In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Whereas, the Church of _____, is no longer to be used for acts of worship, And whereas the Church building and the land upon which it is erected is about to be/being sold; now, therefore, we, by Divine Permission . . . do declare that the Church of ____ , once duly dedicated and consecrated to the Divine worship of Almighty God, has by virtue of this our sentence, lost said dedication and consecration. (U. S. Anglican rite) Continue reading When can a Rite be Wrong?→
Thank you to Terry Smith for his reporting on this year’s EMC Ministerial Day [July]. I am, however, concerned about the content presented on this day. I am concerned about the gender stereotypes apparently presented as fact, and how these stereotypes limit both men and women. I am also concerned that a supposed “feminization” of the church is blamed for declining attendance for men. Most churches have a group of women who have faithfully served God for many years, often in roles behind the scenes. Some women have felt called to leadership positions but were limited in their service due to their gender. It is not helpful to blame women currently in the church for the men who do not attend, or to measure “success” by male/female ratios. Churches should be places where all people feel welcome and can hear the good news of Jesus, and where they can serve God with the gifts He has given them.
As we plant new churches, naming them, as always, is best done carefully.
For various reasons, the EMC has periodically favoured words such as Gemeinde, EMC, Fellowship, Chapel, and Community. What might we keep in mind as we name congregations today? Continue reading On Naming Churches Today→
Thank you, Layton Friesen, for your May 2019 article “Without the Church, You’re on Your Own.” Many years ago I asked myself, “What is the church?” and the nagging question was, “Who is the church?” What is the church generally refers to a building, denomination or organization. Are we as individuals not the church, if we believe Jesus is the Son of God, died for us, forgiving our sins and rose back to life?
During this Advent season filled with wars, famines, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other unnatural and natural disasters, we can be grateful for the presence and efforts of the worldwide Christian Church in word and deed—the light of Christ (Matt. 5:12-17).
We can give thanks for Presbyterians in Syria, Copts in Egypt, Lutherans in Finland, Methodists in England, Anglicans in South Africa, Roman Catholics in the U.S., Eastern Orthodox in Russia, Baptists in the Czech Republic, Anabaptists in the Netherlands, Pentecostals in Canada—and the list goes on. The Christian Church ultimately forms a single presence in many countries of the world. We can thank the Lord that his ministries are multiplied.
Yes, each part of the Church is more conscious of what it is doing and less aware of the work done by other parts of the Church. However, the Church worldwide has evangelism, relief, development, and justice activities in needy places by word and deed. For the wider Church and its work, we can give thanks.
Consider, for instance, Pastor Ibrahim Nseir and the Presbyterian congregation he serves in war-torn Aleppo, Syria; they provide hope amid the rubble, as Emily Loewen of MCC at times reminds us.
The light of Christ shines in many places and the darkness will not overcome it (Matt. 5:14-16; John 1:5; 1 John 1:8).
Charitable giving patterns have changed, we’re sometimes told. People now want to give to specific projects they support or to Christian workers whom they know. To want to be involved is positive.
We have every right to know where our money is going, how it is used, and by whom. To know the people, their work, and the differences made are all important. It makes good sense.
But then, for some people, a strange act occurs: they shy away from giving to EMC Missions. They think that giving to EMC Missions is similar to tossing coins into a deep, dark well; the money goes in, but it seems a bit murky and uncertain.
Is this image fair to EMC Missions, its national staff, missionaries from our churches, and our commitment to work together? EMC Missions regularly informs donors, churches, and individuals of its workers, ministries, and finances. You likely know of its many ways:
Missions Alerts placed into church bulletins
The EMC Day of Prayer
EMC Missionary Prayer Calendars
Missionary Prayer Corps letters
Missions displays and reports at convention and council meetings
Reporting in churches by national staff and missionaries
Prayer Teams visit missionaries on the field
A missions Prayer Ministry led by Beth Koehler
Missions reports and staff columns in The Messenger
Financial reports in The Messenger, at conference council, at board meetings, in our convention insert, and sent upon request
The EMC has 98 cross-cultural workers in 24 countries serving 115 people groups, according to info provided to Diana Peters. This workforce, serving on our behalf, takes most of our $1.9 million EMC budget. It’s worth it.
Giving to 98 missionaries in 24 countries isn’t tossing coins into a dark well—not when their faces and ministries are shared in EMC circles. Pastors, delegates, and church secretaries are key local sources of information, and even more information is available.
Also, the idea of a well isn’t fair to donors. Some people might glance into a well and see only their image reflected on the water’s surface. No, we want to look deeper.
We want what’s good for others. That’s why we give. And, yes, at times we need help to decide which is a sound ministry and which people are worth supporting.
Isn’t this why 65 years ago EMC churches together formed a mission board with representatives from various regions? It works to discern and decide about people, places, and ministries. Our fields, workers, and impact have multiplied, and your giving has permitted this. Thank you.
Let’s look again at the EM Conference line in our local church’s budget and at the EMC’s annual budget. Do we see 98 faces of missionaries looking back at us, all of whom serve on our behalf and depend on our support?
A publication of the Evangelical Mennonite Conference