Category Archives: News

PTS expanding Anabaptism courses, offers AS Track

by PTS and EMC

Partnership benefits EMCers in Canada and beyond

OTTERBURNE, Man.—Providence Theological Seminary is expanding course offerings in Anabaptism to benefit students, EMCers included.

Courses deal with Anabaptist history, contemporary theology, global studies, and pastoral theology. They are informed by Anabaptist traditions of discipleship, mutual accountability, social justice, and peaceful living.

Students in all master’s programs can benefit, an Anabaptist Studies Track (AST) is now available within its Master of Divinity (MDiv) program, and courses can be adapted for undergrads.

The Anabaptist Studies Track within the MDiv program allows PTS to provide theologically-sensitive, ministry-oriented, pastorally-focused training at a graduate level.

Providence’s location in Manitoba, where about half of the EMC’s churches are currently located, allows PTS the privilege of training many EMCers. Flexible instruction delivery (modular and online, as well as semester-based) aids EMCers across Canada and out of the country.

The AST was developed with input from the EMC. While the EMC has no financial obligations, the program is mutually beneficial. Quite likely, more EMCers have studied at PTS than at all other seminaries combined.

To learn more about the courses on Anabaptism, or the AST track within the MDiv program, visit or call 1-800-668-7768.

Bowden prison walk-a-thon for CFGB a success

by John Longhurst

Inmates walk almost 2,000 kms to raise funds for Africa drought victims

BOWDEN, Alta.—Almost 2,000 kilometres. That’s how far 297 inmates at the Bowden Institute collectively walked Sept. 10 to raise money to help people affected by drought in Ethiopia.

The walk-a-thon, organized by an inmates group with help from Chaplain Bud Sargent, raised as much as $15,000 for a project in that country supported by Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and implementing member agency World Renew.(The pledges are still being tallied at this time.)

Altogether, the inmates, along with 20 outside volunteers, walked 3,694 laps around the prison’s exercise yard for a total of 1,981 kilometres.

Funds were raised through pledges from families and friends of the inmates, and from prison chapel volunteers and from local Christian Reformed churches in Lacombe—Woody Nook, Wolf Creek and Bethel. People across Canada also donated through the CFGB page.

World Renew will use funds raised by the inmates for its project in the Dugda region on Ethiopia, where it is assisting over 41,000 people with support from the CFGB. The Government of Canada will match the money on a 4:1 basis.

This is the fourth time Bowden inmates have done the walk-a-thon, including last year for CFGB member Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. They plan to do another walk-a-thon for the CFGB next year.

Changes at The Messenger

by Russell Doerksen

STEINBACH, Man.–At the July 2016 conference council at Steinbach Bible College, it was voted that the Board of Church Ministries (BCM) should implement the following three changes in regards to The Messenger:

  1. The Messenger should employ a premium service for its electronic version, allowing for easier mobile and table reading as well as listing in a multi-national database.
  2. The Messenger print copies in a given year should decrease to six bi-monthly issues and the quality of these issues should increase.
  3. The Messenger should create a blog-style website so its content can become available online as it is received.

In response to this mandate, the BCM would like to announce the following rollout schedule.

  • Immediately, The Messenger will be available free of charge in an enhanced electronic version via the electronic magazine database service Issuu. Online you can find us at On Android or IOS, simply search the app store for the free Issuu app (the full name of the app in the store is Issuu: A World of Magazines). Once downloaded, open the app and search for “The EMC Messenger.”
  • If you choose to create a user account with Issuu, you will be possible to follow The Messenger, which in turn will automatically notify you whenever a new issue is made available. If you do not wish to make an account with Issuu, you will still be able to read the magazine in its entirety free of charge.
  • Beginning in January 2017, The Messenger will begin a bi-monthly publication cycle with an increased print quality. In this new schedule there will be a new print issue available in January, March, May, July, September, and November.
  • Beginning late January 2017, The Messenger will launch a new website at On the website, there will be new content made available weekly taking the form of lead articles, church news updates, missionary stories, an enhanced job listing section, editorials, comments, and much more.
  • The website will be optimized desktop, mobile and tablet viewing, and will be
    Russell Doerksen

    integrated with the EM Conference’s social media. For the first few months after launch, the BCM will be periodically asking for feedback from our readers in order to get the website up to the highest possible standard. Expect more launch details soon.

