Update from Werner & Joanne

posted 14 Nov 2018, 10:07 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Update #2 from Werner & Joanne

November 12, 2018

I can’t believe we are already half-way through our assignment! We will be home in no time. We miss you and look forward to giving you a full report on the amazing things God is doing here.

Am not sure if it is due to all the pity prayers but I am no longer itching with mosquito bites, so thank you to all who carried my burden. Now let’s work on eradication of poverty in Ethiopia!

A couple of weeks ago we went to a student’s church in Addis Ababa for Sunday. Afterwards he invited us to their little apartment for lunch and then took us to a Rehab Centre he started with his parents. He himself had been an addict for 10 years before he gave his life to Christ and he wanted to help people like him. He wondered how he could be sure not to go back to his previous lifestyle and the answer the Lord gave him was “community”. His family were able to partner with a local hospital and have a little house with 15 beds open to all people.

Another exciting thing was the witnessing of 22 baptisms in Assele and the corresponding testimonies. Healings and persecutions were a common theme. We witnessed our 1st demon possession which I caught on video and even when I re-watch it I feel uncomfortable. The Christian world is diverse but here in Ethiopia there is no doubting the supernatural and healings are expected. A common question we are asked is, “Why do you think your churches are not growing like in Ethiopia?”. We generally say, “it’s complex”, but we do point out that they are in a harvest time and we seem to be re-tilling our soil.

Am slowly getting used to the food. Werner is better than me for sure. …

Werner’s classes have increased to 44 (Anabaptist History), and to 50 (Spiritual Formation). He really enjoys the discussions and debates around peace, sharing a common purse, how Anabaptists view the Bible etc. It’s very stimulating as the students are very serious about learning. Unfortunately, their English is all over the place and some really struggle.

I continue to do 50 small things a day that I hope adds up to something. I preach both in chapel and church, guest lecture, tutor, attempt counselling, and have many drinks a day: coffee, macchiato, tea, warm milk, spriss (half coffee-half tea) etc.

All the girls have now moved into the new women’s dormitory and they had their 2nd dedication on Thursday. Previously the girls we are all cramped into a couple of classrooms. It was very moving as female students from each program shared their gratitude. Now we need to pray that more women will come to the College. There are currently 35 women and the dorm has room for over 200.

Thank you to everyone once again for your love and support. We really appreciate it! Each day we receive a zillion hugs and we will be looking for you to replace the students when we return!

With appreciation,

Joanne and Werner


Doug Klassen Appointed as Executive Minister of MC Canada

posted 4 Nov 2018, 14:04 by June Miller, MCA Communications   [ updated 5 Nov 2018, 14:21 ]

November 4, 2018

Doug Klassen Accepts The Call to Lead Mennonite Church Canada
Calgary Pastor Appointed As MC Canada’s Executive Minister

Winnipeg, MB - Mennonite Church Canada is pleased to announce that Doug Klassen has accepted our call to the position of Executive Minister. “It is an exciting time in Mennonite Church Canada. I want to help inspire a vision for what it means to be a nationwide church. I firmly believe that congregations are the foundational unit of the church and that congregational revitalization is critical,” says Doug. “There is a hunger in our culture for a witness to Jesus Christ that is rooted and grounded in love.”

Doug is currently one of the pastors at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, AB and has ministered there since 1998. He was instrumental in establishing the Foothills Mennonite Guesthouse, a home for out of town guests visiting friends or family in Calgary hospitals. He formed a “Buffalo Shout” book study group that brought together First Nations people and settlers and is chair of a Palestine/Israel resolution working group in Alberta. He has written feature articles for Canadian Mennonite, volunteered as chaplain at Camp Valaqua in Alberta, was on the board of directors of Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary and is a current Master of Arts student at Canadian Mennonite University.

“We’re thrilled to have Doug join us in the role of Executive Minister,” says Calvin Quan, chair of Mennonite Church Canada’s Joint Council. “The combination of his experience, drive and love for the church makes him an ideal fit. His passion for working with people, along with a strong history of building highly engaged teams, is a wonderful gift that he brings as we seek new ways to collaborate across our nationwide community of faith.”

Born near Vineland, ON, Doug’s ministry began in 1992 at St. Catharines United Mennonite Church as associate pastor. He moved to Winnipeg, MB in 1995 and served as director of young adult ministries with Mennonite Church Manitoba, pastored at Sterling Mennonite Church and co-taught at Canadian Mennonite University. Doug also served on MC Canada’s Faith and Life Committee for five years.

“I have lived my whole life inside the extended family of Mennonite Church Canada and have experienced the blessing of a nationwide family of faith,” Doug reflects. “While I grieve the thought of leaving the congregation that I have loved deeply for 20 years, I look forward to the challenge of this new position and serving alongside the faithful staff, volunteers and members of our denomination as we seek together to be witnesses for Christ in the world.”

Doug, and his wife Rose, live in Calgary, AB, near a ranch where they spend time with their horses and bees. Their three young adult children and one son-in-law live in Winnipeg, MB. Doug is a classically trained singer, a hockey and baseball player, and has a deep love for the Church. Doug and Rose will move to Winnipeg when he begins his ministry as Executive Minister in June 2019.

N Edmonton Ministry Fundraiser Nov 10

posted 31 Oct 2018, 22:21 by June Miller, MCA Communications

“Among & Beyond” by North Edmonton Ministry (a fundraiser) – November 10, 2018, 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm at Lendrum Mennonite Church (11210 – 59th Avenue NW). Donna Entz will be speaking and leading conversation about moving beyond negative experiences of sharing our faith and exploring personal healthy ways of sharing. Children will play games, while learning about peace and a song in Arabic!  A concert of Middle-Eastern, African and Asian music will follow a potluck meal. Please bring a dish to share. Free admission, with donation opportunity available. Contact Robert Proudfoot for details by e-mail at or telephone at (780) 465-6083.

