News and Events

Local Events

Day in the Park

Sunday afternoon in September

Unfortunately due to uncertainty resulting from COVID-19 restrictions, we were unable to plan for a day in the park this fall.  Hopefully we will be able to do this again in 2021.

MC Sask 2021 ADS

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan (MC Sask) Annual Delegate Sessions (ADS) were held via Zoom on Saturday March 13, 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM.  The MRMC Delegates have put together their notes related to their "take homes" from the sessions.

To read the delegates notes click / touch the topic in the list below.

 To view the MC Sask annual report booklet for more detail on the sessions and reports about the past year,  GO HERE

Attendance:
This year’s MC Sask ADS was attended by people on 110 computer connections (probably 115 people). About one quarter of these were guests, while the voting percentage was about 75-80% of those in attendance. That means that the involvement from MC Sask congregants has increased over last year’s numbers. It appeared on screen that there was a good cross-section of age groups represented. All MC Sask churches were represented by delegates.

Budget:
The annual giving was higher than expected.  A big thank you to all for that.
The 2020 year-end surplus was helped out by ~ $31,600 government COVID subsidy. 
The budget income for 2021 was reduced by about $50,000, resulting from

  • lower budget for direct / designated donations
  • reduced income from Canadian Mennonite and Coffee Sales,
  • and no COVID subsidy. 

Expected donations from churches was increased by only about $4,000.  But the budget ended the year with an ~ $28,000 deficit to be mostly covered from reserves. 

MC Sask recognized the closure of three churches - Superb, Hanley and Zoar Mennonite in Waldheim.  All three churches shared reflections about the process and work of closing.  Though each of their presentations were unique, the sadness of their reality was obvious.  Words of thanks and support were offered to the leadership and members of these churches. 

An idea was suggested that when churches close and sell, that a fund for church planting be created as a place for those funds to go.

We also remembered those within our communities who were baptized and those who died. All these remembrances were surrounded by prayer and song. 

Elections

Mennonite Nursing Home Board positions:  Myrna Sawatsky and Trevor Siemens were both elected as board members. 

Upcoming events: 
These events were announced at the ADS but have not yet been published on the MC Sask webpage.

Songfest of Thanks: Oct. 15 & 16  
Duff Warkentin will be the conductor.  Besides working together as a choir on pieces to be performed on Saturday evening, there will be opportunity to sing songs from Voices Together.

Worship Services: April 18, May 2, and May 23
MC Sask staff, in their efforts to support local congregations who may be dealing with technology fatigue, are creating and recording worship services following the lectionary for these Sundays.  These will be available to all congregations.

Camps

  1. Shekinah: Program director Craig Friesen reported.

Shekinah has taken the stance that the flood waters will rise and threaten the camp each year so they will set up the water barrier each spring.
Summer camp:  Difficult times.  Day camps are not really an option, so they are hoping for overnight camps at half capacity.  They are continually brainstorming about good ways to do camp.  They are waiting for government funding to hire summer counselors. 

  1. Youth Farm Bible Camp: Mark Wurtz reported.

This camp did a snow maze and people came from miles around to tackle this winter puzzle. They have horses and run therapy sessions with horses.  They run day camps for disabled people and they did that even last summer.  They aren’t sure if they will have overnight camps in cabins or not.  They seem to be aiming for a 40% opening this summer.  

  1. Camp Elim: A board member reported.

This camp currently is searching for a summer camp director and is looking for someone to manage the camp year-round.  They plan to operate as a day camp only this summer, targeting the neighborhood of cabins and RV’s parking near.  

  • Question was asked about how the camps would handle potential trauma from campers or workers from this past year of COVID. Each camp is aware of this potential and will have extra staff around.
  • Question was asked how the camps would feed their campers. Each camp was aware of how food needs to be plated and perhaps eat outside or in marked out spaces on the floor where campers would eat their food at the appropriate distance from each other.
  • COVID will certainly have an impact on how camps are run this summer. We need to be grateful for leaders who are willing and able to tackle this important job and keep them in our prayers.