A lot will be changing here over the next few months and years. We hope you will join us in this next stage in the life of The Messenger.

EMC Archives gains from partnership with MHC

by Terry M. Smith

Progress made in EMC collection, more needed

WINNIPEG/STEINBACH—New happenings with older items! These are the benefits of the EMC’s partnership with the Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) in Winnipeg, Man.

Two recent Plett Foundation grants have allowed work on EMC materials. One grant covered data entry for about half of the EMC materials; more work is needed. A second allowed printed photos to be transferred to a digital format; Emilie Bartel (Kleefeld) was involved with this project.

On Sept. 12, 2015, most of the EMC’s archival holdings were moved from the vault in the EMC’s national office in Steinbach to become part of the collection at MHC in Winnipeg. The EMC Archives Committee, which operates under the Board of Church Ministries, agreed to transfer the storage of the materials, not their ownership. The materials remain within the control of the EMC.

The EMC now has its archival holdings located in a suitable space, one shared with MC Manitoba, the EMMC, and MCC. This makes it easier for wider research purposes.

How has MHC helped the EMC? Director Korey Dyck and archivist Conrad Stoesz helped transfer EMC archives to MHC’s site. MHC has spent more than 300 hours working on EMC material, says Dyck.

The Archives Committee members are Don Kroeker, Loren Koehler, and Glen Klassen. Terry Smith is connected as BCM’s executive secretary. MHC’s key people are director Korey Dyck and curator Conrad Stoesz.

Drought in southern Africa continues to be severe


Has uneven impact on children, people with HIV/AIDS

SOUTHERN AFRICA—The impact of the El Nino-related drought on people living in southern Africa continues to be severe. That is the message being shared by Barbara Macdonald, who directs International Programs for Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).

Poor harvests and crop failures that have come as a result of the drought have left many people dependent on buying food from their local markets, where high food prices have put pressure on family incomes.

Over half a million children are currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition in seven countries in the region, and over three million have had their access to safe water reduced by the drought.

Also at high risk are people being treated for HIV/AIDS; southern Africa is home to one-third of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the world.

Meanwhile, a World Food Programme survey in the southern Africa country of Zimbabwe found that about 80 percent of households in some regions of the country had either reduced the number of meals they ate each day or the amount of food eaten. Around 6,000 children have dropped out of school due to hunger, or because they need to help their families either by working or by getting water.

The Foodgrains Bank is responding to needs in southern Africa through its member agencies. In Zambia, CFGB member World Renew is responding to the crisis by providing 4,500 families, with a total household population of 31,500, with seven months of emergency food in return for their labour on community projects. This emergency food is helping families survive until they can harvest a crop again. Households that depend on small-scale farming are also receiving seeds to help them re-start production.

‘Digging for Treasure’ in Jesus’ parables

by MennoMedia

MennoMedia 2017 Bible school curriculum ready for orders

KITCHENER, Ont.—The parables of Jesus contain rich hidden gems. With the theme Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed, the 2017 Vacation Bible School series from MennoMedia gives children tools to find treasures of God’s kingdom.

“This year’s theme responds to a survey in which people said they would like to study parables during VBS,” writes project director Mary Ann Weber. “The parables reveal things about the kingdom of heaven, about God, and about how much God loves us.”

The five-day curriculum brings children both stories and activities about the sower and the seed, the lost sheep and lost coin, the mustard seed, and others. Through drama, worship, creative activities, and song, children will find the spiritual wealth in these ever-new stories from Jesus.

Children’s booklets, Treasure Map and My Book of Stories, and a CD of energetic worship songs help draw children into exploring the world of Jesus’ stories and teachings. Leader’s guides help teachers lead VBS for children from age 4 through grade 5. Adaptations for grades 6–8 are offered on a resource CD, a new feature in this year’s curriculum.

The CD provides additional helpful tools to publicize VBS, a Bible memory slide show, name tags, and other resources designed to equip leaders in implementing an effective, dynamic VBS program.  Digging for Treasure includes leader’s guides for active response, Bible response, creative response, and worship and drama.

