Saturday, July 6, 2019 

Workshops Presenters

Block 1: 1:30 p.m.

Caring for Kids with Special NeedsSupporting and including people with special needs and their families.
How we treat vulnerable people in our society says a lot about who we are as individuals and as a church. Kids with special needs are some of the most vulnerable around us. This workshop aims to challenge us in how we treat those with special needs as well as encourage and equip families and churches to better support individuals who are affected.


Ron Wiebe is an Assistant Principal at Two Hills Mennonite School as well as the Coordinator of Student Supports. He enjoys the challenge of matching exceptional needs with the right supports, whether it be human support, tech support or social/emotional support. In his role at the school Ron has had many opportunities to interact with students who have special needs, as well as their parents. Through these interactions, he has gained a deep level of respect for people who live with and interact with people with disabilities on a daily basis. Ron enjoys a challenge and is always willing to share what he has learned with others.

What's in your suitcase? Healthy Multi-cultural Conflict
God has brought us together in the EMC. We love each other but sometimes we don’t get along. This workshop will focus on conflict that happens because of our different backgrounds. Culture is helpful for packing meaning and values into our lives. Like a suitcase. But our suitcases are packed differently and that means conflict will happen. With awareness and tools we can have healthy conflict and resolution of conflict in our conference. Come and hear stories, questions and sharing from folks of different cultures in Region 2. Let’s begin an ongoing conversation of what is needed to have a healthy, multi-cultural conference that works together with respect. 
Chris Hughes will moderate a panel of couples representing the three main cultural groups in Region 2. Chris is in Christ, husband to Rachel, father to Joshua and Martha, and Associate Pastor at Abbeydale Christian Fellowship.

Reaching out to Gen Z
Generation Z, those born between 1995-2005, are the first generation to grow up not knowing life without social media. They’re also a generation filled with anxiety and hopelessness, asking questions about the meaning and purpose of their lives. We will talk about how to build trusting relationships within this virtual reality that surrounds us. And we’ll examine how the person of Jesus in the Gospels meets their needs and gives them significance and purpose in this numb-inducing world. 
Gerald Reimer Gerald Reimer is married to Sandy and together they are raising three Gen Z kids. He has served in his role as Director of Youth and Discipleship at the EMC Office for 20 years. A 3-month backpacking trip through Central and South America in his early 20’s ignited his love for Jesus and tacos and his nervousness with scorpions and border crossings.  

Please Note: change in presenter(s).

Anxiety: What it is and how to manage it.

Is anxiety affecting you, interfering with your life, or limiting your potential? If you or a loved one suffer from anxiety, this workshop is for you. This session will be practical and will include basics about anxiety and some strategies for dealing with it. The session will be interactive as you're comfortable, and there will be time for questions and discussion.

Patti Plett is an Occupational Therapist, who works in forensic mental health with the province of Alberta. She does consultations on inclusiveness, barrier free engagement in meaningful activities as part of her private practice (Equipping for Life), and teaches a course for U of A  on how to have conversations with people when it's hard, particularly when mental illness is a struggle. As an OT in mental health, she also provides psychotherapy with families and individuals. She has worked with major mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

Block 2: 3:15 p.m.

Please Note: change in presenters.


Recognizing Abuse

Abuse is very common and can be difficult to recognize because it is done in secrecy. This workshop will look at some of the signs and risk factors associated with abuse, different types and categories of abuse and what helps victims and perpetrators in the healing process. There will be time given to questions and answers during and near the end of the workshop.

Gary Giesbrecht (BRE, BA, M.Div (Pastoral Counselling)) - Associate Member of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care.

Gary is Pastor of Coaldale Mennonite Church. He was born and grew up in India where he attended a boarding school located in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Gary has worked in counselling for individuals and couples and has worked extensively with families whose children were at risk of being removed from the home due to abuse and neglect. He currently teaches marriage preparation and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality courses. Gary seeks to walk with persons to increase their emotional and spiritual maturity with Christ as the centre of the transformational process.   

Kira Gee
Kira works at a local organization as a Youth and Family Counsellor and at Crossroads Counselling doing administrative work. She has had experience working with children in school and community settings, as well as in foster homes. She has also had experience working with women and children who are fleeing domestic abuse. Kira has a passion for working with individuals whom have experienced trauma. Her dream is to be able to intertwine that desire with her faith, to provide a God fueled outlet for trauma focused healing. Currently living on a farm, Kira enjoys spending her weekends with baby goats and attempting to tame feral barn cats.

The Role of the Holy Spirit and Prayer in Church Growth
The Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) was a relatively small church of 5,000 when the Communist government closed the doors of churches and forced them to meet in small cell groups. In the span of 12 years, the MKC grew tenfold to about 50,000 believers. Church leaders attribute this growth to the ministry of the Holy Spirit and dedication to prayer. Dr. Yemiru will share testimonies and practical examples of the MKC experience that will inform and inspire those who attend. 
Dr. Yemiru Tiliahun

Dr. Yemiru Tilahun is is a recently credentialed EMC Minister who has been hired quarter time by EMC to assist church plants to reach Ethiopian communities in Canada. He is from the Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) in Ethiopia, a Mennonite Church of over 500,000 people. He and his wife and children live in Addis Ababa where he co-pastors a local church. He has served as a Pastor, a Church Planter, and is currently leading the mission agency to train African church leaders to reach the most unreached people groups. 

God and Suffering

Why suffering exists in a world supposedly governed by a sovereign, loving, God is a persistent challenge for most people. Journey through a cardiac arrest, an implanted heart pump, and a heart transplant, to reflect on and dissect the subject of suffering from one family’s perspective. 

Paul Buller is an engineer and entrepreneur by day and an armchair theologian and philosopher by night. A husband and father of two, Paul enjoys not only contemplating life’s biggest issues, but writing about them through his blog ( and through multiple self-published books, including “Suffering, the Heart of the Matter”.

Healthy Fighting: Do the lessons learned during childhood sibling rivalry offer insight into the extending of grace when facing adult theological differences?
Brothers Barry and Darren Plett don’t always agree! In this workshop they expose how dealing with conflict as siblings, in the context of a healthy family environment, have helped to guide them through the larger and more complex theological disagreements they face while pastoring and doing church leadership side by side in the EM Conference. 

Barry & Darren Plett 

Barry Plett and Darren Plett grew up on a family dairy farm in Blumenort MB. Even though both of them loved farm life they both sensed a calling to full-time ministry. Barry and his wife Norine have spent 26 years pastoring in their home church of Blumenort, first as youth pastor and now as senior pastor for the past 18 years. Darren and his wife Pearl have been lead pastor couple of the Pleasant Valley church near Rosenort for the past 21 years. Barry and Darren, together with their families, have spent much time socializing, doing holidays, playing sports, roofing and other side jobs.