Mennonite Church Canada updates and prayer requests

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.  

 

 

Past updates

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.