Events‎ > ‎Vision 2020‎ > ‎

Vision 2020 Posts


Christ’s Body, Living Stones: A Vision 20/20 Reflection

posted 7 Nov 2019, 10:50 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Christ’s Body, Living Stones: A Vision 20/20 Reflection

by Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MCA Executive Minister

“Where did you get the neat stones?” I hadn’t expected this question at this past weekend’s Vision 2020 event. In my search for a symbol of our coming together as MCA, I settled on 1 Peter 2’s image of “living stones” to represent the body of Christ. I visited a local landscaper and scrounged up a bucket of small, smooth stones, each unique in shape and colour. The stones took on meaning during the Friday evening worship. As we entered the church, we each selected a stone and then brought it forward to add to a central display. Many stones were already there, symbolizing the broader MCA church family and our connection to each other in Christ.

The theme of the church as Christ’s body ran throughout the visioning event. For the past year we have been asking ourselves, “What is God calling us to be and do as we look to the year 2020 and beyond?” In light of the challenges facing the church in today’s world, we are invited on a journey of renewal as individuals, as congregations, and as members of a broader church family. Based on the engagement at our Delegate Assembly last March, the Reference Group put forward a plan to guide us on this journey. The plan focuses on “Encountering, Embracing, Embodying Christ”. Over the next three years, we will consider how we experience these three aspects in individual life, in community, and in the world. How are we growing ever more fully into being the body of Christ, alive and at work in the world? 

During the closing worship we again came forward, and took a stone from the display. As we stood in a circle around the sanctuary, we shared our “takeaways” from the event. We closed with a sending prayer, each still carrying a stone as a reminder of our time together, and our ongoing connection to each other in Christ.

Even though this was the final event in the Vision 2020 process, it marks the beginning of a new stage in our life together as MCA and as Christ’s living stones.

Photo on right: Riek Tut, Tany Warkentin, and Val Proudfoot come forward on Saturday to pick a rock as a remembrance of what God has done.
Photo left: The large purple stone has found a home on Tim’s desk as a reminder of the Vision 20/20 event.

Preparing for Phase IV

posted 18 Oct 2019, 20:52 by June Miller, MCA Communications

YouTube Video


Prayer for Vision 20/20 - Oct 20

posted 18 Oct 2019, 20:50 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Prayer for Vision 20/20


In preparation for the Vision 2020 weekend November 1 - 2 at Calgary First Mennonite, we are asking each MCA congregation to spend some time in prayer. Our hope is each church will highlight these prayer areas on a Sunday morning in some way during the four remaining weeks before Vision 2020 begins:

October 20—Pray for our relationship with the world around us. The mission and ministry exemplified by Jesus speak into the deep longings of our time. Christ touches the longing in each of us, and yearns to reach out into a hurting world, offering Healing and Hope. “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind….He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelations 21:3a, 4)

Prayer for Vision 20/20

posted 2 Oct 2019, 21:35 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Prayer for Vision 20/20


In preparation for the Vision 2020 weekend November 1 - 2 at Calgary First Mennonite, we are asking each MCA congregation to spend some time in prayer. Our hope is each church will highlight these prayer areas on a Sunday morning in some way during the four remaining weeks before Vision 2020 begins:

For October 6: Pray for Our relationship with God. What are the ways we experience and nurture our sense of encounter with God? Where do we see God’s presence in our life and in the lives of those around us? In a busy world, how do we intentionally create space for God’s voice to be heard?  “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17:27-28a).

Registration Open! Vision 20/20 Nov 1-2

posted 25 Sep 2019, 18:08 by Communications Director   [ updated 25 Sep 2019, 18:10 ]

The final gathering in our Vision 2020 process takes place Nov 1-2 at First Mennonite in Calgary. This event will bring together what has been distilled from the previous visioning events and point directions for our future as an MCA family. In preparation for this event we ask each MCA congregation to spend some time in prayer for the process:
 
Pray for Our relationship with God. What are the ways we experience and nurture our sense of encounter with God? Where do se see God’s presence in our life and in the lives of those around us? In a busy world, how do we intentionally create space for God’s voice to be heard?
 
“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17:27-28a).

Friday 7 - 9 pm
Saturday 9am - 4pm

Special pastors and leaders gathering Friday from 1-4 pm.
Saturday lunch is included.

Dear MCA Sept 18, 2019

posted 18 Sep 2019, 21:09 by Communications Director

September 18, 2019



Dear MCA,

“I thank God every time I remember you.” These words of Paul to the church in Philippi express well the sentiment I feel as I think about the connection we share as the churches of Mennonite Church Alberta. Summer can take us in various directions as we enjoy the warmer weather and more flexible schedules. Autumn brings opportunity to reconnect, as congregations and as the broader church family.