Mennonite Historical Society - Fall Conference

posted 31 Oct 2018, 22:03 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Building Releationships with people of Other Faiths

posted 31 Oct 2018, 21:58 by June Miller, MCA Communications

#churchtoo - Theatre of the Beat tour

posted 17 Oct 2018, 21:09 by June Miller, MCA Communications   [ updated 17 Oct 2018, 21:12 ]

Theatre of the Beat is taking its new play, #ChurchToo on tour across Canada.

Two Alberta performances:

Oct 30 - Edmonton First Mennonite
Nov 2 - Calgary First Mennonite

Both show at 7pm
Pay What You Can

Artfully depicted through a variety of scenes and relationships, #ChurchToo explores the struggle of wading into the realities of sexual assault and examines the difficulties of speaking out in a community where the topic of sex is often considered taboo. Follow an array of characters through seven vignettes, each bringing to life stories about hidden trends within our church communities. From the secret relationship of a young woman and her pastor, to discriminatory church policies, all the way to bringing forth allegations against persons in power, #ChurchToo illuminates the messy dynamics that accompany the complicated truths of power and sexual abuse.

Tickets: Pay-what-you-can at the door (suggested donation: $15/person)

Running Time: 100 minutes, no intermission
**There will be a 20 minute talkback following the performance.

Creative Team:
Director: Matt White
Dramaturg: Johnny Wideman
Stage Manager: Chad Dembski

Megan Fowler
Brendan Kinnon
Lindsey Middleton
Robert Murphy

Alison Brookins
Jonathan Brower
Joy De Vito
Carolyn (Charlie) Gray
Gary Kirkham
Megan Piercey Monafu
Hillary Rexe

Thanks to Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite Church Eastern Canada for sponsoring this tour.

Content Advisory: #ChurchToo deals with sexual misconduct, abuse, and assault. Not recommended for audiences under the age of 14.

Film: "Treaty Talk: Sharing the River of Life"

posted 17 Oct 2018, 11:09 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Film: "Treaty Talk: Sharing the River of Life"

Premiere Screening of Local Documentary 
When:  Friday, October 19, 2018
Where:  Reunion Station, 4112-53 Avenue, St. Paul, AB.
Screenings:  9:00-11:30am and 6:00-8:30 pm

The film will run for 50 minutes with discussion to follow.
Please join us for the first public viewing of this local production that focuses on oral-teachings of treaties and Indigenous and nonIndigenous relations in St. Paul, Alberta.
Refreshments served
Financial Support:  University of Alberta (Faculty of Extension), City of Edmonton, Mennonite Church of Canada, Esther Johnson (personal donation).

Poster attached below for promotional use.

Update from Werner and Joanne

posted 10 Oct 2018, 16:06 by June Miller, MCA Communications

October 10, 2018
Update from Werner and Joanne

Joanne is being taught how to make proper Ethiopian coffee- roasting on a little fire in her friend's home.

After a short delay due to violence in the capital city, Werner is now teaching two courses (Spiritual Formation, and Anabaptist History and Thought). The students are open and engaging even though there seems to be a wide range of English abilities. He has over 40 students in each class. 

Impressed by the social justice emphasis on the campus, Meserete Kristos College has a community development track which includes courses on peace & development, caring for the poor, and restorative justice. Werner and Joanne are currently assessing opportunities for prison visitation in the capitol, which would provide a great opportunity for the students.

Joanne is starting a weekly English tutorial & has been invited to preach at one of the student’s Mennonite church in the coming weeks.

Twenty Years at Foothills

posted 4 Oct 2018, 19:22 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Twenty Years at Foothills

Foothills Mennonite
marked twenty years of ministry in their congregation by Doug and Rose Klassen with a potluck lunch. Congratulations were received from their children (Danielle, Jana, & Levi), the Mennonite Church Alberta executive (Tim Wiebe-Neufeld), from the previous pastors (Rev. Bill and Helen Kruger), and from international pastoral interns serving at Foothills over the years. On behalf of the congregation Deanna Willms thanked Doug and Rose for their pastoral and music ministries.

Many of Doug's gifts were highlighted, in particular his ability to harness the energies of the congregation, as manifested by shared ministries with MCC in the Generations at Risk project and the birthing of the Foothills Mennonite Guest House. The ongoing ministry of the Guest Home supports family members undergoing treatment at Calgary hospitals. It was a need identified by Doug during his hospital chaplaincy some years ago and became an outreach ministry at Foothills. In characteristic fashion, Doug's sermon on this day was inspired by finding the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary: shingling his roof.

Mike Beriault
FMC Board Chair

Building Relationships with People of Other Faiths

posted 4 Oct 2018, 09:12 by June Miller, MCA Communications   [ updated 20 Oct 2018, 20:10 ]

Building Relationships with People of Other Faiths

On Thursday, October 25, Trinity Mennonite will host a night with Dr. Wes Thiessen who will be speaking at the Edmonton Christian-Muslim Dialogue on Saturday.

Dr. Thiessen holds a PhD in Islamic history from the University of Victoria. Combined with his experience of teaching English in Tunisia, he has a unique perspective on Muslims and Islam.

Please note, our original speaker Dr. John Hartley had to cancel last minute due to a family situation. We are fortunate to have Dr. Thiessen in Calgary who can step into the role on such a short notice.

Admission is free and is open to all. Registration is recommended, however.

For questions on registration, please contact June Miller

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