THE FINAL CHAPTER: Changes ahead for the Herald
Volume 54, No. 6 Publications mail registration number: 09648; Agreement number: 40009297
The Renaissance of APOLOGETICS?
J U N E 2 0 15 W W W. M B H E R A L D . C O M
The Andrew Wall
V O N N I E M O S TAT
We defaced the wall of our sanctuary last October.
through the Holy Spirit to become Jesus’ disciples too.
A few years ago, South Langley Church finished a top-to-bottom renovation of our building and added an administration wing. We’re so thankful to God for how he has led South Langley through the months of renovations and for the growth spurt we experienced.
Wes spoke to us about Andrew’s eagerness to tell not only his brother but others about the true Messiah. Then Wes asked all of us about our boldness in witnessing, not only to our friends but also to our neighbours and the person on the street. Who will we bring to Jesus?
It still feels shiny and fresh. But after pastor Wes Dahl preached on “You are what you believe” that Sunday, we took up felt pens and wrote all over what was declared “the Andrew wall.”
After a moment of quiet prayer, our pastor invited us to the Andrew wall to write the names of people we commit to pray for and witness to in the coming year.
You see, many Bible teachers believe that Andrew was the first to bring someone to Jesus. In that period, many self-proclaimed messiahs appeared, speaking to the Jews’ hope of being relieved of Roman occupation. John the Baptist stepped into this atmosphere of people longing to find the true One whom God would send to save them. Fisherman Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist who introduced Andrew to Jesus, “the Lamb of God” (John 1:36).
Not everyone writes neatly, but write we did. One by one, we took a felt pen and wrote the names of people God is leading us to bring to Jesus, just as Andrew brought [Simon] Peter and others to the Messiah. The beautifully vandalized Andrew wall was inspiring – but not permanent. After all, we were determined these people were going to become part of our church.
“The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’” (John 1:41).
The wall is washed and re-painted now, but I still remember the names my husband and I wrote. I have noticed, especially after communion, many people going to the Andrew wall, remembering the place where they wrote a name and their commitment to bring that person to Jesus.
Andrew followed Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me,…and I will send you out to fish for people” (Mark 1:17), and tradition holds that he helped John write his Gospel, preserving the story of their encounter to inspire Christians
I’m looking forward to seeing new faces in church.
PHOTO: DAWNELLE GUENTHER
Vonnie Mostat is a member of South Langley (B.C.) Church. She blogs at fromgodshearttomine.blogspot.ca.
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
FEATURES 14 Global nomads: navigating the challenge of transition ReBoot program helps missionary kids reintegrate –Paul Dyck
19 Intern journal Soup’s on! –Ben Thielmann
20 Bethany hopes in the resurrection –Karla Braun
CONFERENCE NEWS 8 Executive director The future of discipleship –Willy Reimer
CONNECT WITH US ONLINE DIGITAL EDITION issuu.com
B.C. convention 2015 Seeking Spirit-led innovation
10 Alberta convention 2015
Whole-life transformation through the gospel –Laura Kalmar
12 Quebec convention 2015 Changing of the guard in Quebec –Danielle Lajeunesse, translated by Karla Braun
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4 Editorial The God-bearing life…of a magazine –Laura Kalmar
15 MB Mission Kalaam sees God smile –Mark JH Klassen
16 ICOMB – Wiebe’s witness Father to gang members: Colombian pastor shares Jesus in the slums –David Wiebe
18 Viewpoint Celebrate inklings of truth and beauty: Apologetics conference gains momentum –Graham Nickel
35 Intersection of faith and life Discovering God’s plan A: When faith means doing nothing –Derek Parenteau
21 News 26 Transitions, family news 32 Finish lines [Obituaries] 34 Crosscurrents COVER Members of River East MB Church, Winnipeg, spent nearly two years creating 100 stained glass window panels for their sanctuary. Symbols represent creation, hope, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit and more. See page 24 for longer story. Photo by Carson Samson.
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
EDITORIAL The God-bearing life…of a magazine L AUR A K ALMAR
remember the call like it was yesterday. Cam Rowland was on the phone, offering me a job as editor of the MB Herald. That call meant a career change, a move across the country and a house purchase – without ever actually seeing the four walls that would become my new home! That call in 2005 resulted in epic life transition for me. I’m reminded of another transformative call recorded in Luke 1. When Mary received an invitation to become the mother of our Saviour, her “yes” reverberated throughout generations. She became the vessel that would carry the eternal God onto the shores of temporal soil for salvation to be made manifest. The Orthodox tradition calls Mary Theotokos, or God-bearer. But the call to be a God-bearer was not unique to Mary. We, too, are called to carry God’s image and message into this world. “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT). As ambassadors, we do not come with a spirit of power and triumphalism, but in humility and weakness as fallible human beings. We bear God’s image in imperfect vessels – our words fail, our actions fall short and our knowledge is incomplete. And yet, somewhere between the cracks and imperfections, the light of God shines through to a dark world.
Heralds of good news Here in the pages of the Herald, we’ve always sought to be ambassadors of that light. Our call is to be heralds – messengers – of God’s glory through all the ups and downs of modern communications. This month, we’re celebrating the recognition we’ve received from colleagues via the Canadian Church Press (CCP) and the Evangelical Press Association’s (EPA) annual awards. 4
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Congratulations to associate editor Karla Braun for her first place prize in the CCP’s Letters from the Editor category for “Spun around” (July 2014). Congratulations, as well, to photographer Judith Voth for receiving second place in the CCP’s Feature Photo category for the November 2014 cover shot of her children Caleb and Anaya, and to copy editor Angeline Schellenberg for third place in the EPA’s Interview Article category for “Two jobs, one calling: The world of bi-vocational ministry” (July 2014). These pieces are just a few examples of the ways the Herald has brought the light of God – the good news – into Canadian homes.
Heralds of a new era As we move into the future, we recognize there are new opportunities ahead. We want to be heralds of that news, as well. The Canadian conference leadership believes our family of churches is being called to a new direction and is seeking to build a communications strategy that is mission-focused, strengthens partnerships with provincial conferences and reaches as broad an audience as possible. As of December 2015, the MB Herald will cease publication. In the coming year, we will launch a new print initiative that will rally churches around our mission to “multiply Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ.” “We want to build off a strong past while embracing new opportunities to engage all generations in God’s mission locally, nationally and internationally,” says executive director Willy Reimer. “We know we will publish a new print piece in 2016,” says Reimer, “and are discerning how to facilitate other types of conversations around things such as theology, cultural issues and family
news. Our goal is to deliver excellent communication with high impact, regardless of platform.” As well, like many other denominations, we need to tighten our belts financially. Changes to government requirements for magazine funding have made it likely we will soon be ineligible to receive the grant money that has supported our print publishing in the past. The Canadian conference has also experienced a downturn in deposit fund transfers to ministry due to lower returns and increased finance costs, as well as flat church support, which have led to reduced ministry budgets. With these realities upon us – and with a desire to be good stewards of God’s resources – we have decided to move to a bimonthly production schedule. This means the next issue readers can expect to see in their mailboxes is August 2015.
A time to mourn, a time to dance We want to celebrate 54 years of Godbearing through the MB Herald – to remember the stories we’ve told that bring glory to God and to honour the community we’ve built with readers over the decades. We realize these announcements may be difficult for some, so we want to set aside space in the next three issues to remember and celebrate the Herald’s ministry. Readers may also want to comment at mbherald.com or on our Facebook page. Change is constant, but the call to be God-bearers remains. May we all faithfully bear God’s image to the world around us – whether it’s through the pages of a magazine, via social media, in a conversation with a neighbour, or in the choices we make about careers and finances. May we all live a God-bearing life.
M Y SOU L
MY W O R L D
mbmission.org/AWAKE Upcoming AWAKE weekends fall 2015: Kitchener-Waterloo, September Edmonton, October Winnipeg, October Fraser Valley, November
Mennonite Brethren Herald is published bi-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. Advertising and inserts should not be considered to carry editorial endorsement. Winner of Canadian Church Press and Evangelical Press Association awards for Writing, Design, and Illustration: 1996–2015. Editorial office 1310 Taylor Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3Z6 Phone: 204-669-6575 Fax: 204-654-1865 Toll-free in Canada: 888-669-6575 Email: email@example.com http://www.mbherald.com PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NUMBER: 4000929 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: CIRCULATION DEPT., MB HERALD 1310 TAYLOR AVENUE CMCA AUDITED WINNIPEG MB R3M 3Z6
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Copyright The articles printed in the Herald are owned by the Herald or by the author and may not be reprinted without permission. Unless noted, Scriptural quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Subscription rates 1 year $12 2 years $22 3 years $32 Please add tax to domestic subscriptions. See www.mbherald.com or phone 204-654-5766 for rate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for electronic options. Change of address + subscriptions Notice of change of address should be sent to circulation office, and should include both old and new addresses. Allow 4 weeks for changes to become effective. Email circulation office at email@example.com or phone 204-654-5766. Advertising Advertising inquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Display and classified advertisement copy must be received at least three weeks prior to publication. Advertisements are priced at a rate for insertion in one issue or at a discounted rate for insertions in three or more issues (not necessarily consecutive). Classifieds are priced per line, with a minimum charge of six lines. StaffCONFERCANADIAN
Laura Kalmar editor Karla Braun associate editor Audrey Plew designer Helga Kasdorf circulation + advertising Angeline Schellenberg copy editor Barrie McMaster B.C. regional correspondent
Volume 54, Number 6 • Copy run: 14,500 THE MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD IS A PUBLICATION OF
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
homepage Canadian Mennonite University graduation 2015
Canadian Mennonite University held its commencement ceremony Apr. 26, 2015, at Immanuel Pentecostal Church, Winnipeg, awarding a total of 87 degrees and two certificates.
Joseph Kiranto, valedictorian
“Here at CMU, we have been challenged, we have been encouraged, we have been empowered, and we have been motivated,” said Joseph Kiranto, class valedictorian. Referencing the Class of 2015’s graduation verse, James 3:17–18, Kiranto encouraged his fellow graduates to do the best they can in spite of the obstacles they might face.
Hippolyto Tshimanga, a theologian and missiologist who works at Mennonite Church Canada, delivered the graduation address. “Believe in your God-given potential, believe in the education that you have received and keep on moving,” Tshimanga said. “Have the courage to act on your belief.”
IN the HOOD
MB post-secondary institutions matriculate students
MBBS graduation (Langley campus) 2015
Kathy McCamis (master of arts, theological studies, MBBS Canada) reflected on how the costs of doing a graduate degree seemed high when she resigned from her position as a youth pastor to pursue fulltime ministry studies at CMU. “I graduate having been formed as a person who is growing in my ability to love God and to love my neighbour, as well as to love myself,” she said. • 87 degrees MBBS Canada faculty and graduates
• 2 certificates • President’s medal in recognition of scholarship, leadership and service: Mike Wiebe (BA, four-year, communications & media), Rebecca Klassen-Wiebe (BMus, concentration: performance – collaborative piano)
Associated Canadian Theological Schools, the consortium of which MBBS Canada is an owner, hosted its 25th annual commencement exercises Apr. 18, 2015, at Central Heights Church, Abbotsford, B.C.
Four of the 11 MA graduates received a conjoint degree with MBBS and CMU.
MBBS’s eight graduates were addressed by Roger Helland, district pastor for the Baptist General Conference, and enjoyed special music by 2010 graduate Johannes Weber.
• Master of arts (MBBS): José Moraga Diaz, Jonathan Jandavs-Hedlin, Kathy McCamis, Arisnel Mesidor
For the first time, the hood of MBBS’s graduate regalia incorporated the colours of the seminary and the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (see photo above).
—Canadian Mennonite University release
“We are proud of our 2015 graduates and wish them God’s blessing in their life and ministry,” says MBBS admissions counsellor Sherman Lau.
• Master of arts in Christian studies: Nikki White, John Webber, Phil Wiens
MBBS-CMU faculty and graduates
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
• Master of arts in marriage and family therapy: Sherinne Cropley, Ross Hyde, Bruce Janz, David Lee • Master of applied linguistics and exegesis: Tina Ensz (in absentia) —Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Canada release
coming events CONFERENCE EVENTS:
Columbia Bible College graduation 2015
June 9–11: Pastors Credentialing Orientation, Winnipeg.
Columbia Bible College held its 79th commencement ceremony Apr. 18, 2015, at Abbotsford (B.C.) Pentecostal Assembly, awarding a total of 100 diplomas and certificates.