Restorative Justice

 Mica Mission:  Located in Saskatoon – Dave Feick reporting

  • Faith groups put together to help released offenders with re-integration into society.
  • There have been some good and some disappointing experiences.
  • Multi-faith group sponsors for the program.

 COSA South Saskatchewan:  Located in Regina – Otto and Florence Driedger reporting

  • COSA – Circles Of Support and Accountability.
  • Originally started to assist persons with a record of sexual offences.
  • The released offender needs to commit to meeting with and being accountable to a support group.
  • The process involves helping the offender realize that even thought they may have gone through programming in prison, their tendencies or attractions may not have changed or gone away. The group’s efforts are to help the person recognize when they are in a situation where their tendencies are surfacing, to not act on them, but to act appropriately in the situation.

 Parkland Restorative Justice:  Located in Prince Albert – Kerry Reimer reporting.

  • Originally started as a Person to Person program – also in other provinces – often referred to as P2P. P2P involves person to person visitation in prison.  Major challenges with COVID – in person visitation often not possible, so phone, video and letter writing became a priority.
  • Challenges with funding – particularly reduced government support for COSA.
  • Shifting some efforts to reintegration.
  • Working on diversifying the support community beyond the faith community to potentially include indigenous communities. Trying to respond to TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) recommendations.

Schools

All three schools expressed gratitude for the involvement of MC Sask.   Support in the form of students, financial offerings, board involvements is appreciated. 

Rosthern Junior College (RJC)

The school has had to adjust and adapt continually through difficult times and successful, happy times.

Kirsten Hamm-Epp comes out to the school one day a week to lead interested students in Faith formation classes.  These classes are open to students of any faith background.

Currently two-thirds of the student body is from non-Mennonite background.  The financial support comes primarily from the Mennonite community and alumni.  Discussions regarding relevance as a school have taken place.  With an increase in enrolment this year and continued support, they feel that the type of environment and education that they are providing is indeed relevant.

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU)

There are 18 Sask students attending.

Cheryl Pauls, president of the university, introduced the Centre for Career and Vocation where students can use the process of design thinking to approach career development by reflecting deeply on who they are, exploring and connecting ideas and possibilities, and taking action by trying things out and testing their ideas.

Interest in virtual Xplore courses and Face2Face conversations has spread beyond the Winnipeg area so some of these courses will continue to be virtual post-pandemic.

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS)

The new strategic plan of the seminary includes three major shifts:

  1. More multicultural and international opportunities which include work with MCC and the fully online course Master of Arts:  Theology and Global Anabaptism (MATGA) which makes Anabaptist theological education accessible to people anywhere in the world with a high-speed internet connection. The first students to enrol were Four graduates of Meserete Kristos College (MKC) in Bishoftu, Ethiopia.  They began AMBS’s Leadership Education in Anabaptist Perspective (LEAP) orientation course in Semester One; five additional MKC graduates joined the cohort in Semester Two. Together, they’ll complete the degree program entirely from Ethiopia.
  2. More accessible with more courses available online.
  3. More affordable with the goal of reducing the number of students graduating with debt. Canadian students can use the Canadian dollar on par for tuition.

MC Canada

International Ministries –Sharing from three programs that are based on sharing gifts and building relationships.

  1. In China George Veith is developing an Anabaptist curriculum and doing some teaching to provide guidance for church pastors.
  2. In Thailand through a relationship with a local women’s community, a support group including a meal program has been developed.
  3. In Congo, Literacy Centers are offered.  Even during COVID-19 they remained open.  Literacy leads to jobs, self-worth and the training programs lead to additional connections with the church.