This Fall marks an important time in our life together as MCA. For the past year we have been working on a visioning process. The final gathering of Vision 2020 will take place November 1-2 at First Mennonite Church in Calgary. We hope every church will send a good representation of their congregation to this gathering.

During our time together our facilitator Betty Pries will lead us in absorbing what has been distilled from the previous two weekend visioning events this past March and November. As we commit to a renewed sense of direction in our faith journey together, we will also have the opportunity to receive practical suggestions of steps we can take as individuals, as congregations, and as MCA as a whole.

As I mentioned in my previous letter, the ideas that were generated during our visioning weekends centre around three important aspects of our faith in Jesus Christ:

               1. Our relationship with God. Interest surrounding prayer practices and spiritual nurture only touches the surface. What are the ways we experience and nurture our sense of encounter with God?

               2. Our relationship with each other. We belong in community. For many of us this is a primary place in which our faith in God finds expression. How do we take community to deep and profound places, with core commitments reflective of the character of Christ we long to emulate?

               3. Our relationship with the world around us. The mission and ministry exemplified by Jesus speak into the deep longings of our time. They touch the longing in each of us, and yearn to reach out into the world around us, offering Healing and Hope.

In preparation for our time of visioning together, watch for prayer notes to focus on during worship and devotional times.  These will begin next week, and continue until the November weekend.

In his letter to the Philippians Paul goes on to say, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6. I have confidence that as our visioning phase comes to a close, that its completion will lead us into a new phase in life as the Church Together, continuing a journey where we are made complete through the love, grace, and leading of Jesus Christ.

May it be so,

Tim

Dear MCA - June 5, 2019

posted 5 Jun 2019, 21:21 by June Miller, MCA Communications   [ updated 5 Jun 2019, 21:27 ]







June 5, 2019



Dear MCA,

As I travel around Alberta I must say I am enjoying the vibrant green of the fields and the leaves on the trees. There is an amazing beauty to the landscape at this time of year. As the summer approaches, the whites and greys of winter have become a distant memory.

Before thoughts shift fully to summer events and vacation time, I am writing to update you on the Vision 20/20 process. The Vision Reference Group has met with Betty Pries, and are sifting through our work from our Delegate Sessions last March. At the time we had identified five main themes. We have taken these themes and further refined them into the following three areas of focus:

·       Prayer, prayer practices, and spiritual nurture point to
our relationship with God.

·       Deep community, character, and core commitments focus on
our relationship with each other.

·       Mission, ministry, and the deep longings of time relate to
our relationship with the world.

Over the coming months the Reference Group will be putting together a proposal for addressing these themes as an MCA family, including practical suggestions for us to consider as individuals, congregations, and as the larger church body.

In the weeks and months to come I encourage you and your congregation to continue to keep our Vision 20/20 process in your prayers in the following ways:

1.      Over the next three weeks please take the opportunity for focused prayer. You may choose to make note of the Vision process during a time of congregational sharing, or perhaps the focus of contemplative prayer time during worship. The following prayer notice will be included in our MCA bulletin announcements, for inclusion in your church’s Sunday prayer time:

Please keep MCA’s Vision: 20/20 process in your prayers. The themes, ideas, and challenges identified by our process point to a renewal of our relationship with God, with each other, and with all the world. As individuals, congregations, and as the MCA family, may the coming months prepare us for the next steps in our process of renewal.

 

2.      Over the summer, as people travel and enjoy the rejuvenating power of warm weather and vacation time, encourage each other to incorporate one personal “prayer practice” into your life. Some suggestions are included at the end of this letter.

 

3.      In the fall, watch for MCA prayer notes focused on the three themes mentioned above, in preparation for our Vision event November 1-2 in Calgary.

In 2 Corinthian Paul writes, “our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4: 16b). I pray that the coming months of Alberta summer may be a time of renewed sense of God’s presence and Spirit.

In Christ,

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld

Executive Minister


Possible Personal Prayer Practices

 

·        Commit 5 – 20 minutes per day to prayer (spoken prayer or contemplative prayer).

·        Commit 5 – 20 minutes per day to walking in a spirit of prayer.

·        Ask a person to be your “spiritual friend,” inviting them to ask you about your faith journey.

·        Read one or more books on the theology and practices of prayer.

·        Begin a daily practice of Lectio Divina / Scripture reading

 

 

 

 

Vision 20/20: Next Steps Apr 24, 2019

posted 5 Jun 2019, 21:20 by June Miller, MCA Communications


Vision 20/20: Next Steps

Prepared by the MC Alberta Reference Group, April 24, 2019

Background

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner) What is MCA’s deep gladness? What is the world’s deep hunger?

As seasons change and one generation makes space for another, the deep hunger of the world also changes. What is the world’s deep hunger today? What we know is this: We are living in what is believed to be the loneliest time in history; mental health issues are on the rise, and the yearning for inner rest is profound. The world’s deep hunger can be summarized as a longing for meaning, purpose and belonging. This longing is not just in the world “out there,” it is also a longing in our pews!

