Assembly 2014 Seminars

  1. Congregational Partnerships: What are they and why we’d want one
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Daniel Horne, Mennonite Church Canada’s Director of Partnership Development

    Engage your congregation’s passion for mission! An intro to Mennonite Church Canada Witness workers from around the globe and how your congregation can get involved. This beginner’s guide will introduce you to congregational partnerships, offer examples of different types, and show you how to use the partnership tool box.
  2. Between the Horizons [Being a Faithful Church]
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Rudy Baergen, (Manitoba and Ontario) outgoing chair of the Faith and Life Committee.
    Robert J. Suderman, (Ontario), former Executive Director of Mennonite Church Canada.

    Since 2009, Mennonite Church Canada has been on a journey of re-discovering what it means to be a faithful church in a contemporary context. In this seminar, you are invited to join a conversation on healthy sexuality, a topic sure to generate exciting discussion. This is an opportunity to enlarge the conversation generated from the Being a Faithful Church 5 paper distributed to congregations in late 2013. 
  3. Where to from here?  [Being a Faithful Church]
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Rudy Baergen, (Manitoba and Ontario), outgoing chair of the Faith and Life Committee.
    Andrew Reesor-McDowell, (Ontario), former moderator of Mennonite Church Canada

    Since 2009, Mennonite Church Canada has been on a journey of re-discovering what it means to be a faithful church in a contemporary context. This seminar will explore the next stages of the Being a Faithful Church discernment process. There will be an opportunity to hear suggestions of how to help engage your congregation, and provide additional insight to the BFC Task Force in developing the next congregational discernment tool [to be circulated in Oct. 2014]
  4. Re-imagining the congregation
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Ken Warkentin, Executive Director of Mennonite Church Manitoba
    Anita Retzlaff, Co-Pastor of Nutana Park Mennonite Church, Saskatoon.
    Both are members of the Future Direction Task Force.

    Explore mission-driven congregational models for the 21st century through stories of new and emerging congregations. What are some core principles and how are they expressed in congregations? The seminar will also explore lessons for existing congregations who want to re-tool/change/continue to grow.
  5. Re-imagining the wider church
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Terry Keller MCEC executive committee & Future Directions Task Force member
    Aldred Neufeldt (Ontario), is assistant moderator of Mennonite Church Canada and chair of the Future Directions Task Force.

    Wider church structures are challenged to maintain all the ministries and programs created and developed during the baby boom generation. How might our wider communities of congregations become a more integrated, simpler and sounder alliance, and still be effective?  Participants will consider the advantages and disadvantages of several alternatives and identify principles that best guide how Mennonite church people in Canada work together ‘across the street and around the world’.
  6. Finances Matter
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Randy Wiebe, (Manitoba), is Mennonite Church Canada’s Chief Financial Officer. John Goossen, (British Columbia), is Treasurer.
    Daniel Horne, Mennonite Church Canada’s Director of Partnership Development

    Where does Mennonite Church Canada’s donation income come from? How is it spent? How are financial decisions made? Meet with Mennonite Church Canada’s Chief Financial Officer & General Board Treasurer to explore Mennonite Church Canada finances in greater depth.
  7. Church Newsletters: Building Community one word at a time
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Deborah Froese (Manitoba), Director of News Services, Mennonite Church Canada and editor of The Community Well the newsletter of First Mennonite Church, Wpg.

    Church newsletters: Readers love them; Editors beg for content. Deborah has seen first-hand how congregational life is enriched through the simple act of sharing stories and information. This workshop is intended for anyone who is responsible for producing a church letter or would like to initiate one.
  8. Communicating with those Born Digital
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Dan Dyck, (Manitoba) Director of Communications, Mennonite Church Canada, will lead a panel discussion

    Facebook. Twitter. Instagram.. Snapchat..  Some of us talk about social media as if they were close relatives. Others don’t know – or even care – what the fuss is all about. Does the rapidly shifting social media landscape hold promise or peril for the future of your congregation? That depends. Join this panel discussion on an intriguing topic.
  9. Stronger Together
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm & Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Arlyn Friesen Epp, (Manitoba), Director, Resource Centre, Mennonite Church Canada

    Canada’s richest source of Anabaptist resources lies right within Mennonite Church Canada. The Resource Centre and CMU’s Bookstore are boldly creating a vibrant onsite and online Anabaptist resourcing destination. Learn about how this synergy is increasing capacity for mission and ministry for the church and broader community. LATE BREAKING BONUS: For this seminar slot only we are now able to add an onsite tour of the new building space for the Resource Centre/Bookstore venture, which will be located within CMU's new Learning  Commons building. Limited spaces available.
  10. What we believe about children matters!
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Elsie Rempel, (Manitoba), Formation Consultant, Mennonite Church Canada

