__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1

MARCH 2021 MBHERALD.COM

Digest

Lent

From superficial to supernatural

VOLUME 60, NO. 3

„ „ „

T H E P S YC H O LO GY O F V I RT UA L M E E T I N G S DISCIPLESHIP HAPPENS IN COMMUNIT Y FOR THE SAKE OF COMMUNIT Y 2020 FINANCIAL YEAR IN REVIEW

Sixty years of sharing the life & story of the Mennonite Brethren in Canada


Q: How do you speak well about marriage with your neighbours, knowing that marriage can be difficult? A: Check out the Faith and Life online pamphlets about marriage and family. www.mennonitebrethren.ca/ nflt-resources


Mennonite Brethren Herald Digest is digitally published monthly by the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, primarily for the use of its members, to build a Canadian MB community of faith. We seek to 1) share the life and story of the church by nurturing relationships among members and engaging in dialogue and reflection; 2) teach and equip for ministry by reflecting MB theology, values, and heritage, and by sharing the good news; 3) enable communication by serving conference ministries and informing our members about the church and the world. However, the opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the church as a whole.

Digest MARCH 2021 | VOLUME 60, NO. 3 EDITORIAL OFFICE 1310 Taylor Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3Z6 Phone: 204-669-6575 Toll-free in Canada: 888-669-6575 MBHERALD@MBCHURCHES.CA W W W. M B H ER ALD.CO M

ISSN: 0025-9349

8

LENT: FROM SUPERFICIAL TO SUPERNATURAL

14

Rob Thiessen

DRIVING AT NIGHT

16

TRUMPETS AND NUMBERS AND BEASTS, OH MY!

Connect

Rev. Philip A. Gunther

The Mennonite Brethren Herald is a publication of

10 12

MB Seminary

Elton DaSilva

Sixty years

of sharing the life and story of Mennonite Brethren in Canada

LET'S TALK: DISCIPLESHIP IN COMMUNITY

2020 FINANCIAL YEAR IN REVIEW

FACEBOOK.COM/MBHERALD TWITTER.COM/MB_HERALD SOUNDCLOUD.COM/MBHERALD MBHERALD.COM

Cover and table of contents photos: Anthony Mark Photography

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021


After several years in process, the transition of the long-standing “deposit program” of MB Stewardship Ministries from the Meet CCMBC Investments Ltd. This new Canadian Conference of MB Churches to the new organization continues the long-standing investment program of CCMBC Investments Ltd. Stewardship Ministries of the Canadian (a wholly owned subsidiary of CCMBC Legacy MB Conference. Fund Inc.) is anticipated to be finalized on Sept. 1, 2019. Current investors have been CCMBC Investments is open to accepting advised of the changes. new funds from existing or new investors

Interested investors can contact who shouldnew contact Capstone Assetus now at legacy@mbchurches.ca or 1-888-669-6575 Management (1-855-437-7103) out the more information. to find initiate process.

1-855-437-7103


From the editor PACE YOURSELF re you busy? I'll bet you are. It's hard to name the season where we are most active. In the MB family, springtime is undoubtedly a frontrunner. The provinces have begun their annual conventions and assemblies. We prepare for town halls at our national office, and the National Assembly caps things off in mid-June. Pastors and church leaders are preparing for another Easter in isolation. Yeah, if you're like me, you're busy. Have you considered what all this running around has done to your mental and physical well-being? How about the toll it takes on your soul? That one tends to slip by unnoticed until all of a sudden, you notice. Chances are you're aware of the adverse side effects of busyness. I pray that you have access to outlets designed to rejuvenate your tired soul, mind and body, whether sports and fitness, counselling and therapy or time alone or with family. I'm reminded of a line from John Mark Comer's book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: "One of the best ways to slow down is to literally slow down your body. Force yourself to move through the world at a relaxed pace." That's easier said than done. Phil Gunther's reflection on (From the superficial to the supernatural, page 8 is also a reminder to quiet our pace and devote time to being alone with God during the Lenten season. Submitting oneself to the searching the soul reopens a repentant heart and prepares us for the work of the Holy Spirit within us. In this issue, Elton DaSilva continues his series on discipleship (page 14), and Kara Friesen returns with a look at the psychology of online meetings (page 6). Rob Thiessen offers encouragement as we ponder what's next for us in Driving at night (page 10). CCMBC presents its 2020 financial year in review on page 18. Knowing how busy you are, I've kept this month's editorial short. In signing off, I encourage you to consider the following: walk, don't run, stand when you could be sitting (it's good for your heart), and kneel whenever possible. Respectfully yours,

A

Carson

CARSON SAMSON

Communications director

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

3


# S AV E T H E D AT E HOMEPAGE

2021 PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLIES AND CONVENTIONS ONMB Convention February 19-20 MBCM Assembly March 5-6 SKMB Assembly March 13 ABMB Convention April 17 AEFMQ Convention April 24 BCMB Convention April 31-May 1

4

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M

Pastors Credentialing Orientation (PCO) will be delivered in two campuses in 2021: PCO West in British Columbia on May 26-28, and PCO East in Ontario on June 1-3. #CCMBCPCO

CCMBC's National Assembly (formerly AGM) will be held virtually June 10-12, 2021. Major decision points include approval of the new bylaws, revisions to Article 8 of the Confession of Faith and the Collaborative Unified Strategic Plan (CUSP).

Need help subscribing to the online digest? Email us at mbherald@mbchurches.ca, or call 1-888-669-6575 and ask for Carson or Bomba.