Assembly PARTNER EVENTS:
• Governor General’s Bronze Medal: Leane Winger (BA, caregiving & counselling)
• ABHE Delta Epsilon Chi award: Sean Morton (BA, caregiving & counselling) & Leane Winger (BA, caregiving & counselling)
Pyramid Stumbling Blocks Quilt by Beth Nufer and Shelley Knapp
Pyramid Stumbling Blocks Quilt by Beth Nufer and Shelley Knapp
June 12–13: C2C Network SOMA weekend with Jeff Vanderstelt, Fort Garry MB Church, Winnipeg. June 16–18: C2C Network assessment centre, Saint-Eustache, Que. Sept. 18–19: AEFMQ pastors and workers “It’s often said we come into the retreat, Camp Péniel, Wentworth-Nord, Que. world with nothing and leave it Sept. 1: C2C Network assessment Photo fro with nothing,” said alumnus the MWC Photo fromof the Photo from28–Oct. the MWC year, Andy Steiger. The Northview centre, Calgary. General Council meeting General Council meeting General C pastor and Apologetics Canada Oct. 4–6: ABMB pastor and spouse retreat. in 2012 in 2012 in 2012 director also gave the commenceJoy Norris receives her diploma Oct. 4–6: SKMB pastor and spouse retreat. ment address. “However, that from president Bryan Born. isn’t what the Bible teaches…. Oct. 21–23: “God, Sex and Church: a theology We come into the world bearing the image of our creator, and if we so of human sexuality” study conference, Westwood choose, we can reflect that image in this life.” He urged graduates to Community Church, Winnipeg. do great things with their lives by loving God and loving people. Mennonite Mennonite Nov. 30–Dec. 3: C2C Network assessment Menno • Bachelor of arts: 36 • Diplomas: 21 • Certificates: 43 centre,Conference Toronto. World World World Conference • Valedictorian: Max Harwood (BA, biblical studies)
June 4: 19th annual Columbia Bible College open
21-26 golf tournament, The Redwoods Golf Course, 21-26 July 2015 21-26 July 2015 • George Schmidt leadership award: Andre Wiens (BA, biblical studies) & Kari Wiens Langley, B.C. Harrisb Harrisburg, Harrisburg, (BA, intercultural studies) June 9: CMU president’s golf classic, Kingswood Pennsy Pennsylvania, USA —Columbia Bible College releasePennsylvania, USA Golf and Country Club, La Salle, Man. 05.15
Kindred Productions www.kindredproductions.com • 1-800-545-7322
The word became French
21-26 July 2015 21-26 July 2015 View more events from churches, Harrisburg, Harrisburg, schools and agencies at Pennsylvania, USA Pennsylvania, USA mbherald.com/calendar. MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
Pyramid Stumbling Blocks Quilt by Beth Nufer and Shelley Knapp
register at mwc-cmm.org/pa2015.
Pyramid Stumbling Blocks Quilt by Beth Nufer and Shelley Knapp
Pyramid Stumbling Blocks Quilt by Beth Nufer and Shelley Knapp
Resource he Confession of Faith: Commentary The Board of Faith and Life has just and pastoral applicareleased the French edition of the Confession of Faith Commentary tion is now available and Pastoral Application in French. The articles Download a free online version at: mennonitebrethren.ca/resource/mb-beliefs of confession were www.mwc-cmm.org or contact the Quebec conference offi ce at 514-331-0878, Ext. 1030 Do you published in French to obtain a hard copy love the in 2002; however, excitement the more lengthy commentary and of global application were only now translated sporting and published in full, thanks to Saintthe“Mennonite MWC events? Then don’tPhoto missfrom the Jérôme pastor Peter Brown and General Council meeting World Cup” this July 21–26, when in 2012 his wife Suzanne, editor Jeannine Anabaptists from around the world gather Lambert, graphic designer Luc in Harrisburg, Pa., for Mennonite World Lambert and readers Jean Bieri, Gilles Mennonite Conference Assembly 2015. All ages are Dextraze and Stephane Rhéaume. World Conference welcome to join thisAssembly feast of fellowship The Quebec conference office has in song, story, sports, games, food, a limited number of hard copies. 21-26 July 2015 drama, dance and worship. Find It can also be downloaded from Harrisburg, costs, lodging, schedule, etc., and Pennsylvania, USA mennonitebrethren.ca.
June 12–13:05.15 MinistryLift workshop: 05.15 Communicating God’s Word, Surrey, B.C. June 27: Camp Evergreen AGM and open house, Sundre, Alta. June 28–July 8: MB Mission SOAR/ESSOR Montreal. July 3–Aug. 15: MB Mission ACTION Winnipeg. July 10–20: MB Mission SOAR Vancouver. July 17–19: Mennonite World Conference Global Youth Summit, Messiah College, Mechanicsburg, Pa. www.mwc-cmm.org July 21–26: Mennonite World Conference Assembly 16, Harrisburg, Pa. Aug. 10–21: CMU Blazers summer sports camps, Winnipeg. Sept. 17–18: Personal Photo from the MWCMinistryLift workshop: Photo from the MWC General Council meeting General Council meeting Dimensions of Leadership Development. in 2012 in 2012 Sept. 26–27: 50th anniversary celebration, Cariboo Bethel Church, Williams Lake, B.C. Mennonite Mennonite Nov. 13: Disciple Making International (DMI) World Conference World Conference Global Mission Banquet, King Road MB Assembly Assembly Church, Abbotsford, B.C.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The future of discipleship Willy Reimer
s we celebrate the graduation of men and women from Bible colleges and Christian universities across Canada, it’s clear that Christian higher education is in a state of upheaval. Enrollment is down, finances are tight, and parents are questioning the value of their investment on behalf of their children.
and to ensure we fulfill Christ’s mandate: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19– 20, ESV).
As parents, Gwen and I are committed to providing our children with a biblical foundation because we believe it is vital to their lives as disciples. We put money aside to ensure our three sons would have the opportunity to experience Christian post-secondary education: short-term mission school, Bible school and Bible college.
Was it worth the investment? Absolutely! Would I encourage others to make the same investment? Without question. So why are fewer parents making this choice? Many families are grappling with the question of whether or not to spend the money on Christian education. Schools are wrestling with the challenges of offering effective Christian education in an age when costs are increasing, employment fears are on the rise as boomers delay retirement, and student debt is mounting. What is the right decision for parents and young adults to make regarding post-secondary education? The important question is not, “Can we afford Christian education?” The important question is “Can we afford not to send our kids to receive Christian education?” While schools need to adapt to current realities, parents, churches and supporting communities need to invest in disciple-making work with young adults – both for their personal development 8
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Christianity is undergoing great change in Canada as we observe increasing spiritual stratification, decreasing church attendance and the growing influence of pluralism. The authority of Scripture is being questioned within the church, and Christians are choosing which teachings of Christ they want to embrace, as if grazing at a spiritual buffet. Why? From casual observation, it seems that the church has done a poor job of passing on what it actually means to be a disciple. That may sound like a cynical statement, but as traditional forms of biblical instruction have faded away, we have not found new ways to communicate and train up generations with a biblical understanding of discipleship. What does it mean to be a disciple? “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21, ESV). Regardless of context – parents, teachers, pastors – it’s our responsibility to teach and model what it means to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
Rethinking from the ground up I have a confession to make. As I look back over my pastoral life, I didn’t place enough emphasis on disciple making. I wasn’t intentional enough in giving
people the teaching they needed so they could discern the difference between a biblical worldview and the prevailing values and worldview of Canadian society. While hindsight is 20/20, thankfully many younger Christ followers are unsatisfied with the status quo and are calling church leaders to provide more – more in-depth discipleship, more applied theology, more spiritual wholeness. Historically, we have looked to our schools to play a strategic role in equipping young adults to love and serve Jesus. While our schools continue to work hard at fulfilling this role, the overall disciple making system appears to be broken. As a faith community, it’s time to rethink what it means to be disciple makers. I’m encouraged to see partnerships emerging between leaders in churches, schools, camps and conferences – so that, together, we can fulfill Christ’s disciple making mandate. In the end, disciple making begins with the local church. The church needs to ask how to engage and support schools, camps and mission agencies without completely outsourcing faith formation. This is the critical issue facing the church today. Without disciple making, we will not mature established churches, plant new churches, develop teachers, pastors, planters or missionaries for the mission God has called us to. So, what can you do? Be a disciple. Get into God’s Word. Follow the leading of the Spirit and invite others to follow Jesus with you. In other words, be a disciple who makes disciples. Follow executive director Willy Reimer on Twitter @willreimer
Seeking Spirit-led innovation
Conference minister Rob Thiessen wants leaders to innovate – “to do new things.” The light bulb was an innovation, he said in the opening session of the annual convention of the B.C. Conference of MB Churches, May 1–2, 2015, at South Langley Church. So was the power grid to light it. The inventor, Thomas Edison, also developed a team of inventors for purposeful innovation. Today, Thiessen said, the world is full of innovation. But do pastors innovate? Thiessen told delegates that God’s eternal message is powerful and unchanging. “But it must be preached and understood in the world in which we live. It’s about getting the message out.” The book of Acts demonstrates God’s amazing innovations in the early church, he said. The Spirit of God blows on believers in the upper room, and soon the gospel is being preached to “unclean” Gentiles. “Then Paul, a Jew, is standing before the Parthenon in Greece. And the world is turned upside down.” Thiessen said the church must read Scripture in a full, understanding way, avoiding “boxed-in views.” He said, “Surely we can uphold the essential truths in Scripture, yet surely there is room to utilize the gifts God has given. We don’t need a fear perspective. We need a faith perspective.” Thiessen during his exhortation introduced “four friends” who had innovated: • Janet Thiessen (wife to Rob), pastor of women’s ministry and local mission at North Langley Community Church, said her church looked at ways they might help their community. North Langley is a suburb, not an inner city area with need for soup kitchens or relief – and they found a new perspective. In many churches, only families are lifted up, “while homes are breaking up around us. Single moms were struggling to support their kids and we weren’t noticing,” said Janet. For the past five years, North Langley has invited single mothers and their families to Community Saturdays, including lunch speakers, social time, takeaway dinners, gifts, and help from the church’s men to go out and fix and
paint in the summers. “In a small way,” Thiessen said, “we are learning compassion and generosity.” • Jeff Bucknam, lead pastor at Northview Community Church, Abbotsford, told the story of two churches that are now one. Northside, across the Fraser River in Mission, had asked the B.C. conference for help. Ultimately, Northside asked Northview to adopt them and Northview overwhelmingly agreed. Bucknam said on the first weekend after the two churches joined, 600 people attended Northside. “We thought it would trail off as curiosity seekers stopped attending. But, as of last Sunday, we are in two services, and close to 500 people come.” Bucknam said, “There are still big issues and challenges but because of Northview’s generosity and Northside’s humility, God is doing great things.” • Mount Pleasant (Vancouver) neighbourhood pastor Lance Odegard of Artisan’s second parish related how the new campus came about. The building they had been renting was suddenly unavailable on three weeks’ notice, as of Christmas Eve. The innovation that followed, said Odegard, “was only our prayer of desperation,” and God provided. The new facility, a former production studio, seats 100 – a tight fit – and sometimes people sit on the floor. But it came with soundproof rooms that are perfect for Sunday school. “We have lots of people who grew up in church buildings, but say, ‘I never once heard that God loves me,’” said associate pastor Peter La Grand. “The beautiful thing at Artisan…is that element resounding with people.” He added, “Our innovation is to go back to what Jesus says and does.” • Jon Kornelsen, pastor of students and young adults at Chilliwack’s Central Community Church, told how Central
convention report accepted a request to begin a new evangelical work in the community of Agassiz. “As we started,” he said, “we realized there was nothing for students to do in this town of 6,000 people.” He talked with Brian Cool, pastor of the closest MB church at Harrison Hot Springs, who had a youth group “with a core.” They started a partnership together last September, and now celebrate that almost four dozen students are regular attenders. “As I think about it,” said Kornelsen, “innovation comes in partnership.” “It’s not us,” said Thiessen. “It’s not our snazziness. It is the power of the gospel. Have a mission that matters. The gospel is meant to be used. Like a heart, you have to exercise it. Risk!”—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent
Janet Thiessen, North Langley pastor, said the church realized their suburban neighbourhood has many single mothers, and no one was reaching out to them.
PHOTOS: BARRIE MCMASTER
Conference minister Rob Thiessen introduces David Leung, with wife Ruth, as new assistant to the conference minister for BCMB Chinese churches. MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
convention report Disciple-making that transforms ABMB CONVENTION, CALGARY Stories of whole-life transformation through the gospel of Jesus Christ took centre stage at the 2015 Alberta (ABMB) provincial convention at Dalhousie Community Church, Calgary, Mar. 20–21, 2015. “God has given us a mission of transformation in Canada,” said C2C Alberta regional director Johnny Thiessen during a short, TED Talk-type sermon on Friday afternoon, “but we’ve forgotten how important – and big – that mission is.” Thiessen urged the 128 delegates and guests to move beyond their theological differences and preferences in order to carry out the mission. “My neighbour – who came to me crying and a few hours before had an extension cord wrapped around his neck – isn’t asking what I believe about baptism. He isn’t asking what I believe about the Millennium, or whether I’m a complementarian or egalitarian. All he knows is that he needs some good news.”
Challenges and priorities In 2014, ABMB and CCMBC entered a new era of partnership, with all provincial ministry conducted jointly between the two entities. Paul J. Loewen came on board as conference minister last July through a collaborative hiring process between ABMB and CCMBC. Loewen spent a great deal of his time over the past eight months meeting with church leaders, provincial leaders and the ABMB ministry team to discern direction. During his convention address, Loewen outlined several challenges facing Alberta churches: declining membership, a lack of specific disciple-making plans, church polity issues, identity, an independent spirit that leads to an inward focus, diminishing finances, “churchiness,” ethnic and immigrant realities, and drop-out of young adults. “Functionally, Alberta has been supported by other churches across the country and by other individuals,” said Loewen. “We need to find ways to be givers of generosity rather than receivers.” 10
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Loewen said the province would move forward by concentrating on seven priorities: • creating and modelling disciple making; • building team among leaders and pastors; • focusing on healthy church systems (by ensuring, for example, that every church has adequate insurance and that all pastors are credentialed with the Mennonite Brethren conference); • multiplying Christ-centred churches; • growing financial health; • developing next-generation ministry and networks; • praying for church renewal.
Eyes on Canada Canadian conference executive director Willy Reimer, who presented alongside Loewen, encouraged attendees to lift their eyes to see the spiritual need across Canada. “I don’t see a broken heart for other parts of the country,” said Reimer. “We’re becoming a receiving nation for missionaries. Part of me is excited – yes, missionaries are great. But part of me is embarrassed. “The hardest place to reach people is at home because the accountability level goes way up. It’s much easier for me to stand on a soapbox in Mexico than it is in my own backyard. We need to develop a heart for the least-reached places in this country.”
