Want to explore Povology, the study of poverty, theology, Church, and you? A new video curriculum about poverty and the Church was launched on Nov. 26, 2016, at the EMC Conference Council meeting in Rosenort, Man.
Six half-hour videos and a printable discussion guide feature interviews with folks like Shane Claiborne, Dr. Ronald Sider, Bruxy Cavey, Steve Bell, pastors, missionaries, and professors, including EMCers.
The topics are Our Homeless Leader, Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Responding to Poverty, Do No Harm, What About The Gospel? and The Power of Small Things.
The material is now available to all EMC pastors and churches for free via online streaming or digital download. A DVD can be provided upon request.
Who’s responsible for producing this useful stuff? Pastor Kevin Wiebe (New Life), a PUC communications and media graduate, had the vision for the project and put together the materials. The EMC’s BCM and its Education Committee have endorsed the project. But make no mistake. The project was well underway by then.
The series is now available to stream or download, completely free, from www.povology.com. Check out that link for more information about the series as well.
We trust that this will be a useful tool for you and your congregation.
Pov.ology Promo from EM Conference on Vimeo.
For a related resource see Follow Me: Exploring More of Our Calling as Christians
Located in the city of Cuauhtémoc, Mexico, is a small but growing congregation that is part of the CEMM Spanish conference, a conference with whom the EMC works quite closely.
This is an exciting time for this small congregation, known as the Ebenezer Church. They are experiencing growth, so much so that they have outgrown their church facility and are now building an addition to accommodate.
Earlier this year they approached EMC to see if we would be willing to assist them with their building addition, both financially and through assistance in construction. EMC Project Builders has assisted by sending $20,000 for the building project.
Now, the EMC Board of Missions is planning to send a work team of four to six people to assist with the interior construction of the project, and is looking for people to fill this team.
The work team is scheduled for January 13–24, 2017, which includes travel time. The approximate cost to go on the work team is $1,500 if driving and $1,800 if flying. This project has been approved by the Board of Missions.
If you are interested in being a blessing to this congregation in Mexico by being a part of this work team contact Ken Zacharias at 204-326-6401 or email.
How do you update the holy grail of thrifty and thoughtful cooking? Doris Janzen Longacre’s More-with-Less cookbook, compiled from hundreds of recipes submitted by Mennonite cooks around the world, has almost a million copies in print. But it is four decades old.
The beginnings for the original cookbook were humble. Two families gathered around a picnic table and discussed global hunger and the world food crisis of 1974.
MCC had asked constituents to examine their own food habits, and challenged people to “eat and spend 10 percent less—both as an act of voluntary simplicity in solidarity with people who were poor, and as a practical move toward actually consuming less of the world’s limited resource” writes Longacre in the book’s original preface.
Stone also writes of Longacre’s death from cancer just three years after More-with-Less was first published, when she was 39. “She could not have known that eating locally and seasonally would become a mark of hipness, and that many people would begin to spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking,” reflects Stone. The book champions “simple food, well prepared from whole, fresh ingredients, eaten with gratitude,” she writes.
Filled with colorful pictures of people and food from around the world, as well as recipe photos, the new volume still includes much of Longacre’s writings, including chapters on the idea of having less with more, making changes as an act of faith, tips on building a simpler diet, and eating with joy.
More-with-Less and the entire World Community Cookbook series is commissioned by MCC. All royalties benefit MCC. The new edition launched Sept. 27 at $22.99 USD.
A total of 33 churches and outreaches—that’s only part of what a half-century of our EMC ministry in Nicaragua has contributed toward! And that’s why the EMC is planning to join the celebration and a learning tour (April 4 to 11, 2017).
Doris and Alfred Friesen with their girls
EMC Missions began ministry in Nicaragua in 1966 with the efforts of Fred and Doris Friesen. Our sister FIEMN conference, which developed, celebrates their 50th anniversary on April 8, 2017.
