Godâ€™s violence and nonviolent discipleship
Marriage, Singleness, and Family
Volume 57, No. 3 Publications mail registration number: 09648; Agreement number: 40009297 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Circ. Dept., MB Herald, 1310 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3M 3Z6
To go far, go together
A legacy of trust “How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension! He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth… He gives food to the wild animals…
“I wanted to convey the trust and peace my grandparents had despite the storm that was around them,” says artist Krista Reimer. This painting depicts her great-grandparents on their homestead in Brokenhead, Man., after fleeing turmoil and violence in Ukraine (South Russia). In Matthew 14, when Peter walked on water, Jesus told him Keep your eyes on me. “It doesn’t mean that God will keep the storms out of our life,” says Reimer. The future may look turbulent, but Reimer takes inspiration from what her grandparents and great-grandparents went through. “It’s a testimony of that incredible grace God gave them, and their willingness not to compromise their faith.”
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Reimer’s eight-painting series “Time will tell” honours the legacy of faith and resilience her grandparents left. It will show at Old Town Hall Gallery, Waterford, Ont., May 23–July 12, 2018.
(Psalm 147:5, 8–9, 11 NLT)
[ Karla Braun
The Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
“THE STORM WILL PASS US BY” (43” X 37”, ACRYLIC) ARTIST: KRISTA REIMER
Summer 2018 JULY / AUGUST / SEPTEMBER
16 22 4 14 15 34 8 10 11 12
FEATURES Schools Growing our roots: Discipleship cross-pollination at MB Bible schools
[ Angeline Schellenberg Camps A growing season: Seeds of leadership planted at camp
DEPARTMENTS 5 Letters 6 Homepage 26 Transitions 27 Births & Wedding 30 Finish lines [Obituaries] 33 Crosscurrents
COLUMNS Editorial A beautiful mess
[ Karla Braun Wiebe‘s Witness Who‘s your mother?
[ David Wiebe While we witness Confession of Faith Article 11: Marriage, Singleness, and Family
[ Andrew Dyck Intersection of faith and life
CONNECT WITH US ONLINE DIGITAL EDITION issuu.com FACEBOOK facebook.com/MBHerald TWITTER twitter.com/MB_Herald WEBSITE mbherald.com
God's violence and nonviolent discipleship
[ Stephanie Christianson
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To go far, go together: Working together for national impact
[ Steve Berg Elton DaSilva affirmed as national director
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Alphabet soup Frequently asked questions about the Collaborative Model
COVER: MB Mission photo, ICOMB consultation on prayer and mission CORRECTION: Victor Willms name was misspelled on his letter to the editor in the April issue. The last sentence of his letter should have read “salvation is changed to the prospective…”.
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
One beautiful mess It’s quite different from the soaring cathedrals of Europe. It’s different too from the austere churches of our Anabaptist forebears. Though they eschewed ostentation in their architecture, they took care to construct a worthy place of worship. There are several churches around the world whose builders have chosen junk as their basic construction material. A sacrilegious eco-crazed stunt? Perhaps. But these unusual temples may say something more profound about God’s intention for the church than our traditional buildings, says Mennonite Bible scholar Thomas Yoder Neufeld. “God has a peculiar aesthetic,” Yoder Neufeld told delegates from Anabaptist Mennonite churches around the world at the General Council meetings of Mennonite World Conference in Kenya in April. “God thinks it’s beautiful to put pieces of garbage together.” The point of this image isn’t to tear down our self-worth, but to encourage us to a new vision of what unity looks like. As Canadian Mennonite Brethren gather in Saskatoon this summer, we will have before us a plan to restructure our denomination to work more closely with each other. In this process, we are encouraged to be on “one mission.” Ephesians 4:1–6 is the theme passage, driving home the message of unity through the repetition of one: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” But it should not be a surprise to trinitarian people – who follow one God who is simultaneously three – that unity is not a singular concept in the Kingdom. Unity in the Holy Spirit is not uniformity. 4
It is not a ripple-free sameness we are striving to achieve, but a colourful struggle we are called to live within. “The unity of the Spirit is the reason we walk together, not the result of walking well together,” says Yoder Neufeld. Unity in the church is not the result of our striving to be one, the prize we achieve when we are all agree on the same things. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit: all these different parts are one despite not inconsiderable differences. Our work is not to achieve unity, but to maintain it. Like the cathedrals of junk, the Mennonite four-part hymn-singing tradition tangibly expresses a great truth about the church: that beauty is woven together through difference. Disagreement need not ruin our unity song. Discordance, dissonance – words that mean “bad sounds” – are not out of bounds in even the greatest compositions. Too much of these acoustic disagreements makes for painful listening, but scattered instances enhance a piece. Problems in the church, says Yoder Neufeld, aren’t necessarily a sign of failure but may be indications that the Spirit is at work, bringing together broken parts (us), binding together different pieces into something new with a job to do. “The temple of God is a permanent construction site,” says Yoder Neufeld. But there are procedures to follow to make a good building – even one built out of junk. Yoder Neufeld offers the church a few guidelines for how to walk in unity despite diversity.
Humility Remembering our own ongoing liberation from sin, we offer grace to others on their journey of shedding the shackles of selfishness and power-seeking.
Patience “Patience is the way we hold the future open to each other,” says Yoder Neufeld. God extends his forgiveness to us with great patience for our slow learning. Can we extend long timelines to each other – learning to see each other in the way we also wish to be understood?
Suffering each other (forbearance) Within a family, we not only suffer with but sometimes also suffer because of one another. Forbearance means that when we find ourselves receiving pain instead of comfort from the church, we respond with grace rather than reacting out of our hurt.
Forgiveness Jesus was not a fan of putting limits on forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about letting an offender off the hook but about freeing yourself from the bondage of resentment and allowing the other the possibility of change. “When we practise grace, we participate in the creation of the new human,” says Yoder Neufeld.
Seeing the face of God in each other “To love another person is to see the face of God,” Jean Valjean sings in the epic musical Les Misérables. When your brother or sister in Christ hurts you, “remember they also are the body of Christ,” says Yoder Neufeld. These practices are not meant to prevent us from being frank with one another. They should not reduce agreement to the lowest common denominator. Instead, they encourage us, as we seek One Mission, to do so together without seeing eye-to-eye as the necessary result. To recognize the miraculous unity of the Spirit – of one hope, one faith, one God and father of all – in the midst of what looks like difference. To call beautiful the mess God is creating as he gathers us together in disparate work through different ways and with diverse people on his one mission.
[ Karla Braun
| From the web
Without discussion regarding these systemic issues, they (and we along with them) remain entrenched. Opening up conversations to recognize how power, privilege, and discrimination impact us all (as a church and society), is a healthy and needed step. I hope pastors and laity alike can be bold in being OK with the discomfort/growing pains to continue the conversation.
After living 30 years among the poor and marginalized of Latin America, formulating our own understanding of these kinds of issues, I found it wonderful to encounter a few years ago a Latin theologian who put words to these things better than any other I know of (of any colour). Justo Gonzalez (I think in his book Mañana, possibly Santa Biblia) writes that with the emergence of “adjective-theology” (black, feminist, Latin), there was the unquestioned assumption from “whites” that there really did exist “theology” without an adjective – ours. He shines a light on the white assumptions that all these other “-theologies” are somehow apart from ours, and we don’t recognize our particular theology as simply a longer-standing, but nevertheless Western and/or white theology, with just as many flaws and biases – perhaps more due to our blindness – than any other.
Because the Letters column is a free forum for discussion, it should be understood that letters represent the position of the letter writer, not necessarily the position of the Herald or the Mennonite Brethren church.
A new view “A road untravelled” (Feature, Spring 2018)
Summer 2018 July/August/September Mennonite Brethren Herald is published quarterly 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: 1996–2017.
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Alphabet Soup Answers
Found on page 11. (Try your hand at filling in the blanks before consulting the key!) MCC Mennonite Central Committee | MEDA Mennonite Economic Development Associates | WIML Women in Ministry Leadership (a discernment process of the BFL) | MDS Mennonite Disaster Service | BFL Board of Faith and Life | MBBS Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary; formerly binational, Canadian iteration is now MB Seminary | C2C The church planting program started by CCMBC, now merged with MB Mission and being renamed. C2C references Psalm 72:8. | L2L The leadership development arm of CCMBC developed in 2012, first called Resourcing Churches, Developing Leaders, renamed in 2014 | CP CP Printing Solutions, formerly known as Christian Press, the printing company CCMBC purchased in 1962 to print the MB Herald | MBCCA Mennonite Brethren Chinese Churches Association | CBC Columbia Bible College | AEFMQ Association des Églises des Frères Mennonites du Quebec, the Quebec MB conference | CMU Canadian Mennonite University | BBI Bethany Bible Institute, closed as Bethany College in 2015, restarted as one-year discipleship program called Thrive in 2017 | MWC Mennonite World Conference | ETEQ Ecole de théologie évangélique du Quebec, merger of Christian & Missionary Alliance school IBVIE and MB ETEM | BOCE Board of Church Extension, an earlier name for many MB provincial church planting boards | MBBC Mennonite Brethren Bible College, founded 1944, merged with Canadian Mennonite Bible College and Menno Simons College in 1998 to form CMU | CFGB Canadian Foodgrains Bank, “a Christian response to hunger,” formed out of an MCC program, now a partnership with more than 15 denominations | MBMSI Mennonite Brethren Missions and Services International, one-time name of MB Mission, which will be renamed in 2018 in response to the merger with C2C | KP Kindred Productions, the publishing arm of CCMBC | PCO Pastors Credentialing Orientation, a three-day workshop on MB theology and beliefs organized by the BFL as part of the pastor credentialing process | CCMBC Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
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MENNONITE BRETHREN HERALD
HOMEPAGE There was a young man ready to give up on life. He started coming to church, joined a men’s study group, and, weeks later, gave his life to Christ. One year later, he is passionate about Jesus. He shares the good news wherever he can. What a privilege we have to be a part of God’s incredible work – God’s hands and feet in Pincher Creek, so that people will not only hear about Jesus but see his love in action.
Stories from the harvest fields C2C Network update Hard at work in Pincher Church becomes community hub Pincher Creek is a community unlike any other we have encountered in Alberta. My wife Gemma, our children, and I moved to Pincher Creek to start a new church plant in this rural community in partnership with the C2C Network. We launched officially one and a half years ago. Our ministry really started to take off in a different direction last fall. With the forest fires all around us, we were able to step up and serve our community by becoming the evacuation shelter. Over the winter, we provided shelter from a major snow storm.
That brings us to our current blessing. The local food bank was going to close. Because of our relationship and reputation in the community, town officials approached us to take over the food bank. “Why us?” I asked. The response was simple: We know how much your church cares about our community; this partnership with us will enable you to serve Pincher and area on a bigger scale. So we are now in transition to take over the local food bank. More than 400 families (75 percent Indigenous) come through for help each month. The exciting part is that because it will be a ministry of Vertical Church, we are free to share Jesus’ story. We have the privilege of serving people not only with food but spiritual nourishment as well. What is next for us? We are never sure – except we know that we cannot do it alone. We are grateful for the fellowship of MB churches across the country to help us through prayer, finances, and serving alongside. God is good. We are blessed to have the privilege of serving the King.
The fires were tragic and there are many still recovering, but the experience did bring the community close together. By opening our facility to love and serve, we have met and grown deeper into relationship with many people. We have seen many come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, including one man who came into my office as his life was in ruins. The Sunday I spoke difficult truth into issues he struggled with, he sat in my office at the end of the service and gave his life to Jesus.
[ Chris Ney and Gemma Ney are C2C church planters at Vertical Church in Pincher Creek, Alta.
PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS NEY
Memory from MAID Chapel service at Camp Evergreen
[coming events 2018
June 28–July 7: MB Mission‘s SOAR Alberta.
June 20–Aug. 12: MB Mission‘s ACTION Winnipeg.
July 3–12: MB Mission‘s SOAR Montreal. July 6–15: MB Mission‘s SOAR Vancouver.
In 1974, a small group leads singing during a service in the lodge at Camp Evergreen. Do you know the people in this photo? Please help CMBS identify them by emailing names to firstname.lastname@example.org. This photo from the Centre for MB Studies (NP149-1-1060) is available to the public in collaboration with MAID: the Mennonite Archival Image Database. Research or purchase images from Mennonite churches and organizations at archives.mhsc.ca.
July 6–Aug. 3: MB Mission‘s ACTION B.C.
July 11–14: Gathering 2018, Saskatoon. July 15–Aug. 18: MB Mission‘s ACTION France.
Sept. 4: Fall classes begin, Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, B.C.
Call for artwork As Christians, we focus on building spiritual health, but as embodied beings, our physical health is also part of being the people God wants us to be. What imagery comes to mind as you think of tending to our health “Christianly”? Send in your photographs, artwork, designs for consideration for use in the MB Herald.
Sept. 5: First day of fall classes, Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg.
Sept. 9–June 14: MB Mission‘s TREK B.C.
Sept. 9–Apr. 14: MB Mission‘s Discipleship on Mission.
Sept. 21–22: CMU fall festival, Winnipeg. Sept. 21–23: Leaders Collective debrief
Looking good, MB Herald
and kick off retreat, Ontario.