Finances ABMB churches were asked to tithe a percentage of their receiptable income to a unified provincialnational budget, which would flow through the Canadian conference. Leadership presented delegates with two giving options for the 2015 budget year: Option A = 6 percent, Option B = 10 percent. The former requires the province to draw down $100,000 from its contingency fund, leaving $15,000 in reserves. Some delegates expressed concern over what the larger amount would mean for local church budgets. “Where do we cut to find the money to give to you? Children’s ministry? Camp? MB Mission?” asked Kevin Thiessen.
“We’re a family together,” replied moderator Kerry Dyck. “It takes discernment and prayer. If we all lean in together, we can make this happen. We’re not giving to a budget, we’re giving to a mission.” In the end, delegates agreed to Option A, committing to $135,000 in church donations and expressing support for the direction in which the denomination is moving. “Even if Option B were on the table right now,” said SunWest pastor Drew Johnson, “I would vote for that because it speaks to vision, it speaks to faith, it speaks to the community around me that doesn’t know Jesus.” Delegates also approved an annual budget of $318,200 (with a projected loss of $12,000).
Provincial highlights • Johnny Thiessen gave an update on the “10:02 prayer” introduced a year ago, inviting people to pray for workers for the harvest (Luke 10:2) at 10:02 a.m. each day. In the past year, “a number of churches have found pastors, including SunWest, Coaldale, Linden and Dalhousie. We’re still praying for one more [church planter] for Pincher Creek, where we still have an empty building” said Thiessen. Vauxhall and Medicine Hat are also currently looking for pastors. • Elroy Senneker and Brad Huebert – who both apprenticed with Urban Grace – are in the process of launching new churches in Calgary. • Camp Evergreen reported that it welcomed 4,196 guests and 779 summer campers in 2014, including a group from a charter school with a 90 percent Muslim population that has expressed interest in returning to camp this year. • Terry Lamb will complete his formal role as Director of Caring for Leaders at the end of April 2015. To watch video content from the Alberta convention, including reports from L2L, MBBS and MB Mission, go to www.GMMiTV.com.—Laura Kalmar
Delegates pray for church planters.
The littlest missionary Chris Stevens’ daughter is a missionary. No, she hasn’t travelled to far-off Africa to build churches. But she willingly shares the good news of Jesus with friends and sees God’s mighty power at work. At the Alberta conference’s 2015 convention, Chris shared the story of Sparrow, who is only in elementary school, yet has great faith to see transformation in the lives of her classmates.
fundraiser for Sophia and her family, with Soul Surfer as the feature film. “Dad,” said Sparrow, “you said that when I turned seven, I could fast and pray for anything I wanted. Could we fast and pray for Sophia to see the movie?” “Sure, honey,” said Chris. So they fasted and prayed together, asking the Lord to restore Sophia’s sight.
When the Stevens were pastoring The Gathering in Ottawa, a little girl named Sophia lived down the street from them. Sophia, whose family wasn’t attending church, would arrive at school every day in tears. The only thing that seemed to comfort her was Sparrow’s prayers. At one point, the family knocked on the Stevens’ door at night, asking for Sparrow to come and pray for their daughter because Sophia just couldn’t fall asleep.
And he did!
It turned out that Sophia had a brain tumour. Eventually, the crying ceased, but the tumour – and its subsequent medical treatments – caused the little girl to go blind.
“Jesus never heals the physical without addressing the whole person, bringing shalom into their lives. Jesus’ great desire is to see wholeness come into our lives,” says Chris.
The illness had brought untold stresses into the family’s life, so The Gathering congregation decided to host a movie night
Sophia was able to watch the movie and “see” the congregation raise $17,000 for a family who didn’t even attend their church. Part of the family eventually became Christians and joined The Gathering. And a local CTV news reporter involved in the story also ended up giving her life to Christ. In the end, a medical and financial need brought before God resulted in holistic healing in many lives.
And it all began because a little girl believed God could use her for the sake of his mission.—LK
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
PHOTOS: MICHELLE PENNER
Chris Stevens speaks on preaching that transforms.
convention report Changing of the guard in Quebec L’ I N T E R S E C T I O N T E R R E B O N N E a n d ETEM-IBVIE , Montreal At the beginning of the annual convention of the Quebec Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (AEFMQ), Apr. 17–18, 2015, moderator Bruno Synnott addressed delegates as “partners in mission.” Why? “Rather than saying ‘church members,’ I call you ‘partners in mission,” he said, “because our raison d’être is not only to be members of a church but to be partners in announcing the gospel of Jesus Christ in words and action until his return,” said Synnott.
A common vision During the business session, Synnott shared his vision for the conference, based on 1 Corinthians 13:12–13: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” • “A reflection as in a mirror”: our knowledge is partial. What is the best way to live as a church or to evangelize? There are many answers, and we must find different models in the evangelical world. No one model contains all the truth. • “I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” One thing is certain: the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16). God knows us. According to the gospel of Jesus Christ, he died for our sins and is raised (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). Therefore, have full confidence in this power that heals, restores, liberates, reconciles, brings peace and joy even in the greatest trials. Share the good news of Jesus, in any way. • “These three remain.” We prepare with faith, hope and love for the harvest that is ready in Quebec. There are encouraging signs, for 12
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
example, The Source youth group at SainteThérèse (see below). Practically, this means: • ensuring that each partner in mission is prepared to share the gospel in word and deed, at church and in the Québécois context; • putting in place concrete measures to offer hospitality to new people in the church (Mark 9:37); • adopting a new strategic plan with clear benchmarks for making disciples in the Quebec context. A questionnaire following up on these issues was distributed to delegates.
Four new board members On Saturday, amid an atmosphere of thanks and optimism, the provincial board announced a changing of the guard. “God responded generously to the call circulated to the churches concerning our leadership needs,” said Synnott. Four new board members accepted the call to join the board for a twoyear term: Alain Després (Sainte-Thérèse), Jonathan Paradis (The Living Room), Richard Doré (Westside Gathering) and Zacharie Leclair (Sainte-Rose). With the two existing board members, Réginald Fauteux (Sainte-Thérèse) and Bruno Synnott (SaintEustache), the team now contains six qualified members who have the task of supporting local churches in their mission of living out and sharing the power of the gospel in their respective surroundings, in collaboration with the two provincial MB agencies, ETEM-IBVIE (Jean-Raymond Théorêt, the school’s board president) and Camp Péniel (Jason Lévesque and Esther Lachance, camp co-directors). The board also works in close collaboration with bookkeeper Yvon Descormiers, treasurer Roger Deschênes (Saint-Eustache), L2L representative Peter Brown (Saint-Jérôme), C2C Network representative Patrice Nagant (l’Intersection de Terrebonne), board of faith and life chair David Miller (l’Intersection), and ministry coordinator and Le Lien editor Danielle Lajeunesse (Saint-Eustache).
Prayer for our churches, ministries and leaders
PHOTOS: DANIELLE LAJEUNESSE
On Friday night, host pastor David Miller of L’Intersection led attendees in a concert of worship and prayer along with recording artists Matthieu Nantel and Mélodie Després of Divum. Attendees were invited to grow a sense of common mission as part of the great evangelical-Anabaptist family in Quebec and Canada. Throughout the evening, small groups prayed for leaders of the 13 churches and church plants, ministries and agencies of the AEFMQ.
Above: Kristen Corrigan presents a wall hanging cross-stitched by her husband Garry in thanks to Gilles Dextraze for his 10 years of faithful service to the AEFMQ.
Youth draw life from The Source “La Source is formed in prayer, growing in number and spirituality due to prayer, and accomplishing great things for Jesus through prayer,” says Alain Després, family life pastor at Sainte- Thérèse. This youth group is a collaboration between SainteThérèse and Centre Chrétien des Milles Îles, initially developed by Després and ETEM intern and Milles Îles youth pastor Daniel Bujold. It is interchurch in character, drawing up to 80 attendees aged 12–12 from the greater Thérèse de Blainville area on Friday nights. Regular attenders are connected with a mentor, and youth are encouraged to use their gifts and to get involved in a local church.
Ministries and partner agencies • The C2C Network is active in Quebec, accompanying seven MB church plants. Several candidate couples will attend a planter assessment in June 2015. • Camp Péniel serves the conference as a retreat centre, a centre for leadership development in young people, and a place to proclaim the gospel to campers, some 40 percent of whom have no contact with a church. • In addition to the youth exchange opportunities and humanitarian work the organization is known for, Mennonite Central Committee’s work in the province includes an annual bike rally to raise money for an education project overseas. MCC also worked with ETEM to donate 4,000 French theology books (surplus from combining libraries with other Christian institutions) to DR Congo. • In September 2015, ETEM-IBVIE aims to be the first evangelical school in Quebec to launch a master’s program. • Continuing education coordinator Danielle Lajeunesse facilitated six events through the year with participation from 165 people. She also presented a workshop on Winning Kids’ Plan to Protect children’s ministry guidelines at the convention.
Left: Attendees gather in small groups to pray throughout the Friday evening session.
• Board of faith and life members David Miller and Marc Pare guided attendees through a Bible study as part of the convention proceedings on Saturday.
Two memorable moments After 33 years of serving the board, Robert Dagenais (Sainte-Thérèse) is stepping down but will keep a close connection with the provincial association. Attendees prayed blessing over Dagenais and his wife Rita Frechette and presented them with a gift. Gilles Dextraze is also taking his leave after more than 10 years of work for the AEFMQ (as executive director since 2008). He will continue to be part of “the good news people,” accomplishing the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Synnott presented Dextraze with an acrostic of his name (Giant, Integrity, Loyal, Learned, Edifier and Servant) and a cross-stitched wall hanging. Canadian conference guests in attendance at the meeting were interim CFO Jim Davidson, director of human resources Norbert Bargen and C2C national associate director Scott Thomas. In closing, Synnott expressed gratitude: “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord. There is a powerful and divine wind blowing. The Lord does great things.” Report by Danielle Lajeunesse, editor, Le Lien. Translated by Karla Braun, associate editor, MB Herald. MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
Global nomads: navigating the challenge of transition
ReBoot program helps missionary kids reintegrate / Paul Dyck I was really homesick and nervous when I returned from the mission field to start university. Before, when we visited Canada, I knew we’d be going home to Thailand soon, but now I think, ‘Wow, I’m here for four years!’” Like many missionary kids (MKs), Grace left her native Canada as a young child. Having spent most of her life overseas with her parents who are long-term workers with MB Mission, the readjustment to Canadian culture was difficult. However, last summer Grace attended ReBoot, a new program offered by the Canadian Missionary Kid Network (CMKN) that helps MKs overcome the challenges of repatriation. CMKN’s second annual week-long ReBoot retreat, Aug. 3–9, 2014, involved 21 MKs returning from 14 countries, including three MKs from MB Mission. Sierra was another participant from MB Mission. Although she is now studying at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kan., an MB school where almost everyone understands missions, she says the transition is a long process and she wrestles with identity issues.
According to a study on re-entry programs published in the Journal of Psychology and Theology, Sierra’s experience is fairly common for repatriating MKs. In returning to North America, they have lost their home, a situation that often leaves them plagued by loneliness, anxiety and even depression. The study also states that MKs serving overseas benefit from “a rich understanding of the local culture and language, and frequently [gain] a broad worldview.” Those who attend re-entry programs like ReBoot experience a “significant reduction in depression, anxiety and stress.” ReBoot invests in tomorrow’s global leaders by supporting today’s missionary kids. The long-term, global impact resonates through their lives as they integrate into Canadian culture with vigour, enthusiasm and purpose, becoming future missiologists, missionaries, NGO leaders, medical workers, school administrators and more. And their parents are strengthened to continue in the work to which God has called them. As Sierra walks through the adjustment, she often refers back to her notes from ReBoot. She says what she learned about characteristic MK traits is particularly helpful, especially when she is frustrated or discouraged.
PHOTO: MICHELLE PHOENIX
“I’m not trying to find a new identity, just trying to figure out my identity,” she says. “Serving in Thailand was part of my identity. I had a heart for construction workers
and people living in slums. I put a lot of time into community service there, but it feels like there aren’t many outlets to serve like that here.”
Participants from ReBoot 2014 after completing a high ropes challenge.
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
While visiting Canada, Caleb (another MB Mission MK) decided he would return to B.C. for his final year of high school. When he attended ReBoot,
he had already been in Canada for a year, but still didn’t feel like he fit in. “I didn’t think moving home would affect me,” he says. “When I actually made the move for Grade 12, I realized I was leaving everything behind and I wouldn’t be going back any time soon. The biggest challenge was leaving all the people I had developed very close relationships to.” As Caleb struggled to integrate, he often “counted his losses.” Although he knew he was struggling, Caleb didn’t identify the challenges he faced until he attended ReBoot. “The presentation on grieving hit me out of nowhere,” he says. “ReBoot opened my eyes to the existence of the challenges moving from one country to another can pose in a child’s life.” Caleb says being in an environment with others who had experienced similar moves was healing. “Everyone was incredibly different, but similar at the same time, and everyone accepted everyone,” he says. He appreciated hearing their perspectives and could relate with it all. “I went into ReBoot with a hard heart and a hard mind, but it took less than a day or two before the walls came down,” says Caleb. “I connected with every person there. I would definitely recommend ReBoot to others. It’s hard to adjust all on your own, but the participants and leaders have a lot to offer and they do it with a loving heart.” For more information about ReBoot or the Canadian MK Network, go to www.canadianmk.net. Paul Dyck, who was raised by MB parents in India, now leads the Canadian Missionary Kid Network. He provides member care resourcing through Outreach Canada and is affiliated with the B.C. chapter of the Canadian Member Care Network. Paul and Carol attend Northview Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C. Paul is a credentialed MB pastor.
alaam grew up in a conservative Muslim family in Central Asia. “My father was a harsh man,” said Kalaam (not his real name). “Everyone in our community saw him as a leader and a devout Muslim, but at home he yelled at me a lot.”
