What church will we be: One with walls? One with shade like a tree? In the shade people from miles and miles around can watch. Then they can come closer and see who we are and what we do. This is the question I see in picture of the church building and the acacia tree.
Christina and I spent July 3-6 2014 attending the Mennonite Church Canada General assembly in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. A the attendees spent lots of time reflecting first, on the future of the Mennonite Church Canada and second, on how the church understands and articulates our christ centered sexuality in today’s Canadian culture. Fun right?
We were so encouraged!
Every coffee time was encouraging for Christina and I since people constantly approached us from across Canada: Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, Vancouver Island. What did they want to say! They pray that we would continue to spread the good news of the Gospel of Peace! They faithfully follow our blogs, Facebook and other social media. Finally their church community also remembers us weekly in prayer. Prayer is such a powerful way to engage the spiritual realm with God. By listening to God and asking him to act we have seen God’s will being done and his kingdom coming on earth as in heaven. All of these messages of encouragement give us life and encourage PeaceChurch Philippines.We know that you and many others are with us in spirit as we go back to the Philippines to serve as Anabaptist community and face the challenges of leaving our home culture again.
Thank you for eating with us.
We thank everyone who gave us their time in Winnipeg. An hour for coffee or an hour for lunch was a huge blessing during our short month here in Canada. It was always encouraging. We look forward to the next national conference and hope we can be there again.
What about Mennonite Church Canada’s future?
How do I understand the future of Mennonite Church Canada? What structure will the church 20 years down the road? It looks like many people are nervous about how Mennonite Church Canada will sustain itself.
I believe that Mennonite Church Canada needs a radical vision to plant churches. We will grow and change as new communities emerge. Those new communities will train and walk with older more mature communities. We, new and old, will grow and take form together. I hope that in the next 4 years before we come back from the Philippines we can draw together a network of young passionate MC Canada church planters with a vision to multiply our transformational influence in the world because we have a message that is truly good news for all people now and forever.
I believe Mennonite Church Canada needs to plant churches. The church is the primary body God uses to transform the world. The church is the primary community God uses to bring hope and justice to every neighborhood in the world. Many communities in Ca nada have a church in them. And that church, when it follows Jesus, will always be on a journey to encourage, bless, serve it’s immediate neighbors. This is who we are. We are God’s evidence that Shalom is coming and is already here! May our communities be Peace Churches who are evidence of God’s shalom every where we are!!
In the biblical story God told Abraham he was God’s representative on the earth. God Said that he would bless Abraham and that Abraham was to pay forward the blessing to every other person and nation he met. Then, when God personally came to the earth as Jesus he taught the same message. Love God, love your neighbor.
From what I heard at the national conference Mennonite Church Canada has a radically wild hope (catch that? 😉 that we will adapt to the changing Canadian cultural landscape since every person I met at the conference is choosing to embrace these two great commands of Jesus.
God bless you and enjoy the pictures:
I think it felt like a family gathering because we were bumping into so many people we knew in the Mennonite world. Below I am standing with New Testament theologian Gordon Zerby who actually went to Columbia Bible Inst. with my dad in the 70s. He was also the professor who opened my eyes to interpreting the book of Revelation in it’s historical context. I am so thankful to have him as a mentor and always know he is only an email away.