Sept. 22–23: 50th anniversary, Culloden CCMBC graphic designer Colton Floris received three awards from the Canadian Church Press for his work on the MB Herald in 2017. The January/February 2017 “Holy Spirit” cover design (left) using original artwork by Max Funk won first place for Graphics: Front Cover/Page. “A really excellent cover which picks up an old challenge – one as old as Christian iconography – and successfully speaks anew about it,” writes the judge.
Oct. 5–7: 100th anniversary, Waldheim (Sask.) MB Church.
Oct 12–13: Saturate, Vancouver. Oct 14–16: Pastor and Spouse retreat, ABMB.
Oct 16–17: J.J. Thiessen Lectures with John D. Witvliet, CMU, Winnipeg. The September/October 2017 “Discipleship” issue (sample page layout right) placed second for Edition Layout and Design.
Feb. 6–7: Multiply 2019, Vancouver. Feb. 12–13: ReNew: Resourcing Pastors for Ministry – Death, Funerals, and the Christian Hope, CMU, Winnipeg.
And the layout and design of the feature “Spreading Hope with the Southridge Jam Company” (with photos by Drew Unruh, Made by Frame) in the March/April 2017 issue won third.
View more events from churches and agencies at mbherald.com/calendar.
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
To go far, go together Working together for national impact
We’ve all heard the African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I was recently on the African continent where I saw the truth of this proverb as a way of life. In Africa, people enjoy being together and have a deep sense of belonging and responsibility to each other. I realized that, for many, their home communities are the only ones they have known or will ever know. They have their space, place, and pace within those communities, and they must work together with a deeply rooted identity, accountability, and collaboration to make their life work. Just a short stay in Africa made for a fascinating contrast to what I know in Canadian life. We go faster, to be sure, but too often, we go alone. So, in the spirit of the proverb: if we want to go far, could we go together? Answering this question for the Canadian MB Churches has been the most important mandate of my 18 months of interim leadership. Leading the One Mission Partnership Task Force in discerning the proposal “Working Together for National Impact” has been a very inspiring opportunity. The challenges that led to this proposal were put to me on my very first day in leadership. The January 2017 Executive Board meetings clearly identified the five issues and decisions CCMBC faced. The “big rocks” mandated for me were to 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
launch Legacy, merge C2C and MB Mission, determine the future of L2L, implement budget cutbacks for financial sustainability, and appoint a new executive director.
But the biggest challenge came a few days later in a meeting with the provincial conference ministers (PCMs). “We feel entirely marginalized by all of the ministry silos in our MB family. We have made many attempts at working together. Some of us are at that point of wanting to pull out of everything to focus only on our province.” One provincial leader went on, “You ask us to be in the kitchen, but when we get there, you present us with a baked cake. We want to be in the kitchen mixing the ingredients together!” As I listened, God did something in the room that day. We agreed that the Spirit was moving us to work together. We 8
Summer 2018 | mbherald.com
decided to meet again. I accepted the opportune timing to facilitate a new conversation. And the idea of an MB leaders summit was born.
Renewed hope Such a gathering had happened before but never on quite this scale. More than 50 Canadian MB leaders gathered at Cedar Springs, Wash., for two days of prayer, dialogue, and discernment. Organizational consultant John Radford skillfully facilitated our process. In just a few hours, we identified what wasn’t working; by late afternoon, there was the unsettling sense that we had started something that we had no idea how to finish. The evening hours were given to worship and prayer – and then all at once a small trickle of confession swelled into a tide of repentance. We named our hidden offense, our harboured bitterness, and our hedged pride. This felt like a breakthrough, yet I suspect many of us had a fitful night of sleep as we prayed in search of a clear way forward. With the morning light, we gathered again in a renewed hope that God was giving us insight and direction. Pictures were drawn, designs were built, creative solutions were offered. It became clear that the locomotive of our mission could smoothly move ahead on the two rails of a unified structure and a coordinated, collaborative approach. CCMBC’s core services – Developing Leaders, Multiplying Churches, Building Community, and Resourcing Ministry – were the key strategies of our mission. The concluding decision was that a smaller group – the One Mission Partnership Task Force (OMPTF) – be called out to discern what would be the unified structure and the coordinated, collaborative approach for the Canadian MB family. During these two days, I circled up with the PCMs for an enriching conversation and prayer. The trust and bond that had sprouted with Willy Reimer was growing again. We decided that it would be beneficial for this group of leaders to live into this unifying and collaborative movement of the Spirit. It was an easy decision for us to commit to meet regularly.
Thinking differently In October 2017, the PCMs were in Calgary for a one-day gathering. We had the high-trust, high-stakes discussion
[CONFERENCE NEWS we needed to get the process moving. The proposed 2018 CCMBC budget added urgency to our task. We knew that a new collaborative model was not optional – it was essential. In a few hours, we put together a proposal, a wobbly and awkward first try at “thinking differently.” This proposal was on the November Executive Board agenda and was affirmed as a good start in the right direction. In the Spirit’s perfect coordination of all things, the OMPTF was also gaining clarity and confidence in stepping into their place the process. The OMPTF understanding was that we were not a decision-making body, but a listening and discerning body. Here’s an excerpt of our prayer on Nov. 4, 2017. We call on God for his perspective and the leading of the Spirit and to surrender any yoke that is not from the Lord (Acts 15:8–11). We pray for the empowering and release of the church because the world is crying out for our MB family to come underneath what the Spirit is doing. We pray for the aligning of our thoughts with the heart of God that brings joy and strength to the church (Acts 15:31). We pray for trust, not only of God, but also of our brothers and sisters. Give us more trust for one another if we are to take risks for our God. Help us to love and serve one another well so we are in partnership with you. We declare we are brothers and sisters on equal ground, and we repent of padding our identity with power, fear, or control and ask that you would expose it and bring about in us what you long for in your church. We confess our sins on behalf of our denomination, leaders, and churches, our fear and desire for control, and our lack of faith and our self-sufficiency. Cleanse us, Lord. Here WE are, sent US…. We are humbled you have met us again today in the Word and as we empty ourselves of ourselves. We receive your cleansing and wholeness. Thank you for the community of faith that listens and obeys, and this is our desire. We will have discernment as we empty ourselves, so we thank you, and glorify you, and ask for your wisdom, for we don’t know what to do. We desire to be a prophetic and renewing voice to our family, so we position ourselves to receive from you.
Nearing the end of 2017, we knew that a key ingredient must be added into the mix: survey data. • • •
What do people within the MB family think about the national and provincial conferences? Who do our churches look to for support in their ministry? What ideas about functional structures would local church leaders put forward?
In a miraculously short time frame, a national survey was conducted and completed, providing highly valuable data for us to consider.
Going together Cedar Springs was again the gathering point for two critical January meetings. First, the PCMs took the October 2017 proposal and re-visioned a model they could move forward with as the functional provincial/national structure. The Collaborative Model now had the inspiration and substance of a workable proposal. A few weeks later, Cedar Springs came alive with the prayer, worship, and discernment of the OMPTF. In these three days, Working Together for National Impact sprang to life as the Spirit breathed upon us. The OMPTF and the PCMs felt ready to present this proposal to the Executive Board and the Board of Faith and Life in February. I have told the story of the February Executive Board meeting and the final hours of this deliberation, from the standpoint of God’s miraculous intervention into my life (“When God ‘Shows Up,’” MB Herald, Spring 2018). The Executive Board made the unanimous decision to affirm the proposal and take the presentation to the MB family for wider discussion and discernment. So, beginning in February and finishing at the end of April, I, along with PCMs and OMPTF members, visited you at the provincial conventions with the presentation of the proposed Collaborative Model, Working Together for National Impact. Significant time was provided for Q&A, round-table discussion, and feedback for our consideration. The Executive Board was given the gift of a straw poll from each assembly – not binding for a decision, but helpful in gaining a Canadawide perspective on your initial leaning. And every province gave the overwhelming response – people are leaning toward the proposed Working Together for National Impact. The delegates of Gathering 2018 in Saskatoon will be given the opportunity to make the decision. You can watch the Working Together for National Impact video presentation (bit.ly/together-as-one) to be informed. You can prepare for the decision by reading the motions for the decision (gathering. mennonitebrethren.ca/reports/, page 12). I hope you will come to Gathering 2018 to participate in the breakout workshops and cast your vote in this decision for the future of MB ministry partnership. Let’s discover here in Canada how we can live into the spirit of the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” [Steve Berg, interim executive director of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
Elton DaSilva affirmed as national director The Executive Board of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) unanimously affirmed Elton DaSilva as national director, May 3, 2018. He will be commissioned at Gathering 2018, July 11–14, in Saskatoon. The national staff leader search team – made up of interim executive director Steve Berg, and Executive Board members David MacLean, Howie Wall, and Karen West – received applications throughout March, interviewed several outstanding candidates in April, and recommended DaSilva to the Executive Board for discernment at their May meetings. “I have joyful confidence in announcing Elton DaSilva as national director of the Canadian MB churches,” says Berg. “I believe Elton is uniquely gifted – in teamwork, bridgebuilding, listening across cultures and backgrounds – to lead our family into this new era of greater collaboration for the national impact of our local churches on the mission of God.” DaSilva has served as executive director of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba (MBCM) since December 2010, overseeing MBCM’s growth from 40 congregations to 55 (44 full members, 5 emerging churches, 3 church plants, 3 associate churches). Born into a missionary family in Brazil, DaSilva planted Christian Family Centre, Winnipeg (2000–10), and currently attends The Meeting Place. His training from postsecondary institutions in Alberta,
Summer Summer 2018 2018 | | mbherald.com mbherald.com
Manitoba, and Brazil spans business administration, economics, and theology. He and Ana have two young adult daughters and a teenage son. During DaSilva’s tenure, MBCM focused on leadership development and resourcing churches – through services such as the 5C Focused Ministry discernment process and the Elevation apprenticeship program – and on building relationships in Manitoba’s Indigenous communities. As national director, “my priority will be to collaborate with provincial conferences and MB agencies to fulfill the missional mandate we share as Mennonite Brethren,” says DaSilva. The change in title for CCMBC’s leader from executive director to national director reflects the shift from CCMBC’s independence to greater partnership with the provinces through the Collaborative Model, on which delegates will vote at Gathering 2018. The advertised title of national staff leader was a placeholder as the board discerned the job description of this position. “I’m looking forward to connecting across the country,” says DaSilva, “and hearing the stories of how God is at work and how we can participate in those stories.” Interim executive director since January 2017, Berg will return to fulltime pastoring at South Abbotsford Church in B.C. in July 2018. “I have been delighted and honoured to serve Christ as a transitional leadership link between Willy Reimer and Elton DaSilva,” says Berg.
Why stick with a denomination anyway? The cultural context we live in has a relentless pull toward autonomy and independence. The tug is always toward isolation, away from together. Any long-standing organization like our MB family will have failings in their story: mistakes have been made, trust has been broken, we are far from perfect. Yet, I believe – fervently, passionately – that we are better together. As a team that strikes for health and vitality, we can go farther, reach higher, and accomplish more for the sake of the Kingdom than on our own. Practically, there are Tactical realities: credentials for pastors, a home for the Confession of Faith Historical realities: from early church to Radical Reformation to the 1860 renewal movement Financial realities: mortgages for church buildings and pastor’s residences from Legacy Collaborative realties: participation in the spiritual life department at Eden High School, serving people with developmental disabilities through Bethesda, supporting seniors through Radiant Care Support realities: confidential peer counselling for leaders, team support for church boards International realities: participation in the global family through MB Mission and ICOMB
“Steve has brought calm, clarity, trust, and collaboration during this season of so much change,” says CCMBC moderator Bruce Enns. “Thank you, Steve, for your love for Jesus and the local church. You have led us exceptionally well.”
There are pressures at every turn and an overwhelming and vast mission field at our doorstep. We are so much stronger and more dynamic when we engage in mission together: you have the privilege of saying “We are about the missional activity of King Jesus.”
[ Canadian Conference
[ Ed Willms executive director, Ontario
of Mennonite Brethren Churches
Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches
Every organization develops its insider language and soup pot of acronyms. Can you fill out the full names behind these letters and identify what they refer to? Which ones did we miss?
Hint: some are no longer currently in operation. Categories may include relief and development organizations, economic development organization, schools, boards, CCMBC initiatives, related businesses See page 5 for answers.
Mennonite Brethren Heraldâ€ƒ | Summer 2018
Summary of Motions This list of selected motions will be voted on at Gathering 2018, to be held July 11-14, 2018 in Saskatoon, Sask. a. Elections by ballot • CCMBC Executive Board • Board of Faith and Life • Nominations Committee member • Historical Commission member • MB Seminary board representative • MB Mission board representative • MCC representative b. Historical Commission Memo of Understanding c. Confession of Faith revisions d. Audited Financial Statements
God has been faithful to lead us in our journey to greater unity and effectiveness in One Mission – local, national, and global. At the March meetings, the MB Mission board affirmed a strategic plan to merge our two organizations – MB Mission and C2C Network – into one new entity called Multiply. During the next months, we will be actively engaged in a process of discernment and change as we work toward being fully launched into our new identity by January 2019. At key events like CCMBC’s Gathering and the National Convention of the U.S. Conference of MB Churches, we will be sharing more with you about this unfolding mission story and this new wineskin. Join us as we pray for spiritual renewal and mission to transform the church and our nations in our day! For future updates and more information about this new direction, go to multiply.net. Your fellow multiplier,
[ Randy Friesen, general director, MB Mission and C2C Network
• CCMBC Pension Plan • CCMBC Consolidated Financials e. 2019 Legacy budget f. Collaborative Model *If the motion to approve the Collaborative Model… …is carried, present motion for referendum to approve the 2019 CCMBC budget.