Kalaam sees God smile Mark JH Klassen
PHOTO: PHIL DAVIS, MB MISSION
Kalaam remembers approaching his father and asking him, “Do you understand what you read in the Qur’an?” His father raised his hand to hit him. “Don’t ask those questions!” he said. “Your brothers never asked those questions.” Kalaam’s view of God was similar. “I knew about a God of holiness, but he was harsh and judgmental. I knew nothing about God’s love.”
Meeting Jesus As a boy, he had a dream in which he saw God smiling down on him from a crescent moon. The image was so clear; it surprised the young man. As he grew, questions continued to flood Kalaam’s mind, and he began to secretly search for answers. As a teen, he discovered a radio program that discussed questions of faith openly. But the radio reception was poor, and he could only listen when his family wasn’t watching him. Eventually, he contacted the radio station and sent away for some of the resources they offered. “I began to read about Jesus and a God of love.” As a young adult, Kalaam got married and started a family. He succeeded as a businessman in the construction industry and often travelled to Saudi Arabia for work. “While I was away from home, I had more freedom to explore my questions and beliefs. As I read the Bible, I began to trust in the God of the Bible.”
On one occasion when he returned home to his family, his wife noticed he was different. Encouraged by the evidence of change in his life, he confessed to her that he had become a follower of Jesus.
Rejection She was disturbed by the news and immediately told her parents and brothers. “Kalaam is an apostate,” they said. “You must divorce him!” “I was crushed,” Kalaam remembers, “and yet somehow this rejection only strengthened my faith in Jesus.” Because of the divorce, he was unable to return to his work in Saudi Arabia and had to remain at home to provide for his children. His ex-wife and her family spread the news of his conversion throughout the community, which marred his reputation and destroyed any chance for him to work with local construction clients. Kalaam’s situation went from bad to worse when he was framed for murder and sent to prison. He suffered alone in jail for three-and-a-half years before he was exonerated. Throughout his imprisonment, God gave him grace and his faith remained strong.
New freedom and joy After his release, Kalaam was reunited with his children and, a short time later, was remarried. His new wife was aware of his faith in Jesus, but she was not yet a believer. They began to read the Bible together, and Kalaam prayed for her salvation. After two years, she embraced her husband’s faith and was baptized. Today, Kalaam is enjoying new freedom and joy in serving God. Together with his wife and their eight children, he hosts a church of about 20 people in their home. “In Islam, we are taught that the path of life is like a knife’s edge,” Kalaam recalls. “We live in fear of doing the wrong thing. But as a follower of Jesus, I only live to please my heavenly Father, and I see him smiling down on me.” Mark JH Klassen is a writer and creative director for MB Mission. The central ministry focus of MB Mission is “multiplying healthy disciples and missional leaders.” We believe that the church in North America has a lot to learn from leaders like Kalaam. This belief has inspired “missional DNA exchanges” around the world where leaders from various nations meet together to share their stories of faith and learn from one another.
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
ICOMB: International Community of W i eb e ’s Witn es s
Drawing from his travels to visit MB churches around the world, ICOMB executive director David Wiebe offers insights on faith.
Father to gang members: Colombian pastor shares Jesus in the slums / David Wiebe
shout went up from a dozen kids aged 5–9. It sounded more like a high pitched scream, but it was obviously positive. It was September 2013. We were visiting El Progreso, a church plant by the Mennonite Brethren conference of Colombia in partnership with MCC. It’s located in Cazucá, a shantytown that’s part of the increasing urban sprawl of Bogota, Colombia. David Bonilla and his wife Marina started this project. The children literally jumped on David, whom they hadn’t seen for a while. He wrapped them up in his arms – one at a time, three at a time. Unbridled happiness. Except I could see a tear escaping from David’s eye.
Families flee violence
communities for 50 years. For 20–30 years, drug cartels have strengthened, muscling farmers to switch from growing coffee or cacao (to make chocolate) to coca (to make cocaine). If a farmer says no, he or she must leave – or face serious violence. The government tries fumigating drug crops but hits rice paddies with their indiscriminate methods. Farmers give up and join the throngs heading to Bogota, Cali and Medellin. Lately, foreign gold mining companies (mostly Canadian) have moved in. They extract gold using efficient methods that quickly exhaust the ore – and leave ghost towns behind. Cazucá beckons. There, you can construct a shelter with found items. Get a start. Hope to find a job.
But what do you do with your kids? You’re a single mom. You get up at 3 a.m. to organize for the day, then take a long bus ride, work all day and don’t get home until late evening.
“Father” makes slum his home Enter David and Marina Bonilla. Literally. Several churches and agencies operate in Cazucá, but David and Marina chose to live there. El Progreso provides a spiritual home – and offers sewing classes, a computer lab, a youth drop-in and a school. David is not just a pastor, he’s a father figure to many kids whose home might be barely stitched together. But why the tear in his eye? David and Marina had to move out some six months earlier.
Why? Well, let’s start with why he was visiting in the first place.
In large part, it’s because of FARC, the guerrilla force that began in 1964. It has been a thorn in the side of the government and the country, kidnapping thousands and breaking up families and 16
PHOTO: COURTESY COLOMBIA MENNONITE BRETHREN CHURCH
Cazucá exists because Colombians have been migrating to the cities to flee violence for decades.
Children at Education Brings Hope show off their artwork for the camera. Education Brings Hope is a Global Family program that provides salaries, food and teaching supplies for a preschool and primary school of the Colombian Mennonite Brethren Church.
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Mennonite Brethren did you kno w? At the drop-in, David had corrected a youth who pulled a knife on him. Another youth acted rashly in defence of David and hurt the aggressor – who in turn swore to kill the young man. Turns out the two youths belonged to rival gangs. The one who defended David unwittingly identified David with his gang. Despite years of successfully avoiding ties to any of the many rival groups, this fragile balance was wiped out, and David’s life was in danger. An MCC report says, “Urban violence caused the exit of the Bonilla Forero family who previously directed this project. The family refused protection from any movement or illegal armed group as that would only cause more violence. A leave taking service was held, but those affected continue to mourn the loss. Sadly, some behind the violent actions
The Colombia Mennonite Brethren Conference has about 45 churches, 1,800 members. Diego Martinez of Bogota is their president.
were killed and others are in juvenile detention.” Our short visit was the first time David had been back in six months. New workers have stepped into the void. The church and project continue. David and his family now live in Mexico to start a similar program under MCC USA’s Global Family.
The conference has three regions: Bogota, Cali and Choco. The latter is a rainforest region, suitable for growing coffee, cacao and coca (source of cocaine).
On Father’s Day, we bless dads – and all men – who love and invest in families. Here’s a dad who risks his life investing in families besides his own. The kingdom of God has a way of always raising the bar for us. As it should!
One church in Choco “disappeared” some years ago due to violence. Everyone left the region and moved to the city. Canadian and U.S. governments have pounded money into Colombia in the “war on drugs.” This deposit of cash simply arms everybody. The Colombia Mennonite conferences got together in 2008 to ask U.S. and Canadian Mennonites of all stripes to appeal to their governments to stop sending money into Colombia targeted to this “war.”
David Wiebe has been a member of a Christian rock band, a pastor, and an MB conference executive. Since 2011, he has served the International Community of Mennonite Brethren as executive director.
Precarious housing in the neighbourhood of El Progreso, Bogota, Colombia.
PHOTO: COURTESY MCC
PHOTO: DANIEL HERNANDEZ
A strong connection exists between MCC and the Mennonite/MB church bodies in all three regions. Cali is home to an MB high school. Principal Alexandra Rojas helped start a church in the school in 2012. She told me, “We already had our first baptism and first miracle!”
David Bonilla, Rosa Marina Forero and their children Ian and Aysha MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
VIEWPOINT Celebrate inklings of truth and beauty
haven’t always adored apologetics. In Bible college, I attended a debate at the local university between an evangelical creationist and Darwinian evolutionist. The Christian speaker was passionate and an adept logician, but I couldn’t help thinking the verbal jabs at his opponent moved past sincere disagreement into vindictive attack. Many Christians attendees seemed encouraged by his “victory” that night, but overhearing some of his opponent’s supporters on the way out, it didn’t seem like many hearts had been won for Christ. Through similar experiences over the years, I came to distance myself from apologetics as a form of witness. Getting to know director Andy Steiger and the rest of the Apologetics Canada staff over the past few years and seeing the development of their Thinking Series DVD course helped me come to see apologetics in a new light. Many Christians genuinely hunger for an intellectual spirituality. I’m glad conferences like the one I attended Mar. 6–7, 2015, at Northview Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C., can feed them so effectively.
Witness to wonder The official theme of this year’s Apologetics Canada conference was “thinking,” but for me, the theme was cultural apologetics, with a substantial emphasis on the arts as an important means of expressing the Christian faith in a world that, at least outwardly, seems less inclined to give abstract Christian ideas a hearing. Nancy Pearcey, author of Total Truth, gave the opening evening’s keynote. Pearcey’s central argument was that secular materialism (the belief that the universe is only material and not supernatural) is a form of 18
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
idolatry wherein our society has come to worship the “god of Science” as an answer to all the problems of modern life.
However, in the midst of our culture’s embrace of science and technology, even committed atheists express a longing (via the arts) for values like love, honour, respect and peace, Pearcey pointed out, even though a purely material understanding of the cosmos offers no clear rationale for such sentiments.
and child-like affection for the fantastic. Highlighting the ways Lewis’s faith was shaped and enhanced by his affection for the mythology of the ancient Greeks and Romans as well as Nordic and medieval lore, Markos encouraged Christian apologists to celebrate inklings of truth in the myths of other faiths and to adopt a view of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment not only of the Hebrew Old Testament, but also what Lewis called the “good dreams of the pagans.”
Spectrum of thinkers In its fifth year, this Apologetics Canada conference was one of the best I have attended with its array of world-class scholars and speakers, plus workshop presenters from around the Fraser Valley.
Christians engage the post-modern world with an “apologetic of beauty” that moves hearts and minds. The conference offered variations on the cultural apologetics theme with the three morning “TED talk” style presenters examining the role of apologetics in education and the arts. Margaret Manning was particularly compelling, challenging Christians to move beyond the philosophical propositions and rational arguments so characteristic of modern apologetics and to engage the post-modern world with an “apologetic of beauty” that moves hearts and minds. Manning concluded with a clip from Terrence Malick’s 2012 film To The Wonder as an intriguing example of Christian cultural engagement in the secular sphere.
The good dreams of pagans For many, the highlight of the day was Louis Markos’s dynamic closing address on C.S. Lewis as apologist and storyteller. His “Arguments for God from Desire and Myth” demonstrated how Lewis was able to make a compelling argument for Christian belief through his signature blend of scholarly demeanour, layman’s language
The conference runs like clockwork due to Nancy Steiger’s organizational acumen and a host of volunteers mostly drawn from the college & career ministry Andy leads in his day job as young adults pastor at the host church, Northview Community. The young adults band led worship under the guidance of Northview director of worship Jonathan Giesbrecht, who penned his own article about worship as an apologetic. I am pleased to see Andy’s vision develop to include an increasingly broad spectrum of thinkers. Intellectual engagement with ideas and culture is a crucial element of Christian faith, and has been since the earliest days of the church. Graham Nickel teaches high school English at Mennonite Educational Institute, Abbotsford, B.C., and is an elder at Northview Community Church. He and his wife Sharon have four children and live in Abbotsford.
INTERN journal Soup’s On! BEN THIELMANN
he soup was plentiful. During the week of Jan. 18–25, 2015, I had nine bowls over four community church lunches.
What was more significant than the soup, though, was the reason that the churches were gathering. It was the week of prayer for Christian unity. Lunch was hosted by a different church each day. I had never experienced anything like this: the body of Christ in Canora, Sask., was acting as a whole, working to foster a spirit of unity over bowls of soup. It was a pleasure to be able to attend each service and listen to a variety of thoughts on John 4 (the theme passage of the week). It was interesting to hear the different points that different ministers highlighted. I thought it was really cool how they didn’t just pray for unity, they took a step toward creating a unity among the Christians in this community by sharing meals together and getting to know one another better. Each day, it was a similar group of about 25 people, but there were always a few new faces in the group, and we were able to eat lunch with different people each day. Many times, I have talked and thought about the need for unity among churches and denominations, but seldom do you see a community of churches coming together in actions that foster this elusive unity. Eating is such a simple thing to do, a necessity to life, yet, in the action of sharing a meal, we are brought closer together. In the act of sharing a meal, we can allow the walls to come down; we can change how we view other people.
GOD, SEX & CHURCH
Seeing how the churches worked together toward unity was an eye-opening experience for me.
A THEOLOGY OF HEALTHY SEXUALITY
It was refreshing to not just talk about the need for harmony among our churches, but to actually do something to grow unity among believers. These lunches opened my eyes to a simple way of fostering unity and gave me a greater love for the other churches because I actually know a bit more about the people who attend there.
The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches will host the study conference on October 21–23, 2015, at Westwood Community Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Ben Thielmann wrote this reflection in the course of his fourth-year internship with Gateway Community Church, Canora, Sask., toward completion of his BA in biblical studies at Bethany College, Hepburn, Sask. Besides sharing daily ecumenical fellowship lunches in the week of Christian unity, during his internship, he preached, taught Sunday school, led Bible studies, moved furniture for an elderly woman, had many meetings over coffee and shovelled snow. Ben is a member of Gospel Light Alliance Church, Debolt, Alta.