Canadian Congregations are invited to join the Network of Support. International Witness - Mennonite Church Canada

Common Word Bookstore and Resource Centre: 

Goals are to Curate, Communicate, and Distribute. Three new resources are added per day on average to be purchased, borrowed, or loaned.  One stop shopping for Anabaptist resources.  During COVID there has been more shipping than ever.  They communicate through their website and Social Media. Inspire Faith with our Collection (commonword.ca)

Indigenous-Settler Relations

A reminder that it’s been five years since the Reconciliation promises.  Indigenous Relations continues to provide support and advocacy through continual land disputes, support of Bill C-15 and creation of an Indigenous support team. A Faith Action toolkit has been developed.  An upcoming conversation:  Walking the Path SK: “Why Colten Matters” has been organized.

What more can we do as a church to support Indigenous concerns?

Some approximate quotes:  Canada’s problem is not an Indigenous problem, it is an attitude problem.  Is reconciliation dead – perhaps a better question; has it ever been alive? 

Indigenous Settler - Mennonite Church Canada

MC Sask programs

Pastoral Leadership Commission (PLC)- Various members shared various aspects of this commission’s activities.

Ric - described the past year as a time of order (pre-pandemic) to disorder after March 15, 2020 to the challenge of reorder.  We have an opportunity to choose new directions and new ways of being church as we move into post-pandemic times.

Lisa – described the Pastor Peer Group which offers the opportunity for pastors to meet monthly for collegial support.

Carol – described the Mental Health Check-in (facilitated by Timothy Nickel) that was offered for pastors and outlined upcoming events planned by the PLC which include a pastor’s gathering in June and a continuing education course in November.

Garth – described the mentorship program in which experienced pastors are paired with new pastors.

Curtis will be chair the PLC next year.

Ministries Commission

Claire described the work of the Ministries Commission as listening to God, listening to our people, listen to our neighbours, both human and non- human.

Mark described For the Love of Creation, a faith-based initiative to mobilize for climate responsibility.

Eric described the upcoming viewing and discussion event of the documentary about the Colten Boushie shooting.  He also described the Walking the Path initiative in which we honour and protect and preserve indigenous holy places.  And finally, he mentioned an invitation from Muskeg Lake First Nation to do another ‘Music in the Arbor’ event with them this summer.

Josh Wallace spoke of the efforts that he and Cindy are putting into a new church plant in Saskatoon. This effort has a small group meeting virtually, but not yet around the dining table.

Youth Farm / Mennonite Nursing Home Complex  

Many physical improvements to the complex were described.

The nursing home has followed the COVID guidelines and protocols for staff, residents and visitors.  Rapid testing will be implemented weekly for residents and staff as well as visitors.

Partner Ministries 

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC):  This year has brought unique opportunities.

Thrift stores have been the hardest hit this past year and revenue is down (due to closures and donation restrictions).

Food Security is a huge concern.

Vaccine work – Not only promoting vaccines as kindness to our neighbors but advocating that vaccines get shared with the world quickly.

Mennonite Historical Society:

Large Centre in Bethany Manor basement.  Shared a story of a bible in possession that has been handed down more than 10 times with names added on the front page.  A real valuable part of the collection.

Canadian Mennonite

9500 Subscribers to print copies; 3500 website traffic per week.  22 printed issues yearly and 26 digital issues.  There are no plans to move to digital exclusively.

Mennonite
Events
& Links

   
Below; for your convenience, are links to Events pages on the Websites of these related organizations.

Mennonite Church
Saskatchewan
Events

Mennonite Church
Canada
Events

Rosthern
Junior College
Events

Canadian
Mennonite
University

Mennonite
Central Committee
Saskatchewan

Mennonite Central
Committee
Canada

 

Thought for the week                   

                     

                                                         

 

LEGACY - Child welfare

1. We call upon all levels of governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care.

2. We call upon the federal government to prepare and publish annual reports on the number of Aboriginal children who are in care, compared with non-Aboriginal children: reasons for apprehension; total spending on  preventive and care services; effectiveness of various interventions.