Readers of Canadian Mennonite know Vic Thiessen as a writer of thoughtful film reviews – an interpreter, as it were, of pop culture for Mennonites in Canada. At Mennonite Church Canada Assembly, Thiessen presented a seminar titled The Divergent Mockingjay: female prophets, dystopian films and life on earth in 2016.
Jack Suderman, member of the Being a Faithful Church Task Force, began the first BFC plenary session on Thursday by expressing deep gratitude to congregations for their engagement in the ongoing same sex relationship discernment process over the years.
Yearning for eloheh (ae-luh-hay) is clearly evident in Randy Woodley’s new children’s picture book, The Harmony Tree (Mennonite Church Canada, 2016). Richly illustrated by Ramone Romero with an afterword by theologian Walter Brugeggemann, the story speaks about healing and community through a deeply-rooted, God-centred, Indigenous view of creation.
“Wade in the water. Wade in the water, children. Wade in the water . . . .”
At Mennonite Church Canada’s Ministers’ Conference in Saskatoon on July 6, Rev. Susan Beaumont invited Pastors to sing the well-known spiritual. She had them stop at the phrase “God’s gonna trouble the water.”
During reporting sessions for Engagement, Formation and Witness Councils on the evening of July 7 at Assembly 2016, delegates were repeatedly referred to more comprehensive activity reports in the Report book (www.commonword.ca/go/625). The tight schedule introduced delegates to leadership and staff who highlighted stories of inspiration and impact. During reports, Twitter user Karla Fehr wrote, “Love, love hearing about God at work around the world.”
The Future Directions Task Force (FDTF) mandate may have been initiated to get ahead of anticipated challenges like declining membership and finances, but really, the Task Force says, it’s about revitalization at the congregational level.
During the Thursday morning worship service at Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2016, God~Faith~People, keynote speaker Safwat Marzouk addressed the topic of covenant that is central to the theme text, Jeremiah 31:33.
With an engaging smile, an easy-going manner and lots of connections in Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, it’s no wonder that volunteer coordinator Marianne Siemens managed to recruit a large number of helping hands for Assembly 2016. “There are about 95 volunteers,” she says, “but I can’t give you an exact number. It keeps changing.” It keeps going up.