The theme is God, Sex & Church: a theology of healthy sexuality. Join us in Winnipeg where we’ll gather as Canadian Mennonite Brethren to gain a clearer vision of God’s design for human sexuality and of the church’s role in bearing witness to that vision. Board of Faith & Life Study Guide A Study Guide (including discussion guide) is available for all groups and individuals who would like to learn more about human sexuality. An electronic copy has been sent to every MB church in Canada. To receive a printed copy, please contact email@example.com. Don’t miss this opportunity to study, worship and network with your faith family.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT STUDYCONFERENCE.MENNONITEBRETHREN.CA
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
BETHANY HOPES in the RESURRECTION HEPBURN, Sask.
The legacy celebration weekend was bittersweet with remembrance of the prairie school’s impact on young people and church leaders in the MB conference. The theme of God’s faithfulness permeated the songs the student and alumni chorus performed at the concert of praise on Saturday and the congregational singing at the graduation service on Sunday. “We gather to mourn a loss that cannot be ignored,” said academic dean Gil Dueck at commencement, but with “firm conviction in the God who creates new beginnings out of what appear to be dead ends.” “You are our letter, written on our hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2) was the theme of the event and the graduation address by Bruce Guenther, president of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Canada. He surveyed the impact of the college in the broader Bible school movement of the last century when Mennonites started 60 of 110 Bible training institutions in Canada. Bethany College is “holy ground,” said Guenther, in his address to the graduates, “because we know that ‘the transforming Spirit of the Living God’ wrote on the hearts of 5,800 individuals here, in this very place.” The founders of these schools believed that “the future of the church depended on how successfully they would transmit their religious and cultural heritage to their children,” said Guenther. Responsive to this “sacred trust,” they started places like Bethany, where the students’ missional impulse sometimes ran ahead of their instructors’. In 1932, a Monday night student prayer meeting became the force that launched the 20
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Western Children’s Mission. In 1935, a student body uprising demanded instruction in English to better engage the culture around them. Teaching to obey is an indispensable component of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20), said Guenther. “The most effective missional movements in the history of Christianity are those that have combined proclamation of the gospel with the more systematic task of teaching and educating.” He noted the irony that Bethany should close at a time of economic prosperity but biblical illiteracy and desperate need for well-trained leaders in an increasingly hostile culture, and called the church to “envision new, creative avenues for being faithful to what is collectively our sacred trust.” In closing, Guenther encouraged the students – and those who mourn the school – to “embrace the One who is the giver of life and who satisfies our deepest hungers” as they go out “as our ‘letters of recommendation’ to a generation that desperately needs to encounter Jesus.” Staff and faculty are also “our letters on our hearts, written by the Holy Spirit,” said fourth-year student Stephanie Chase. The winner of the Delta Epsilon Chi award for excellence in academics and character commended her instructors for mediating Jesus’ touch to the students as they learned and struggled and grew. Through nurture and teaching from the Bethany community, second-year
PHOTOS: KARLA BRAUN
raduations mark the end of an intense period of studies and signal the beginning of something undefined, unknown, utterly new for the graduates. At Bethany College’s 88th graduation exercises Apr. 25–26, 2015, these characteristics applied not only to the students’ future but to the school’s.
Top: A suitcase into which alumni placed yearbooks represented that Bethany has things worth collecting, things of value to take along on the journey that continues, said Gil Dueck. Bottom: The choir swelled to nearly 350 people when Randy Klassen invited audience members to take the stage to sing the Hallelujah Chorus.
student Matthew Janzen discovered that “the God that redeems broken people and broken situations is nurturing fading embers into roaring campfires.” He testified: “God is always at work even in the mundane and unplanned.” With the presentation of awards, Dueck remarked that “artist output mushroomed this year.” A challenging year, marked by uncertainty about the future and severe injury to two students in an October vehicular accident, converged with creativity, evidenced on walls adorned with banners and art. “Even though Bethany will go dormant for good – or for a season,” said board chair Trevor Rempel, “God still has work to do in young people’s lives.” Through the event, the gym echoed with the cries and chatter of young children, a reminder of the next generation who will also need an avenue of theological and spiritual nurture and training as they grow into maturity. —Karla Braun
NE WS ABBOTSFO R D, B.C .
Bakerview asks for trouble, receives grace “Bakerview is different.” “Bakerview will cause problems for all of us. We see nothing but trouble ahead.” That was the assessment of two Mennonite pastors reported in a 1960s B.C. newspaper account about the church plant. Bakerview MB Church, daughtered by nearby Clearbrook MB, celebrated a special anniversary Apr. 10–12, 2015, after a half-century of innovative ministry and growth. The weekend culminated in a joint celebration service with Clearbrook at Columbia Bible College. Numerous Bakerview speakers thanked Clearbrook for its willingness in 1965 to give up 84 members (most of them younger) to start the new church. They also paid tribute to Clearbrook for its gift of $15,000 (roughly equivalent to $100,000 in 2015) toward the $19,000 cost of 10 acres of land for a church campus. As for “nothing but trouble,” stories through the weekend showed 50 years of the opposite: God’s faithfulness – in ministry, mission, financial support – and an inclusive church family with palpable camaraderie and care. Testimonies praised “solid, expository Bible teaching,” the Bakerview Annual Bible Conference and gifted preachers like John Neufeld; strong home groups, and the Saturday morning men’s prayer group. Member Henry Thiessen was quoted as saying, “Us men gathering together every week to pray is the ‘boiler room’ for Bakerview ministries.” Tributes were paid to mission work in Germany, first through Lawrence and Selma Warkentin’s ministry; later, members went overseas to build church facilities for Andre and Olga Pritzkau. Sizeable work crews helped restore the Pines Bible Camp after the devastation of the 2012 windstorm. A commemorative book highlights individual stories on the gospel impact of Bakerview’s many activities: local sports outreach like weekly pick-up floor hockey, volleyball and basketball for neighbourhood youths; the Bakerview Arts Festival, Music on a Wednesday, the Fellowship Choir and the Dayspring ensemble; and musicians like Betty Suderman and Bakerview’s first choir conductor Rudy
Baerg (who added Bakerview to his schedule along with “mother church” Clearbrook). The book also pays tribute to Bakerview’s three published authors: Trinity Western University professor Craig Evans (who in 2002 moved to Acadia Divinity College), political scientist and commentator John Redekop, and MB Bible scholar David Ewert, who died in 2010. The theme for the observance was “A Mosaic of Grace.” Since 2003, the church has held three separate Sunday services – liturgical, traditional and contemporary – one example of Bakerview’s “mosaic” nature. The church also has an active youth ministry and boasts 61 members over the age of 90. “What a rich, diverse passage of congregational life it has been,” wrote planning committee chair David Giesbrecht, “for which we all acknowledge God’s inexhaustible grace.”—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent
PHOTOS: JACQUELINE QUIRING
“Mosaic” church celebrates golden anniversary
Top: Harry Heidebrecht, Bakerview pastor from 1982–94 and an active member in his retirement, presents the Bakerview anniversary book, Mosaic of Grace, to current Clearbrook pastor Ron Berg. Many speakers at the celebration paid tribute to Clearbrook MB’s generosity and help in planting Bakerview. Worship leader Ray Harris sang “To God be the Glory” with a 60-voice choir and 20-member orchestra during Bakerview’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Inner Hope becomes Reality with Bakerview’s help At 17, Jenny Shantz sensed a call to work with inner-city young people. Four years previously, Bakerview MB Church had embraced her family, she told celebrants at the church’s 50th anniversary weekend. That grace remained with her and became a call which her fellow members at Bakerview helped her to answer. Shantz plunged into youth work, acquiring relevant education and experience before founding Inner Hope Youth Ministries in Vancouver’s inner city in 2007. Today, the ministry provides housing to youth in need, as well as life skills training, practical support and discipleship. As a Vancouverite, she now attends Reality Church, a C2C church plant that only recently acquired a building. Inner Hope now operates with Reality as its centre. (A member of Bakerview donated $15,000 in concrete and labour to make a play area for kids behind Reality’s “new” building.)
The ministry has grown. Shantz said the group now does Sundays as a day of church – as in, all day – including not only teaching and worship, but fun activities and a chance to hang out. At Bakerview’s Jenny Shantz 50th anniversary celebration, she introduced a graduate of Inner Hope’s early days: now a man with a university degree who serves as a respite worker at one of Inner Hope’s two housing facilities. This year, as a thank offering for 50 years as a church, Bakerview members donated thousands of dollars toward Jenny’s ministry. (Donations continue to pour in at press time.) And the church has pledged to support the work for another five-year period.—BMc
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
NE WS S A S K AT C H E W A N
ABBOTSFO R D, B.C .
Not your mother’s women’s ministry
Caring Canadian inspires others
hen Wanda Froese’s husband Terrance became Saskatchewan MB director of ministry last April, and the couple began meeting with MB leaders across the province, she noticed a common thread: “Women in ministry are lonely. They need a place to connect.” “I have always been a ‘hole-filler’: I find needs and try to fill them,” says Froese. “I realized I have the tools to meet that need.” The office administrator had been taking courses in social media marketing. So in January, Froese started an online community through a website (skmbwomeninministry.com) and Facebook group “SK MB Women in Ministry.” In the first month, the site had 100 visitors and 500 views. A pastor’s wife for 34 years, Froese has plenty of leadership experience. “You name it, I’ve done it…except men’s ministry,” she laughs, adding that she has helped set up men’s ministries as well. Most of her work has been starting worship and children’s ministries; until now, women’s ministry
History goes digital MB Historical Commission has digitized and uploaded 17 books to its website, including titles by J.B. Toews and David Ewert (http://mbhistory.org/ pub.en.html).—MBHC release
CMC by another name The Chortitzer Mennonite Conference voted to change their name to Christian Mennonite Conference at the annual meeting in Steinbach, Man., Apr. 18. The 1,500 member conference began discussing a name change in 2013 and decided to change in 2014. The original came from Chortitz, Man., the hometown of the group’s bishop, but no longer communicates anything about the church. “I’m hoping that the new name says something to our congregation – we don’t have to be anchored in the past,” says Bishop David Reimer, “that we’re willing to take a step out into the current world.”— MennoWorld.org
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
“hasn’t been a calling of mine, but that’s the door that’s opening.” In addition to serving other pastor’s wives, Froese is intentional about gearing the online community for women in paid or unpaid ministry leadership roles. “There isn’t a place for them,” says Froese. “When pastors get together, they’re mostly men, and the women may feel awkward. At pastors’ retreats, their husbands may not want to come, and they may not want to come alone. There’s a disconnect.” Froese is aware of many resources for leading a women’s ministry, “but I haven’t found much for women who are in ministry.” The Saskatchewan MB Women in Ministry website offers blog posts about relationships with God, self and others; coaching opportunities with Froese and retired West Portal pastor Irma Barkman; a members-only forum; and links to information about L2L, SKMB and other discipleship and training opportunities. Froese’s Facebook posts “bring a biblical perspective to bandwagons,” answering, “How do I, as a woman in ministry, interact with this current issue and project a godly view?” “My desire is that it wouldn’t focus so much on women’s issues, but on ministry issues, on the resources and relationships women need to help us become better leaders,” says Froese. “We need to learn to go to God for our emotional needs; when we come to each other, it’s for connection to help us grow closer to God.” Froese chose to be ironic in her branding. “I deliberately posted pictures from the 1940s and ’50s to show that stereotypical women’s ministry is not what we’re doing,” says Froese. But the images of cupcake parties of yesteryear contain another message: “Everything we do is based on the past, and on older women mentoring younger.” The group’s first in-person meeting was a “women in ministry lunch” at the Saskatchewan convention. “My goal is that, as people start connecting online,” says Froese, “when they see each other in person, they have a starting point.”— Angeline Schellenberg
Retiree’s volunteer service recognized at Rideau Hall
PHOTO: MCPL VINCENT CARBONNEAU, RIDEAU HALL
on Neufeld may look the part of an accountant, bespectacled and proper, but forget the stereotypes. The member of Lendrum MB Church, Edmonton, received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award Apr. 14, 2015, during National Volunteer Week, in honour of his “significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to his community” through Habitat for Humanity Edmonton. “The matter-of-fact way in which Don does his volunteer work reminds me of Jesus,” says Lendrum pastor Carol Penner. Neufeld has volunteered full-time in accounting and IT with the charitable organization since his retirement from the office of the auditor general of Alberta in 1998. From serving one family a year before Neufeld started his volunteer work, Habitat served 81 in 2013. This is not the first time Neufeld’s nearly 16,000 volunteer hours have been recognized. He was honoured by the institute of chartered accountants of Alberta in 2009 and 2014, by the Rotary Club of Edmonton Glenora in 2008, and he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012. In 2013, Habitat for Humanity Edmonton bequeathed his name on Neufeld Landing, Habitat’s largest project in Canada, set to house 64 families. “People like Don show us by example [that community work is work for the kingdom of God],” Penner says. “They foster that spirit of caring and engagement in the community. They’re an inspiration to a younger generation of Christians who wonder how God is calling them to be faithful.”—Karla Braun
S A S K AT C H E W A N
