Digging for Treasure:
2017 VBS Curriculum
Dig into a VBS that’s all about Jesus’ parables and the treasure to be found in his words. At first, Jesus’ parables seem simple. But it takes listening and digging deeper to discover the treasures of the kingdom of heaven.
The Digging for Treasure: Parables Revealed starter kit from MennoMedia comes with everything you need to help children dig deep into the parables and uncover truths about God’s constant love and care for them. Each day’s story and theme are rooted in the Bible and will help the parables come to life in age-appropriate ways through dramas, playing games, making crafts, sharing snacks, and other fun activities.
The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships
This resource is written in the spirit of the Being a Faithful Church resolution that was passed at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly, July 6-10, 2016. That resolution affirms the church’s traditional understanding of marriage, but allows for
individuals and congregations whose study of Scripture, prayerful discernment, and sense of the Holy
Spirit’s guidance, leads them to a different understanding on committed same-sex relationships. The
resolution also recommends that “Mennonite Church Canada and Area Churches develop ways to
hear one another around the implementation of this resolution.” This resource is an attempt to help
us as a church do just that—hear, understand, and appreciate each other better, in the midst of our
diversity and our painful disagreement. This resource focuses specifically on different ways of
reading the Bible in light of same-sex relationships, because for many good reasons, the Bible plays a
critical role in the debate.
This resource is very much a work in progress. There is so much more that could and should be said about all sides of the issue. But dealing with the topic thoroughly would require a lengthy book, and few people have the inclination to wade through a whole book on the topic. There is need for a relatively short, straightforward document that names and explores the central issues at stake, and is also accessible to ordinary church folks, a document that can perhaps be a resource for a series of adult Sunday school sessions, or a congregational discernment process, or simply individual reflection.
Includes discussion questions.
Yours, Mine, Ours:
Unravelling the Doctrine of Discovery
Honouring the call of Indigenous peoples from around the world, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has specifically summoned
all religious denominations and faith groups ... to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius (Call to Action #49)
But what are these concepts of dispossession? And in what ways are they connected to our contemporary communities?
In Yours, Mine, Ours, over 40 authors from diverse backgrounds - Indigenous and Settler, Christian and Traditional - wrestle with this call to repudiation, what it might mean to Christians across North America, and what it entails for relationships with host peoples and host lands. With a firm hold on past and present colonialism, the authors tackle key questions that the TRC's call raises: What role did the Church play in the creation of the Doctrine of Discovery? How was Christian faith and practice used to aid and abet centuries of Indigenous dispossession? In what ways do these old concepts still live, move, and have their being? What are the present-day responsibilities of Settler Christians? What does repudiation really mean? And what are the ways forward ... beyond repudiation?
Includes a study guide by Tim Runtz.
Alison Brookins, Jennifer Reid, Robert J. Miller, Shari Russell, Rudy Wiebe, Andrew Fitzmaurice, Grace Li Xiu Woo, Michael Asch, Gord Hill, Lynn Gehl, Sylvia Mcadam, Chickadee Richard, Robert Zacharias, Angelina Mcleod, Chuck Wright, Mark Brett, Derrick Jensen, Ramone Romero, Walter Brueggemann, Nicholas Burns, Gordon Matties, Tink Tinker, Steven Charleston, Denise Nadeau, Alain Epp Weaver, Rachelle Friesen, Stan Mckay, Marion Grau, Iris de Leon-Hartshorn, Randy S. Woodley, Janet Rogers, Sara Anderson, Joe Heikman, Elaine Enns, Ched Myers, Chris Hiller, Sarah Maddison, Elaine Bishop, Adrian Jacobs, Karen Kuhnert, Arlea Ashcroft, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Steven Paul Judd, Alex McKay, Lyla June Johnston, Garth Lenz, Richard Bell and Emory Douglas, Angela Sterritt, Steve Heinrichs.
The 2-sided poster, found on pages 26-27, 48-49 can be downloaded separately here.
Also see the related special Intotemak issue Wrongs to Rights, available separately.