Alongside the world’s deep longing, we are observing a fresh openness to wonder and mystery. The world’s longing is a profound and even urgent missional moment for the church: Meaning, purpose and belonging have been at the center of the church’s deep gladness. We believe in a God to whom we belong and in whom we also belong to one another! This gives meaning and purpose to our lives. What would it look like for MCA to claim (or re-claim) its sense of meaning, purpose and belonging? What would it look like for each congregation in MCA to do so? How would this reclaiming define our congregations and drive our relationships with our neighbours near and far? What would happen when our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger would meet?

As MCA, we have been on a renewal journey entitled Vision 20/20. All renewal journeys are first and foremost spiritual journeys; they are a time of deepening and coming close to God. This has also been true for us: Over this year we have listened for the place to which God is calling us. We have sought to understand both the world’s longing and our deep gladness. The following report shares where we have been, where we are at on the journey so far and where we are headed.

Where we have been

The MCA Vision 2020 journey began in September 2018 with a survey. The closing summary of the survey results stated the following: In summary, we love the church and see many signs of hope. We enjoy worshipping and fellowshipping together. We appreciate the diversity within our congregations and within MCA. We value relationships, the care and support we show each other, and the sense of belonging we find within our congregations. We are energized by service opportunities and projects, and are encouraged to see young people engage with these. We are filled with hope by stories of how the good news is transforming peoples’ lives, and we look for more ways to spread the gospel. We affirm the MCA priorities to equip congregations and train leaders, and build more connections between MCA congregations. We recognize the importance of the Camp Valaqua ministry, and see this as a main point of connection for MCA churches.

We also recognize the challenges facing our congregations, MCA, and the wider church in the context of the current time we are in. We have questions about how we will sustain MCA ministries within the new MC Canada structure. Nonetheless, our commitment to the church is strong and we continue to trust in God’s Spirit to guide us. Rooted in Anabaptism, we are committed to the gospel and willing to following in Christ’s footsteps, wherever they may lead. As one person stated:I firmly believe the church is the body of Christ visible and active in the world today. I believe that life within the church can be difficult, but life outside the church is not what Christ envisioned.”

We followed the survey with a gathering in November 2018. During that event we considered the role of the church in the context of the world’s deep longing in the midst of 21st Century dynamics. We explored the discipline of prayer, the rhythms of renewal and with MCA pastors, ten indicators of thriving congregations for the time we are living in. Many found this event worshipful and inspiring. Each person was sent away with an invitation to pray and to listen for how God was calling MCA. When we gathered again in March 2019, we wrestled and discerned together. We concluded that MCA and its people are being called to pursue five essential themes:

1.      Prayer & Prayer Practices (Scripture reading, leaning on God’s love for MCA; noticing where God is at work)

2.      Core Commitments + Engagement with Deep Longings (love of God & neighbour, place to ask questions & bring real issues, study MWC core convictions)

3.      Deep Community (sheltering tree and adoption imagery for inclusion; multi-age, multicultural, youth, camp; ecumenism)

4.      Character (kindness, forgiveness, welcome; claim who we are)

5.      MCA Ministries (Camp, Muslim-Christian dialogue, pastor supports; share stories between congregations; share prayer needs, learnings, struggles)

We also brainstormed many different ideas for how MCA can lean into these themes.

Where we are going

As congregations, we are inviting you to continue in prayer over the coming months. As an overarching theme, we ask for prayers for guidance as we discern God’s calling together. More focused requests for prayer related to our identified themes will be sent out in coming months.

The Reference Group will be working with the outcomes of the collective discernment in March and wrestling further, asking, “What does it mean to live into the themes we have discerned?” You will be hearing more from us over the summer and in the fall in this regard.

Our next Vision 20/20 event will be November 1 (evening) and 2 at Calgary First Mennonite. All of MCA is invited to come to celebrate our commitment to one another and to God, to affirm directions for MCA and, most importantly, to practice together the discipline of being the people of God together. Please plan to have representatives present from your congregation.

We thank you for your ongoing prayers, engagement, and participation in our Vision 20/20 process of renewal. May God allow us to see clearly the way ahead!

In Christ,

The MCA Reference Group:

Debbie Baergen, Tracy Brown-Ewert. Kate Janzen, June Miller, Paul Neufeldt, Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, Betty Pries

Phase III - Complete

posted 20 Mar 2019, 19:56 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Thank you to all who came out for Phase III: Discerning God's Call. The Reference Group will meet April 3rd. Resources should be available by the following week.  Check back to the Vision 20/20 page for any updates.


















Top row: photos by June Miller
Bottom row: photos by Donita Wiebe Neufeld

Video 3: Die before you die

posted 20 Feb 2019, 18:23 by June Miller, MCA Communications

Video 3: Die before you die


1-10 of 23