Digging for Treasure may be ordered in an all-in-one boxed set including everything needed for planning and preparation. All items are also available separately. More information is at:

IMC’s 50th anniversary shows faith living still

by Ron and Judy Plett

MORWEENA, Man.— Many former students of the Interlake Mennonite Collegiate (IMC) gathered at Morweena, Man., on Aug.  21, 2016, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Former students, and their spouses, came from throughout western Canada to celebrate and re-establish friendships. What a time of visiting and celebration it was! Some people had not seen each other in 40 to 50 years.

Mrs. Levina Friesen, widow of IMC’s teacher, Mr. Harry Friesen, also came and shared memories as well as encouraged all of us as we continue onward in faith. The event hosted a wonderful banquet and closed with a Southern Gospel and Country concert by Wilmer Reimer, the husband of Pearl, a former IMC student now living in Strathmore, Alta.

The school was established in 1966 during an era when the province had increased the mandatory age of education to age 16 and the country schools were being consolidated. IMC was started in response to parents in Riverton, Morweena, and Fisher Branch desiring to send their youth to a Christian high school.

In 1970 Christian schools covering Grades one to 10 were established in Mennville/Riverton and in Morweena/Arborg, absorbing the students who would have attended IMC; and, thus, IMC was closed.

Ralph Unger appointed interim Conference Pastor

by Peter Doerksen, BLO chair

STEINBACH, Man.—Ralph Unger is serving as EMC Conference Pastor on an interim basis. The Board of Leadership and Outreach appointed him on Sept. 23, 2016, to serve four days a week. Ralph is willing to continue in this role until June 2017 or until a full-time Conference Pastor is appointed.

Ralph is well known within the EMC, having served as a pastor in Winnipeg (Crestview), Birch River, Ridgewood, and most recently as an interim pastor at Rosenort EMC. He has also been the EMC moderator for four years in the mid-nineties. Ralph and his wife Mary Lynn currently attend the St. Vital EMC. We are delighted that Ralph has agreed to serve as Conference Pastor and believe that he will be an encouragement to EMC churches.

The Search Committee is continuing its search for a full-time Conference Pastor. The committee is still receiving applications for this position. Anyone interested is encouraged to submit a resume to Erica Fehr.

National office staff fan out in Region 3

SASK. AND MAN.—Ken Zacharias, foreign secretary, arrived in Region Three first on Sept. 13, meeting jointly with Community Bible Fellowship leaders and Guadalajara workers John and Connie Reimer in Swan River. (On Sunday, Sept. 18, people from Christian Fellowship Church, in nearby Birch River, came to hear the Reimers, CBF’s former pastoral couple.)

Gerald Reimer, conference youth minister and missions mobilizer, and Terry Smith, executive secretary, arrived in Region Three on Sept. 17.

Terry was dropped off in Endeavour where he visited with Pastor Brad Steppan. (Carol was at a Beth Moore simulcast in Swan River, arriving home in late evening.) In the morning Terry joined the Endeavour Fellowship Chapel in its kick-off event, a pancake breakfast; during the worship service he gave the children’s lesson and sermon.

Gerald Reimer travelled to Hudson Bay; during part of the way two vehicles ahead of him flushed deer off the road. He visited with Kelvin and Jessica Young, Pineridge Fellowship Chapel’s youth leaders, and then stayed with pastoral couple Fred and Irene Buhler. The next morning he led a Sunday School discussion on the conference’s work and gave the sermon.

By Sunday evening Gerald and Terry were in Swan River for supper with CBF’s youth leadership team. Doris Reimer and Fred and Charlotte Evans then hosted them overnight.

On Monday morning Terry and Gerald joined the Region Three Pastors’ Meeting held at CBF. Fred Buhler asked what it was like for Terry to be back in the region. Terry, a pastor in Creighton for 11 years, said Gerald might have to tie him to the vehicle to get him to leave.

After discussing connections, resources, and challenges, the leaders met for lunch, enjoying food remaining from the Beth Moore event. Pastor Hyoungjin (Frankie) Kim, from Pelly Fellowship Chapel, then arranged people and a camera. He’s a techie!