This web site is a central source for congregations and individuals to access information related to the ongoing Mennonite Church transition process. A timeline of up to 2018 has been set for completion of the transition process, though it is quite possible that significant changes may already take effect as early as late 2016 and early 2017.
The Interim Council is comprised of leadership representing the five area churches (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Eastern Canada) and the national church (Mennonite Church Canada).
2017 Lenten Guided Prayer Experience:
Restore Us, Oh God!
Do you long for a resource that integrates prayer and scripture into daily life?
This seven week prayer process does just that. Using the same scripture readings many Mennonite congregations across Canada use in Sunday worship during the season of Lent (as found in Leader magazine), participants practice forms of contemplative prayer and become more aware of the Spirit of God moving in our lives. This year’s theme “Restore us, Oh God!” invites us to face both the limits of our humanity and our need for divine transformation.
Participants in the Lenten Guided Prayer Experience will:
- Pray with the Biblical texts at home 3 to 4 days/week
- Meet weekly in a small group with a facilitator to share from your life of prayer (either in Sunday School, or another setting)
Prayer sheets will be emailed by early February to all groups or individuals who register to participate. Each sheet introduces the theme of the week and provides different suggestions for deepening one’s experience of the Lenten scriptures.
Small groups of 2 to 4 people
Congregations are encouraged to form small groups of 2 to 4 people who meet with a group facilitator to share their prayer experiences. In some congregations small groups might meet during ‘Sunday School’ time, while others might meet during the week.
Download a sample Prayer Sheet from last year's materials here.
Register by January 31, 2017 (or as soon after as possible) here.
$40 for congregations/organizations
$20 for individual use
Send fees to:
Mennonite Spiritual Directors of Eastern Canada
c/o Waterloo North Mennonite Church
100 Benjamin Rd. Waterloo, ON N2V 2J9
What if rather than only reading Philippians, we allowed Philippians to read us? In this 31st volume in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, New Testament scholar Gordon Zerbe challenges readers to allow Paul’s prison letter to interpret our own lives—not by extracting lessons out of historical and cultural context but by imagining ourselves into the ancient Roman world . . . and back again.
Also see interview with the author.
Year A, Lent 2017 At-Home Materials:
Restore Us, O God!
In the three-year lectionary cycle, Year A Scripture texts highlight stories that call us to conversion and new life (Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Lazarus). In studying and reflecting on these texts, the writing team noticed the overwhelming call to be restored, often in the midst of the depths of humanity as we experience our thirst, hunger, breath, sight, temptation, but turn to wondering and hoping. We invite you to enter into this Lenten journey of new life as a family. This is not a journey of perfection, but one where we face both the limits of our humanity and our need for divine transformation. Restore us, O God!
Re-Imagining the Church:
Implications of Being a People in the World
The church. What has it become? What was it meant to be? Does it pave the way or get in the way? Are we suspicious of the institutionalization of church bureaucracy? Or thrilled with the relevant impact of its presence?
Robert J. Suderman writes about the church as a practitioner. His inspiration emerges out of the crossroads of biblical vision and human sincerity always tempered with frailty. Years of ministry, never a stranger to complexity, only serve to sharpen the vision of possibility. His imagination of what can be is never divorced from the realities of what is. He does not bow to the common assumption that "you can't get there from here." "Here" is the only possible point of origin for us.
In his succinct, easy to understand writing style, Suderman provides insightful and thought-provoking perspectives to what it means to be the church. To be a people "called out" to participate together in God's activity in the world, and to create programs and structures needed for effective ministry are two sides of the same coin. This book is for dreamers and bureaucrats alike; indeed, it assumes that the two are indispensable pieces of God's coming presence.
"There are people that have lost their hope in the church. Some of them are hurt. Others think that the church has been tamed. It is in this context that Suderman invites us to dream and act based on what God has intended for his church: She is 'the foundational strategy of God for the transformation of the world.' This book is a great source to recover our hope and live in that reality!" - Cesar Garcia, General Secretary, Mennonite World Conference, Bogota, Colombia
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