    Our Theologies of Childhood can help or hinder how children and youth embrace Christian community. Changing practices of baptism, communion and membership impact the ways congregations become the “body of Christ.” Are unbaptized children and youth part of that body?
  11. How we do things around here!: Polity for Leaders in the Mennonite Church
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Karen Martens Zimmerly Denominational Minister, Mennonite Church Canada
    Henry Paetkau, Area Church Minister, MCEC

    We live with growing diversity and change. What shared standards and practices for Pastors and church leaders guide us? The ‘fresh off the press’ leadership Polity that replaces A Mennonite Polity for Ministerial Leadership (1996) will help us explore the  polity and ethics that contribute to healthy engagement in God’s mission.
  12. Subversive Guest: Exploring Anabaptist Presence in a Post-Christian Landscape
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Chris Lenshyn, (British Columbia), Associate Pastor, Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Abbotsford

    The post-Christian world is disconnected from the Jesus story, a reality that stirs up much discouragement – and hope.  This seminar explores the gift Anabaptist community can be to our currently diverse Canadian landscape and why we must not be quiet about it.
  13. Hope in Disorienting Times: Navigating the Challenge of Pluralism
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Ryan Dueck (Alberta), Pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite Church

    This workshop explores the challenges and opportunities for discipleship presented by 21st century religious pluralism in Canada.  What could exclusive allegiance to Jesus look like in a culture that celebrates and even demands inclusivity?
  14. Cultivating Spiritual Practices
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm & Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    April Yamasaki, (British Columbia), Pastor at Emmanuel Mennonite Church,  Abbotsford, and author of Sacred Pauses

    In the midst of changing circumstances in the church, in the world, and in my own life, I need sacred pauses in the form of spiritual practices. Please join me for stories of encouragement and a sacred pause together.
  15. Get ready to Shine!
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm & Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Rose Stutzman (Pennsylvania) is a member of Menno Media Staff.

    Is your Sunday school dying or dynamic?  Imagine inspired teachers helping the church live in God’s light. Imagine embracing Jesus’ way of peacemaking, discipleship and service, engaging wonder-filled spaces, and growing in awareness of God’s presence. The new curriculum can help it happen.
  16. Wide Faith from a Deep Base
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Rob Murray, (Manitoba), is the Presbyterian Pastor of a unique multi-denominational congregation, in Pinawa, MB, recognized by the Anglican Church of Canada, Mennonite Church Manitoba, the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and the United Church of Canada.

    Social realities are bringing "us" and "the other" into the same neighbourhood. What do we do with religious traditions and institutions formed in isolation from each other? Or with beliefs and practices once forged in conflict with those who are now our neighbours? Do denominational identities hold us back or provide firm ground for dialogue, and for living peaceably with our differences?
  17. At least there is hope for a tree! 
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm & Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Doug Klassen (Alberta) Pastor, Foothills MC, Calgary, along with other members of the Faith and Life Committee, Mennonite Church Canada

    Job laments: Dying trees send out new shoots but what about us? We also lament: Is there meaning, is there hope for humanity? In this time of change many inside and outside the church are asking deep and profound questions of meaning and purpose.  Come explore the meaning of suffering and joy, death and life and how Scripture speaks to them.
  18. Exploring Hope with People of Other Faiths
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Donna Entz (Alberta) Community Outreach Worker in Edmonton, Mennonite Church Alberta 

    Increased immigration to Canada by people of other faiths invites us to consider how we relate to neighbours and colleagues from other faith traditions. Presenters will share stories and the hard questions these encounters raise.
  19. Supporting Mennonite Entrepreneurs in the Global South
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Hippolyto Tshimanga, (Manitoba),  Director for Africa, Europe, and Latin American Ministry, Mennonite Church Canada

    Cultivating economic independence is key to building sustainable families and congregations in countries where the number of university graduates far outstrips job opportunities. Learn about a program that trains and provides start-up opportunities for ecologically sustainable ventures with underemployed Mennonite youth and women in the Global South.
  20. North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship Ministries NAVMF
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Nhien Pham, (British Columbia), Resource Worker for Vietnam Ministry, Mennonite Church Canada

    NAVMF is a small but vibrant community of Anabaptist believers striving to reach out to newcomers in North America as well as communities in their home countries. Come learn about the ministries of the NAVMF in Canada, USA, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
  21. Broken Promises: Indigenous Nations, the Crown, and the Royal Proclamation
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm & Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Steve Heinrichs, (Manitoba), Director of Indigenous Relations, Mennonite Church Canada

    View a new documentary film (approx. 25 minutes) that explores the covenants Canada has with its host peoples – promises that continue to be broken. Discussion to follow.
  22. Partnering with the Church in China for an Unknown Season
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    George and Tobia Veith (Macau) long term workers Mennonite Church Canada International Ministry

    George and Tobia former Canadian Pastors and long term Witness workers have connected with the rapidly expanding network of churches in China. They will reflect on how our western post-Christendom church can nurture faithful exchanges with these Christians who have always been a minority.
  23. Faith in the Unknown Season of Retirement
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Sherri Grosz, (Ontario), and Dori Zerbe Cornelsen, (Manitoba), Stewardship Consultants, Mennonite Foundation of Canada