Doris Friesen writes, “Can it be that it was 50 years ago that Fred and I did that long trek to Nicaragua, over 5,000 miles by land in our white camper truck, with our two little girls, to a land unknown with only a map and the Holy Spirit as our guide!”
There was “no one at the other end to meet us!” she says. “We were either courageous or fools! But we are never fools when we obey the Lord. And how the Lord blessed us so richly in spite of many difficulties!”
|Cabin at Camp Maranatha|
The FIEMN churches and EMC guests will hold a one-day celebration at Camp Maranatha with at least two services and additional prayer services through the night. As part of the event, the FIEMN and the EMC Board of Missions have approved a special project for Camp Maranatha to replace 80 bunk beds and 160 mattresses ($14,800 USD). The BOM is committed to $13,320 which is 90% of this cost. This will greatly assist the FIEMN and its retreat ministry.
You are invited to attend this anniversary! It will be inspirational and educational. You will be encouraged in your faith.
The story of the FIEMN is one of planting, political revolution, and growth within one of the poorest countries in Latin America—yet you will hear from believers how Christ has blessed them.
Gerardo Chavarriá (FIEMN President),
Arnulfo Vado (Pastor in La Paz)
Lester and Darlene Olfert, former missionaries to Nicaragua, will lead the Learning Tour as it visits FIEMN churches and ministries (April 4-11). You will meet FIEMN committee leaders and pastors, and appreciate the strong faith clearly evident in believers’ lives and in church life.
You will meet Pastor Gerardo Chavarría, FIEMN’s president, and be challenged by his faith story and ministry example. Gerardo pastors the Diriomito congregation. He is one of two Pastoral Supervisors who visits, every three months, the churches for which he is responsible. These churches are located in the mountain region east of Managua, Boaco province, where there are bad roads or no roads. No roads means walking or riding a mule. Ever ridden a mule?
Local pastors, visited in different regions, will share how the Lord has blessed them. You will encounter cultural interests—perhaps the Masaya volcano or a coffee plantation. Do you prefer lava or caffeine?
The trip will cost about $1,800, including flights (more exact pricing will follow).
New happenings with older items! These are the benefits of the EMC’s partnership with the Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) in Winnipeg, Man.
Two recent Plett Foundation grants have allowed work on EMC materials. One grant covered data entry for about half of the EMC materials; more work is needed. A second allowed printed photos to be transferred to a digital format; Emilie Bartel (Kleefeld) was involved with this project.
On Sept. 12, 2015, most of the EMC’s archival holdings were moved from the vault in the EMC’s national office in Steinbach to become part of the collection at MHC in Winnipeg. The EMC Archives Committee, which operates under the Board of Church Ministries, agreed to transfer the storage of the materials, not their ownership. The materials remain within the control of the EMC.
The EMC’s national vault had bulged for years, and the EMC Archives Committee worked diligently for ways, without success, to keep the files closer to our national office. It pondered MHC’s facility and, after discussion with the MHC and BCM, the BCM signed a storage agreement.
The EMC now has its archival holdings located in a suitable space, one shared with MC Manitoba, the EMMC, and MCC. This makes it easier for wider research purposes.
How has MHC helped the EMC? Director Korey Dyck and archivist Conrad Stoesz helped transfer EMC archives to MHC’s site. Korey also wrote and submitted a grant application to help the EMC; a grant worth $4,510 was received.
Because of that grant, Helene Warkentin spent about 250 hours organizing and describing the EMC records. John I. Friesen spent 33 hours listing the three EMC periodicals for both EMC and MHC collections, Korey says. Conrad Stoesz supervised Helene Warkentin in compiling the EMC’s finding aids to help search within MHC’s database, Korey says. MHC has spent more than 300 hours working on EMC material, says Dyck.
The EMC Archives Committee is exploring ways to become a full partner in MAID (Mennonite Archival Images Database), the image sharing service of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada. The EMC is a partner in the MHSC.
The MAID service involves a one-time fee of $2,000 and annual maintenance costs. This is a challenge for an Archives Committee that has for years operated on a shoestring budget (total of $500 to $1,900 per year).