…is lost, present motion to approve 2019 CCMBC budget.
For a list of full motions and related documents, go to gathering.mennonitebrethren.ca
As in this stained glass panel of a spider web, there is also beauty and strength in the church of Christ as people of different ethnicities, cultures, and traditions work together in unity to build a strong enduring structure. This unity attracts and draws people in.
[ Artist Roseanne Andres is a member of Parliament Community Church, Regina 12
So, I’ve been hearing about a Collaborative Model… What is that? The Collaborative Model was developed by the provincial and national conferences and MB ministry partners. It reflects the trends revealed in the National Survey, which the Executive Board conducted December 1–31, 2017. This model aims to provide a structure for equipping and resourcing Canadian MB churches for our mission of multiplying Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ. Here’s a video: bit.ly/together-as-one What do you mean by “MB ministry partner”? For our purposes “MB ministry partners” include MB Seminary, MB Mission, and C2C. There will also be coordinated effort with our MB schools and MB camps in Canada. How does this affect me and my local church? This model aims to provide a structure for equipping and resourcing Canadian MB churches for our mission of multiplying Christ-centred churches to see Canada transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ. I’m hearing the words “single stream” funding. Can you explain that to me? This model combines the funding your church currently gives to both the national and provincial conferences. You would no longer send a portion of your tithes and offerings to the provincial conference and a separate portion to national. The combined amount would be sent to your local province, who in turn will provide some financial support for the national ministries. But what about the amount I give to MB Mission or MB Seminary?
Hold up! Does that mean national assemblies are for board members only? Where do I get to have my say? Provincial conventions! Across the country, more churches participate in provincial conventions than national events. National meetings require some people to cross the country to participate, adding expense and time. By moving the decision-making to the provincial conventions, we can make the meetings more accessible and invite greater participation. Provincial boards will then bring decisions made at the conventions to the national assembly. Are we voting on national decisions at a provincial level? Churches would have a proxy vote which is brought to the national assembly by the provincial board. This would mean the decision runway would be longer. Does this mean the end of Gathering and Equip Study Conference? I believe it’s important that we all meet together as a national family. So do we! We are planning for the continuation of Equip Study Conferences. These events can then focus more on learning together, rather than on conducting business. Another good connecting point is the annual C2C Multiply Conference. We will continue to present other ways to gather as an MB family. If there’s such a shift to the provincial level, why do we still have a national conference and national staff? Wait, do we have a national staff? There are some things that only national can do, such as unifying us missionally and theologically under our Confession of Faith and charter and representing us to our international partners including the International Community of Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite World Conference. Some ministries go beyond provincial borders and we need to own them together as Canadians, such as ministry in Quebec and Atlantic provinces and engaging with Indigenous people. Elton DaSilva has been appointed as the new national director; a large part of his role will be to continue bringing greater collaboration between national and provincial conferences and our MB ministry partners as we serve together toward our common mission.
This new model would not affect how you give to MB Mission, MB Seminary, or other ministries. Who’s in charge or making the decisions? How will the leadership structure work? A National Assembly will be created to make national decisions and conduct the annual general meeting for CCMBC. This assembly will consist of provincial conference boards, the national Board of Faith and Life, MB ministry partner representatives (see #2), and certain national staff, such as the national director.
Come to Gathering 2018 July 11–14 in Saskatoon to find out more! There, delegates will be able to interact with the proposal and vote on which way we move forward. More information can be found at:
mennonitebrethren.ca/intro-to-the-new-collaborative-model or gathering.mennonitebrethren.ca
Drawing from his travels to visit MB churches around the world, ICOMB executive director David Wiebe offers insights on faith.
Who’s your mother? I was on my first fraternal visit to the Mennonite Brethren conference in Bavaria (VMBB). After good interaction around stories from ICOMB, the pastor hosting us stood up. He announced that his church, and a daughter church, were planning to leave the VMBB. And they did about 18 months later. As the Bavarians shared underlying stories behind this event, an important detail emerged. When this church was planted 30 years ago, our MB confession was not seriously taught. This lack of attention to identity opened a door to associate with another evangelical faith tradition that pulled them away. Parents know that attachment is a critical development factor for newborn children. Attachment disorders occur when children aren’t secure in relation to their parent(s). They may too freely attach to strangers, often to their own harm. Well-attached kids move into the world confidently, with healthy boundaries. The Bavaria churches that split seemed to be affected by attachment disorder. A leader from Brazil recently said, “ICOMB grew out of a cry for a mother.” He valued MB Mission’s church planting, but when missionaries move on, the new association is looking to establish its identity and needs a community-family. Ideally, missionaries help new churches to know their family, and to embrace their confession of faith. ICOMB provides that family with that DNA for new MB churches. North American missionaries carry the gospel from a highly individualistic context. The individual is so central to our theology that a mission worker may not be sure how to build a community (church) around the gospel – nor even convinced that it’s valuable. 14
This agnosticism can be found in the Bavaria story. Similarly, Colombian leaders once told me that years ago, the MB missionary invited the church he’d planted to join any denomination they wanted. ICOMB didn’t exist yet; it might have helped the “adolescent” church find a family to belong to. Is ICOMB our “mother?” ICOMB members say “yes” – and they remind us it’s not MB Mission’s job: the mission agency of North American MB churches only functions as the nursery. This fact will be important as the Canadian conference restructures, especially with the new C2C/MB Mission agency. Mennonite Brethren DNA and family attachment don’t reside in one agency but in the international community of Mennonite Brethren. Strong identity and community are critical to sustainable mission. So, spiritual and financial investment in the success of ICOMB is an investment in our own health and survival as Mennonite Brethren in North America. If we’re agnostic about that, we risk becoming a Bavaria conference on a bigger scale – disconnected and estranged from our international theological family.
[ David Wiebe served as ICOMB executive director since 2011. He
retired at the end of June 2018. He says: “This assignment has given me incredible joy and satisfaction. Best job in the world! Our global MB church movement is full of passionate disciples of Jesus with leaders that value our International Confession of Faith, believe in our community, and boldly evangelize, and plant churches – despite opposition, poverty, neglect by their country’s government, and a hundred other challenges. I’ve been inspired countless times in my visits with our global church.”
[ Thanks to Alvaro/Gabriel, Theo, Dario, Emerson, Mario, Diego,
Ricardo, Carlos, Heinrich, Walter, Andreas, Reinhard, Arturas, José, Gerard, Jean-Claude, Arnold, Phone Keo, Yoshifumi, Don/Ed, and of course Steve. God bless these ICOMB leaders].
[CONFESSION OF FAITH
While we witness Board of Faith and Life | Read all the articles at mbherald.com/bfl
AR T I CL
What does Mennonite Brethren theology have in common with that of other Christian denominations? And what are the distinctive emphases of Mennonite Brethren theology? Informed by Scripture, our Confession of Faith names the perspectives through which we read God’s Word in order to live as Christ’s followers. This series by the Board of Faith and Life explores the 18 articles of this formative document.
Marriage, Singleness, and Family
Why did Jesus communicate through riddles and actions, not simply instructions? Why did the Holy Spirit inspire Scriptures consisting of poems, stories, allegories, conversational letters, and apocalyptic images, not only rules and theological assertions? One reason is that God wants us to become his adult children, not remain infants. To embark on that process, we need a life-changing vision of God. Jesus and the Scriptures inspire that vision by engaging not only our minds, but also our imaginations, curiosity, voices, bodies, and relationships. Article 11: Marriage, Singleness, and Family in the Confession of Faith of Canada’s Mennonite Brethren churches addresses human intimate relationships. Like many of the articles about discipleship, this article mainly describes what believers should do and not do. As for a compelling vision, Article 11 simply states that these behaviours are God’s design. When our neighbours don’t know Christ and his church though, we need to offer them an engaging vision of Godhonouring relationships that goes beyond dos and don’ts. We do that through stories, conversations, explanations, the arts and especially our lives. To communicate effectively, we ourselves need to catch the Bible’s three-part vision for how intimate relationships help the world know God. First, when women and men help each other tend the world on God’s behalf, God
is portrayed visibly. God created male and female humans in his image (Genesis 1–2). God commissioned them to tend the planet on God’s behalf, and to create generative relationships founded on love. Jesus showed that this assignment means much more than marrying and having children. Jesus embraced single and married men and women, commissioning all of them to help each other in God’s mission – as the early church demonstrated. In whatever ways women and men cooperate in God’s good work, they portray God to the world. This primary vision is to guide all our intimate relationships. A secondary vision is specific to married couples. They portray the relationship between Christ and the church when they adopt a Holy Spirit-ed life of mutual submission (Ephesians 5). For instance, when husbands sacrifice themselves for their wives and wives respect their husbands, the character of God and the church become visible. Parenting, decision-making, coordinating employment, and sexual intimacy are all to be shaped by loving mutuality (cf. 1 Corinthians 7 and 11). Marriage, as described in the Confession of Faith, ultimately demonstrates attributes of the persons of the Trinity: faithful, reliable, self-giving, passionately desirous, generative, productive, and alike yet different. A parallel secondary vision is specific to unmarried adults. This includes people who’ve chosen not to marry and those
who are unmarried involuntarily. They may be no longer married because of bereavement or divorce; legally married but living separately; unmarried yet having sexually intimate relationships; living with a partner without getting married; or elderly with a live-in friend. Significantly, many of these people feel excluded from church life. The apostle Paul, who was unmarried, writes that the Lord is the most important person in the life of an unmarried person (1 Corinthians 7). Adults who accept this vision live entirely according to the interests of Jesus, who too was unmarried. In this vision, unmarried people are full members of Jesus’ community. Theologian Stanley Grenz points out that the church needs both married and unmarried adults. Married couples reflect the exclusive love of God, whose love creates community based on covenant. Unmarried people reflect the inclusive love of God, whose love reaches far and wide, seeking to encompass all of humanity in community. By showing the love of commitment and the love of openness, married and unmarried men and women together reflect a fuller image of God. This three-part vision is a starting point for practising “marriage, singleness, and family” in ways that portray God faithfully to our families, neighbours, and critics.
[CONTINUED ON PAGE 29 Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
Growing our roots:
Discipleship cross-pollination at MB Bible schools
Columbia equips the next generation for discipleship, ministry, and leadership in service to their churches and communities. We care about the ways our theology connects with on-the-ground experience in the church and the world. Our newest programs – applied leadership, social entrepreneurship, general studies, and our emergency response technician certificate – illustrate this focus. Who has God shown himself to be in Scripture? How does this vision illuminate the key questions that arise as we engage with the world? How does it clarify our calling, as individuals and as members of Christ’s church? How can we develop the Spirit-given gifts and skills to pursue these callings? These are the questions at the heart of practical theology. We hope every student leaves our community having explored them faithfully. 16 16
Summer Summer 2018 2018 | | mbherald.com mbherald.com
What is the mission of God as it relates to the mandate of your school? CBC: We long to see our staff, students, and alumni engaged in God’s mission of reconciling “to himself all things” (Colossians 1:20). Through Jesus’ power living in us, we aim “to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength,” and “love our neighbours as we love ourselves” (Luke 10:27). God’s mission concerns every aspect of our lives. CBC integrates spiritual formation, biblical studies, mission engagement, and leadership development with general studies to help students develop a biblical understanding of life and mission.
Imagine our country and our world transformed by Jesus through healthy, vibrant churches and ministries, filled with biblically articulate, missionfocused, Spirit-led, and theologicallytrained pastors and leaders! To pursue this dream, MB Seminary comes alongside men and women to educate, equip, and disciple them for life and ministry centred on Jesus and the Bible. We are a Canadian ministry with an international reach, an MB ministry with multi-denominational relationships. MB Seminary has three classroom locations in Canada (Langley, Winnipeg, Toronto) and we are developing a borderless world campus. In addition to providing easily accessible leadership development through MinistryLift, we have a new partnership with MB Mission to build a global training ministry.
CMU: Those who recall CMU’s MB founding school, MBBC, will remember 1 Corinthians 3:11 on the outside wall. CMU’s Bible college roots continue to shape the university’s commitment to faith formation and nurturing in the life of the church within all educational programs because “No one can lay any other foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (CEB). ETEQ: We are helping students find their mission. In the words of student Gabriel Bouchard: “ETEQ is helping me discover my passion. While my original goal for studying theology was personal, I have come to realized that it is in service to others that theology comes alive.” MB Seminary: Jesus’ call to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) has inspired and challenged his followers for almost 2,000 years, and they form the foundation for the mission, vision, and activities of MB Seminary. Our goal, our heartbeat, is to do everything we can to help our churches and ministry leaders grow in their faith and become the best leaders and disciple-makers that they can be in their contexts. PHOTO COURTESY COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE
[SCHOOLS SBC: An SBC education focuses on empowering servant leaders with a flourishing relationship with Jesus, skills and a passion to serve the local church, and a compassionate heart for a world that desperately needs Jesus. Thrive: In Genesis 12, God sent and blessed Abraham, so that he and his descendants would be a blessing to the earth. In Matthew 28, Jesus sent his disciples to make more disciples. Both these mandates are at the heart of our mission: to use our heads, hands, and hearts in loving God and loving others. We desire our students to be a blessing and make disciples wherever they find themselves after Thrive.