MCC events across Canada find success in COVID-19 adaptations

HOMEPAGE

Songs that shape us

I N G E N U I T Y AT W O R K

JASON DUECK

“See A Victory” Album: Graves Into Gardens: Morning & Evening Elevation Worship Elevation Worship's 2019 single See a Victory is timely during the pandemic—it has become an anthem of mine and I have led it quite often. “…The weapon may be formed but it won’t prosper. When the darkness falls it won’t prevail. ‘Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph. My God will Never Fail. I’m going to see a victory—for the battle belongs to the Lord.” It is a song of declaration of the mighty name of Jesus and hope that we (I) can get through this storm. STEVE DICK

Worship pastor, Eastview Community Church, Winnipeg, Man. Tell us, what songs shape you? mbherald@mbchurches.ca

This year didn’t play out the way anyone thought it would. The danger of the coronavirus meant a lot of events planned across Canada couldn’t proceed as planned. Thanks to the incredible work and ingenuity of staff and volunteers and your dedicated support, a number of events creatively adapted to the conditions and found new ways to thrive. Since its inception in 1967, The New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale has brought thousands to the Ontario town to bid on one-of-a-kind handmade quilts, peruse dozens of local vendors and raise money to support the work of MCC around the world. This year, it was clear that the regular spring and fall relief sales were not going to look the same as previous years. Ken Ogasawara, MCC Ontario communications content specialist, said the undertaking to hold the events online paid off in a big way, but it was no small amount of work. Read full story on MCCCanada.org

Let’s Celebrate Our Shared Impact

2020 Global Impact Report available at multiply.net/2020report

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

5


RESOURCING MINISTRY

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF VIRTUAL MEETINGS e have hit the one-year mark since gathering with friends and family, worshiping with our church communities, and meeting with colleagues moved online. This new normal has significantly increased our daily screen time and has left many of us feeling fatigued, and at times, even irritable.1 Still , we strive to create an environment where those on the call feel energized rather than depleted. But how do we do that? The human brain is constantly processing bits of information. The conscious mind—that which is within our awareness — is processing approximately 40 bits of information every second. The unconscious mind—all of the information that we take in from our environment without realizing we are doing it—is processing up to 11 million bits of information every second. 2 Together, the combined conscious and unconscious information we take in pushes our cognitive system to its limits. When the system is overloaded, we experience low energy levels and fatigue.

The implications of which is a decline in our overall ability to function, particularly in the areas of memory and problem-solving. 3 Research shows that meeting online requires our brains to use a different part of the brain and demands a different kind of concentration to manage communication and our working with others.4 Face-to-face meetings involve non-verbal feedback, such as facial expressions, posture, and gestures that the brain rapidly processes and interprets. Each of these cues helps us navigate relationships and conversations. This information may be hidden or obscured when our communication occurs on screen. As a result, our brain needs to work harder to process information. 5 In addition to the stress on our cognitive thinking, our bodies are experiencing a more sedentary rhythm as we are getting up less to go for breaks and to chat with our colleagues

1 Lee, Jena, MD, “A Neuropsychological Exploration of Zoom Fatigue” Psychiatric Times, November 2020,

4 “Psychology of Human Attention and Engagement” Health Skills, July 1, 2020.

W

2 Morgan, Nick, “5 Fatal Flaws With Virtual Meetings” Forbes, October 2012,

6

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M

3 Aidan Kearney, “5 Tips from Psychology for Better Video Conferencing” Pro-Manchester, last modified November 23, 2020.

5 Aidan Kearney, “5 Tips from Psychology for Better Video Conferencing” Pro-Manchester, last modified November 23, 2020.


down the hall. Other factors such as unemployment, lack of meaningful connection with others, and a decrease in our ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance all contribute to a perfect storm of mental exhaustion . With this knowledge, Here are a few tips for making online meetings more enjoyable and less tiring: Limit video calls to only those that are necessary: At times, email or phone calls may be less tiring and more productive.6 Schedule regular breaks between calls and in long meetings: Take at least a 5-minute break after every hour. If a meeting is three hours or more in length, schedule a 20-minute break every 90-minutes.7 Use your video: It’s hard to make meaningful connections when you cannot see one another. When our videos are off, we are less likely to pay attention or participate. Being able to see others’ faces helps navigate non-verbal communication cues. Establish clear structure: set agendas and ensure everyone has adequate time to contribute. Intentionally design and meetings to include virtual relational moments where people can connect with one another, and establish relationships. Chat: depending on the kind of meeting, it may be beneficial to enable chat features to allow opportunities for people to chime in, comment, or ask a question.8

Harness the power of positive psychology (the science of thriving): These days, a lot of people are in survival mode. You need to shift this psychology from survival to thriving. Focus on positivity in virtual meetings, and reap the physical & emotional benefits 9 Celebrate embarrassment: guest appearances by the family cat, and unexpected hiccups can be awkward. Don't let them be. Create safety around these types of things, and enjoy it—use it as an opportunity to get to know others better. (Wright) Create room for everyone to share: when there are too many people trying to speak at once, it hinders communication, which is both frustrating and irritating, making the meetings feel like a waste of time.10 Make use of breakout rooms when possible to provide those on the call to interact with less formality. Please keep in mind that these suggestions are contextual—they may apply in some situations, but not all. Being made aware of some of the psychological and physiological impact that virtual meetings are having on us can allow us the opportunity to be intentional with our time and the posture we take when we both host and attend virtual meetings. The virtual space is a poor substitute for community as we know it, but it’s the space we find ourselves in today. Let’s do our best to make it a place of grace, compassion, and engagement.

RESOURCING MINISTRY

Guest appearances by the family cat, and unexpected hiccups can be awkward. Don't let them be.