The EMC Archives Committee budget is to include a MHSC membership fee ($350), costs for an EMC representative on the MHSC board (varies by meeting location), storage fees at MHC (about $1,000), and local Archives Committee costs.
The Archives Committee members are Don Kroeker, Loren Koehler, and Glen Klassen. Terry Smith is connected as BCM’s executive secretary. MHC’s key people are Korey Dyck and Conrad Stoesz.
- Terry M. Smith
During the month that contains Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful, first and ultimately, to the Lord Jesus Christ from whom all good things come.
I am grateful for the EMC. While my faith in Christ did not come through it, it allows me to serve: for 11 years as a pastor and now 19 years within the national office as executive secretary.
Manitoba is good to me. While I studied in Calgary and Saskatoon at fine institutions (SAIT and CPC), the Keystone province permitted further studies (SBC, MBBC, PTS). In the midst of this I won the heart of a Manitoba maiden and gained two sons who brought new heights into our household.
What do I appreciate about being in Manitoba? The opportunity to serve the wider EMC and be near my in-laws. Beyond that, I say, “Sermons, seminary, and Sandilands.” To preach is basic to being a minister; placing material into print or online is a bonus. In Manitoba and beyond, it’s a delight to serve EMC and other churches that invite me to preach.
Providence Theological Seminary’s being nearby gave me a wonderful opportunity to study part-time for a decade. My thanks go to the BCM, my wife Mary Ann, colleague Gerald D. Reimer, and professors at PTS for their encouragement.
And being a hunter (more meat than trophy), my living near a provincial forest is convenient. Hunters are located in many EMC churches, but you might want to talk with the people at Roseisle EMC. They have lots of hunting stories.
-Terry M. Smith
The Vision Statement of the EMC specifically states that we want to focus on urban areas for church planting. That’s a bit of a departure from our usual way of doing things. To help us make it happen the Church Planting Task Force has been pursuing a relationship with C2C, and an official agreement has just been made.
C2C is a church planting organization with extensive experience in urban church planting. It has staff in all the major Canadian cities who are available to support EMC church planters. They also work with prospective church planters to help them assess their abilities for church planting and to coach them in growing those abilities.
Another benefit of our association is the annual gatherings organized by C2C. These are a tremendous boost for church planters as they are able to network and learn from each other as well as enjoying the teaching provided. Our agreement with C2C has been in the works for a number of years so we are very excited about arriving at this point.
Along with that development we are also hearing God call us to join his work in a number of communities.
One of these is our growing association with a Chinese group meeting at Fort Garry EMC. Fort Garry is supporting and assisting this young church of approximately 20 believers and another 20 or so seekers. It is really exciting for us to think of having our first Chinese EMC church!
We are also thrilled that God has answered our prayer and brought a church planter couple to Two Hills, Alta. John and Helen Froese, who recently returned from ministry in Bolivia, have committed to a two-year term serving as pastoral couple to this young church group. There are six committed couples at Living Faith Fellowship with a lot of energy to grow this church and be involved in their community.
Another ministry opportunity has developed in Airdrie, Alta., where the Emanuel church family has been leading a Bible study. It has developed to the point that they are prepared to launch this church plant in fall of 2016.
There are five committed families in Airdrie, including two leadership couples from Emanuel. This will be a real challenge for Emanuel both financially and in the “loss” of leadership.
There are additional possibilities developing in Winnipeg and communities around Winnipeg so stand by for more to follow.
Seeing new church plants develop like this generates a lot of enthusiasm for us. If it draws you, why not go to C2C's website and find out if you’re called to be part of church planting or call Charlie Koop for information specific to the EMC.
We’d also love to have you partner with us financially by contributing to the Church Planting Training and Support Fund through the EMC office; and always, of course, continue to pray that God will grow his church in Canada and the world, and that we can be a part of this.