Who are your students?
ETEQ is rooted in the ongoing collaborative effort of evangelical church families to provide university-level theological education in service to Christian communities so that men and women may be equipped to serve Christ in the ever-changing context of Quebec and the world. We have grown to offer not only a bachelor in theology, but two micro-programs, three minors, and a master of theology with three streams. For 40 years, all our programs have been in French, first as IBL, then as ETEM, now under ETEQ – a partnership between Mennonite Brethren and Christian & Missionary Alliance since 2016. In fall 2018, we will offer a minor in pastoral studies in English.
CBC: Students choose CBC for the chance to explore God’s will for their lives, study the Bible and grow spiritually, and live in friendly, Christ-centred community. Of our 426 students last year, 237 were women and 189 men, 390 of them were Canadian (B.C. 275, Alta. 45, Sask. 22, Man. 13, Ont. 33, Que. 2), most of them between 18–35. They included Mennonite, Baptist, Alliance, Pentecostal, and Evangelical Free members, with 30 percent coming from MB churches.
CMU: We had 932 full-time equivalent students in 2017–18; 52 of them in Outtatown. Some 42 percent are Anabaptist; 43 percent from other denominations (e.g., Pentecostal, Baptist, Anglican, Orthodox, Catholic); and 15 percent don’t disclose a church affiliation. Manitobans make up 75 percent of CMU students; 15 percent come from 32 countries outside Canada. ETEQ: Our students are all ages (from their 20s to postretirement) and from diverse backgrounds: French Canadian, Haitian, Congolese, Ivorian, Central American. They attend MB, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Pentecostal, Baptist, Catholic, and non-denominational churches. MB Seminary: As the national seminary of MB churches, we have students from diverse backgrounds and ministry experiences. Most study part-time while working in ministry or marketplace; others commit to full-time studies. Students range from 23–64, with a median age of 39. Most are Canadian; some come from Brazil, Paraguay, Romania, South Korea, and U.S.A. SBC: Our four supporting conferences (MB, CMC, EMC, EMMC) comprise 70 percent of our student body. Our students are looking for a theologically conservative perspective and the opportunity to discern God’s plan for their life.
“Make disciples of all nations” is Jesus’ command to all his followers (Matthew 28:19). This is not simply a task for pastors, but for all who follow Jesus. As disciples, we give glory to God and bring light to the dark places (2 Corinthians 4:5–6). Thrive is an eight-month discipleship school (September– April) that balances practical learning with experience. Students live in community on the Bethany College campus and immerse themselves in biblical topics through the program’s modular design that features frequent service opportunities. We teach students to be lights in the darkness, lead them into close contact with the Most High King, and equip them for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).
THRIVE: Our students are emerging adults looking to grow as disciples and build a solid foundation of faith before going on to post-secondary school, work, or travel. They are moving from their parents’ faith to their own intentional pursuit of Jesus, our one true treasure (Matthew 13:44).
What are the strengths of your educational institution? CBC: We have a Christ-centred community – each person matters to God and to Columbia. We take a holistic approach to passionate discipleship and academic excellence. How does faith connect with marketing, leadership, psychology, cross-cultural communication, or emergency medical care? While “our culture…creates a split between the private and the public,” writes Mark Sayers in The Vertical Self, “Holiness brings us back together again.” CMU: CMU brings together calling and career, wide-ranging disciplines and discipleship. All students must take six courses in biblical and theological studies – the most of any Christian university in Canada. We nurture Christian imagination; the secular world is often interested in how CMU sees ways forward on issues like mass migration, economic disparity, hate speech. CMU is growing partnerships with First Nations and seeking to be a leader in responding to the 94 Calls to Truth and Reconciliation. ETEQ: ETEQ seeks to advance the capacity of Kingdom workers in French. Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
Born of a desire to study the Bible and to train Sunday School teachers, Steinbach Bible College began offering daytime classes at Steinbach MB Church in 1936. SBC’s mission continues to be “an evangelical Anabaptist college, empowering servant leaders to follow Jesus, serve the church, and engage the world.” This is achieved through classes, daily chapels, faculty mentoring, care groups, and opportunity for reflection. SBC students may focus on a ministry area including youth, worship, children, and pastoral ministries. Our Mission X program exposes student to a variety of needs using Acts 1:8 as a model. First-year students spend five days engaging marginalized people in inner-city Winnipeg. Second-years spend eight days serving in Northern Manitoba First Nations’ communities. Third-year students experience three weeks overseas. SBC has expanded to include a three-year BA online, a fourmonth discipleship training school called Pursuit, and a BA in marketplace ministry.
CMU offers undergraduate programs in arts and sciences: biblical and theological studies, Christian ministry, psychology, music, English, history, communications and media, business, peacebuilding and collaborative development, environmental studies, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and interdisciplinary studies. Graduate programs include a theology and Christian ministry MA and certificate, an MA in peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. All degree programs require students to complete a practicum. About 40 percent choose church-ministry practica; others pursue community development, business, education, government, healthcare, and other sectors. While travelling in Canada and either South Africa or Guatemala, Outtatown discipleship students serve, live in community, explore life’s big questions, witness to Christ, and are nurtured in faith.
MB Seminary: Paul’s words to Timothy speak to the seminary’s purpose: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). With the MB Confession of Faith as our theological and relational core, MB Seminary partners with five schools across Canada and multiple MB churches to provide graduate theological education and church-based leadership development. SBC: SBC students say they are growing in faith and discipleship and enjoying their experience, confident that their instructors are knowledgeable and consider the Bible foundational for learning. THRIVE: Discipleship happens best as we do life together and “speak the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life” (Jeff Vanderstelt, Gospel Fluency). We offer a small, intentional community for students to engage on a deeper level. Our program balances classroom learning and practical ministry application. Each student has three mentors: a spiritual mentor, a ministry mentor, and a home church mentor. We keep students connected with their home churches as much as possible, and we partner with local churches to provide community and ministry opportunities. 18
How is your school collaborating with other MB schools and with MB churches? CBC: Our location allows us to work closely with many MB churches. We enjoy good relationships with and promote the programs of MB schools. We have an excellent course transfer agreement with CMU. Columbia grads who register for MB Seminary receive advanced standing. Recognizing its importance for the Quebec conference, we have encouraged Columbia’s partners to support ETEQ. CMU: In addition to partnering with MB Seminary, CMU and other MB schools offer students block credit transfers and complementary extended education. We enjoy close relationships between our presidents, faculty, and staff. CMU partners with churches by inviting pastorsin-residence to campus, visiting worship services, and asking leaders how God is at work in their congregations. Our degree students serve congregations and MB Mission through their practica. We nurture a love of the church and strengthen students’ capacity to understand Canadian society and witness to Christ within this context.
ETEQ: ETEQ has been in conversation with CMU, CBC, and MB Seminary to explore how we may synergize. Our teachers preach in both French and English MB churches in Quebec and across Canada. This year, we offered a job fair that brought together 18 leaders from churches and chaplaincy ministries to connect with students. One Montreal pastor who visited the school for the first time said, “I’ve been dreaming for years of seeing church families gather together in a spirit of Kingdom partnerships. Today the dream became a reality.” MB Seminary: Our primary means of ministry is collaboration. Through ACTS, we partner with three other denominational schools in B.C. In Winnipeg, we partner with CMU to offer graduate courses and degrees. In Ontario, we have a new partnership with Tyndale Seminary. We collaborate with MB Mission with both TREK and a new global training ministry in development. Finally, we collaborate with local churches to offer an MDiv (Immerse) and selected graduate courses in a modular format. SBC: SBC has a transfer agreement with CMU that allows students a faster track to completing university degrees, including BAs in pre-education and majors in the humanities, math, social science, and music. Students may take graduate courses with MB Seminary while completing their BA at PHOTO COURTESY COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE
[SCHOOLS SBC. SBC gives transfers of up to four credit hours from MB Collegiate Institute, and up to 18 credit hours from Outtatown and Thrive – to help students get a jump on their program. Thrive: We desire that MB churches remain present in their students’ lives during Thrive. Churches send their students to be discipled; we send them back as contributing members. Our hope is that growing knowledge of God leads our students to participate in what he is doing through churches and organizations.
How does your school complement the work of the church as it trains its students? CBC: We mandate a reflective learning process in every ministry setting. In the busyness of ministry, we can become trapped in a cycle of (mostly good) activity, and forget to ask: Why? What’s best? and Are our activities honouring Christ and bearing fruit? When we ask the hard questions, we open new avenues for God’s Spirit to speak. ETEQ: Until the 1960s, it was illegal to evangelize in Quebec. The lack of trained leaders contributed to the decline in the MB family following the growth of the 1960s–80s. It is ETEQ’s goal to see learning practised within the church. Most first-year students do a practicum in their church or a para-church organization. ETEQ offers continuing education courses a few times a year in our churches.
(camps, MB Mission, MCC). Student internships are a powerful way of collaborating with our churches for gift discernment and development. Many graduates go on to lead MB churches and organizations. We are excited about our relationships with provincial conferences as we train servant leaders for the church. CMU: We meet regularly with staff of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba, CCMBC, and MB Mission to partner on youth events (sixpointeight), pastors’ conferences (ReNew, Pastors’ Theological Seminar) and publications (Direction Journal, Believers Church Bible Commentary). We resource MB churches through CommonWord Bookstore, the reWorship website, choir deputations, and public dialogues such as the JJ Thiessen Lectures and Face2Face conversations. ETEQ: We share resources with AEFMQ (Quebec MB conference), including inviting them to present at midi-vies (Lunch ’n Learns). MCC shipped 6,000 of our surplus books to Congo. We receive free rent from CCMBC and, in turn, have offered classroom/meeting space to AEFMQ and C2C Network. MB Seminary: Our mandate to educate and equip is not limited to our graduate degree programs. MinistryLift equips pastors and ministry leaders with ongoing training and provides churches with resources to help them grow as disciples of Jesus. By collaborating with provincial conferences and local churches, we customize our training to fit the expressed needs of specific contexts and all phases of life.
SBC: SBC requires students to include service learning units and encourages them to engage in a practicum or internship where they can serve while being mentored. Thrive: Our focus is on emerging adults. Research shows that often students of this age drift away from the church. We desire to work with churches to keep their young adults connected and thriving in their faith in this pivotal season of their lives.
How are you partnering with churches, conference, and other institutions on non-formal learning opportunities? CBC: Our students engage in service and learning opportunities with many of our churches and MB organizations
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
SBC: Every SBC student volunteers weekly in a church, ministry, or other non-profits. Faculty speak at church retreats, events, and services. Students participate in MB Mission’s SOAR Heartland. Collectively, our students serve 250 weeks each summer as part of the summer ministry bursary program. Mission X partners with churches, missionaries, and parachurch organizations across Manitoba and the world. Thrive: Students are connected with churches – as youth sponsors, Sunday school teachers, worship band members – and are paired with a ministry mentor so they receive valuable feedback as they contribute.
What is the significance of an in-person study experience in today’s world of virtual opportunities? CBC: Young adults are coming of age in a fragmented, polarized culture consumed with questions of identity and purpose, yet without a stable centre to orientate them. An in-person study experience that focuses on transformational development enables them to explore the pressing questions in a caring and constructive community, one that includes older, mature Jesus followers and peers desiring to grow. CMU: Quality education includes much that happens beyond the classroom – community, friendship, trust, athletics, faith formation through fellowship groups and chapel three times/ week. In the classroom, students have the opportunity to make oral presentations and engage in conversation with peers and faculty. In an era of online platforms and polarization of views, learning with people from different starting places is vital. The yearning for quality relationships is growing as e-resources, loneliness, and anxiety increase.
ETEQ: The value of knowing your peers and having face-to-face conversations around challenging topics cannot be understated. SBC: SBC students consistently talk about their strong sense of community. Lifelong friendships are developed through the dorm experience and face-to-face delivery of classes. Students are going through major life changes. An in-person study experience among godly guides encourages the personalization of faith as students mature intellectually, socially, and spiritually. Thrive: Jesus is not a sit-and-learn kind of teacher. He is a goand-do-likewise kind of guy. In-person studies allow students to put that into practice by living and being with people.