Bring your church to friends wo young church plants, Grace Fellowship in Saskatoon and The Compass Church in east Regina, are already planting new churches. This year, four-year-old Grace launched a campus in Warman, Sask., and five-year-old The Compass started services in north Regina. How is that possible? The secret is in their structure. Both congregations are made up of smaller groups, each with their own leadership and personality. “What we call a ‘gospel community’ isn’t a Bible study or a meal or prayer meeting or counselling session – it’s all those things and more,” says Grace pastor Murray McLellan. “It functions like a team of missionaries.” Grace Fellowship It’s not a big step from gospel community to church plant. The 60 members of Grace’s three gospel communities in Warman began gathering locally instead of driving to the Saskatoon gathering – which was becoming crowded. Grace began the Warman services in the evenings, so the two locations could share sound equipment until they have funds to duplicate. The leaders were already in place: each gospel community has a leader who does the work of a pastor, says McLellan, “and as their gifts are realized, we give them financial support, so they can take time away from their day jobs.” Warman gospel community leader and planter apprentice Mark Janzen also works for a construction company. With the exception of McLellan, who left parttime teaching to pastor full-time in 2013, all Grace’s leaders are bivocational. But planting isn’t without challenges: Grace Saskatoon sent all but one of their music leaders to Warman. “God tells us to give our best,” says McLellan. “In some ways, this is a fresh start for both congregations.” In January, they began renting Warman’s Legend Centre Theatre, a community hub housing a hockey arena, soccer centre, multi-purpose rooms, restaurant, middle school and a 430-seat performance theatre. Families attending
hockey practice have heard Grace’s music and dropped in to the service. But the Sunday service isn’t the focus. Gospel communities are where “people meet the church.” Members bring their friends together; for example, by asking their gospel community to volunteer for their lacrosse team’s carnival or to help build a neighbour’s deck. Before someone ever visits a service, Grace hopes they have already been the recipient of an act of service. In Warman, someone has already made a profession of faith. “People have been praying for another church to start in Warman,” says McLellan. The Compass “Churches once assumed that if we plant our flag, people would wake up on a Sunday and come to us,” says The Compass pastor Blair Allen, but there’s been a cultural shift. “Now we’re saying, ‘How can we take the good news to their soccer fields and theatres?’” Like Grace Fellowship’s gospel communities, The Compass’s missional communities are outward focused: they serve in seniors’ homes and start conversations in coffee shops. At The Compass, “we are the church, and gathering on Sunday is only part of what
PHOTOS: MICHAEL CHUPIK
that means,” says Allen. “We’re asking: What does it look like to go from being attenders to missionaries?” In March, about 50 of The Compass’s 200 “missionaries” began worshipping together on Sundays at a school in north Regina. North Regina’s “core team” has been meeting for a year learning the church’s DNA with planter Luke Etelamaki; they’ll continue as leaders in the new church. A separate “launch team” commits to running the service for the first three to six months, while training new leaders to take their place. From its beginnings, The Compass has developed leaders for future church plants and saved funds in a church planting account. Both North and East plants will continue giving back into a fund for the next plant, which The Compass expects to grow from a missional community already meeting in southwest Regina. “Our stats show 70 percent come to church on the arm of a friend, and 11 percent through social media engagement,” says Allen, but the goal isn’t to get someone to church and let the pastor take over. “We want to train people to disciple the friend they’re bringing.” A lot of people at The Compass are returning to church after being turned off in their youth, others are new to exploring faith. “Many people are engaging weekly with the gospel through The Compass,” says Allen, “even if they’ve never been to our church.” —Angeline Schellenberg
The Compass gathers in a Regina park. MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
NE WS WINNIPEG
Revealing the gospel in colour Congregation fills 100 panels with stained glass s fire transforms sand into glass, so God’s power transforms people into his beautiful reflections. For a group of 20 from River East Mennonite Brethren Church, this truth became tangible as they spent almost two years turning 100 ordinary sanctuary windows into stained glass portals of worship. The spark that ignited this “journey of light” was a bequest from congregation member Heidi Koop who died of cancer at 63 in 2002. It was 2012 before the seed money – stipulated to fund art in the church – took root under the direction of REMB members Rachel Baerg (head of education at the Winnipeg Art Gallery) and Danielle Fontaine Koslowsky (professional artist). The tradition of stained glass windows in churches harks from a time when few could read, when this “visual Bible” taught people in “a universal and timeless language meant to communicate love through the beauty of God,” explained Baerg at the dedication service, Apr. 12, 2015. The colours and images in cathedral windows “transport[ed] the weary masses from mundane realities to the mystery of faith,” said Baerg. Traditionally, Mennonites preferred “a more simple way,” said Lori Matties, one of the amateur glass artists; words and deeds expressed Anabaptist faith as the movement blossomed alongside the age of literacy. “But now, we live in an age of too many words. “Visual arts can speak into our hearts in ways that words alone do not,” she said. To begin, Baerg and Koslowksy holed up in the church basement with 4,000 square feet of paper and a mess of Sunday school crayons. Three hours later, they had filled the pages with the preliminary design for the windows, conveying the mystery of the creation story, the quiet resilience of the cross, the vibrant fruit of transformation and redeeming blood of Christ and, dancing across the top of each panel, the sun of hope. The theme: “God is light.” The windows were placed in the worship space as they were completed, slowly unveiling the story from creation to resurrection, from variations on blue to multicoloured hues. Even in the creation phase, the windows educated and inspired wonder. The
children handled glass and sand during teaching time in the Sunday service and created a tissue-paper stained glass image in Sunday school. The work built relationships in the congregation as they staged a variety of benefit concerts to raise the necessary funds, and especially in the dedicated teams of volunteers, aged 10–77 who laboured over the shards, connecting deeply through the experience of doing the same exacting, physical work together in the workshop space donated by Palliser Furniture. Others came on board to help with installation. The celebration service was filled with light: the choir performed Elgar’s “Lux Aeterna,” Sarah Klassen and Irmgard Baerg composed “It’s a Mystery” for the event, and the sun broke through rainclouds, diffusing colour through the sanctuary at the end of the service. The average person is bombarded by 3,000 images a day, Baerg explained; stained glass windows offer the remedial discipline of contemplation. To that end, she and Koslowsky are creating a guide to the symbols – drawn from tradition, inspired by modern art and informed by the congregation’s theologians. The pieces of broken glass, fused together, “remind us of our brokenness,” said Baerg. “We’re all grains of sand; each has potential to be transformed and to offer glorious beauty to the world beyond.” “We create beauty in imitation [of Jesus],” said Matties. “We hope our interaction with these windows will open metaphorical windows into and out of our own stories, the stories of those around us, and most of all, into God’s story.” “When the sun comes out, everything glows,” read Sarah Klassen from a poem she wrote for the occasion. “Let light fill our empty cups….the stone cold grave cannot snuff out your light.”—Karla Braun
PHOTOS: CARSON SAMSON
Danielle Fontaine Koslowsky (l), Rachel Baerg (r).
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
55 years of “care from the heart”
Echoes of “boat people” in Syria refugee crisis
sing a seniorfriendly watering wand, Dorothy Braun tends dahlias she planted in Tabor Village’s therapeutic garden. Supported by 11 Mennonite Brethren churches in Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Yarrow, B.C., the supportive housing complex is home to 280 seniors. June 20, on the Clearbrook campus, Tabor Village will celebrate 55 years and its 400 staff and volunteers who provide “care from the heart” with Christian compassion, dignity and respect. “Tabor Village has received accolades for creating a culture of safety, excellence and continuous improvement,” says Dan Levitt, executive director. “Looking ahead to the future, Tabor Village is exploring how
Tabor Village resident Dorothy Brown
new programs and services within a stateof-the-art Christian living environment will be created to meet the needs of the growing demand as the elderly population increases and the cases of Alzheimer’s disease escalate in the decades ahead.”—Tabor Village release
STE INBACH, Man.
Sunday school loves to read the Bible
very February for four years, in conjunction with national “I Love to Read” month, Steinbach (Man.) MB Church has run an “I love to read my Bible” promotion. This February, 57 Sunday school students logged 270 hours of Bible reading. Terri-Lee Broesky’s sons Gavin (Grade 6) and Keagan (Grade 4) read 40 and 35 hours respectively from Genesis and Daniel, earning the top two prizes…and a few pearls of wisdom. Living in the remote town of Woodridge, Gavin and Keagan spend two hours every day on the school bus. What might be a disadvantage has become “a wonderful bonus,” says Broesky. “The boys make good use of this time by reading or listening to the Bible on their iPods.” They also pulled out their Bibles during February’s “Drop Everything and Read” moments at school. Both boys, Gavin especially, learned to go to Scripture for help with issues they were facing. “Gavin struggled with becoming angry in unfair circumstances
during sports,” says Broesky. “Memorizing Scripture to enforce the wisdom of being slow to anger made a big difference in his demeanor in those tough situations.” Every Sunday school student received a reading log with space to draw or write about what they’re reading, explains SMBC Sunday school superintendent Martha Goertzen. Each week, preschoolers chose a small prize (pencil, balloon, or candy) for either looking at a Bible story book or having their parents read the Bible to them. Grades 1–6 received a weekly Dollar Store prize for each hour read. At the end of the month, the top three elementary school readers won a grand prize: a night at a hotel, a swim pass or a gift card to the local Christian bookstore. Broesky supported her sons’ efforts by asking about what they read that day and reading the passage herself. Keagan’s discovery of the enormity of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue (Daniel 3) led to some fun conversations. “We encourage the boys by doing family devotions after
PHOTO: COURTESY TABOR VILLAGE
Forty years ago, forces opposing the North Vietnamese fled Saigon. In the years that followed, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were resettled around the world, 60,000 in Canada from 1979 to 1980. Mennonite Central Committee led the way with the 32,000 who were privately sponsored, helping church groups welcome families to Canada. Today, more than six million Syrians are displaced. The Canadian government has committed to resettling 10,000 Syrians and 3,000 Iraqis over the next three years, expecting some 60 percent to be privately sponsored, says Brian Dyck, Mennonite Central Committee’s national migration and resettlement program coordinator. “The Syria refugee crisis gives us the opportunity to show God’s love to displaced people without a home,” says Willy Reimer, CCMBC executive director. “It is important that Canadian Mennonite Brethren churches consider what we can do to meet this humanitarian need in the name of Christ.” See mbherald.com/sponsors-needed-forsyrian-refugees for a personal story and more information.
supper,” says Broeksy, “as well as guiding them to search for verses that apply to current situations.” When Gavin invited a friend to Sunday school last fall, his friend’s first experience with church was the gift of a Children’s Adventure Bible. Now a regular attender, this child, who was completely new to the stories of Jesus, won third prize this year for reading his Bible – a testament to the support from SMBC’s Sunday school volunteers. “I always feel blessed to see the effort our Sunday school leaders put into encouraging the children to be in the Word daily,” says Broesky. Broeksy came away from the “I love to read my Bible” program with a stronger desire to weave the Bible into her family’s everyday life “to ensure this eagerness to read the Bible doesn’t fall away without the incentives.” Her hope is that after the annual program exposes them to the Word, “they are fuelled by the Scripture itself.” “We emphasize that the real prize isn’t what you get in your hand,” says Goertzen. “The Bible they’re reading is the true treasure.”—Angeline Schellenberg
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
FAMILY news TRANSITIONS Gracepoint Community Church, Surrey, B.C., said farewell to Jeff Renaud who served the congregation as Bell campus pastor, then community life pastor, since June 2011. He returns to North Langley Community Church (where he previously served 12 years in young adult ministries) June 1, 2015, to serve as pastor for a new campus anticipated to launch in 2016. Jeff and Michelle have 4 children. Canadian Mennonite University welcomes 2 new Shaftesbury campus professors for the 2015/2016 school year. Matthew Pauls, a CMU alumnus currently completing a doctor of musical arts at University of Western Ontario, returns as assistant professor of music. His specialty is in vocal performance. Rachel Krause joins CMU as assistant professor of biology. She recently completed her PhD dissertation (on the impact of food security intervention on the health of preschool children in Panama) at McGill University. Her academic background is in ecology and environment.
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Jennifer Wiebe was appointed director of the Mennonite Central Committee Ottawa Office in April 2015. She has served with the Ottawa office since 2010, as policy analyst for 4 years, and as interim director since September 2014. Jennifer is a graduate of Brock University, University of Ottawa and Conrad Grebel University College, Waterloo, Ont., and was a long-time member of Grantham MB Church, St. Catharines, Ont. Serving as pastoral elders at Prairie Winds Church, Moose Jaw, Sask., since 2008 and 2009, respectively, Willard Hasmatali and Doug Rempel will continue in church leadership roles but will step back from front-line pastoral work in July 2015. Tim Stabell will take on role of pastoral elder at that time. He recently taught at Briercrest Seminary and previously served with AIM as a missionary in DR Congo (1982–1996), where he will continue to teach 2 months of the year at a Christian university. Tim has a PhD in intercultural studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill. Tim and Susan have adult children.
Rick Bayer begins ministry as lead pastor as Gracepoint Community Church, Surrey, B.C., June 1. He has served in pastoral roles for the last 25 years, including a Baptist church in Yorkton and Evangelical Covenant Church in Melfort, Sask., and most recently finished a 15-year run in Calgary. He has bachelor and master’s degrees from Briercrest Bible College and Seminary, Caronport, Sask. Rick and Sheila have 2 daughters. Lead pastor since September 2000, Michael Dick resigned from Bakerview MB Church, Abbotsford, B.C., effective June 30, 2015. He is considering future opportunities. Thanks to a financial bequest from a donor, Terry Lamb served the Alberta Conference of MB Churches as director of caring from January 2013 to April 2015. “We are grateful for the more than 2 years the pastors and leaders of the Alberta conference benefitted from Terry’s experience in care, equipping and resourcing churches for prayer,” says conference minister Paul Loewen.