-Charlie Koop, Canadian Church Planting Coordinator
At its meeting on September 23, 2016, the Board of Leadership and Outreach appointed Ralph Unger to serve as Conference Pastor on an interim basis. Ralph has agreed to serve four days a week in this capacity, beginning October 1, 2016. He is willing to continue in this role until June 2017 or until a full-time Conference Pastor is appointed.
Ralph is well known within the EMC, having served as a pastor in Winnipeg (Crestview), Birch River, Ridgewood, and most recently as an interim pastor at Rosenort EMC. He has also been the EMC moderator for four years in the mid-nineties. Ralph and his wife Mary Lynn currently attend the St. Vital EMC. We are delighted that Ralph has agreed to serve as Conference Pastor and believe that he will be an encouragement to EMC churches.
The Search Committee is continuing its search for a full-time Conference Pastor. The committee is still receiving applications for this position. Anyone interested is encouraged to submit a resume to Erica Fehr.
- Peter Doerksen, BLO Chairperson
Back, L-R: Ron Thiessen (CBF), Fred Buhler (Pineridge), Brad Steppan (Endeavour), Lorne Moorhead (NFC), Terry Smith, Gerald Reimer
Ken Zacharias, Foreign Secretary, arrived in Region Three first on Sept. 13, meeting jointly with Community Bible Fellowship leaders and Guadalajara workers John and Connie Reimer in Swan River. (On Sunday, Sept. 18, people from Christian Fellowship Church, in nearby Birch River, came to hear the Reimers, CBF’s former pastoral couple.)
Gerald Reimer, Conference Youth Minister and Missions Mobilizer, and Terry Smith, Executive Secretary, arrived in Region Three on Sept. 17.
Terry was dropped off in Endeavour where he visited with Pastor Brad Steppan. (Carol was at a Beth Moore simulcast in Swan River, arriving home in late evening.) In the morning Terry joined the Endeavour Fellowship Chapel in its kick-off event, a pancake breakfast; during the worship service he gave the children’s lesson and sermon.
Gerald travelled to Hudson Bay; during part of the way two vehicles ahead of him flushed deer off the road. He visited with Kelvin and Jessica Young, Pineridge Fellowship Chapel’s youth leaders, and then stayed with pastoral couple Fred and Irene Buhler. The next morning he led a Sunday School discussion on the conference’s work and gave the sermon.
By Sunday evening Gerald and Terry were in Swan River for supper with CBF’s youth leadership team. Doris Reimer and Fred and Charlotte Evans then hosted them overnight.
Environmental history is a particular way of interpreting the past. In one respect it directs us to consider the effect of human activity on farmland, but then also nature’s effect on human culture. In short, human-land relations are dialectical in nature. It’s not that simple though, for humans have had a range of effects on the land. Oftentimes this activity has left the environment in a degraded state, the result of a kind of “environmental sin.” At other times humans have engaged in multiple ways to create sustainable environments. Some have done so by debating the very idea of “sustainability,” others by employing ancient farming methods, and yet others by harnessing the most innovative and technologically advanced agricultural systems.
As a disproportionately rural people, Mennonites have often met to consider an ‘Anabaptist’ approach to the land, shaped by simplicity, peace and community. This conference considers the history of this relationship, mostly in the twentieth century. It has been a period of remarkable change: old organic-based, community-oriented approaches have given way to a new reliance on fossil fuels, herbicides, global markets, governmental programs, and economies of scale. But the conference also takes a much-needed global perspective, considering seven different Mennonite farming communities around the world, and seeking to understand how climate, specific commodities, levels of wealth, types of government, cultural and ethnic contexts, histories with colonialism, and settler-indigenous relations, have all affected the relationship of Mennonites with the land. Seven different communities; one faith trajectory.
For full conference details, visit: http://mennonitestudies.uwinnipeg.ca/events/land_and_environ_2016/program.php
All conference sessions will take place in Eckhardt Gramatté Hall, 3rd Floor Centennial Building, at The University of Winnipeg. Admission is free. Register at conference.
Download Brochure and Poster.