KARA FRIESEN

is Executive assistant to the national director.

6 Ames, Hana, “What is Video Call Fatigue” Medical News Today, June 2020. 7 Wright, Rob, “Practical and Psychological Tips for Virtual Conferencing During COVID-19,” Life Science Leader (blog), March 25, 2020. 8 Baker, Wayne, Ph.D., “How to Connect Meaningfully in a Virtual Meeting” Psychology Today, April 2020.

9 Gottschalk, Marcus, Dr., “The Psychology of Virtual Meetings” CLP World, last modified April 16, 2020. 10 Ames, Hana, “What is Video Call Fatigue?” Medical News Today, June 2020.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

7


BUILDING COMMUNITY

“Lent is a call to renew a commitment grown dull...” Joan Chittister “Lent is a time for greater love.” Mother Teresa

Lent From Superficial to Supernatural

8

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M


Good Friday and Easter. Lent is a Christian tradition, anchored within the liturgical calendar, based upon Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his earthy ministry. In 2021, Lent

BUILDING COMMUNITY

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a 40 day season of reflection and preparation in advance of

begins on February 17th and ends on April 3rd. Across the Christian community, Lent is celebrated in various forms with a wide breadth of practices. These practices are designed to focus a disciple’s attention away from the distractions of their environment onto the person of Jesus and his salvific work. Fasting, repentance, self-denial and giving are common practices during the Lenten season. Although Lent is not spoken of in Scripture, a growing number of Mennonite Brethren have found participation

I

in the tradition to be a welcome exercise of preparing one’s heart and mind for the passion week.

observe Lent. It is for me a profitable spiritual exercise of pausing and pondering. Lent is my opportunity to move from the superficial to the supernatural; from giving up token external gestures of sacrifice to an effort of offering myself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). I want my walk with the Lord during Lent 2021 to resonate with the reflection of David: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17).” I mean no offence, but for me, giving up chocolates, TV or some ‘fun’ aspect of one’s life for Lent, in and of itself, seems superficial. As one submits themself to the working of the Holy Spirit, Lent is to supernaturally move the disciple of Jesus into a deep, and often discomforting, re-discovery of the soul. I aspire to shape my Lent into a robust and substantive journey mirroring David’s appeal: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).” The ancient purpose of Lent was to till the Christ follower’s spiritual soil in order that an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection would grow, a genuine acceptance of his love would spring forth, and a renewed commitment to him would sprout. Lent was preparatory, aligning a disciple’s heart, mind and body for Good Friday and Easter – for an inner spiritual death of the flesh and resurrection to a new life in Christ. In practice, the celebration of Lent is really a Holy Spirit-guided exploration of my walk with Jesus. My Lenten prayer echoes the sentiments of Joan Chittister and Mother Teresa—a renewed commitment to, and love for, Jesus.

What will the 40 days of Lent look like for me in 2021? I anticipate 40 days of... Reading all the gospel narratives and asking: ˚ Jesus, what do you want me to understand about you? prayer, asking: Jesus, what am I to do? ˚ Listening Soul-examination, asking: Jesus, what in my life ˚ is not like you? my discoveries ˚ Journaling Fast from selfish motives and actions, worry, ˚ indifference, unkind words, pride, complaining, pessimism, bitterness, negative attitude and a lack of gratitude. Sharing what I experience as a means to encour˚ age and disciple another Ultimately, my goal for Lent is both simple and challenging – empowered by the Holy Spirit, I desire to move from the superficial to the supernatural, to be more like Jesus in thought, speech, attitude and behaviour (2 Corinthians 3:18). I hope to better posture myself for the passion week. I invite you to join me on the journey.

R E V. P H I L I P A . G U N T H E R

is director of ministry for the Saskatchewan Conference of MB Churches

Photo: Anthony Mark Photography

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

9


DRIVING AT NIGHT had another one of those dreams the other night, you know the kind where you’re driving a car, you step on the gas to accelerate, and it just won’t get moving. And for some crazy reason, the opposite is true in reverse! The car accelerates when I can’t see where I’m going. Is this a metaphor for leadership in the time of COVID-19? Do I need help? (likely) I hope you’ve been sleeping well but chances are that during this troubling season, you too have felt powerless, steering left and right to avoid disaster. Like driving at night in a bad dream. If we could articulate what’s bothering us, it might be the question. “What now?” As you and I wrestle with that question, consider these encouragements.

I

10

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M

#1 Let Him bear you and your burden

Jesus has invited all of us weak and heavy laden to come to him for rest. The church is His vehicle, and He is the driver. Our main task as “under drivers” these days is to process our daily struggle with Him to receive His peace, joy and guidance.

#2 Don’t give in to fear

The road of leadership feels perilous. Pastors are being criticized for how they are handling the church lock down. Business owners are hurting. Depression, drug and substance abuse are all rapidly increasing. Neighbours are reporting neighbours for hosting friends. Who will be left in our churches when this season ends? Fear takes our eyes off the Lord; it threatens to crash our faith and tempts us to pull over


and quit. Let’s trust God to guide and empower us for each day’s journey. The Lord knows the road ahead, and with Him we are going to see some amazing things, if we do not give up.

#3 Embrace the tune up

Hardships, opposition, “grief in all kinds of trials” make us stronger and better in every way. The Lord is surely giving His church in Canada a “tune up” in this season. Pastors and leaders are being tested as well. Will we stay faithful to the gospel when it’s not popular or in keeping with society’s values? Are we willing to equip and lead the church into a future where we are increasingly marginalized, and our gatherings restricted? The church in the majority world is familiar with rough travel, but we in Canada are used to smoother roads, green lights and loaded vehicles. This is going to change.