BIRTHS AITBYEVA – to Ilya & Zhanna of Morden, Man., a son, Evan, Nov. 21, 2014. ANDREW – to Scott & Teresa of Morden, Man., a daughter, Emma Katherine, Apr. 20, 2015. BALL – to Christopher & Kaitlin Miller of Winnipeg, a daughter, Isla Marie, Apr. 16, 2015. BORN – to Brady & Haily of Radisson, Sask., a son, Rowan Toby, Feb. 23, 2015. DOERKSEN – to Eric & Rebekah of Winnipeg, a son, Thaddeus Everett Jordan, Apr. 15, 2015. DOERKSEN – to Steve & Carleen of Killarney, Man., a daughter, Madilyn Mary Ella, Apr. 1, 2015. FRIESEN – to Jeremy & Brittany of Oakville, Man., a son, Hunter Brayden, Apr. 7, 2015. GRATZ– to Mike & Allison (Duncan) of Sidney, B.C., a daughter, Felicity Patricia Rose, Nov. 12, 2014. HARMS – to Kevin & Alana of Kitchener, Ont., a daughter, Elise Danielle, Apr. 30, 2015. HEIDE – to Darren & Jennifer of Morden, Man., a daughter, Cora Rose Marie, Mar. 2, 2015. HILDEBRAND – to Colin & Amanda of Morden, Man., a son, Chase Jeremy, Mar. 11, 2015. HOFER – to Adrian & Jodie of Morden, Man., a daughter, Constance Olivia, Mar. 17, 2015. LEE – to Jacob & Emily Yearwood-Lee of Victoria, a son, Thomas Douglas Moon-Kyu, Oct. 3, 2014. LEUNG – to Alex & Lynnessa (Fast) of Burnaby, B.C., a son, Tayan Enver Asuncion, Apr. 19, 2015. NELSON – to Jay & Pam of Morden, Man., a daughter, Harper Indie, Mar. 22, 2015. PENNER – to Travis & Almira of Morden, Man., a son, Oakland Levi, Dec. 30, 2014. ROWLEY – to Jeremy & Laura of Killarney, Man., a daughter, Priya Laura Michelle, Mar. 20, 2015. RUTLEDGE – to Bryan & Jamie-Lynn of Morden, Man., a daughter, Harlan Jade, Jan. 17, 2015. TALIOTIS – to Roger & Helen of Kitchener, Ont., a son, Luke Alexander, Apr. 10, 2015. WIELER – to Vance & Shannon of Morden, Man., a son, Damian Jacob, Nov. 20, 2014.
& GOD , SEX CHURCH & CHURCH GOD , SEX A THEOLOGY OF HEALTHY SEXUALITY A THEOLOGY OF HEALTHY SEXUALITY
The Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches will host the study conference on October 21–23, 2015, at Westwood Community Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The theme is God, Sex & Church: a theology of healthy sexuality. The annual general meeting will take place during study conference. Join us in Winnipeg where we’ll gather as Canadian Mennonite Brethren to gain a clearer vision of God’s design for human sexuality and of the church’s role in bearing witness to that vision. Registration for Study Conference is $149 (MB rate) per person before June 30, 2015 ($189 MB rate after June 30). Other denominations are welcome to attend – see our website for registration details. Registration fees include all conference materials, refreshment at breaks, Thursday lunch and supper, and Friday lunch. Deadline for registration is October 6, 2015! Register online today at studyconference.mennonitebrethren.ca. Accommodation at the Hampton Inn by Hilton will be $119 per night. The deadline for hotel reservations is September 20, 2015. Participants are responsible to make their own hotel reservations directly with the Hampton Inn by Hilton by phone to 204-772-3000 – use group code Study Conference or Canadian Conference of MB Churches. REMEMBER! For the Annual General Meeting, each Canadian conference church may send one delegate for every 25 members, plus one pastor. Don’t miss this opportunity to study, worship and network with your faith family.
October 21–23, 2015 October 21–23, 2015 Westwood Community Church Westwood Community Church Winnipeg, Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT STUDYCONFERENCE.MENNONITEBRETHREN.CA STUDYCONFERENCE.MENNONITEBRETHREN.CA
WILLIAMS – to Ken & Rebecca (Wall) of Black Creek, B.C., a son, Nathaniel Lucas, Jan. 22, 2015.
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
Keep connected throughout the month New content is always going up on
mbherald.com. Read full-length book reviews, current news stories and bonus features.
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PRAY: “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go!”
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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go”– Joshua 1:9
www.sophieschmidt.ca MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
A MennoJerusalem Tour The JOURNEYS of PAUL in Turkey, Greece & Italy September 12-28, 2015
e Experiential Learning e Life-on-Life Mentoring e Biblical Instruction
Inspiring Ephesus, Parthenon, Corinth, hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, St. Sophia, Vatican; Paul’s burial place in Rome. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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CHURCH STAFF Pastor of Youth Ministries
Port Rowan MB Church is prayerfully looking for a full-time pastor of youth ministries. The applicant must be passionate about discipling youth and seeing them mature in Christ. Primary responsibilities: provide direction and leadership to the junior and senior youth ministries; effectively communicate God’s Word; nurture and develop smooth transitions through our youth ministries. Please check out our website for more information: www.portrowanmbchurch.com. Interested candidates need to send their resumes attention Jeff Reimer, Port Rowan MB Church, 465 – 1st Concession Rd., Port Rowan, ON, Canada, N0E 1M0, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Ministries Director
Westside Gathering is looking for someone to give leadership to family ministries (including our Sunday environments), lead and develop our team of volunteers and develop areas of connection with children, students, and families in our community. We’re looking for someone with a passion for the spiritual growth of children/students and families, a team oriented attitude and skills, a missional heart for families in our community, and the capacity to lead a mid-sized and growing ministry (approx. 60 kids). This is a part-time or full-time role (3-5 days). We are a young and growing church with an exciting vision. Please send questions or resume to David Manafo: email@example.com, 514-924-4076. www.westsidegathering.com. (Job description upon request).
Stories of Transformation from Herald Press
Changing Lenses Restorative Justice for Our Times 25th anniversary edition. Uncovering widespread assumptions about crime, the courts, retributive justice, and the legal process, and offering provocative new paradigms and proven alternatives for public policy and judicial reform. Written by Howard Zehr, widely regarded as the “grandfather” of restorative justice with influence worldwide.
Joseph’s Dilemma Return to Northkill, Book 2 Unwilling captive or adopted son? Amish teen Joseph Hochstetler is taken into captivity by Native Americans during the French and Indian War. Author Ervin Stutzman is a direct descendant of the Hochstetler family and meticulously researched and wrote this series in counsel with historians and Native Americans.
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Fully Engaged Missional Church in an Anabaptist Voice Features the voices of missional Mennonite leaders and offers stories and analysis about how mission is taking shape in local congregations and contexts. Written by Stanley W. Green, executive director of Mennonite Mission Network, and James R. Krabill, senior executive for global ministries at MMN.
Selkirk Community Church is actively searching for the pastor whom God has chosen to be an integral part of our church family as we move into the future. Our congregation of 70-80 people includes a mix of age groups and cultures. We are searching for an individual who is passionate about developing people in Christlikeness through effective application of Scripture in a preaching/teaching role. Strong interpersonal skills, along with a sincere interest in people are essential to guide us toward our mission of connecting people in our community with the life changing power of Jesus Christ. Resumes may be sent to Ron Rueckert, 6940-Unit 5302 Henderson Hwy, Lockport, MB R1B 1A5 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zion Mennonite Church, Swift Current, Sask. is seeking a full or part-time pastor or pastoral couple. We are a church of approximately 70 attenders, most over the age of 50 in a city of 17,000 in the southwest part of our province. We are in need of leadership focused on outreach with a view to revitalize and build the church into the future. The current pastor will retire no later than Apr. 1, 2016. We will consider all applications and options related to our mission within the next 12 months. Please contact search committee member Grace Funk at the church office: Mail address: 78 – 6 Ave. NE, Swift Current, SK S9H 2L7; Email: zion@ sasktel.net; Telephone: 306-773-4770. Website: zionmennonite.ca. MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.—2 Timothy 4:7
Warren George Froese May 16, 1961–Oct. 17, 2014
BIRTHPLACE: Winnipeg PARENTS: George & Verna (Penner) Froese MARRIAGE: Sandra Derksen, July 10, 1982 BAPTISM: Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, age 16 CHURCH: The Meeting Place, Winnipeg FAMILY: Sandy; children Matthew, Daniel, Sarah, James; parents; 1 brother
Warren grew up in a loving Christian home and accepted Christ at a young age. He attended MB Collegiate Institute, where he met Sandra. Attending Capernwray Bible schools in Sweden and Austria had a profound impact on his passion for Jesus. Soon after returning home, he married Sandra. Warren organized his life around encouraging others to pursue Jesus, being a dad and an excellent orthopedic surgeon. He helped start The Meeting Place in 1991, as a place non-Christians could encounter Jesus in an understandable way. He faithfully served as elder, parking attendant, mentor. Warren’s priorities remained faith, family and work, in that order.
Jacob Janzen May 26, 1919–Jan. 17, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Dalmeny, Sask. PARENTS: Peter K. & Anna Janzen MARRIAGE: Velma Schmidt, Nov. 22, 1946 [d. Dec. 15, 2012] CHURCH: Dalmeny (Sask.) MB FAMILY: children Dale (Joanne), Dolores (Tom Holub [d.], Ed Armstrong [d.]); 5 grandchildren; 8 greatgrandchildren; 1 sister
Jacob and Velma built up the Janzen farm near Dalmeny for more than half a century. The family treasures memories of Jacob rising early to tend the animals, working his fields with teams of horses, tractors and combines. Jacob taught his children to play baseball, predict thunderstorms, and identify birds and constellations. He composed songs and verses, played hymns on harmonica and yodelled from the fields on summer nights.
FAMILY: children Elsie (Al) Stanko, Frieda (Art) Isaak, Devra (Alfred) Funk, Norma (Ian) Cornies, Dorothy (Brad) Lister, Robert (Connie), Ruth (Bob) Parker, James (Anita); 35 grandchildren; 13 greatgrandchildren
Mary was orphaned at 10. She lived with her brother Jake until she became a nanny. She also worked at Coaldale (Alta.) Hospital, caring for newborns. Mary attended Coaldale Bible School. She and Peter met in the church choir, married and moved to an 80-acre farm near Coaldale. Mary was a dedicated stay-at-home mother, supportive wife and talented cook and baker. In 1972, Mary and Peter moved to Abbotsford, B.C., where she joined the bowling league. Mary enjoyed her children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. She loved beauty: flowers, plants, kittens and puppies. Her children treasure memories of her playing guitar and harmonica.
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
Mar. 19, 1931–Jan. 25, 2015
Apr. 5, 1931–Jan. 22, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Morden, Man. PARENTS: Peter & Susanna Kasdorf MARRIAGE: Cornie Neufeld, Oct. 17, 1953 [d. 1994] CHURCH: Steinbach (Man.) MB FAMILY: children Shirley (Glen) Hutt, Gladys (Fred) Winkler, Brenda (Gerald) Kehler, Audrey (Terry) Frey, Leonard Milton [d. in infancy]; 7 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; 13 siblings
Annie left school before high school to help raise her 15 siblings. An avid speller, she always wished she could have continued her schooling. In her late teens, she moved to Winnipeg to work in a hospital and as a nanny. For 40 years Annie and Cornie worked side by side in their poultry and trucking business Hidden Valley Farms, Steinbach, Man. Annie survived colon cancer in her 40s. She loved sewing matching outfits for her daughters. Family members sought out her advice on her passion: flower gardening. In her 70s, her proudest moment was when her flowers were featured in Steinbach’s garden tour. Annie was a quiet, gentle, respectful person. She loved to joke around with her sons-in-law. After Cornie’s death, she began selling homemade meat buns. Christmas was her favourite time of the year. Annie read 316 books from 2006–2010. At Rest Haven, her room was the gathering place during Jets games. Annie struggled through Multiple System Atrophy for 10 years, but held her head high.
Henry Woelk Apr. 25, 1938–Jan. 25, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Mullingar, Sask. PARENTS: Jacob & Elizabeth Martens MARRIAGE: Peter Siebert, May 2, 1948 [d. 2001] CHURCH: Bakerview MB, Abbotsford, B.C.
Henry immigrated to Canada with his mother and siblings in 1948. He met Marjorie in Calgary. Henry worked for Greyhound and Calgary Transit, retiring from Victoria Regional Transit in 2002. He watched games through the fence at Mewata Stadium, hockey at The Corral and baseball at Foothills Stadium. His knowledge of sports trivia was surprising. He was never happier than when he was throwing a ball with his sons. Thankful to have escaped to Canada after the war, Henry appreciated blessings others found insignificant. He had a humble, gentle nature, simple faith and quiet strength.
Mary Siebert Sept. 30, 1929–Jan. 21, 2015
MARRIAGE: Marjorie Palosky, Dec. 6, 1958 CHURCH: Highland MB, Calgary; Saanich, Victoria FAMILY: Marjorie; sons Ted (Shauna), Tim (Perla); 6 grandchildren [Laura d.]; 1 brother
BIRTHPLACE: Waldheim, Ukraine PARENTS: Cornelius & Susan Woelk
BIRTHPLACE: Wymysle, Poland PARENTS: Gustav & Maria Ratzlaff MARRIAGE: Anna Schroeder, Apr. 16, 1955 BAPTISM: Linden, Alta., 1949 CHURCH: Culloden M.B., Vancouver FAMILY: Anna; sons Rick (Lori), Gord (Melinda), Bruce (Larissa); 7 grandchildren; 2 brothers
Gus grew up in a loving Christian home. When he was 14, his family fled Poland. From a refugee camp in Germany, with MCC’s help, they were given the chance to start a new life in Canada, at first in Linden, Alta., then Vancouver. Gus was committed to his faith. He was a loving husband and father, dependable brother, favourite uncle and adoring Opa. From hockey games on his homemade rink, to camping in Oliver, B.C., to driving lessons well before his sons turned 16, Gus’s family never lacked adventure. Gus was a master at putting people at ease; with gentle kindness and wit, he started conversations with everyone. On every birthday, Gus said he was “another year young.” His life ended the way he lived it: surrounded by family, with his wife singing Gott ist die Liebe.