On the other hand, how do digital platforms allow your school to extend learning online? CBC: Digital platforms can dramatically increase the accessibility of theological education. Although some students struggle with maintaining motivation in a more individualized context, mature students often thrive in an online setting, as the constraints of location and time can be reduced or eliminated. CMU: We livestream classes, particularly graduate classes in biblical and theological studies, with students joining from across Canada. ETEQ: We offer minimal online courses, usually through our partner schools. MB Seminary: The Holy Spirit is not limited by geography or social context. Whether learners and teachers are in the same room, country, or planet, genuine learning and transformation can – and should – happen. For some, the flexibility of borderless education offers learning experiences that would be otherwise unattainable. Teaching, learning, spiritual formation,
[SCHOOLS and pastoral care look different in each context – we can only imagine what the next era of education will look like! SBC: Online learning allows students from across the world to gain a degree at their own pace without having to uproot their families. Thrive: Knowledge is easier to obtain – if people are intentional in putting this into practice.
If MB theological schools disappeared, what would we not be able to do together as MB churches in Canada? CBC: MB theological schools help people discern God’s call: to relationship with God, to live biblically, to discern their gifts, so that they can serve the church and world as they live and proclaim the gospel of Jesus. Without our schools, we would have to look elsewhere for discipleship opportunities and church leadership formation, and we would lose our sense of who we are and what holds us together as the MB church. To maintain our MB theological and missional identity as Anabaptist evangelicals, we need places for in-depth study of Scripture, the church, and the world. CMU: The presence of schools is significant to the long-term presence of denominations, bodies of faith, and flourishing communities. Just as different people have a role in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12), different agencies of church ministry each have a role. In an era when public education asserts itself as the transforming agent in society, it is vital that faith-based education be present in its more modest claims. ETEQ: Quebec almost experienced a collapse of Anabaptist evangelicalism. We need quality formal education, partnered with mentorship and experience within the church, to deal with spiritual and structural challenges. We see a dilution of Anabaptist theology within MB churches, a trend that would be expedited in the absence of dedicated schools. MB Seminary: One of the critical roles of MB theological schools is to call our churches and leaders to be centred in our confessional core. Not only does our Confession speak into our identity, it also calls us to a united mission to reach Canada and beyond with the Good News of Jesus. In our current configuration of MB churches across Canada, no single region has the capacity to form a national seminary to train church and ministry leaders at the graduate level. MB Seminary is a great example of a ministry that exists and is effective only if we work together. SBC: We could see an increased movement away from our Anabaptist roots. We would have a harder time finding trained volunteers. There would be a weakening of community and connection from church to church across provinces. At provincial and national conventions, SBC often connects alumni around the country across age and geographical barriers.
PHOTO COURTESY COLUMBIA BIBLE COLLEGE
Thrive: Emerging adults have an important place in the church today. We have much to learn from them as they grow and mature in their faith and we have a responsibility to walk alongside them in their journey into adulthood. The discipleship of this generation will be instrumental in the growth and development of the church.
What message would you like to give to Canadian MBs from your school? Bryan Born (CBC): We need places where the so-called ordinary tasks of faith development can be discovered as transformational, where young adults can patiently study Scripture while identity questions are becoming more focused and urgent. We need places where they can take steps of obedience in reflective, supportive environments that are attentive to the Spirit of God as the agent of transformation. We need places to articulate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as good news – as a pattern for our lives today and a sure hope for tomorrow. Cheryl Pauls (CMU): Students don’t just repeat back what they’ve learned, but offer insights that take church and society forward in ways far beyond what I could have imagined. I’m inspired by their love of God’s Word and its role in shaping their communal and individual lives. I have great hope for the future of God’s church. Kristen Corrigan (ETEQ): We are your French school! We have come a long way since the early days of the Mennonite Brethren in Quebec. Now that we are offering theology courses in English, we welcome you to experience theology in action in a French culture and a post-Christian context. Mark Wessner (MB Seminary): We are here to serve you, your churches, your leaders, and anyone among you who has a heart for Jesus and his mission. Tell us your dreams, your challenges, and your opportunities, and we will do everything we can to come alongside you in ministry. Just imagine: 250 MB churches, more than 550 pastors, 1,500 elders, and countless ministry leaders participating together in theological education and ministry training that enables us to pursue the mission that God has given! Rob Reimer (SBC): Attending Bible college is an opportunity to firmly establish one’s faith foundation during the key personalization years after high school. Receiving college training in a Christ-centred environment could be the difference between a young adult launching a vibrant lifetime walk with Jesus or drifting away from faith. Bible college is about increasing career readiness, biblical literacy, and ministry mindedness, and discovering vocation and calling. Darryl Balzer (Thrive): We cannot do this important task of discipleship on our own. We thrive on partnership; we together are the body of Christ. We want to work together well with the church. No investment is too small: we welcome prayer, mentorship, finances, intentional presence. Let’s equip our young people together. Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
CAMPS A growing season
Seeds of leadership and faith planted at camp Camp has given me such an opportunity to grow as a disciple, leader, evangelist, and prayer warrior. Every summer with camp ministry, I’m reminded that God is provider. God provides staff, finances, campers, stamina and energy, safety, and vision. Honestly, I’m surprised camp has been such a huge part of my story. I’m surprised that ministry is a part of my calling. I’m surprised that I have the ability to be involved in evangelism, leadership training, singing at the top of my lungs, hearing stories of God’s wonder, salvation and power! At first, I only viewed camp as a fun summer thing to do. I put camp and God in a pretty small box.
Journey into leadership My journey of camp ministry started with an invitation from a board member at Camp Likely who asked if I’d be interested in lifeguarding. 22
Then, God continued to call me back to be involved summer after summer. Each year, I understood more deeply the impact camp had on faith and development – for me, the campers, and the staff. Nine years later, as camp director, I’m still involved in what God is doing through camp in the communities of Williams Lake and Likely, B.C. Camp Likely gave me the chance to listen to God in meaningful ways through mentors, Bible stories, other counsellors. I witnessed childlike faith in these children and youth, and it inspired me to remember that God is not keeping tabs on how I behave, but instead focuses on who I become.
Partners on the journey As I look back, it makes sense that camp would build confidence in my faith – and extend into other parts of life. While I attended Columbia Bible College, the content of my classes came alive as I related them to tangible experiences of growth in leadership at camp. As well, I engaged differently through my church because of the impact the summers had on my faith. I experienced the value of weekly youth ministry, the years-long relationships churches provide that camp can’t offer. At church, I experienced the value of multi-generational worship, prayer, and learning.
PHOTOS COURTESY STILLWOOD
[CAMPS The more involved I become in camp, the more I see the impact of the church in the process.
Local church, a safe haven For more than 10 years, Camp Likely has had a unique and meaningful relationship with Cariboo Bethel, the Mennonite Brethren church in Williams Lake, B.C. This gives our campers a safe haven and spiritual community throughout the year. Camp Likely invites the Cariboo Bethel youth pastor to share his heart at teen week. He then hands out a card with his cell number and an invitation for our campers to call him and go for coffee or ice cream after camp. Our goal is to offer these teen campers the option of a youth group, youth leader mentors, and weekly connection. 2017 was a year of disappointment at Camp Likely: nearby wildfires forced us to cancel the camping season. Campers not only missed the summer fun, they experienced the stress of evacuation, uncertainty about their homes, cancelled plans, and their parents’ financial pressures. Looking forward to 2018, we are excited that Cariboo Bethel has partnered with us to offer bursaries to young people in the area to attend camp for free. This is an opportunity for these children to be kids again after a summer of trauma.
How can churches partner with camps on one mission in Canada today? Camp will only be as strong as our support; as our support increases, so do ministry opportunities. Churches, camps, individuals, and Bible schools need to work more intentionally together to see more lives transformed by the power of Jesus. We cannot do it alone. —Bob Kroeker, Camp Evergreen Offer a bursary program to support those who serve at camp. It‘s a great investment that helps a student afford to work at camp, where they grow tremendously – and likely return excited to serve more. It’s a win-win for camp and church alike as they reach the world as one. —Darrell Janzen, Simonhouse We appreciate when churches invest the time to gain an understanding of what the camp ministry is all about: come out to camp, “walk the land,” hear the life-changing stories following active presentation of the gospel, and discover the prayer needs. This often leads to a commitment to help in tangible ways. —Les Klassen, Camp Bob
Through these bursaries, Cariboo Bethel demonstrates the relevance of local church to camp ministry. We anticipate that campers will appreciate how the local church enabled them to come out to Likely. As camp director, I truly value knowing there is a safe place I can direct campers after the summer season is over, a place where they can thrive and continue to grow: the local church. Cariboo Bethel will love on these kids, invest in them, and welcome them into their congregation.
Local church, provisions for the journey Though far away from Likely, my home congregation, Broadway MB Church, Chilliwack, B.C., helped pave a way for me to be mentored in leadership. The people at Broadway encouraged me in my increasing involvement at Camp Likely, offered grants that made it possible to attend Columbia Bible College, and spoke into what God is calling me to. I am grateful that churches see the value of camp ministry for evangelism, leadership development, Bible knowledge and mentorship. What an honour to work alongside churches that love their community!
[ Kate Reid is director of Camp Likely, one
of five camps owned by the B.C. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
Camp Evergreen Sundre, Alta. Executive director: Bob “Ranger” Kroeker
As I reflect on all the summers I’ve worked at camp, and all the camps I’ve worked at, summer 2017 will be one of the best. We still had stress, homesick campers, and hospital runs, but they seemed significantly less. The best part of summer was seeing our staff loving our campers. Of the 944 children and youth campers that joined us in the summer of 2017, 476 made a significant faith decision. That number is why we do what we do. Our guest group ministry continues to bring people from many different religions and backgrounds to camp where they are exposed to the love of Christ, often for the first time. Reaching Higher – our new lodge and staff homes – continues to advance. We moved into the homes just before Christmas 2017 – and because of the strong support for Camp Evergreen, we built both homes for the price of one. We’re excited to take the momentum generated now to focus on our need for a new lodge.
Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre Lindell Beach, B.C. Executive director: David Seeley
The summer is shaping up to be another fantastic opportunity to grow and disciple children, youth, and adults for the kingdom at Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre. Stillwood anticipates some 3,000 children campers and 250+ young adult workers over the summer months. The biggest change for Stillwood is related to the recent retirement of Harry and Gail Edwards who served the camp for the past 21 years. Under Harry’s leadership, camp ministry saw significant growth and prosperity. David Seeley, executive director at Redberry Bible Camp in Saskatchewan for the 24
past five years, takes on leadership as executive director at Stillwood. David and his family are excited about the ministry at Stillwood and are looking forward to being involved in a ministry that continues the rich tradition of Mennonite Brethren youth camps in Canada.
Simonhouse Bible Camp Cranberry Portage, Man. Director: Darrell Janzen
Simonhouse Bible Camp, located in northern Manitoba in Grass River Provincial Park is a front-line evangelistic ministry where 80 percent or more of our campers come from little-tono church influence and may have never heard the name of Jesus before. Our young staff grow quickly in their faith as they learn how to share the love of Jesus in words and in action. Reaching many small, isolated local towns and Indigenous communities, Simonhouse has campers who travel up to three hours or more to attend camp. Some children have to come by airplane or train. Each year we see some 20 percent of campers make a first-time decision to follow Jesus. We see the sheer excitement of these children and teens as they encounter a living and loving God! We are so excited when we hear stories of these campers sharing Christ with their families and friends at home. Between all the excitement of games, forest fires, and bears, Simonhouse is a great place to “Be still and know that [he] is God!”
Campfire Ministries & Camp Bob Campbell River, B.C. Directors: Les and Val Klassen
Camp Bob is a rustic, wilderness camp set in a pristine lakefront forest, simple by many standards, but with a mission that is timeless in its relevancy: “introducing people to Jesus Christ.” PHOTO COURTESY SIMONHOUSE
The message is simple gospel, but the mission goes beyond that with a desire and intention “to change and inspire children’s hearts by encountering God through the testimony of Jesus Christ in us.” At Camp Bob, we are purposeful in encouraging our staff about the importance of consistency and intentionality in modelling how their lives reflect the teachings of Christ. Our focus is not just providing a great summer experience for campers, but in creating an opportunity where campers and staff alike experience the reality of God in a way that inspires them for life. The “testimony of Jesus in us” provides the proof that the gospel is relevant to our campers, and inspires hope that God can actually be a part of their life, giving them the tools to be a conqueror, rooted in God, understanding that they have been created for a purpose. Our motto is simple: “Camp Bob isn’t just a place to come to … it’s a place to go out from!”
mbherald.com/category/news We’ve got more to share than room to spare. Visit our website to discover additional online stories, updates from agency partners and churches – and more.
Tribute: Walter Unger, 1936–2018 Walter Unger served the church as a teacher, administrator, and board member.
Joy in the Spirit As a local band played “You are the most high God,” international guests from the global Anabaptist family swayed and sang at this year’s Renewal 2027 “The Holy Spirit transforming us” event in Kenya.
Blessing those who mourn How churches can respond to national grief
Other camps in the MB family
Pines Bible Camp
Supplying food to people displaced by violence in Kasai
Grand Forks, B.C. Operations manager: Ryley Heppner
Gardom Lake Bible Camp
Mennonites in DR Congo are responding to the suffering of displaced people there and in the cities of Kikwit and Tshikapa.