#4 Look forward

We are all eager to return to corporate worship and to in person fellowship hopefully sometime in the coming 6 months or so. Our people know that pattern well and I suspect there will be a surge of traffic and enthusiasm in our foyers. Some will not return but our preparation and invitation will set the tone, so gather your team and be ready. But more importantly, gather your leaders now to discern a deeper change. We are in the middle of massive disruption of our society and our church patterns. Will you and your leaders be ready? Why not convene a group to

consider the road ahead. Ask… What have we learned through COVID that can help us be a faithful and thriving community that is not dependant and limited by buildings and programs? What new paradigms for ministry have we learned during Covid and how can we maximize them for mission? We have an unprecedented opportunity to “reset” our definition and expectation for maturity in Christ…. the cost of discipleship. What is the Lord asking us to leave behind? What is He asking us to prioritize? What steps should we be taking now to prepare our church for the day when government removes our charitable privileges, and we face active persecution for our faith? These questions may not help you or me sleep any better, in fact they may keep us up at night in a good way, and I hope they will help us move ahead on the road of faith with the Lord.

ROB THIESSEN

is conference minister for the British Columbia Conference of MB Churches.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

11


RESOURCING MINISTRY

N AV I G AT E R E V E L AT I O N E V E N T S U M M A R Y 2 0 2 1 - 0 2 - 0 9

Trumpets and numbers and beasts, oh my! What comes to your mind when you think about the book of Revelation? Perhaps your association with the book brings about feelings such as hope or confidence. Or maybe you feel curious, bewildered, or frustrated. Whatever thoughts or emotions you may be encountering are doubtlessly influenced by your past experiences. One of the reasons why Revelation evokes such a variety of reactions is due to the careful reading and discernment that the book demands. The extra effort required to understand the text can sometimes feel overwhelming. After all, there are trumpets and scrolls and beasts and numbers and angels and plagues and even fractions! And yet, as the national seminary for the Mennonite Brethren churches in Canada, we feel there are much greater reasons to explore the book of Revelation than to avoid it. Here are a few to consider: want to help you read and understand a book that is often ignored or dismissed. ˚ We We want to encourage you with the powerful and hope-filled themes that echo ˚ throughout the book, especially during this time in history when many are feeling despondent. want to give you fresh imagery from writers within our Mennonite Brethren ˚ We family with the hope that these perspectives will offer you deeper understanding and appreciation. want you to receive the blessing that is promised Revelation 1:3—a blessing given ˚ We to those who hear the words of the book and take to heart what is written in it. These reasons propelled us to choose Revelation as our devotional text for the season of Lent. In anticipation of the devotion, we invited Dr. Darrell Johnson to deliver an online presentation called Six Principles to Navigate Revelation. Two hundred people participated in the teaching which focused on the major themes of the book and offered a framework for understanding and applying Revelation to their teaching and lives. M B S E M I N A R Y S TA F F

>> The video recording of Navigate Revelation along with recommended resources for Revelation is available here. >> MB Seminary’s Easter Devotional, All Things New, is a free daily email that is available from February 17 – April 4. You can learn more and sign up here.

12

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M


REFLECTIONS ON THE MB FA M I LY ' S O N L I N E W E E K O F P R AY E R G AT H E R I N G S , JA N UA RY 1 7-2 3 , 2 02 1

Each January the national Conference invites the MB churches to join together in prayer. We pray for the MB churches in Canada, for our church leaders, for Seminary, for Multiply and for whatever else the Spirit lays on our hearts. In January 2021, besides inviting our churches to pray using the written daily prayer guide, we also decided to host live prayer session. For seven days, we met on zoom, for 45 minutes of prayer.

Each day brought a new geographical focus and a new Scripture focus. We prayed around the I AM statements of Jesus, praying the truth and power of who Jesus is and what he is doing, into our personal lives and into the lives of our churches and ministries. We started on the East Coast, on Sunday, January 17 and prayed through to the West Coast. We held up Multiply, the MB Seminary, our schools, retirement homes, camps and other ministries in the process as well. Regardless of the day or the Scripture focus, the Spirit led us to pray along these themes: Unity – amongst our people, ˚ our churches, across provinces and ministries, with the larger body of Christ; The desire for Jesus – a strong ˚ desire for Christ’s kingship in our personal lives and in our churches; desire for the primacy of Christ and the wisdom to recognize and remove idols in our lives, in our churches, and in our society; desire to know the Lord’s will and to hear his voice over other voices; life – a sense that God ˚ isNew doing a new thing, to be in

tune and willing to embrace the new, discernment what from the past needs to be nurtured and carried forward and what needs to be released; Leaders –a renewed sense of ˚ call, wisdom to lead in challenging times, clarity of vision, encouragement and new strength for those who are discouraged and depleted; Leadership development – ˚ new urgency to call out leaders from the young generation in our churches Nations and the world – ˚ First power of our gospel witness to our neighbours near and far. I was personally encouraged and strengthen as I saw leaders from around our country show up to pray and as I saw people I don’t personally know come to add their voices to corporate prayer. I was touched to see people from Ontario show up to pray for Manitoba and people from Saskatchewan show up to pray for BC. Prayer is a deep work and I’m glad that we came together for it. INGRID REICHARD

is the National Faith and Life team director for CCMBC

Follow Jesus. Serve the church. Engage the world. Dig deep into God’s Word and build a strong Biblical foundation in Christ-centred community. Biblical Studies Pre-University Ministry Leadership Marketplace Christian Leadership (Online) Pursuit

