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Vision 2020 Posts


Reflections from Tim

posted 11 Dec 2018, 11:36 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Reflections from Tim

To Guide Our Feet into the Way of Peace


By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79.

These words come from Zechariah's prophecy about the birth of Jesus. They provide a vision of a bright future. Dawn will break into the world. The new day will bring light to dark places and guidance for the way - a way defined by peace.

Zechariah’s words offer a profound message of hope. We live in a world yearning for a new day to dawn. In our society people are searching for meaning, purpose, and belonging. Instead, we experience anxiety, polarization, and fragmentation as we neglect to put our trust in God.

Every year the conference pastors and executive ministers from across Mennonite Church and Mennonite Church USA meet together for resourcing and mutual support. At our meetings this past week our presenters, Ched Myers and Elaine Enns, encouraged us to embrace Christ's calling to his followers to become "Ambassadors of Reconciliation". Together we explored how the coming of Jesus broke down barriers, challenged the status quo, and named injustice in order to bring about a new day of reconciliation with God, with each other, and with all of creation.

In a world of brokenness the birth of Jesus reveals a new way of peace - a peace our world is longing to experience. During this season of Advent and the celebrations of Christ's birth to come, how might we be challenged to allow our feet to be guided more fully into God's way of peace? How might we as a church live more fully into this vision of hope God has for us?

An invitation to a season of prayer.

posted 11 Dec 2018, 10:30 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Vision 20/20—An invitation to a season of prayer.

Advent is a season of prayerful waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. MCA’s Visioning and Renewal process is also entering a season of prayer. In coming months we are invited as individuals and congregations to open ourselves to God in prayer. We are invited to listen for God’s voice as we consider what God may be calling us to be and do. How might we prepare the fertile soil of our hearts and minds to receive the seeds God has in mind for us? As we celebrate the coming of the light of Christ into the world, may we open ourselves anew to hear the calling of God’s voice.




Transition to Phase III

posted 22 Nov 2018, 13:32 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Listening for God’s Call in a Season of Prayer


During the upcoming months, as we prepare for Phase III of our Vision 2020 journey we are encouraged to:
  • Open our minds to the current reality of our church life and places in need of renewal
  • Open our hearts, wills & spirits through worship, preaching, conversations, and acts of commitment
  • Preaching, conversation, acts of commitment
  • Prayer focused on discerning the questions for which we are listening to God’s leading
  • Prayer to plough the fields of our hearts, so that we may hear the whisperings of God’s call and new seeds from God may grow.

Event Reflections from Tim

posted 22 Nov 2018, 13:30 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Reflections from Tim



In this time in our history, how might we open ourselves to listen for God’s call? This was an overarching question posed during the Vision 2020 gathering at Foothills Mennonite Church this past weekend. The presentations by Betty Pries provided deep exploration of the social context of change in which we find ourselves as individuals and churches, while inviting us to see ourselves within the grand narrative of spiritual renewal we find throughout scripture.



 


Betty shared three things of which we can be assured:

  • the Awe and Wonder of God’s love and grace
  • Suffering and the need to Surrender our will to God
  • Transformation when God’s hand draws us back to new life.
We see this cycle in the story of creation. We see it in the Exodus story of freedom, wandering in the wilderness, and entry into the Promised Land. We see it in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

In her sessions Betty invited us to recognize this same cycle in the life of the church. Across North America the church as a whole is experiencing a time of challenge and uncertainty. While we may be tempted to respond by grasping ever more firmly onto what we have always been, Betty encouraged us to let go of past expectations in order to open ourselves to what God’s calling might be for us in this time and place. She shared how prayer is an act of surrender, a way to “plough the fields of our hearts” so that new seeds from God may grow.

During a pre-event meeting with pastors Betty Pries began by examining the “roller coaster of change” on which we find ourselves, with all its highs and lows. In the midst of the anxiety deep drops can bring, we are invited to surrender more fully to God’s leading so that God may transform us more fully into the people God is calling us to be.  I look forward to the ride!