Enderby, B.C. Executive director: Rikk Kieft
Redberry Bible Camp Redberry Lake, Sask. Executive director: Roland Thiessen
West Bank Bible Camp Swift Current, Sask. Executive director: Jeff Penner
Camp Crossroads Torrance, Ont. Executive director: Ed Heinrichs
Camp Péniel Lac Théodore, Que. Director: Jason Levesque
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
Andrew Gleddiesmith Doug Dunbar
TITLE: lead pastor, Gospel Chapel, Grand Forks, B.C. START: Apr. 1, 2018 EDUCATION: BA in Christian ministry, Briercrest College, Caronport, Sask.; MTS in Old Testament, ACTS/CBS; AA in music performance, Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton PREVIOUS MINISTRY: worship director (2008–2013), lead pastor (2013–2018), North Valley Baptist Church, Mission, B.C.; adjunct faculty (2008–2016), Pacific Life Bible College Surrey, B.C. FAMILY: Sarah; children Kara, Cadance, Kristen, Caleb, Corban ON MINISTRY: I believe God has gifted me with a passion to teach his Word with clarity and enthusiasm in a way that connects the message of the text to our lives today. God has also given me experiences that have helped me to have a well-rounded view of the ministries of the church and to provide a calming and consistent voice in the midst of sometimes turbulent waters.
Kelby Friesen pastor of community life, Steinbach (Man.) MB Church START: Aug. 15, 2018 EDUCATION: BA in ministry leadership, Steinbach Bible College PREVIOUS MINISTRY: summer staff, Winkler (Man.) Bible Camp; young adults leader, Fort Garry MB Church, Winnipeg; crosscultural service with AIM, Tanzania FAMILY: Michelle ON MINISTRY: The church is such a beautiful mix of people: different ages, careers, and cultural backgrounds all drawn together. I love to see relationships cross these borders and grow stronger because of the differences. I am passionate about growing these relationships both within the church and reaching out to the surrounding community and world, spreading the good news and working for the Kingdom. TITLE:
TITLE: lead pastor, Fraserview Church, Richmond, B.C. START: Apr. 1, 2018 EDUCATION: MDiv, Regent College, Vancouver PREVIOUS MINISTRY: Bon Accord Community Church; UTown Church FAMILY: Stacey Gleddiesmith ON MINISTRY: My favourite thing about being a pastor is to see people transformed by their experience of Jesus.
Nathan McCorkindale TITLE: North Site pastor, Forest Grove Community Church, Saskatoon START: Aug. 15, 2018 EDUCATION: MA Theology, Fresno (Cal.) Pacific Biblical Seminary PREVIOUS MINISTRY: pastor of discipleship, Philadelphia MB Church, Watrous, Sask. (2011–2017); MB Mission Global Servant (2017–2018) FAMILY: Niki; children Levi, Kayden, Madelyn, Clara ON MINISTRY: I am excited to work with God’s church to be part of God’s great plan to reconcile all things in Christ (Ephesians 1:10), and to spur each other on in fulfilling our divine mission.
Brian Ray lead pastor, Richmond Park MB Church, Brandon, Man. START: June 1, 2018 EDUCATION: BRE, Briercrest Bible College; MDiv, Canadian Theological Seminary PREVIOUS MINISTRY: pastor, Parkland MB Church, Yorkton, Sask. (2009–2018) FAMILY: Rachel; 1 son TITLE:
David Seeley TITLE: executive director, Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre, Lindell Beach, B.C. START: Apr. 2, 2018 EDUCATION: BA in youth ministry, Rocky Mountain College, Calgary PREVIOUS MINISTRY: youth pastor (part-time) in Calgary; recruitment and admissions, Rocky Mountain College, Ambrose University College, Calgary; executive director, Redberry Bible Camp, Sask. FAMILY: Tracie; son Anthony
My family spent many of our summers volunteering at camp. My life was changed at camp, and I have seen thousands of children and young adults have their lives changed as well. I received a calling into camp ministry when I was still a college student, but it was working in a business environment that I heard the call to full-time ministry. I love the potential for camp to extend the ministry of the local church in connecting people with God’s Kingdom. ON MINISTRY:
Craig Thiessen TITLE: co-lead pastor, Ross Road Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C. START: Jan. 1, 2018 EDUCATION: BA in youth work, CBC, Abbotsford, B.C.; MDiv, MB Seminary, Langley, B.C. PREVIOUS MINISTRY: youth pastor, RRCC (2009-2015); MB Mission Global Servant (2017–2018) FAMILY: Jenny; children Joshua, Kenzi ON MINISTRY: I’m privileged to serve in the church that I grew up in and where I have previously served as youth pastor. I’m excited to be partnering with my friend and mentor Art Birch as co-lead pastor in a 18-month leadership transition process. I love our church family and am eager to see us reaching out into our community for the glory of God.
Chris and Rachel Wilson TITLE: co-lead pastors, Church on Five, Richmond, B.C. START: May 13, 2018 EDUCATION: Chris – BA in religion, Kingswood University, Sussex, N.B.; MA in theological studies, Northeastern Seminary, Rochester, N.Y. Rachel – BA in religion, Kingswood University, Sussex, N.B.; MA in theological studies, Eastern University, Philadelphia, Pa. PREVIOUS MINISTRY: student pastors, Trinity Wesleyan Church, Indianapolis, Ind. (2006–2010); student ministries pastors (2010–2015), co-senior associate/teaching pastors (2015–2018), Victory Highway Wesleyan Church, Painted Post, N.Y. FAMILY: 2 children ON MINISTRY: It’s all about people. We love working with individuals and families that come from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. Nothing is as satisfying as helping people engage with Christ and thrive in their relationship with him.
Goodbyes Kevin Koop, lead pastor, Crestwood,
Medicine Hat, 2015–2018 Bobby Klassen, pastor of student Ministries, Steinbach MB Church, 2011–2018 Mike Penninga, senior pastor, Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church, 2009–2018 Kerry Dyck, lead pastor, River West Christian Church, 1997–2018 Alex Suderman, pastor, Kitchener (Ont.) MB Church, 2007–2018
Community News The board of Thrive at Bethany expanded Darryl Balzer’s role as president to include program leadership, vision, and management. Program director Keith Hillier – who has instrument in setting up the framework and executing the first year of program – resigned from Thrive at Bethany. Bryan Vellacott (male residence director) was appointed director of community development, a new role created to assist with program, ministry placements and church relations.
BIRTHS ADEY – to Bami & Ola (Ilugbiyin) of Saskatoon, a son, Toluwalope Jason, Dec. 7, 2017. MILLER – to Christopher Ball & Kaitlin Miller of Winnipeg, a son, Wesley Sulo Ball, Apr. 1, 2018. BUECKERT – to Greg & Jennifer (Piper) of Dalmeny, Sask., a daughter, Gwendolyn Margaret, Dec. 27, 2017. GUENTHER – to Casey & Christina of Boissevain, Man., a daughter, Mira Joy, Feb. 15, 2018. HILDEBRAND – to Craig & Kaitlyn of Boissevain, Man., a daughter, Elise Mae, Mar. 1, 2018. HILDEBRAND – to Scott & Darci of Boissevain, Man., a daughter, Brynn Christina, Jan. 6, 2018. LUMGAIR – to Nathan & Ariane of Boissevain, Man., a son, Oliver Joseph, Feb. 8, 2018. NG – to Wayne & Beth (McAleer) of Saskatoon, a son, Kaden Blair, July 12, 2017. OLYNICK – to Braden & Carrie (Sawatzky) of Dalmeny, Sask., a son, Jack Braden, Dec. 17, 2017. SCHICK – to Connor & Michelle (Beherns) of Saskatoon, a son, Ben Oscar, Mar. 1, 2018. WILLMS – to Kevin & Sarah of Kitchener, Ont., a son, Joshua Daniel, Apr. 22, 2018. WINKLER – to Mike & Lolita of Steinbach, Man., a daughter, Zoey Azalea, Apr. 6, 2018. WUSCHKE – to Tobi & Megan (Peters) of Saskatoon, a daughter, Maisie Alice, Aug. 13, 2017.
WEDDING Eric KLASSEN of Saskatoon & Melissa THIESSEN of Warman, Sask., Mar. 3, 2018.
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
CULLODEN CHURCH 50th ANNIVERSARY (Vancouver, BC)
We’ve We’ve We moved! moved!mo
Join us in celebrating God’s faithfulness Saturday, Sept. 22 & Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 For details & RSVP: www.cullodenchurch.com 604-327-4640
Associate pastor Lakeview Community Church (Killarney, Man.) is seeking applicants for the position of associate pastor with an emphasis in youth and family ministry. Lakeview Community Church is a multi-generational Mennonite Brethren church with a weekly attendance of 140. The successful candidate will work closely with the lead pastor to cover other areas of ministry such as pastoral counselling, pastoral care, missions and evangelism, preaching and administration. Our church is looking for an individual who is passionate about youth and family ministry, willing to build mentoring relationships, and excited about opportunities to engage both within the church and the community as a whole. To apply, please send cover letter, resume and a brief philosophy of ministry to email@example.com.
FOR YOUR NEXT MOVE Tedd Epp
Our newOur address Our new address as new of as June of June address 1, 1, 2018 2018 is:is: as of June 200-600 200-600 200-600 Shaftesbury Shaftesbury Blvd. Blvd.Shaftesbury Blvd. Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba Manitoba R3P R3P 2J1 2J1 Manitoba R3P 2J 204-261-1274 204-261-1274 204-261-1274 mds.mennonite.net mds.mennonite.net mds.mennonite.net
post & find Mennonite Brethren jobs.
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[CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15
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I also think that this vision can contribute to the conversations Mennonite Brethren and Canadians need to have about cohabitation, domestic violence, same-sex attraction, transgender identity, divorce, remarriage, pornography, sex before marriage, and welcoming people who seem “other.” I pray that this vision of God’s character and mission will help us engage those conversations – and our Confession of Faith – with the joy and humility befitting God’s adult children.
[ Andrew Dyck is assistant professor of
Christian spirituality and pastoral ministry for MB Seminary at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg. He and Martha fellowship at Westwood Community Church and Winnipeg’s Imago Dei Group. What do you think? Andrew invites your online responses to this article. at mbherald.com/article-11-marriagesingleness-family Go to mbherald.com/bfl to find reflections from the BFL on Articles 1–11, including Lord’s Supper and Discipleship.
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[ Photographer Rick Block, a member of
West Portal Church, Saskatoon, served with MCC in Mexico 2010–14. Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
FINISH LINES Anne Warkentin July 25, 1921–Oct. 16, 2017
BIRTHPLACE Neuendorf, Ukraine PARENTS Jacob & Anna Ketler MARRIAGE Peter Neufeld, Apr. 15, 1945 [d. 1988]; George
Warkentin, July 17, 1997 [d. 2012] BAPTISM Elim MB, Kelstern, Sask., age 17 CHURCH South Abbotsford (B.C.); Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY children Linda [d.], Alvin [d]; 4 grandchildren; 7 greatgrandchildren; stepchildren Irene (John), Mary (Bill), Bernie (Laura); 7 step-grandchildren; 14 step-great-grandchildren; 3 siblings
Anne’s family immigrated to Canada in 1923, arriving by boat in Quebec, then travelling by train to Kelstern, Sask., to begin a life without fear of persecution and hunger. The 1930s, with their crop failures, dirt storms, and grasshoppers, were hard, but Anne and her 9 siblings were happy. They attended church and learned God’s Word. Anne gave her life to God at 15, asking him to make her a blessing. Working in Winnipeg, she treasured her time at Mary Martha Home. Anne grew spiritually attending Herbert (Sask.) Bible School, 1943–45. Anne and Peter farmed in Truax, Sask., one year, then settled in Matsqui, B.C. When the Fraser River overf lowed in 1948, f loodwaters reached their second f loor. Anne and Peter moved to Abbotsford, B.C., operating a dairy and berry farm for 21 years and welcoming 2 children. After retiring to Clearbrook, B.C., they found joy working with MCC. They travelled with their trailer. After Peter’s death, she missed him, despite the love of her children and grandchildren. God was with Anne through many sad days. She worked at MCC a total of 27 years. After 9 years of widowhood, she married George. His children and grandchildren gave her much love. Anne and George enjoyed 15 years together. Her health deteriorated, and she loved to be with the Lord. She was a faithful, active servant at Clearbrook MB Church.
George Thiessen June 28, 1928–Oct. 29, 2017
BIRTHPLACE Kimball, Alta. MARRIAGE Elizabeth Loewen, Aug. 20, 1950 [d. Mar. 10, 2017] CHURCH Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY children Edith [d.], Kathy [d.], Rick, Ed, Dennis; 9
grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren
George’s family moved to Gem, Alta., where he met Elizabeth. He enjoyed 37 years teaching in northern B.C.; Morley, Alta.;
Summer 2018 | mbherald.com
Calgary; and Surrey, B.C. A successful entrepreneur, George leased recreational vehicles, managed a motel in White Rock, B.C., and owned and operated a travel agency in Surrey. For 2 summers, he built and sold homes. After retiring, he volunteered with Haggai Institute in Maui. George travelled Hawaii, Europe, the Mediterranean, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Many winters were spent with friends in the Ambassador RV Club. In 1992, George and Elizabeth purchased a winter home in Mesa, Ariz. He enjoyed camping with friends and vacationing with his family every year until 2016, when failing health made it too difficult to drive. He was an avid photographer. George played many instruments, but mandolin was his favourite. In retirement, he performed with an orchestra in Abbotsford. George loved to study the Bible and faithfully served the church. He documented his life story in the memoir Moments to Remember. George lived by Proverbs 3:5–6.
