2021 Study and Sermon Guide: We Declare what We have Seen and Heard

2021, 9 pp
This summer (2022), Mennonite Church Canada will come together in Edmonton, Alberta, for its regular Gathering. Regional delegates and all who are interested will meet for a weekend of worship, learning, inspiration and discernment around the theme, “We Declare…what we have seen and heard,” based on 1 John 1:3. This study guide has been created to help congregations and individuals reflect on this theme, either in preparation for or as a follow-up to Gathering 2022.

This theme is an important one for us to consider. Our congregations are in flux: many are aging and getting smaller in number, and many are seeking to reimagine themselves in new ways. New Canadian and nontraditional congregations are joining the Mennonite Church, and many congregations are becoming more culturally diverse. At the same time, the role of the church within Canadian society is continually shifting further away from a position of cultural or political importance. What place does our distinctive Christian message, the gospel, have in a religiously plural and culturally diverse world? How can we speak of our faith in a society of many faiths and no faith, a society that has seen all too well the harm the church can inflict in the name of Jesus? Is it possible in all this to imagine our churches proclaiming and living out a good news that is truly good news for humanity and all creation, even to imagine new believers joining us in following Jesus in his good-news way of love?

In the Anabaptist tradition, discernment is practiced “from the bottom up” rather than “top down.” We encourage congregations and individuals to work through this guide as part of collective discernment as a nationwide church. It can be used in Adult/Youth Education settings, small groups or even as a worship series. As congregations and individuals work through this guide, it is our prayer that the Holy Spirit provides fresh inspiration on a topic that some find exciting and others find problematic.

(6 sessions)

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