 

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld
Executive Minister MCA

The Disconnect

posted 22 Nov 2018, 13:29 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Ryan Dueck, pastor at Lethbridge Mennonite, has a reflective post about the weekend. The Disconnect can be found at RyanDueck.com.

Vision 20/20 November Event

posted 22 Nov 2018, 13:28 by June Miller, MCA Communications



Thank you to everyone who joined us for part or all of the weekend. The conversation is just beginning.  Audio file and powerpoint slides will be sent to all participants.

Did you missed the event? Audio recording and power point available upon request (jmiller@mennonitechurch.ab.ca).



   
  
A few photos from the weekend.


Join the Conversation!
It's only the beginning

Dear MCA

posted 31 Oct 2018, 22:16 by June Miller, MCA Communications

 

What's happening in November?

posted 21 Aug 2018, 12:34 by June Miller, MCA Communications   [ updated 21 Aug 2018, 12:36 ]

What's happening in November? 

The weekend event on November 16 and 17 (location TBD) will mark the beginning of Phase Two: Opening to God's Leading and is open to all MCA constituents.   Wondering what will be happening at this said event? The event will have a Three-Part focus.

Part I Focus: Being the church in the 21st Century context

   i. Factors influencing 21st Society i.e. social media, social norms, post-modernity, consumerism, environmental concert, etc . . .

  ii. Implications for spiritual, emotional health and congregational life.

 iii. Ingredients for church health in an age of anxiety

 iv. The gift and hope for the church in the current age; being the church in the 21st century context. 

  v. Unity and diversity in the church and for the world.


Part II Focus: Worship

   i. Forms of prayer that support listening for God's leading


Part III Focus: Review

    i. Rhythms of renewal
    ii. Sharing of survey responses
   iii. Discussion regarding MCA's current reality
   iv. Identification of key questions for prayerful discernment

An Image to Guide the Conversation

posted 21 Aug 2018, 12:32 by June Miller, MCA Communications

An Image to Guide the Conversation

by


Congregations and denominations generally move through three distinct stages over the course of their lives. These stages are represented in the diagram below.

·        Living for God:  Congregations / denominations begin full of vitality, energy and a sense of God’s presence. As the vision and mission become clear, the congregation does many things well. 

·        Allowing for God:  There comes a time in the life of most congregations / denominations where things do not go as well as people had hoped, usually for a variety of reasons. During this time, members of the congregation are invited to surrender themselves to God, letting go of what was in order to awaken to the new that God is seeking to do among them.

·        Listening for God:  As the congregation / denomination opens itself to God, it practices listening for how God is leading the congregation. This stage invites members to be renewed in their faith even as the congregation is renewed.

Testimony from Ryan Siemens, Executive Minister of MC Sask

posted 21 Aug 2018, 12:29 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Testimony from Ryan Siemens, Executive Minister of MC Sask

At our Annual Delegate Session in March 2018, Ryan Siemens, Executive Minister of MC Sask, shared about their re-visioning journey. "Just over a year ago, we invited Betty Pries to lead us through Refresh, Refocus, Renew; a year-long process to pray and reflect upon who we think we are, who we actually are and who we desire to be." Ryan continued, "At the beginning of this year, Betty invited us to do a survey. Much of what was said in that survey could be summarized by the following comment:


'MC Sask is more about community, relationships, and belonging than about structure. As congregations, we very much want to follow Jesus’ command to love each other and our neighbors.'"

When asked about the benefits of the process, Ryan highlighted four points.
  • First, it gave us something to focus on as a community of congregations.
  • Second, it sets out a three-year agenda with themes to help sharpen our vision.
  • Thirdly, as we move into post Christendom, this provides an opportunity to reimagine the vocation of the church today.
  • Lastly, it gave us space to affirm who we are and our desire to continue as church together.

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