comprehension.” 

 

CommonWord logo

Worship Calendar: 

Feb 20                  World Day of Social Justice - www.commonword.ca/go/1690  

Feb 23                  Transfiguration Sunday – www.commonword.ca/go/1886  

Feb 26                  Ash Wednesday - www.commonword.ca/go/1691  

Mar 8                    World Women’s Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1692  

Mar 21                 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - www.commonword.ca/go/1693  

Mar 22                 World Water Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1694  

Apr 5                    Palm Sunday - www.commonword.ca/go/1463  

Apr 7                    World Health Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1324  

Apr 9                    Maundy Thursday - www.commonword.ca/go/1462  

Apr 10                  Good Friday - www.commonword.ca/go/1461  

Apr 12                  Easter - www.commonword.ca/go/1460  

Apr 22                  Earth Day - www.commonword.ca/go/1733 


Lent 

 

The season of Lent is rapidly approaching. This season is a time of reflection, fasting and prayer as we prepare for Easter. Whether you’re looking for a family or adult study, a DVD series or a book of prayers, CommonWord has something for you. Resources can be found here

  

Share Your Works 


Are you writing an original Lenten resource? CommonWord would love to share it further by posting it on our site.  Check out more information about our “Community-Developed” materials. 

  

Featured Resources 


2020 Lenten Guided Prayer Experience 

Participating in this six-week experience will take you on a journey of discovery and challenge.  

As you pray with the scripture texts for Lent, you will be invited to consider how God is present in the gritty or difficult places in life in order to find grace and hope. Visit this link to participate.