All posts by emcmessenger

Working Among Ourselves

Kerry Saner-Harvey is coordinator for MCC Manitoba’s Indigenous Neighbours program and attends the Aberdeen EMC in Winnipeg, Man.

We are talking today about how we, those of us who are white Canadians, work among ourselves to process what we have been hearing over the years about residential schools, and particularly since the unmarked graves were identified near so many of these former schools.

GT:         Thank you for joining me today, Kerry.

K S-H:    I’m happy to be here.

GT:         To start with, can you tell us a little about what your work with the Indigenous Neighbours Program is about?

K S-H:    Often the way I’ll refer to the work, even though we’re called Indigenous Neighbours is I’ll say Indigenous/settler relations or Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations because I think that’s really what it’s about. We’re part of this equation.

One of the areas where MCC’s been involved for a long time and I continue to work with is in hydro-impacted communities in the North. In Manitoba there has been a long history of hydro affecting Northern communities as many of us know.

You mentioned working among ourselves and I think that that’s a really important question and important part of what I try to do. It’s important to look at things like residential schools and especially now that that’s in the news and taking a step back and seeing how it was part of a bigger trajectory and how we as churches are part of that history whether we would like to believe that or not and how do we unpack that.            Continue reading Working Among Ourselves

These are Not Statistics—These are My Friends

by Anna Penner

When the discovery of unmarked graves near the Kamloops residential school hit the news, I did not know what to feel, or think, or whether I wanted to process this at all. Why do we need to be reminded of this terrible segment of our history? And yet an overwhelming sadness came over me; a sense of sorrow, grief and a dark cloud of depression. I could not block it from my consciousness.

Over the years I have heard many personal stories. These are not simply statistics; these are my friends (from different communities and from different generations) who were personally affected. Continue reading These are Not Statistics—These are My Friends

Coastal Move a Dream Come True

By Mary Beth George

PERU – The Lord leads and guides in mysterious ways. Sometimes our dreams seem forever lost and then, in the twinkling of an eye, they come to fruition in ways we never thought possible. It was this way with our dream to move to the Peruvian coast.

When I came to Peru as a long-term missionary in 2008, the plan was to do church planting on the coast with Jim and Vegas Dargatz. They say flexibility is an important quality in a missionary! At that time, the Dargatzes were suddenly needed to give leadership to Camp La Joya instead, so I decided to live in the big city of Arequipa where I would have a support team. There was plenty to do!

Allen and Amy’s coastal church planting dream began after they couldn’t find a church to attend while on a family vacation during the summer of 2010. They decided to wait until the kids were out of school before pursuing a solution to this problem. Allen was field director at the time and there weren’t any good schools for the kids to attend in the small coastal towns. Then Amy passed away, closing the door on a season and bringing Allen’s future plans under evaluation.

When we started dating, one of the first questions Allen asked me was how I’d feel about doing church planting on the coast! Neither of us knew about the other’s dream. For me, our mutual perspective was evidence of the Lord’s careful tying together of our lives.

Last July, after dropping off our youngest son in Michigan at his aunt and uncles’, Allen and I started praying for a team of Peruvians to join us—particularly a couple willing and trained to pastor a church plant. In December, a friend of ours remembered a young man who had just graduated from seminary and suggested him as a possibility. We talked to the young man’s pastor at Las Flores Baptist Church (Peruvian church protocol), and he was instantly enthusiastic about our proposition and methodology.

After much prayer, thought and an exploratory trip to the coast, seminary graduate Pastor Elvis and his wife Rosita have decided to join the team! His congregation has been very involved in their decis ion-making process over the last few months and are eager to support the plant as a daughter church.

They plan to s nd evangelistic teams to visit the chosen location once a month while we are on home assignment from June 2021 to February/March 2022 and the couple will use this time to fundraise so they can dedicate their full energy to the plant. When we return, Elvis and Rosita will move to the coast with us to officially launch the church.

We see the Lord’s hand moving strongly in these prayerfully-laid plans and we know that he will take care of the unknowns. Your prayers are also greatly appreciated as we take the gospel to a very unreached part of Peru.

Mary Beth and Allen George (Blumenort Community Church) are with Serving in Mission in Peru.

Cross-Cultural Church Partnerships Happening in Calgary, Winnipeg

By Rebecca Roman

On June 19, 2021, EMC Conference Council delegates met by Zoom to hear and discuss the work of the Conference. Among items shared is a church merger taking place in Calgary, Alta., between Abbeydale Christian Fellowship and Iglesia Emanuel. A church partnership is also forming between Kingdom Life Church (an outreach church plant for Syrian refugees) and St. Vital EMC in Winnipeg, Man. The details of what that partnership will include are still in process. Continue reading Cross-Cultural Church Partnerships Happening in Calgary, Winnipeg

Lessons From the Farmer

By Kevin Wiebe

Backwater hicks. Rednecks. Trash. Uneducated hillbillies. I have heard all these labels and more applied to people in rural areas. People dismissed simply because of their postal code.

Having spent most of my life in small towns and rural areas, I have come to love living close to nature, to farms, open fields and big skies. When I think of the many farmers I have known, there is a deeply profound wisdom that comes from their lives.

Most of the farmers I have known are simple and beautiful people. They work hard, they love their families, and they enjoy their lives and work. Due to the nature of farming, many live in rural areas near their fields and animals.

For many, their day-to-day work isn’t lived in a metropolis surrounded by thousands of people and their varying opinions. As such, given that they don’t have to watch urban homelessness every day or deal with sub-par public transportation, it can seem like they are ignorant of those matters that mean a great deal to a lot of people. So these lovely farmers get dismissed as being as unknowledgeable just because their field of knowledge is different than others. And it is true that some might remark, “I don’t know about all of that stuff” and then go back to work planting their fields or harvesting their crops.

And this really is my point. They get back to work doing what they know they should. Our polarized world has a tendency to spend a lot of time talking, debating, arguing and fighting. We try to figure everything out, to understand it all, to defend our positions and convince everyone else to be like us. We debate back and forth about the minutia of politics and ideologies and spend time endlessly quarrelling over debatable things. But what if we set aside so many of those squabbles and simply got back to the work that we know we should be doing? To loving God and loving others, to being a good neighbour, to living honestly and being kind?

Ecclesiastes 11:4–6 (NLT) says, “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.”

Kevin Wiebe

No matter if we are urban or rural, a farmer or a philanthropist, none of us will know everything, and if we wait to do what we know is right until all the conditions are perfect, we will never do anything. So let’s take a lesson from the farmer. You don’t have to know everything, and you don’t need to understand or be right about everything in order to follow God. Let’s get back to work.

Ministerial Hears From the Holy Spirit, Holds Women in Ministry Vote

By Erica Fehr

More than 100 people attended a Zoom meeting of the EMC Ministerial on June 18, 2021. Discussion took place and a vote was held on a recommendation from the Board of Leadership and Outreach (BLO) about women in ministry. Ultimately, the recommendation did not receive the level of acceptance it needed to pass. Continue reading Ministerial Hears From the Holy Spirit, Holds Women in Ministry Vote

From Languishing to Looking Toward the Eternal

A Plan for Post-Pandemic Spiritual Recovery

By Arlene Friesen

Looking back at March 2020, the coming pandemic had just shut things down in Manitoba, as in many other places. All of us were grappling with our new reality—loss of work or working remotely, virtual schooling, online church, physical contact with very limited individuals, a relentless news cycle and the accompanying anxiety. Continue reading From Languishing to Looking Toward the Eternal