SBCollege.ca

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

13


Let's talk

DISCIPLESHIP HAPPENS IN COMMUNITY FOR THE SAKE OF COMMUNITY This is part two in a six-part dialogue on the subject of discipleship. We invite and encourage you to submit your thoughts and opinions by email at mbherald@mbchurches.ca.

icking up from last month’s introductory piece on how MB preferences and behaviours shape our understanding of discipleship, I’d like to now focus on how MBs value Discipleship happening in community for the benefit of the community. Much of the general evangelical understanding of discipleship focuses on personal growth. It calls an individual to develop and sharpen their personal understanding and relationship with God for the sake of their own spiritual development. Although Mennonite Brethren believe in personal growth, we see that it happens best in community context. Moments of quiet contemplation that lead to insights are welcomed and encouraged, but clear discernment and direction occurs in community. Our general inclination in this direction is exemplified by how we shape our programs. From our leadership development to mission programs, we embed elements of community discernment and team dynamics. It is less about “what is Jesus teaching you?” And more about “what is Jesus teaching us through your experiences?” I believe that three key elements have contributed to our understanding of discipleship to be a communal experience. They are: 1. Ancestry: Today, our denomination has a global and multi-ethnic presence but it started as a close-knit single-ethnic group. Common ancestry, common history (including geography) and language, made it easier for communal discipleship to occur. 2. History: Shared events in the earlier life of our forefathers and mothers, such as religious persecution, familiar patterns of migration and entrepreneurial success, have also contributed

P

14

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M

to a continued emphasis on community. 3. Colony living experiences: The founders of the MB movement came out of colony-style living and therefore were accustomed to sharing life and accomplishments in a more integrated way than most. The above early conditions of our faith

Like many people groups, Mennonites have a story of migration. Today, in Canada, many care worker jobs are staffed by newcomers. It was the same in the 1930s to 1950s, as Mennonite newcomer women worked as domestics in wealthy urban households. These Mennonite women did what they could to help their families resettle in Canada. >> F  or more on how the MB church helped these women with housing and advocacy, see this story of the Mary Martha Home.


movement led us to gravitate towards a biblical interpretation that values community discipleship. We identify with the early Church and the type of development expressed in the first few chapters of the book of Acts. The praying-learning-sharing in community lived out by the church in the book of Acts becomes a pattern to emulate. Convictions, of course, must become actions and actions in turn form behaviours. If we truly believe that discipleship is best done in community then there must be tangible examples of that conviction. Here are some of the ways I think we have lived this out: Community interpretation: We define and refine our theological beliefs in community. It is the gathered body and not individual experts who are called to interpret biblical teachings to shape our confessional convictions prayerfully. Leaders’ plurality: We believe that God gifts different people with different leadership skills and abilities; we tend to lead in teams. We are less inclined to seek after a superstar leader and gravitate towards a plurality of leadership. We decide together: We create systems that allow for community discernment and decision. Community calling: Although this is less prevalent in the present, our history indicates that

Convictions, of course, must become actions and actions in turn form behaviours. If we truly believe that discipleship is best done in community then there must be tangible examples of that conviction.

it was the community that called out its leaders. It was common for the MBs to call out people into ministry placement from appointing missionaries to teachers and pastors. The community that sees the gifts in an individual helps to nurture those gifts and provides the opportunity for them to utilize those gifts. We value the gathered church: There is a strong call and emphasis on gathering and serving at a local church. Our discipleship convictions encourage the individual to belong and become part of a mutual accountability with a local church. Community Accountability: Less prevalent now but a part of history, community accountability led to both discipline and restoration. I can say much more in this area, but I intend for these articles to be a conversation starter. I want to thank those that submitted their thoughts so far and invite others to engage with me on the subject. So, let’s talk.

E LT O N D A S I LVA

is the national director of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Elton and Ana live in Winnipeg and have three children.

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

15


Let's talk

The following is a selection of responses to the introductory piece, Let's talk about discipleship. Read it online here.

CLEAR CONNECTION TO THE CONFESSION

Elton, I agree that the nuances of discipleship in the MB family that you named in your article set our denomination apart. One nuance of discipleship I hope will set us apart in the future is a more clear connection between discipleship and the shared beliefs of our Confession of Faith. At our local church, we've developed a tool called The 10 Year Disciple—a framework of 15 discernible traits that we would hope to see in the life of a disciple who has journeyed with us for 10 years. When we consider defining our discipleship on a national level, I think many of the topics we address in Article 10 of the Confession of Faith (discipleship) are important: following Jesus, united in a distinct community, and demonstrating true faith. I believe that each denomination brings something to the beauty that can be found in the body of Christ in Canada, as together we represent Jesus to the world around us. As

someone who has been grafted into the MB family, I really see the beauty of the distinct understanding we have in our confession of faith of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. So, I hope our confession can become one of the formative documents in discerning an end goal of discipleship that we might all share as MB churches. For instance, we might consider an end goal of discipleship for the MB Church to be to actively take a stand for justice in our land—justice shaped out of our confessional stances on the sanctity of human life (Article 14), peace for all people (Article 13) and dealing with systemic evil (Article 4). Or might we consider an end goal of discipleship to be becoming a people who profess our faith in Jesus because we understand the need to reach people of other faiths in our land and around the world (Article 17) because Jesus is returning (Article 18). Chris Stevens Lead Pastor, WMB

I T ' S C O M P L I C AT E D

Elton, thanks for starting this great discussion on discipleship. I look forward to the subsequent articles and related discussion. Discipleship is at the core of who we are as and MB family and yet as you mention, still tends to confuse us. It seems to me that the basic ideas of discipleship, such as following and becoming more like Jesus, are simple to say but really hard to do. They are messy because people are involved. One of our unique approaches to discipleship is that we are relentlessly community focused, which includes our