    The last third of life can look as threatening as the Land of Canaan did to some of the Israelite spies sent on covert operations (Numbers 13). Come, counteract the fear and explore some models for living abundantly and generously in retirement.
  24. Wild Generosity & Young Adults
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Arnie Friesen, (British Columbia);, Dori Zerbe Cornelsen, (Manitoba), Stewardship Consultants, Mennonite Foundation of Canada

    If you’re a young adult, you know that you and your peers practice generosity, even though your passions may be expressed differently from those your parents modelled.  We want to hear some of your stories and share some that we’ve heard that hopefully will inspire us all to live and give generously.
  25. Hearing Paul’s Romans Anew
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Gordon Zerbe, (MB,) Professor of New Testament and Vice President of Academics at CMU

    More than setting out a doctrine of individual justification by faith, Romans reveals a God whose restorative justice is transforming the world, creating boundary-breaking relationships, and who issues a radical call to “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.”
  26. Wild Hope: Living in Light of God’s Good Future
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm & Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Dan Epp-Tiessen, Associate Professor of Bible, Canadian Mennonite University

    Disorienting social and cultural change threaten to overwhelm us with fear and anxiety. This seminar will explore how biblical visions of God’s good future provide a foundation for faithful, purposeful, and hopeful living.
  27. Peace that Boggles Minds – Animating Faith in Witness
    Friday, July 4, 3:00 - 3:45 pm
    Peter Haresnape, (Ontario), is part of the Toronto staff of Christian Peacemaker Teams

    It disturbs Empire and delights Creation, yet a Christian peace stance can seem arduous, or worse, simplistic. Anabaptist peace commitments challenge and inspire many, and are attractive in a world of self-justifying violence. Explore this gift of witness with Christian Peacemaker Teams.
  28. MCC and Post Christendom
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Don Peters (Manitoba) is the Executive Director of Mennonite Central Committee Canada

    In many international settings Christianity is neither the dominant faith nor a dominant factor in cultural and civic landscapes. Yet the church, and MCC’s work within it, thrives.  Explore how MCC’s learnings might inform the church in this new ‘season.’
  29. Creation Care: Testing our Resolve
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Joanne Moyer, Member, Mennonite Creation Care Network

    Care for the earth is integral to Christian discipleship and essential to the good news of Jesus Christ. Hear about a recent 2013 MC USA Creation Care resolution and curriculum. How might Mennonite Church Canada express its commitment to care of God’s creation?
  30. Being a Faithful Man in a Faithful Church
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Don Neufeld (Ontario) member, Board of Directors Mennonite Men, a ministry group of Mennonite Church Canada and USA

    What is the new cultural and civic landscape for men who are Christian and Mennonite? What kind of masculine spirituality will instil strong hope for God’s church? What perspective might Anabaptist/Mennonite theology bring to the conversation on masculinity and gender justice?
  31. Sister Care: Equipping Women for Caring Ministry
    Saturday, July 5, 4:20 - 5:10 pm
    Rhoda Keener (Pennsylvania)co-Director, Mennonite Women, the women’s organization of Mennonite Church USA

    Explore tools for ongoing personal healing, recognizing and celebrating God’s grace, and responding confidently and effectively to the needs of others.  This seminar offers an introduction to the international Sister Care ministry event (scheduled in Ontario for Oct. 3-4, 2014).
  32. Jesus in Technicolor
    Saturday, July 5, 3:10 - 3:55 pm
    Vic Thiessen (Manitoba) Chief Administrative Officer, Mennonite Church Canada and long time movie buff/movie reviewer.

    Using clips from the films Chocolat (2000) and Pleasantville (1998), this seminar explores the potential for change within our churches and in wider society, and how Christians can follow the example of Jesus in introducing such change.
  33. A Global Mosaic: Preparing for Mennonite World Conference, Pennsylvania 2015
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Mennonite Church Canada is one of the host North American churches planning for the next Mennonite World Conference Global Assembly, taking place in Pennsylvania (July 2015).

    Come and learn about our 1.3 million member global Mennonite family of faith, current developments, opportunities, and threats in our worldwide community, and how North American churches can provide hospitality to our brothers and sisters from around the world.
  34. Sharing Gifts Globally through Short Term Ministries
    Friday, July 4, 4:15 - 5:00 pm
    Tany Warkentin, Short Term Ministry Coordinator, Mennonite Church Canada

    As our western world becomes increasingly less concerned about church and spirituality, we need our global brothers and sisters’ examples of spiritual depth and resiliency.  Short Term Ministries give opportunities to serve within another culture while being ministered to by the local people’s cultural and spiritual gifts. In this seminar, we will hear from past short term ministry workers about their experiences in sharing gifts globally.