Theodor Hintz May 17, 1922–Dec. 1, 2017
BIRTHPLACE Dowling Lake District, Alta. PARENTS Chris & Christina Hintz MARRIAGE Dorothy Mitchell, 1966 [d.] CHURCH Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY stepchildren Jay (Dorothy), Cindy (Tom); 3 step-grandchildren
Ted’s family lived in the Scapa area of Alberta until he was 15, then moved to Endiang District, where they continued ranching and farming. The family was active in the Lutheran Church, and their door was always open to the ministers. They enjoyed animals and fostered good family relationships. Ted married Dorothy. She had 2 children. Ted farmed while she taught school. In 1976, they moved to B.C., where Ted worked for Okanagan Manufacturers. Ted and Dorothy were involved with Youth with a Mission in Hawaii. In Chico, Cal., they connected with Gleaners for the Hungry. Their training in the U.S. led them to form a prayer group. Out of their concern for the hungry, Ted, Dorothy, and 6 others made Okanagan Gleaners a reality. Ted and Dorothy lived in Penticton, B.C., 1976– 2008, then in Abbotsford, B.C., closer to their daughter. Due to health issues, they moved to Menno Home, Abbotsford. After Dorothy died following a long struggle with dementia, Ted was lonely. His health also declined, especially after several major surgeries. Ted was known for his cheerful and outgoing nature. Through hard times, he kept a strong faith in God and drew strength from reading Scripture.
Hilda Krahn Dec. 7, 1926–Dec. 30, 2017
BIRTHPLACE Nikolayevka, Ukraine PARENTS Johann & Anna Thiessen MARRIAGE William Krahn, 1952 [d.] CHURCH Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY daughters Hilda (Rudy) Wiebe, Helen (David) Kroeker,
Anni; grandchildren; great-grandchildren
Hilda’s family fled unrest in 1935, settling in the Caucasus. A former neighbour convinced her father to return to Nikolayevka to retrieve furniture. Her father was captured and sent to Siberia. Her mother Anna tried to provide, but they lived in need. Anna’s sister Lena Holzrichter, a prison camp survivor who had lost her only child, offered to take one of Anna’s to her home. With the hope that a change of climate would improve the 14-year-old’s health, Hilda was chosen. She never saw her mother again. When war broke out, Hilda and her aunt fled to Molotschna, Ukraine. Hilda’s uncle Jakob Peters arranged for them to immigrate to Gronau, Germany, in 1943. Here Hilda accepted Jesus as Saviour, and her uncle baptized her. In 1948, Hilda and Lena immigrated to Kitchener, Ont., where Hilda met and married William. They moved to Greendale, B.C., in 1963. After flooding, they found higher ground in Clearbrook, B.C. At Clearbrook MB Church, Hilda and William served the catering committee. When their garden became too much, they moved to a condo by the church. Hilda visited her brother Johann in Germany and arranged for both her brothers to visit her in Canada – after 49 years apart. Feisty and energetic, Hilda could dish up a fantastic meal from simple ingredients and sew fancy dresses for her daughters’ weddings. She reacted to her Parkinson’s disease diagnosis at 80 with denial. When she could no longer manage, daughter Anni moved in with her, so she could stay in her home. When Hilda could no longer speak, her eyes still sparkled for her family. Her dependence on God gave her strength.
John Willms Mar. 27, 1930–Jan. 9, 2018
BIRTHPLACE Waldheim, Sask. PARENTS John & Helena Willms MARRIAGE Gertie Penner, Apr. 15, 1955 CHURCH County Line MB, Aldergrove, B.C.; Ross Road,
Abbotsford, B.C.; North Peace MB, Fort St. John, B.C.; Central Heights, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY Gertie; children Ken (Joyce), Lorne (Heather), Shirley (Glenn Roszmann), Scott (Kathy); 10 grandchildren; 4 greatgrandchildren; 4 siblings
[FINISH LINES John contracted polio at 7 months. The doctor said he’d never walk. With stubborn determination, John participated in the activities of all the other children. His right leg remained shorter, thinner, and weaker, but he led an active, hardworking life. John’s early years were spent in Hepburn, Sask. A significant part of growing up for John was the emphasis on Christian living. His parents were devout Christians and strict in raising their children in the life of the church. John received Christ as Saviour at 12. When John was 15, his family moved to Matsqui, B.C., and became dairy farmers. John attended Mennonite Educational Institute and was baptized. He met Gertie while studying at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford. Their first 17 years of married life were spent dairy farming in the Mt. Lehman area. John and Gertie were actively involved in County Line MB Church and Ross Road Community Church. In 1972, they moved to Fort St. John, B.C., and began grain and cattle farming. There they served North Peace MB Church. They made lasting friendships and contributions in each church and community. John and Gertie found joy in seeing their children follow Jesus. Following their 50th wedding anniversary, they retired to Abbotsford in 2005. They enjoyed several years of good health and travel. John spent his last 2 years at the Cottage Pavilion, where his sense of humour and gentle spirit endeared him to the staff.
Trevor Ronald Irvine Gleddie July 16, 1939–Jan. 26, 2018 BIRTHPLACE Medicine Hat, Alta. PARENTS Trygve & Hedevig Gleddie MARRIAGE Joan Lomheim, June 26, 1964 CHURCH South Abbotsford (B.C.); Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford FAMILY Joan; daughters Wendy (Alex) Wray, Brenda (Terry)
Friesen, Angie (Rob) Koslowsky; 8 grandchildren
Trevor grew up tending equipment and thousands of sheep with his border collie on a farm in Tilley, Alta. At Prairie Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alta., he met Joan. After they married, Trevor worked on Joan’s family ranch in South Dakota. He found joy restoring order to broken machines, building things, cultivating the land. After unexpectedly returning to Canada, Trevor trained as an aircraft mechanic. He worked away from his family for a short time in Whitehorse, Yukon, maintaining a helicopter and fighting off bears from his tent. The family relocated when he worked at a Minnesota airport, until a large aircraft strike left him without work. His father proposed a partnership among the brothers at the Gleddie Ranch, and the family packed their bags for a promising future. In 1974, Trevor and Joan seized the opportunity to buy their own farm in Brooks, Alta. To supplement their income, Trevor worked as a heavy-duty mechanic at the John
Deere dealership, where he gained a reputation as “the baler man.” In 1984, Trevor and Joan moved to be closer to their girls attending Trinity Western University, Langley, B.C. Trevor used his mechanical skills at Friesen Equipment and Fraserway RV until he retired in 2003. Trevor and Joan did a mission trip to the Philippines in 1991. At church, Trevor directed choirs and cantatas, joined boards, and led Bible studies. He served The Gideons and helped found Cebu Children’s Shelter Society of Canada. He delighted in his grandchildren.
Alma Wiebe Jan. 26, 1929–Feb. 10, 2018
BIRTHPLACE Steinbach, Man. PARENTS Isaac & Margaretha Reimer MARRIAGE Albert Wiebe, Oct. 1, 1955 [d. 2013] CHURCH Coaldale (Alta.) MB FAMILY children Laureen (Kevin) Hayes, Marcia (Ken) Janzen,
Alan (Melinda), Randy (Laura Gilchrist), Rick; 11 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren
Alma was the youngest in a large family, and the last surviving sibling at the time of her death. Alma and her sister found seasonal employment for 5 years in a canning factory in St. Catharines, Ont., a province away from their home in Steinbach, Man. During this time, Alma enjoyed several bus tours. After Alma and Albert married, they lived in Winnipeg, followed by 14 years of farming in Roblin, Man. In Coaldale, Alta., Alma helped Albert establish a home construction company. Alma was known for her quiet, happy disposition. Her life centred around her love for her husband and children, and later, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed serving the church by being involved in “The Willing Helpers” for many years and singing in the choir. She also loved to volunteer at the MCC Thrift Shop and take part in groups that sang at seniors’ lodges. Her interests included knitting and playing shuffleboard. In later years, Alma suffered health problems, including arthritis, that caused her much discomfort. Even as her health declined, her positive outlook and sense of humour shone through. Pain or no pain, her constant smile was contagious, and her care providers described her as a model resident. Alma died peacefully at St. Michaels Health Centre in Lethbridge, Alta.
Erna (Brown) Fast Feb. 27, 1928–Feb. 27, 2018
BIRTHPLACE Burwalde, Man. PARENTS John P. & Mary (Hildebrand) Brown; stepmother
MARRIAGE Henry Fast, Oct. 23, 1949 [d. 1961] BAPTISM Port Rowan (Ont.) MB, age 17 FAMILY children John [d. 1965], Larry (Brenda), Brian, Debra
(Peter) Kriegel, Barbara (Alan) Wiens, Rodney [d. 2009], Susan (Norm) Size; 11 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren
When Erna was 6 days old, her mother died. Her father married Annie Schritt, whom Erna called her second mother. When Erna was 2, the family resettled on a farm in Port Rowan, Ont. Erna accepted Christ at 16 after listening to an evangelist. She attended Eden Bible School for a year. Here she met many friends she kept all her life. In 1947, she met Henry. They welcomed 7 children. After just 11 years of marriage, Henry died of a heart attack while playing hockey with church friends. Erna also lost her son John following an accident, her second mother to cancer, her father to a lung infection, and her son Rodney to cancer. Erna’s cooking skills were evident in her work at a restaurant, day care, a nursing home in St. Williams, Ont., and Heritage Lodge, Simcoe, Ont. Erna loved to volunteer for the Norfolk General Hospital gift shop, the Walsingham School auxiliary, the Mary Martha Outreach, the Port Rowan MB Church food committee, and Camp Crossroads. As Erna struggled with health issues, she moved into Tabor Manor in 1994.
Susie Aloura (Schmidt) Froese Feb. 14, 1926–Mar. 8, 2018 BIRTHPLACE Dalmeny, Sask. PARENTS August & Sara (Thiessen) Schmidt MARRIAGE George Froese, 1996 [d.] CHURCH Bakerview, Abbotsford, B.C. FAMILY stepchildren Ed (Vi), Gerald (Vivian), Bettyanne (Ron)
Neufeld, Jack (Debbie), Eileen (Glenn) Deros, Marj (Dan) Toews; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; 1 brother
Sue taught in Bella Coola, B.C. (1952–1954) and at Mt. Lehman Elementary, Abbotsford, B.C. (1954–1956) before serving with Congo Inland Mission (CIM) and Crossworld as a director of schools in the Congo for 35 years. Despite 2 rebellions (from which she fled with the clothes on her back), she always returned to the people she loved. Her passion was teaching children to read; she trained teachers, held seminars, and co-wrote textbooks. Sue and George enjoyed 20 years together. Sue adopted his family as her own. Connecting with the Schmidt family was important to Sue. Her brother Loyal, her in-laws, and many nieces and nephews will miss her dearly. Sue will be remembered for her bright smile, stories of adventure, genuine interest in people, love for animals and children, and concern for others to know the Lord. Her desire and prayer was “that we might please him in all that we do until we go to be with him, and we will all meet in heaven someday.” Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
Elsie Loewen Bergen
Aug. 6, 1935–Mar. 13, 2018
Apr. 12, 1923–Apr. 30, 2018
BIRTHPLACE Neuendorf, Ukraine PARENTS Anton & Maria Bergmann MARRIAGE Jacob Bergen, Oct. 10, 1961 BAPTISM King Road MB, Abbotsford, B.C., 1977 FAMILY Jacob; children Anne, Natasha (Marv), Jake (Margita),
Peter (Regina), Henry (Shelley), Helena [d.]; 10 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren
Margarita endured many hardships during her childhood: losing her mother at a young age, losing her father at 16, suffering through famine and war. She married Jacob Bergen in Frunze, Russia, where they welcomed 5 children. The family immigrated to Canada in 1974, settling in Abbotsford, B.C. Here, Margarita and Jacob were baptized at King Road MB Church and welcomed their youngest son. Margarita enjoyed music, playing the guitar, accordion, and harmonica.
Jacob Isaak Nov. 7, 1927–Apr. 11, 2018
BIRTHPLACE Niverville, Man. PARENTS Franz & Maria Isaak MARRIAGE Irene Dick, Oct. 21, 1950 [d. Aug. 27, 2013] BAPTISM Niverville MB (now Fourth Avenue Bible) CHURCH Fourth Avenue Bible, Niverville; McIvor Avenue MB,
Winnipeg FAMILY children Ken (Elaine), Velma (Ian) Doerksen, Dorothy (Paul) Born, G. Paul (Sylvia), Phil (Kim), Peter [d. in infancy]; 13 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 2 siblings
Jacob attended Mennonite Collegiate Institute in Gretna, Man., and was a member of the first graduating class at MB Collegiate Institute (MBCI), Winnipeg, where he met his future wife Irene. Jacob farmed in the Niverville area and served southern Manitoba with his electrical business Jake’s Electric. He found a multitude of ways to live in service to others. His strong faith in God was the foundation for the love he extended to his family, church, and community. Jacob’s handprint of kindness marks the globe. Ministries dear to his heart included Youth for Christ; The Gideons; Black Forest Academy in Germany; Menedék orphanage in Bodrog, Hungary; street ministry and building projects in Mexico and Costa Rica; and Mennonite Disaster Service. In 2000, he helped launch CHVN – the first Christian radio station in Manitoba. He welcomed newcomers and served numerous community boards, including that of the Niverville Credit Union. Jacob’s loving care of Irene was the most profound demonstration of his servant heart.