16

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M

community hermeneutic, our team based mission work, and our collaborative leadership approaches. I value these very much, but they are complicated and hard to do. I think that's why we try to program and systematize discipleship. We create 'leadership pipelines' and 'discipleship systems' - which are fine and can be helpful, but they sometimes take away the organic nature and mess of a discipleship ecosystem. We somehow need to find our way in that tension of having adequate systems and structures that help clarify and

focus us in discipleship, while not taming and domesticating the organic, communal work of the Spirit among us. One key area of interest and focus for me in our future work and thinking in this area, is the future role of the old foundational functions of the church from Ephesians 4 - the increased leveraging of a more balanced apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherd and teacher functions for the church. Bruce Enns Lead Pastor, Forest Grove Community Church


NEW CONCEPTS

In A History of the Mennonite Brethren Church, (Board of Christian Literature, 1975) Dr. John A. Toews quotes the following record of an October, 1523 debate in which “a basic schism began to develop between [religious leader Ulrich] Zwingli and the Radicals [who 15 months later founded the Anabaptist movement. The issue was whether the Zurich city council had the right to tell church leaders not to abolish the mass]. The record of the debate states:

Conrad Grebel rose and thought that the priests should be given instructions, since they were all present, as to what should be done about the Mass;…. Zwingli: My Lords [the Council] will decide how to proceed henceforth with the Mass. Simon Stumpf: Master Ulrich. You have no authority to place the decision in the hands of My Lords, for the decision is already made: the Spirit of God decides.

“This kind of unreserved commitment to the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God led the Radicals inevitably to a new concept of the church as a voluntary association of true believers and to a new concept of the Christian life as Nachfolge Christi, or discipleship.” The words Nachfolge Christi translate as “following Jesus.” Marvin Dyck Winnipeg, Manitoba

IT'S A LIVED-OUT THING

I completely agree with you, Elton, that discipleship in contemporary religious settings is often ineffective for many of the reasons you’ve said. Disciple-making is really about journeying with others seeking Jesus in their lives the same way you and I are. It’s not a ‘top-down thing’; it’s a ‘lived out thing’… so creating a program, while sometimes helpful, doesn’t get to the heart of the matter in and of its own. Why is it that so many churches seem to focus on the program end of things? Is it because, as you say, quantitative over-rides qualitative even on the discipleship front? Engaging with others in discipleship begins with an understanding of what we believe scripture says about Jesus. Therefore the life people are called to when they decide to follow him. I agree that if we allow the culture to shape the discipleship journey, rather than biblical principles, we may well make disciples who fit well in the world but who follow someone who doesn’t look much like Jesus. Karen West, Waterloo, Ontario

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

17


CCMBC FINANCIAL DASHBOARD

2020 FINANCIAL YEAR IN REVIEW Please be advised that the following overview represents preliminary unaudited figures. Audited financial statements will be available online ahead of the June 10-12, 2020 National Assembly (formerly AGM). CCMB began 2020 with an approved budget of $1.1 million in single-stream church giving. In response to COVID-19 constraints, in the spring, we adjusted that budget to $991,000. CCMBC enacted salary reductions, temporary and permanent layoffs, and reduced giving to partner organizations to make this adjustment. The combination of austerity management and federal government wage subsidies allowed us to finish the year positively. Due to the pandemic’s continued effects, we propose a reduced 2021 budget, $236,000 less than the previous year.

APPROVE D 2020 B U DG ET (SINGLE-STREAM GIVING)

$1.1 MILLION ADJ USTE D 2020 BU DG ET (SINGLE-STREAM GIVING)

$991,000 HOW DID WE ADAPT TO MEET THE ADJUSTED BUDGET ? X SAL ARY REDUCTIONS X L AYO F F S X R E D U CE D G IVI N G TO PA RTN E RS X AUSTERIT Y MANAGEMENT X G OV E R N M E NT WAG E S U B S I D I E S

2020 SURPLUS

$215,468

WHAT DID CCMBC FUND IN 2020? $114,789 $40,000 $13,000 N AT I O N A L FA I T H A N D L I F E T E A M ( N F LT )

Providing spiritual guidance and direction in matters of faith, theology, and ethics; upholding our Confession of Faith; and developing pastoral resources and events.

$88,329

MB HISTORICAL COMMISION

Fostering historical understanding and appreciation of the MB Church in Canada, the US, and globally.

$31,250 ETEQ

$8,667

Multiplying Christ-centred churches

Theological training equipping men and women to serve Christ in the changing context of Quebec and the world.

Partners including MWC and EFC.

$87,500

$21,945

$3,493

M B S E M I NARY

CENTRE FOR MB STUDIES (CMBS)

N AT I O N A L M I N I S T RY TEAM (NMT)

CHURCH PLANTING

Educating pastors, missionaries, counselors, scholars, and leaders for congregational or marketplace ministry within the MB constituency.

18

ICOMB

International Community of Mennonite Brethren.

Telling the stories of the MB community on mission, and providing archival and interpretive resources

E X T E N D E D F A M I LY

The strategic body of the MB Church in Canada, comprised of provincial, partner agency and NFLT leadership.

