by Ferlin Abrahamson
BIRCH RIVER, Man.—Many times it is a disadvantage to be a small and shrinking congregation in a dying town. Still, during a pandemic, there is no better place to be than a town so forsaken that even the virus can’t find it yet and in a church that is small enough to legally proceed with regular services with a few minor adjustments to meet pandemic protocol.
Birch River CFC continues to function without a pastor and with minimal programming. Church services include singing, sharing, scripture reading, a recorded sermon while the children have Sunday School and a discussion time following the sermon. Next August, we are planning for an anniversary homecoming and welcome everyone with connections to CFC in the past 60 years to come and join us for the celebration.
by Arlin L. Scharfenberg
In the September 2020 issue of The Messenger, Dr. Layton Friesen describes disruptions that COVID-19 has had on our traditions, especially in our churches. Many of the events that we as believers enjoyed in our places of worship have ceased or dramatically changed. Continue reading Earthly Disruptions or God-Given Opportunities
by Rebecca Roman
We soon approach the season of Advent. And what an Advent season it will be. In recent history, there may never have been a more poignant sense that we are in waiting. Waiting for life to return to normal. Waiting to be able to freely socialize with one another. Waiting to sing in worship services without the hindrance of masks. Waiting for an end to anxiety—that we may unknowingly spread disease to our friends, family or neighbours. Or, anxiety over getting ill ourselves or loss of income. All around the world, we are wondering: when will it be over? Continue reading COVID-19, Contagion, and Christ
by Barbara Chambers, Director of Communications, Abundance Canada
Across the country, churches have stopped meeting, school has been cancelled, and non-essential businesses have implemented modified operating conditions or closed completely. Although everyone wants to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are unaccustomed to being confined to our homes (many of which have become simultaneous offices, playgrounds, classrooms, and nurseries).
Continue reading Generosity in a Time of Social Distancing
by Tim Dyck, Executive Director
When the COVID-19 crisis first arrived on the scene in Canada, the Board of Trustees was very concerned about the effects of the economic downturn on Church and Conference giving. However, in the first nine months of 2020, EMC expenses are down, revenues are up, and we have a surplus at the three-quarters mark of the year. Praise God for this wonderful news! Part of the reason for the surplus in October is due to receiving a major gift earlier this year, but the overall picture is still very positive.
Continue reading Giving in Turbulent Times
From Mennonite Disaster Service
Helping Canadian Anabaptist-Mennonite congregations respond to COVID-19
The MDS Canada Spirit of MDS Fund is issuing a second call for applications from churches in Canada responding to COVID-19 needs in their communities. Continue reading Spirit of MDS Fund Issues Second Call for Applications
by Loreena Thiessen
Now is a different time. It’s different because you and your family are together at home more than you have been. You are not at school.
You do your lessons at home, maybe through a video link or lessons sent to your house. Your teacher isn’t at school either. Your parents may work from home. You play at home. You watch church at home instead of going to your regular church building on Sunday morning. Continue reading What Can You Do?
by Pastor Andy Woodworth
There is a short Old Testament phrase that I have found intriguing during these past weeks of this global pandemic. It is used by people like Joshua, Gideon, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel when they simply reached the place where they perceived things had become hopeless. Tired, frustrated, and out of ideas as to how to resolve their respective crisis situations, they threw up their arms and exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord!”
This word alas is less of a word and more of a sound or cry of exasperation. I would call it the sound of despair. The sound of hopelessness. Continue reading The Path of Hope
by Terry M. Smith
We know too well that we live in tough times.
Ancient times provide us with instructions about self-isolation, physical signs of warning and verbal calls of “Unclean! Unclean!” to warn the general public not to come near those who are ill, and of covering the mouth (Lev. 13:4-5, 45-46). The high priest would go to an isolated person before examining their physical condition (Lev. 14:3). People with leprosy called to Jesus from “far off” (Luke 17:12). May God protect our health care workers. Continue reading God is on the Side of Healing
by David Guenther
Since I started my job working for Many Rooms Church Community in October 2019, one of my regular tasks has been to help an elderly woman named Terry access the food bank. Terry is unable to walk long distances and often needs to be close to the bathroom. So, even though the food bank is only a few blocks away, I go for her. Every other Tuesday morning I walk over to her Manitoba Housing apartment building and take the elevator to her sixteenth-floor suite. Continue reading Food Banks and COVID: Generosity in a Time of Fear