Nine years of careful study, sensitive listening, deep engagement by many but not all congregations, and innumerable meetings of the Being a Faithful Church Task Force led to a large majority vote in favour of creating space for congregations to differ from one another when it comes to same sex relationships.
Did you know that if you stacked all of the textual records and photographs in Winnipeg’s Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives and Gallery on top of each other, the stack would be taller than the CN Tower?
Randall Neudorf of The Commons church in Hamilton, Ont., was brought to tears as the Glowing Embers Ukelele Band from Bethany Manor in Saskatoon led singing at worship today. His Grandmother of Bethany Manor was in the band and passed away just one month ago. He was unable to attend the funeral.
The seminar Reserve 107: Reconciliation on the Prairies presented by Ryan Siemens, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan Area Church Minister, was an eye-opening and encouraging information session based on a 32-minute documentary of the same name.
In his seminar Confessions of faith: Sources of Unity or Division, Karl Koop told the story of 3,000 Mennonites who gathered for a five-hour meeting in Amsterdam in 1639. The event brought together three Mennonite groups who had been severely divided. The most contentious issue was how congregations should practice discipline. Koop said that in the early years of the seventeenth century, many disagreements among these Mennonite groups were resolved and their confessions of faith became a unifying tool.
The most encouraging sign of a healthy church future is the strong, vibrant, and gracious presence of the young adults from the Emerging Voices Initiative (EVI). If you have not yet taken a moment to meet one of them – do it. You’ll be glad you did.
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.