8 8 8 . 6 69. 6 5 76 I I N F O @ M B C H U R C H E S .C A | M E N N O N I T E B R E T H R E N .C A | 1 3 1 0 TAY LO R AV E N U E , W I N N I P EG , M A N I TO B A R 3 M 3Z6


WHAT DID CCMBC DO IN 2020? T H E C U S P, the Collaborative Unified Strategic Plan, gathers all parts of the MB family under one strategic focus. The CUSP identifies new priorities, outcomes and family values. It also includes an updated mission focus for the MB Church in Canada: To collaboratively develop a discipling identity that propels churches to a disciple-making attitude in order to produce new leaders who lead new disciple-making movements.

CCMBC FINANCIAL DASHBOARD

N E W B Y L A W S introduced essential elements for the functioning of the Collaborative Model. The bylaws also recognized an additional class of members, including our provincial conferences and national agencies such as Legacy, Multiply and MB Seminary. The board of these new “member organizations” form the National Council to advise and counsel towards fulfilling our collective mission. For voting and approval purposes, the bylaws recognize the National Assembly, replacing what was previously known as our AGM. The National Assembly includes delegates from churches and member organizations. Church delegates remain the primary decision-makers, just as they had in our previous bylaws.

Both the bylaws and the CUSP were vetted multiple times over 2020 with the National Council, focused groups, and town hall meetings. If you have comments or questions, please email us at FAQ@mbchurches.ca.

2020 BUDGET

2020 ADJ USTE D

GEN. REVENUE: $1,583,241 EXPENSES: $1,583,241

GEN. REVENUE: $1,440,350 EXPENSES: $1,281,423

2020 ACTUAL GEN. REVENUE: $1,641,663 EXPENSES: $1,426,195 SURPLUS: $ 215,468

$600,000

Expenses

$500,000

Revenue

$400,000

$300,000

$200,000

$100,000

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

8 8 8 . 6 69. 6 5 76 I I N F O @ M B C H U R C H E S .C A | M E N N O N I T E B R E T H R E N .C A | 1 3 1 0 TAY LO R AV E N U E , W I N N I P EG , M A N I TO B A R 3 M 3Z6

19


Finish lines (MILDRED) JUNE FRIESEN June grew up near Kronsgart, Man., attending Rosewell School and Kronsgart MB Church – where she was baptised as a teenager. Her faith in her Saviour and desire to follow him shaped her life. As a girl, she was needed on the farm: gardening, milking, gathering eggs, and caring for her younger siblings. She took piano and viola lessons throughout public school. June finished her last 2 years of high school in Winkler, Man., where she played in the school orchestra and a string quartet. She spent two years at Winkler Bible School, then went on to MB Bible College in Winnipeg, completing her ARCT prior to graduation. Both her early sense of responsibility and love of music lingered. It was at MB Bible College that she met her future husband, Henry Friesen, from Virgil, Ont. They married in October 1957. June taught piano at home and for Yamaha for years. While in Winnipeg, they were charter members of Fort Garry MB Church. They instilled in their children – Pearl, Paul, and Bruce (Caspar) – a love for God, music, and learning. When Henry’s job was eliminated in 1984, with June having just completed her bachelor of social work, they offered their hospitality skills to Mennonite Central Committee. They worked in Munich, Germany, with refugees; in Pennsylvania at MCC headquarters; and in Nairobi, Kenya, as guest house hosts – loving every challenge and opportunity. June and Henry retired to Kelowna, B.C., in 1999 and joined Willow Park Church. June loved sharing food and stories with her grandchildren, cousins, and friends. She was a huge connector of people and causes including fair trade, MCC, and refugee resettlement. While in Africa, she was instrumental in helping women create jewelry and textiles that would sell in Europe and North America. On the board of MCC BC, she enjoyed opportunities to travel and advocate for women and entrepreneurs in developing countries. Even as cancer took her energy, June continued caring for others, especially the love of her life. When Henry developed dementia, she walked alongside him. One of her last questions was “Is Henry sick?” Their last meal together was ice cream. June died peacefully surrounded by family. Birth: June 25, 1936 Birthplace: Winkler, Man. Death: December 22, 2020 Parents: Bernard & Lydia Enns Married: Henry Peter Friesen, Oct. 5, 1957 Family: Henry; children Pearl Fehr (Ernie), Paul (Bonnie), Caspar (Jan Picard); grandchildren; great-grandchildren; 2 sisters Church: Fort Garry MB, Winnipeg; Willow Park, Kelowna, B.C. Baptism: Kronsgart (Man.) MB

20

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M

WALTER PENNER Walter grew up in a loving family and in MB church community in Springstein and Brandon, Man. He accepted Jesus as Saviour at 15. In 1946, the family relocated to St. Catharines, Ont., and initially Walter worked with his father building houses. During the following years, he worked for several local firms in the building and wholesale hardware industry, serving as general manager for many years before retirement. Walter and Martha married Sept. 5, 1959, and welcomed three daughters, Wendy, Karen, and Lorraine. Over the years, their family expanded to include two sons-in-law and two treasured grandsons. Fairview MB Church was their church home, and Tabor Manor became their home community in 2001. Walter always had a wonderful smile, a thoughtful word, and a humorous tidbit to share. He was known for his deep faith in the Lord, his kindness and willingness to help wherever he could, and his devoted care for Martha. Walter loved photography, puzzles, spending time at the Welland Canal and local airport, and meeting with his coffee groups. Even at 90, he could still beat his kids at Scrabble! Birth: February 5, 1930 Birthplace: Winnipeg Death: December 8, 2020 Parents: Jacob & Katie Penner Married: Martha Martens, Sept. 5, 1959 [d. July 21, 2010] Family: children Wendy Armstrong (George), Karen, Lorraine Klassen (Rob); 2 grandsons; 3 siblings Church: Fairview MB Church Baptism: Scott Street MB, 1946