Summer 2018 | mbherald.com
BIRTHPLACE Prairie Rose, Man. PARENTS Isaac T. & Marie Ratzlaff Loewen MARRIAGE Jake Bergen, Oct. 7, 1949 BAPTISM Steinbach (Man.) Evangelical Mennonite Brethren,
age 14 CHURCH Steinbach MB; Broadway MB, Chilliwack, B.C.; Harbour of Hope, Port Edward, B.C.; Hepburn (Sask.) MB; Highland MB, Calgary; Niverville (Man.) MB; Leaf Rapids (Man.); Mountview MB, Stoney Creek, Ont.; North Peace MB, Fort St. John, B.C.; St. Boniface Evangelical, Crossroads MB, Winnipeg FAMILY Jake; children Marjorie (Al) Warkentin, Paul (Carol), Cathy (George) Klassen, Dave (Mary), Irene (Brad) Funk, Daniel (Joanna); 15 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren
Elsie had a happy childhood. She received Jesus as Saviour at 12. Elsie sang in the church choir and taught Sunday school. She was sensitive spiritually and committed to serve the Lord. She attended Steinbach (Man.) Bible School. Elsie met Jake when he was studying at MB Bible College, Winnipeg, and she was in nurse’s training at St. Boniface Hospital. Her sister, the college secretary, passed their notes back and forth. Elsie graduated as a registered nurse in 1948. She was an on-call nurse at Bethesda Hospital, Steinbach, while Jake taught school on permit for a year. In 1950, they moved to B.C. where Jake took normal school. Jake and Elsie lived in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. Elsie fulfilled her roles as wife, mother, and pastoral support with faithfulness and prayer. Cooking and baking were her delight. She said when guests came over, she did not entertain – she was hospitable. Laughter came easily for Elsie. Despite financial stress, she never succumbed to worry or complaint. She prayed, worked hard, and trusted God to supply her needs. She made birthdays special, hiding coins in the cake. In her 90s, she became weak, and in the last years, could not stand or walk. She always appreciated Jake’s daily visits and the care at Donwood Manor, Winnipeg. Faith permeated Elsie’s life; God’s love gave her purpose.
Peter Regier Dec. 16, 1923–Apr. 27, 2018
BIRTHPLACE Ebenfeld, Crimea, Russia PARENTS Peter & Margaret (Dueck) Regier MARRIAGE Annie Thiessen, May 30, 1946 [d. 2015] BAPTISM Coaldale (Alta.) MB FAMILY children John (Mary Lou), Jack (Lil), Anne (Gilbert)
Peter attended Coaldale School until 15. After that, he helped on the farm. Winters from 1941– 43, he attended Coaldale Bible School. Here he accepted Jesus as Saviour. During WWII, he was a conscientious objector in the forests of Whitecourt and Jasper, Alta., and had a lively correspondence with Annie. They enjoyed nearly 69 good years together, farming in the Coaldale area and raising 6 children. To supplement the farm income, Peter had off-the-farm jobs. He didn’t retire until he was over 80. He served church and community boards and committees. An avid reader and student of the Bible, Peter taught vacation Bible school, Sunday school, and religious instruction in public school. He served the diaconate and lay ministry. The Regiers always had Sunday dinner ready for newcomers to the church. Peter lent his fine bass voice to male quartets and choirs. His hobby was creating elaborate train sets. His greatest pleasure was time with family, making many trips to see children and relatives. He faithfully memorized Scripture; at his memorial, guests saw a video of Peter reciting 1 Peter 1:1–9 in his last days.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sperling, Joy (Alvin) Thielmann, Lue (Tim) Wiens, Larry (Jolayne); 17 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; 4 siblings
Peter’s family immigrated to Canada, landing in Halifax in 1930. They travelled to Winnipeg, then Winkler, Man., settling in Coaldale, Alta., in 1931.
BOOKS Reviews go up at mbherald.com Monday mornings. Sample some recent offerings.
Life’s Ultimate Questions: Exploring the Stories that Shape Our Everyday Jake Wiens FriesenPress, 2017 Review by David B
Anyone wanting to take an honest look at their own spiritual assumptions or gain understanding about today’s different cultural and religious principles should let this book influence their life. As a parent and mentor, I found Jake Wiens’ writing helpful in knowing how to approach my own children on some of today’s cultural assumptions around atheism and other worldviews they encounter. If you are either personally looking for answers to some of life’s ultimate questions, or are walking with someone who is, this book is a great place to begin searching.
Keeping Faith in Fundraising Peter Harris and Rod Wilson Eerdmans, 2016 Review by John Best
In an era when we are bombarded with opportunities and causes to which we can give – resulting in donor fatigue, these authors provide helpful biblical groundwork (2 Corinthians 8 and 9), highlight important principles, and offer personal stories that frame Christian fundraising in a healthy way. Reinvesting the resources God has given us into his mission is both an act of obedient stewardship, and also exciting worship. In my current ministry role, I relate regularly both to missionaries/mission agencies with many opportunities in ministry initiatives and to church members eager to invest their resources in God’s work generously, faithfully, and wisely. This book gave me tools for relating with both.
Race and Place: How Urban Geography Shapes the Journey to Reconciliation David P. Leong InterVarsity, 2017 Review by Cherie Bright
Leong shares a Christian vision of racial reconciliation that explores and works within the dimensions and heritage of urban geography. He calls the church to dig into the political, historical, and geographical roots of racial injustice so that neighbourhoods can be reimagined to cultivate human flourishing rather than strife. Race and Place gives tools for reconciliation that begins with local listening and leads to collaborative action and parish well-being. This book is for Christians and churches seeking something more than tokenism in the work of reconciliation. It calls those who are interested in – or already doing – the work of reconciliation to dig deep into painful histories and structures so true healing might begin.
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
[INTERSECTION OF FAITH & LIFE
God’s violence and nonviolent discipleship His love endures forever? One Sunday morning, our pastor was leading my church family in a communal reading of Psalm 136. Our pastor would say the first half of each verse, and then the congregation would respond with the second half: “His love endures forever” (v. 1). The psalm started out with glorious truths about our great God “who by his understanding made the heavens” (v. 5) and “who spread out the earth upon the waters” (v. 6). I heartily responded to each line with my brothers and sisters: “His love endures forever.” Then, the psalm took a turn, a turn that is present throughout the entire biblical narrative. Now, this God whose love endures forever “swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea” (v. 15), “struck down great kings” (v. 17), and “killed mighty kings” (v. 18). Something didn’t sit right with me. It was so easy to declare that God’s love endured forever when we were celebrating his creation, his leading of Israel, and his care for us and all of creation. But when God’s love enduring forever meant humans being struck down, I was confused and troubled. I’m committed to the Anabaptist peace position. How could the God I love and worship seem so, well, violent, when, as a disciple of Christ, I am called to peace? This problem stayed with me. I decided to devote my masters thesis to it. My main question became: “How might we as Christians reconcile the tension between nonviolent discipleship and God’s violence?” I appealed to two theologians, J. Denny Weaver and Miroslav Volf, to help me answer this question.
Who do you say that I am? I found Jesus at the centre of our attempts to reconcile this tension. Whatever we think of Jesus – who he is and what he accomplished during his life, ministry, death, and resurrection – directly influences how we resolve the dissonance between God’s violence and our own discipleship along the way of peace.
Jesus: the social, political activist For J. Denny Weaver, professor emeritus of religion at Bluffton College and an important voice in Anabaptist scholarship, Jesus stands at the core of the Anabaptist commitment to peaceful discipleship. Weaver sees Jesus as the socio-political activist – committed to nonviolent action as he opposes Roman oppression, engages with the despised populations of Palestine (e.g., tax collectors, women, Samaritans), and advocates for justice for all. 34
Weaver believes Jesus reveals what God is truly like. Therefore, since Jesus is nonviolent, God must also be nonviolent. Here, Weaver runs into the problematic canon, where God is often depicted as acting with lethal force, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Yet, since Jesus reveals that God’s true character is nonviolent, Weaver says the human authors of Scripture have distorted God’s character by portraying him as violent. Later in his career, Weaver uses the idea of an ongoing development in the biblical author’s definition of God. Rather than distortion, the human authors are coming to know and understand God more, an understanding which reaches culmination in the cheek-turning, extra-mile-going Jesus. According to Weaver, there is no need to reconcile peacemaking discipleship and God’s violence because Jesus’ nonviolent life has rendered God’s apparent violence a distortion of his true character.
Jesus: the reconciling one Next, let’s examine Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright professor of systematic theology and the founding director of the Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School. Volf ’s masterpiece, Exclusion and Embrace, is a response to the Yugoslavian wars in the 1990s. A Croatian, Volf explored how to forgive and reconcile with those who had caused such devastation in his homeland. For Volf, Jesus is the one who stretches out his arms on the cross in an embrace. As Jesus hangs on the cross, he gives himself on behalf of the other, offering forgiveness and reconciliation for humanity in their relationship with God. Jesus embraces us as “the other,” those who are different from him and have done wrong. Unfortunately, for Volf, there is a possibility that not all will accept the embrace of Jesus’ outstretched arms on the cross, and therefore will remain in their sin. God’s violence is “possible” against these un-embraced, not because they have done wrong, but because they have resisted the embrace of Christ. In fact, God must judge evil in order for him to be good. We in the West have a hard time conceiving of judgment as good. Why can’t God just sweep all our sins under the proverbial carpet and forgive? Here, we need to understand just how evil sin is. Sin is not something that can be pushed away, but rather vents chaos on all it touches. Volf argues that, if we were confronted with the stark reality of evil (such as personally living through the Rwandan genocide), we would not balk at God’s judgment, but desperately long for someone to say “No!” to the carnage by judging it. So, for Volf, in reconciling nonviolent discipleship and God’s violence, there is embrace and judgment. You cannot have one without the other. They go hand in hand. There is tension between the embrace and the judgment, yet both are equally necessary. One can see how this is a different kind of reconciliation than Weaver’s linear attempt. What are we to make of all this?
Untidy answers Weaver’s answer to the question is neat and tidy: God is not violent, so there is no need to reconcile the Anabaptist peace position and God’s violence. Yet, in Weaver’s solution, we run into numerous problems, including his drastic amendment of Scripture to omit God’s violence. Volf ’s attempt to reconcile nonviolent discipleship and God’s violence by advocating for embrace and judgment isn’t such a neat answer: there is embrace, but there is also judgment. Volf leaves us with questions: Are the “amounts” of embrace and judgment the same for all people and all situations? How do embrace and judgment fit together? There is a tension within the necessary embrace and the necessary judgment that refuses to allow humans to “master” the question. Perhaps God’s violence can be best understood as a weaving of contrasting threads: because of his goodness and mercy, God embraces the sinful other; but, also because of his goodness and mercy, God says “No!” (possibly with violence) to evil and the destruction it bears on the world. The embrace and the judgment are equally needed and equally true to God’s character.
conclusion that the references to smiting in the Bible will always make me uncomfortable. Even further, I suspect I will keep wishing the violence wasn’t there in the first place. Yet, at the same time, I have an unwavering trust in this God I have come to know and love. He will do the right thing in the end. He will bring our world into his glorious new creation, without crying, pain, or death (Revelation 21:4). So, yes: I can declare that his love endures forever, a love so grand that it both judges the sin that wreaks so much havoc and embraces the most ungodly of us all.
[ Stephanie Christianson lives with her
husband Austin in Saskatoon where they serve with Ranger Lake Bible Camp. This article is based on the research for which she received a 2016 MB studies project grant from the MB Historical Commission.
How then shall we live? So, after we have studied well and thought hard, what do we do? First, we recognize our calling as humans. As Volf argues, God has the divine prerogative to use violence, the puzzle of whether he will or not aside. As humans, we are creatures and disciples – we follow Jesus no matter what. We advocate for peace, love our enemies, and do the hard work of reconciliation. Second, we trust in the good God that we have come to know and love. Recall C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When Susan asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan, the great Lion, is safe, he responds: “‘Safe?’... ‘Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.’” In the end, God will do what is loving, right, and just. Until that time, as Volf writes in Exclusion and Embrace, “The only available options are either to reject the cross and with it the core of the Christian faith or to take up one’s cross, follow the Crucified – and be scandalized ever anew by the challenge.” Disciples of Christ choose the latter. And if we must be nonviolent in a violent world, there is no better company than his, no better embrace than his, and no better judgment than his.
For he is good I have studied, contemplated, prayed about, and wrestled with divine violence for the past year. I have come to the
ILLUSTRATION BY CARSON SAMSON
Mennonite Brethren Herald | Summer 2018
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