As churches in Canada, we have helped to welcome many immigrants into our communities, just as we were also welcomed many years before. We want to extend friendship and hospitality to all those who come to Canada. Please know that you are loved and welcomed.
- The Churches of the EMC
To get more from The Messenger, use both the print/online and website editions, all free to EMCers.
There are six print issues and six website-format editions in 2017. Together, they provide more information than last year; separately, they provide less.
The Messenger is free of charge in an enhanced electronic version at the electronic magazine database service Issuu. at https://issuu.com/emcmessenger. On Android or IOS, search the app store for the free Issuu app (Issuu: A World of Magazines). Once downloaded, open the app and search for “The EMC Messenger.”
The Messenger will begin a six issue print cycle with increased quality in January, March, May, July, September, and November.
The Messenger has launched a new website at www.emcmessenger.ca. Content is made available weekly (editorials, lead articles, church news updates, missions news, job listings, and more). The website will be optimized for desktop, mobile and tablet viewing, and will be integrated with the EMC’s social media.
Much is changing here during 2017. Join us in this next stage in the life of The Messenger.
The fifth annual Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill, Man., was once again an exciting experience.
Twenty-four runners were trying to figure out how they would manage in the cold. The atmosphere was full of suspense. It was hard to get their attention and communicate the importance of staying in a group of two or three runners near the accompanying vehicle. The excitement mounted. Will there be bears? The road was sleek with ice.
Two highlights for me were the awards dinner and the race’s documentary. It is always great to see runners share about their experiences at the dinner table. To introduce 24 runners and present them with awards, medals, and gifts (T-shirts, a soapstone bear carving, books and certificates) is a great pleasure. The Run the North documentary captures stories of runners, especially those of Tadoule Lake as it relates to their history with Churchill. At a premiere screening in the Churchill school, with about 110 viewers, the feedback was positive. One lady remarked to me, “The marathon is way more than just a marathon.”
What is the purpose of this crazy Polar Bear Marathon?It is a charity marathon in support of the Athletes in Action (AIA) work done in the Sayisi Dene First Nations community of Tadoule Lake, 250 kms west of Churchill. This work is dependent on volunteers and donations.
The Marathon has other “spin-off” effects like the networking of international runners and attracting many media producers. The real purpose is that of a Christian ministry. As an AIA/Power to Change staff member I am conscious of my calling to help other runners spiritually. Our mission statement reads, “Helping people know Jesus and experience His Power to Change the world.” Our faith statement includes, “The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and to disciple men and women of every nation.”
How do we as Christians live out that directive? I found myself standing in the midst of 45 running crew and runners at the dinner table. I had prayed about this opportunity and prepared my notes. The Lord granted me peace and calm because I was obeying His voice and I sensed a lot of people were praying for me.
I shared what Jesus means to me and how my faith helps me and directs my life. I handed out my Christian book about running—Sand in my Shoes.
I want to speak up for Jesus at the opportune time and love, care, and pray for people. The Lord will take it from there. He is the One who gives life, who came to seek and save that which is lost.
- Albert Martens
Albert Martens (Steinbach EMC) is an EMC missionary serving with Athletes in Action.
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