[MCCN Recent News]

Caring for God's Good Creation: A national, church-wide consultation on living out our calling

The Service, Peace and Justice Committee of Mennonite Church British Columbia is planning a one-day gathering on the above topic, Sunday, July 10, following Mennonite Church Canada's 2016 Assembly, Saskatoon.

Featured speakers and topics are as follows:

  • Mark Bigland-Pritchard, Changing the Political Landscape
  • Dan Epp-Tiessen, Psalm 104: Creation Care Rooted in Celebrating God’s Creation
  • David Henry, Is It Hopeless? What Specific, Practical Actions Can We Take Against Climate Change?
  • Joanne Moyer, Faith-based Creation Care Activities: Mennonite Creation Care Network and Beyond
  • Christine Penner Polle, Responding to the Ethical/Justice Issues of Climate Change by Listening to the Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor.

More information here.

[Resource] Care for God's Creatures

Every Earth Day, Creation Justice Ministries puts out a new Christian Education resource. This year's material explores how we learn from God's creatures, and considers the meaning of our Genesis call to dominion over all creatures. You will also find sermon starters and liturgical ideas for a Blessing of the Animals ceremony and a creature-themed worship service. Find Care for God's Creatures here.

Mennonites, Land and the Environment: A Global History Conference

October 28 and 29, 2016

This academic and community education conference focuses on the environmental history of Mennonite farm communities around the world. It explores the historic relationship between Mennonites and the land and is concerned with changing ideas on food production, sustainability and natural beauty. The event is hosted by the Center for Transnational Mennonite Studies and the Chair in Mennonite Studies at University of Winnipeg. The event takes place at the University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Eckhardt Gramatté Hall, Centennial Building. The conference program says:

"Mennonites have had a particular experience on the land.  As a people disproportionately rural and committed to relative simplicity, they had been more active in agriculture than many other faith-based communities.  For this reason Mennonites have often gathered to consider ways their rootedness in the soil.  They have pondered the intersection of ‘Anabaptist’ teachings on community cohesiveness, on nonviolence and on service with a healthy interaction with the land. 

Infant Forest Church Seeks Connections

The Psalms speak of all of creation praising God. The Forest Church movement joins that choir of praise by worshipping outdoors. Wendy Janzen, a pastor for missions and youth ministry at St. Jacob's Mennonite Church, St. Jacobs, Ontario, has been exploring Forest Church for a bit over a year. She writes:

"I came across the concept of Forest Church during a sabbatical in the fall of 2014. I have now led St. Jacobs Mennonite Church in one Forest Church service and in several outdoor nature sessions for the junior Sunday school children. I am also working on organizing regular, monthly Forest Church services with friends and neighbours in my community who are a mix of church types together with those on the margins of church or who are post-church. It is amazing how gathering together in nature to experience God's presence is less threatening than entering a building.

[Resource] Wild Ways

Filmmaker Martin Ostrow wrote to alert us of a conservation documentary due to air on the PBS program, Nova, on April 20. You may have seen his work in Renewal, a documentary about diverse people of faith standing up for the environment.

[Resource] Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries is hosting a series of five webinars based on a forthcoming anthology entitled, Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice, edited by Ched Myers. Participants, representing voices under 40, will examine a range of theological, ecological and practical explorations of watershed discipleship. The third of the five-month series of conversations will take place Tuesday, May 17, 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. The May topic is permaculture with Jonathan McRay and Dave Pritchett.

[Resource] Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective

Is your congregation thinking of starting a community garden or in need of new vision for the one you have? If you have heard of permaculture but are not sure what it is, here is a 1.5-hour documentary that can help you think about agriculture in a new way. The online blurb says, "Permaculture is a design lens that uses the principles found in ecosystems to help shift our impact from destructive to regenerative.

Conference Features Congregations' Green Pursuits

Read the March 2016 Reporter from the Central District Conference and you'll see references to solar panels, rain gardens, a blue heron rookery, a sandhill crane and an endangered butterfly. The theme of the issue is creation care, and two of the congregations featured are MCCN members—Emmaus Road Mennonite Church, Berne, Ind., and the Mennonite Church of Normal, Normal, Ill.