Marie Epp July 19, 1923–Jan. 27, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Mennon, Sask. PARENTS: Peter Schmidt & Helena Wiens MARRIAGE: John Epp, Oct 6, 1946 [d. 2008] CHURCH: Willow Park, Kelowna, B.C.; Bakerview MB, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY: children Shirley (Dale) Whittles, Mary Ann (David) Roberts, Edward (Leanne Boschman), Gordon (Cheryl), Linda; 15 grandchildren [2 d.]; 5 great-grandchildren
Marie played guitar and mandolin. She attended Canadian Bible College, Regina. She loved baseball and Skip-Bo with her children. She worked as a dietary aide and mail sorter. Avid letter-writer, texter and Facebooker, Marie delighted in being a modern grandmother. She was committed to the church and volunteerism. As early retirees, Marie and John did short-term mission trips with Youth With A Mission and Mennonite Central Committee. Marie served at the MCC relief store, Kelowna, B.C. Marie and John moved to Abbotsford, B.C., in 2006. Their idea of a good time was to join Mennonite Disaster Service and do a dirty job after an earthquake. She died surrounded by family.
Fredrick Albert Hill Feb. 28, 1925–Jan. 30, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Winnipeg PARENTS: George & Lillian Hill MARRIAGE: Marion Dutchak, July 26, 1952 BAPTISM: Winnipeg CHURCH: Salem, Winnipeg FAMILY: Marion; children Cathy (Jack), George (Carol), James (Leanne), Susanne, David (Rachel), Robert [d. in infancy]; 9 grandchildren; 3 sisters
Fred enlisted and served overseas during WWII. He worked in the oil and airline industries, then became CN Rail freight pricing manager until his retirement at 61. Fred lived 28 years of healthy retirement to the full. With his family, Fred enjoyed sports and trips to Brereton Lake. Jesus was the foundation of his life. He put his steadfast faith into action by serving Jesus through children’s ministries, especially with the underprivileged. Fred and Marion’s home was always open to meet the needs of others.
Alta., so he could watch their son grow up. Jacob had a soft spot for his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Church and studying God’s Word was a vital part of his life. Jacob and Susie joined a Bible study group which kept them leaning on God in success and trial. Psalm 100 describes Jacob’s life.
Kathy (Katriesh) Voth Pauls Feb. 9, 1930–Feb. 7, 2015 BIRTHPLACE: Winkler, Man. PARENTS: Nikolai & Katherina Voth MARRIAGE: Rudy Pauls, Oct. 16, 1954 CHURCH: Manitou (Man.) MB FAMILY: Rudy; children Heather Porcher [d. 1996], Kim Haggkvist, Darrell, Darlene Brown; 9 grandchildren
Because of farming hardships, Kathy’s family moved to Arnaud, Man. Her godly family taught her that, to succeed, Jesus had to be part of all she was. She memorized 300 Bible verses to attend Gimli (Man.) Bible Camp. Kathy did nurse’s training in Steinbach, Man., graduating as a practical nurse. Filled with adventure and optimism, she and her sister took up nursing in Norway House in northern Manitoba. Kathy moved to Manitou, Man., where she nursed 3 years during the polio epidemic and caught a young farmer’s eye. Kathy farmed with Rudy in Pilot Mound, Man. After her stroke Jan. 27, 2015, she was left struggling for breath, having already lived with vascular dementia for 12 years. When verbal communication was no longer possible, Kathy’s faith was sustained by Gaither music and Mozart.
Kathryn (Kathy) Elizabeth Ann Nikkel Dec. 24, 1959–Feb. 10, 2015 BIRTHPLACE: Abbotsford, B.C. PARENTS: John & Mary Froese MARRIAGE: Ron Nikkel, July 13, 1979 BAPTISM: Bakerview MB, Abbotsford, June 20, 1971 FAMILY: Ron; children Angela [d. in childbirth], Chris (Heather), Adam (Luba), Curtis, Andrew; 5 grandchildren; 6 siblings
Kathy loved to sing. She accepted Jesus early in life. Kathy met Ron while working at Brownies Chicken; they were engaged on her grad cruise before she left for Capernwray in Germany. After grieving an infant daughter, they welcomed 4 sons. Andrew was born with Fragile X; Kathy fought to get him every resource available, always treating him just like his brothers. As a family, they were good at celebrating life with fairs, parades, camping trips. Kathy and Ron enjoyed a Mexican Riveria cruise for their 25th anniversary and an Alaskan cruise with Andrew. Kathy visited her mom often at Hallmark Retirement, returning to visit others even after her mom’s death. Kathy and Ron hosted Japanese students and MCC IVEPers; she is known as “mom” to people around the world. They visited Adam and Curtis, serving in Ukraine. Kathy worked hard at relationships. She and Ron sought counselling and their love grew ever stronger. Always full of love, Kathy’s heart now is healed.
Hilda Rempel Jan. 24, 1928–Feb. 14, 2015
Cornelius (Cornie) Froese Jacob Henry Dyck
Apr. 22, 1928–Feb. 9, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Morden, Man. PARENTS: Henry & Lena (Friesen) Hiebert MARRIAGE: Henry Rempel, June 24, 1950 [d. Sept. 30, 1962] BAPTISM: MB, Winnipeg CHURCH: River East MB, Winnipeg FAMILY: children Shirley (Rob) Griffioen, Marilyn (Willi) Hamm, Henry J. (Lori), Kathleen (Don) Rempel Boschman, Jeff (Lydia); 13 grandchildren; 4 greatgrandchildren
Mar. 8, 1921–Feb. 1, 2015
BIRTHPLACE: Ukraine PARENTS: Henry & Anna (Willms) Dyck MARRIAGE: Susie (Voth) Mantler, Dec. 1957 CHURCH: Coaldale (Alta.) MB FAMILY: Susie; son Jason (Julie-Anne); stepchildren Bertha (Dante) Ferraiuolo, Donald Mantler [d.]; 6 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; 1 sister
Jacob’s family came to Canada in 1928, settling in Coaldale, Alta., where he remained the rest of his life. He became a Christ follower in his youth. When Jacob married Susie, he became father to her two children, whom he introduced to camping, hunting and fishing. Jacob had almost flawless aim and loved tracking down moose. Jacob did long-haul trucking for Edward’s Rod Weeders until Susie had a baby. He began working for Tru-Mix Concrete in Lethbridge,
BIRTHPLACE: Rosthern, Sask. PARENTS: Aaron & Katherine Froese MARRIAGE: Elnora Heinrichs, Oct. 24, 1959 CHURCH: Lakeview, Killarney, Man. FAMILY: Elnora; children Donald (Eva), Rudolf (Sandra), Colleen (Rudi), Joyce, Sheryl, Rhonda; 12 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren [1 d.]
Cornelius worked for various farmers before he and his brother John invested in a farm in Killarney, Man. Eventually Cornelius took full ownership, and in 1970, turned the mixed farm into his dream: a successful dairy farm with 32 milk cows. He took care and pride in offering quality replacement bull calves to beef farmers. He sold the dairy in 1985, farming beef cattle and pigs until 1992. Cornelius and Elnora sold the farm and moved into town, where they enjoyed life together.
Hilda married Henry at 22. After he died, God continued to give Hilda courage and joy in raising their family. She enjoyed teaching 24 years in River East School Division, Winnipeg. Hilda joined River East MB Church in 1963. She was cared for in last 6 months at Bethania Mennonite Personal Care Home, Winnipeg.
MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
Big issues come in small pamphlets: BFL resource a taste of truth and love
The Board of Faith and Life’s “What makes your wedding Christian” pamphlet goes into every premarital counselling packet at College Drive Community Church, Lethbridge, Alta. “It challenges a couple to see their wedding as God-centred,” says pastor Brent Miller. When a college student interviewed Miller for a school magazine article about abortion, he wished for a BFL pamphlet to give them because “they’re a great way to articulate MB distinctives,” he says. Miller won’t have to wait long: BFL member Andrew Dyck says the BFL plans to complete pamphlets on the sanctity of life (including abortion and euthanasia) and creation this year. That will bring the total topics covered to 22. Many pamphlets have been redesigned, and the text of the homosexuality and AIDS pamphlets is scheduled for a full update following the human sexuality study conference in October. Karen Willms, welcome centre coordinator at Forest Grove Community Church, Saskatoon, says certain pamphlets disappear from her shelves faster than others; for example, “Children and communion,” “Mennonite Brethren: Tell me about them,” “What should we think about suicide?” and “Materialism: blowing the whistle.” “I believe my students were encouraged to see our churches addressing sensitive issues in this way, as they are not often addressed from the pulpit,” says Garth Klassen, Bible teacher at Mennonite Educational Institute, Abbotsford, B.C. He gave his Grade 12 students BFL pamphlets on homosexuality, suicide, and media choices to address questions that came up in the class’s Life Issues unit. In the future, Klassen plans to use the pamphlets more extensively, perhaps as group discussion guides or assigned reader response texts. “I found them to be a useful summary of our Anabaptist positions,” says Klassen, “especially as I stressed responding with both truth and grace.”—Angeline Schellenberg At only 40 cents each plus shipping, obtaining class sets is feasible. For MB churches, the pamphlets are free of charge. In addition to ordering hardcopies from Kindred Productions, churches, schools and individuals may download the pdfs from L2L’s resource library (www.l2lnet.org/resources) or mennonitebrethren.ca 34
June 2015 www.mbherald.com
CURRENT books A Fellowship of Differents SCOT MCKNIGHT Zondervan f you were to ask 100 people, “What is the church supposed to look like?” you might get an astonishing variety of answers. New Testament scholar and author Scot McKnight turns his attention to biblical answers to this question in his latest book. In this thematically arranged work, McKnight argues convincingly that our Christian lives are shaped by our experiences in and with the church. Thus, the shape of the church is of profound importance to understand and embrace because, like it or not, “churches determine the direction of our discipleship.”—Brad Sumner, Jericho Ridge, Langley, B.C.
Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church-Growth Culture
TIM SUTTLE Zondervan Academic should love this book. I’ve been the pastor of a small church for the past 28 years, and I’m intimately familiar with the weariness that comes from hearing megachurch stories. The examination Suttle undertakes is both warranted and overdue. The issue of the expanding megaculture against declining church attendance appears to be a symptom of unhealth. This book identifies the problem well, but diagnoses it poorly. That said, Shrink needs to be read and read carefully.—James Toews, Neighbourhood Church, Nanaimo, B.C.
Read these full-length reviews online under Arts & Culture at www.mbherald.com
The Church in Mission Perspectives of Global Mennonite Brethren on Mission in the 21st Century
Pre-order your copy today! www.kindredproductions.com • 1-800-545-7322
of faith & life
Discovering God’s Plan A: When faith means doing nothing D E R E K PA R E N T E AU
his winter I spent some time stuck in the hospital. I’ve never been a fan of slowing down, but coming to a dead stop felt almost like torture.
The “Ishmael option” must have seemed, at the time, like an outcomedriven decision to help move God’s agenda forward. In hindsight, however, it proved to be a tragic mistake.
As a pastor actively engaged in an emerging ministry among First Nations, I spent my first days in the hospital worrying about all the things that were being left undone and all the people I was inevitably letting down.
It was not until his faithfulness to God’s ways grew to match his faithfulness to God’s promises that Abraham received Isaac, the child of promise and blessing.
In addition to wrestling with my health, I also began to wrestle with God, until eventually I submitted and started to receive what I needed to hear.
Years later, we see a deeper faith in Abraham as he lay this long-awaited son on the altar (Genesis 22:1–19). In doing so, Abraham affirmed his trust in God’s ability to provide his own less-than-obvious means to his own glorious ends.
Is it all on me? Would God’s work in the community be put on hold because I was unable to work? Could my illness be a liability to God’s plans for those I serve? In my mind, the answer was clearly “no,” but my feelings and anxieties betrayed a deeper level of doubt. My inner drive toward productivity, purpose and fulfillment was overriding my trust in our Father who holds all these things in his hands. I began to think a lot about Abraham – I could relate with some of his struggles. Sure, Abraham had great faith in God’s promises (Romans 4). This faith led him to leave his homeland and confidently trust that he would become the father of a nation and a blessing to all the world. Although his faith in God’s ends was commendable, Abraham’s faith in God’s means needed some work (Genesis 15–22). In his desire to see God’s promises fulfilled, he took matters into his own hands. By choosing what appeared to be the most obvious path – turning to his servant Hagar instead of his elderly wife Sarah – he made no progress toward the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Unexpected answers As I contemplated these things from my hospital bed, something started to happen. First, I began to pray with a new level of intensity for those I couldn’t go and physically see. Second, I started to get some unexpected visitors. Just about every person I had worried about disappointing came and ministered to me. It began a few days into my hospital stay: I was surprised by a visit from a home-church group that I was supposed to be running. They came from a significant distance with open hearts and open Bibles to “do church” with me right there in my hospital room. As we shared and prayed together, the number of visitors started to grow. Unbeknownst to me, many people from the First Nations community where this home church normally meets were hospitalized in the same wing. Before long, we needed to shuffle down the hallway to the chapel because we couldn’t all fit in my room.
My inner drive toward productivity, purpose and fulfillment was overriding my trust in our Father who holds all these things in his hands. We had an amazing time of worship and prayer, none of which I needed to lead. The Holy Spirit worked powerfully in my life that day and helped me to let go of the many competing desires in my heart. I’m feeling much healthier both physically and spiritually than I was during my stay in the hospital. But I haven’t forgotten the lessons of my hospital bed. I’m learning to balance being busy with being prayerful. When I’m tempted to move ahead with outcome-driven strategies, I remember Abraham and I rest in the expectation that God charts his own path to reveal his glory. Sometimes all we need is to pray and wait. Derek Parenteau is a church planter with the C2C Network. He has been pursuing peace, justice and reconciliation among Canada’s First Peoples in a worshipping community called Rugged Tree in the Parry Sound region of Ontario since 2013. MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD June 2015
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June 2015â€ƒ www.mbherald.com