O B I T UA R I E S H AV E LO N G B E E N A VA LU E D PA R T O F T H E M B H ER A LD. FR O M T H E F U N E R A L B U L L E T I N S , EU LO G I E S , A N D N E WS PA P E R O B IT UA R I E S YO U S EN D, O U R ED ITO RS C R A F T LIFE STORIES OF OUR MEMBERS TO INSPIRE A N D E N C O U R A G E O U R R E A D E R S , C R E AT I N G A MEMORIAL OF MB SAINTS. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT AN OBITUARY


FRANK SUDERMAN When Frank was under a year, his family immigrated to Stouville, Ont. Frank found school challenging. He had headaches from short-sightedness, stomach aches from nervousness, and problems with bullies. He didn’t return to school after Grade 8. Because the Sudermans spoke German, the community assumed they supported Hitler, which increased difficulties for the family. Frank was involved in vacation Bible school and shared with others the importance of a relationship with God. He worked with his siblings Agnes and Ralph in a vegetable garden earning 50 cents a day. Frank and Ralph joined an MCC boat trip across the Atlantic, transporting horses and cattle to Crete. Frank found his mother’s unexpected death in 1952 and his father’s remarriage difficult. With Agnes’ encouragement, Frank attended Winkler (Man.) Bible Institute. In 1953, at Winnipeg Bible College he met Annie Friesen from Vancouver. They married at Vancouver MB Church, and after the honeymoon, returned to Ontario to take off the crops in the wake of Hurricane Hazel. Evelyn, Luella, and Frances were born in Port Rowan, Ont. After the move to Vancouver in 1959, the family welcomed sons Walter and William. Frank sustained broken ribs and whiplash in a car accident in 1962; the settlement he received enabled the family to purchase their first home. Irene was born shortly afterward. Frank taught himself to play 6 instruments. He conducted choirs from a young age in Port Rowan and continued to do so for decades at Vancouver MB. In 1972, the family relocated to their 3-acre blueberry farm in Richmond, B.C. Seven years later, they moved to Surrey, B.C., where Frank started a hobby farm with chickens, two cows, a dog, cats, and Walter’s horse. Frank worked at Woodwards 31 years. In 1990, Frank and Anne retired to Abbotsford, B.C., with a huge garden: Frank could make anything grow. They travelled to Hawaii, cruised to Alaska, visited Frances in United Arab Emirates, toured Israel, and for their 50th anniversary, took their family to Yellowstone National Park. They fulfilled Frank’s dream of returning to his birthplace. Frank cared for his children and grandchildren, supporting them to attend camp and Bible college. Birth: July 23, 1925 Birthplace: Ebental, Ukraine Death: November 25, 2020 Parents: Alexander & Mary (Esau) Suderman Married: Anne Friesen, Nov. 6, 1954 [d. May 1, 2015] Family: children Evelyn, Luella, Frances, Walter, William, Irene; grandchildren Church: Bakerview, Abbotsford, B.C.

RUDIE WILLMS Rudie’s childhood on a Saskatchewan grain farm and youth on a B.C. dairy farm left him with fond memories. In his mid-20s, he determined life would be richer if he could share it with a gal who had caught his eye as a teenager in Matsqui, B.C. He mailed a marriage proposal to Louise, who was teaching in Oliver, B.C. At first dumbfounded, she accepted – leading to a 61-year adventure. Rudie never desired wealth. He purchased their first home in Winnipeg for $9,000 and later sold it for $6,000. What he lacked in financial prowess, he made up for in relational depth, investing heavily in his family, friends, and those in need. At an early age, he dedicated his life to Jesus and sensed a call to church ministry. Rudie trained at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford; MB Bible College, Winnipeg; and MB Biblical Seminary, Fresno, Cal. He loved to preach and teach of the love of God. Rudie’s formal ministry began with the daily, Canada-wide radio program, The Gospel Light Hour. He launched Logan Avenue MB (now Salem Community Bible Church) in Winnipeg in 1960, and for 60 years, shepherded congregations in Winnipeg; Aldergrove, B.C; Vancouver; and St. Catharines, Ont. The intricacies of organizational leadership sometimes overwhelmed him. His passion was simply to love the individual before him, especially those on the fringes. He sought out those who were hurting, welcomed their phone calls at all hours, and regularly met them for coffee. While giving himself wholeheartedly to the church, Rudie made his family his priority – enjoying his three boys and travelling any distance to mark graduations, weddings, and funerals. His last formal role was chaplain at Tabor Court, Abbotsford, B.C. He spent his later years in his recliner, pen and paper in one hand and well-worn Bible in the other. Even during the most difficult days with Alzheimer’s disease, moments of clarity happened when he prayed: his strong voice and focus on his Saviour returning. COVID-19 was Rudie’s final trial before seeing his Saviour face to face. Birth: June 13, 1934 Birthplace: Heburn, Sask. Death: December 3, 2020 Parents: John & Helena Willms Married: Louise Lorraine Klassen, Aug. 20, 1959 Family: Louise; sons Ed (Karin), Roger (Rhonda), Barry (Lynda); 11 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; 3 siblings Church: Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. Baptism: Matsqui MB, Abbotsford, B.C, August 1949

MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD

MARCH 2021

21


A moment in time MENNONITE BRETHREN HER ALD, OCTOBER 5, 1962

Courtesy of the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies

22

MARCH 2021

M B H E R A L D.C O M


S U B S C R I B E TO M B H E R A L D D I G E S T W W W. M B H E R A L D . C O M / S U B S C R I B E -V I A - E M A I L

Profile for Mennonite Brethren Publications

MB Herald Digest | March 2021