Get the facts! Our Q and A
1) What is the Mennonite Church Canada “Gathering”?
The MC Canada Gathering is several things. It is a gathering of people from across the nationwide Church who are interested in building and strengthening the ministry and mission of the church locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. It is also a meeting of delegates from the Regional Churches for the Annual General Meeting, the annual business session of MC Canada. The overall purpose is nurturing faith and fellowship, strengthening a nationwide Anabaptist/Mennonite identity and equipping for ministry and mission. Everyone is invited!
2) Where and when is Gathering 2019 being held?
In Abbotsford, British Columbia, from Friday, June 28, to noon on Monday, July 1, 2019, at the Quality Inn and Conference Centre.
3) What will be happening at this Gathering?
Gathering 2019 is a coming together of our nationwide community of faith. Delegates will gather on Saturday morning, but the event is primarily an inspirational time of worship, learning, fellowship and relationship-building with others in our nationwide MC Canada family of faith. We come together to share faith stories in order to ignite our imagination for the mission of the church.
4) What’s the theme?
The Gathering theme is “Igniting the Imagination of the Church.” The outpouring of the Spirit on the apostles in Acts 2 ignited a movement and formed a community that embodied and proclaimed the promised reign of God. During this time of change for MC Canada and for the Church in general, we gather to celebrate new movements of the Spirit in our local, regional and nationwide churches. We will hear Firestarter stories from across our nationwide family, stories that demonstrate how the Spirit is at work in and through faith communities in our Regional Churches. Come and let your imagination for the future of the Church be ignited!
5) Who is the guest speaker?
Dr. Elaine Heath will be the featured speaker at Gathering 2019. Author, speaker and former dean of Duke Divinity School, Heath is passionate about community as a means of healing trauma, emergent forms of Christianity and alternative forms of theological education for the church in rapidly changing contexts. Heath’s scholarly work integrates pastoral, biblical and spiritual theology in ways that bridge the gap between academy, church and world. Her publications include Five Means of Grace: Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way (2017), The Mystic Way of Evangelism, Revised and Updated 2nd Edition (2017), and God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church (2016). Heath is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in pastoral ministry prior to her academic ministry. She lives with her husband at Spring Forest, an intentional Christian Community in rural North Carolina.
6) What are Firestarter stories?
Firestarters stories will illustrate how faith communities across the nationwide Church have been inspired to be “church” and minister in their neighbourhood in new ways. They will challenge us to consider where the flame of the Spirit may be igniting new fires for ministry in our communities. These presentations may be followed by discussion.
7) Will there be workshops?
There will be a workshops on a wide variety of topics around the theme. Some will provide an opportunity to interact with Firestarter storytellers.
8) What else will be happening?
- Pastors and lay leaders meet with Elaine Heath, our featured guest speaker, on Friday for a Leadership Day.
- Delegates meet for the AGM on Saturday morning. Guests are welcome.
- We gather for opening worship on Saturday afternoon as our nationwide community of faith comes together with Elaine Heath to “Ignite the Imagination of the Church.”
- Doug Klassen, the incoming Executive Minister, will be formally installed.
- Sunday features a variety of activities including worship, workshops and field trips.
- Programs and activities for children and youth are also planned.
9) What is Leadership Day all about and who is it for?
Leadership Day (Friday, June 28) is for all pastors and lay leaders and features plenary sessions with guest speaker Dr. Elaine Heath. Lunch is provided. The day includes worship and Firestarter stories (followed by discussion) based on Dr. Heath’s themes that day.
10) Who sends delegates to the Gathering and when will delegates meet?
Delegates are appointed by the five Regional Churches in accordance with MC Canada bylaws. Delegates will meet Saturday morning for the annual business session to hear from and give direction to the nationwide Church. Congregations no longer select or send delegates. However, they are encouraged to support others who are interested in attending.
11) Will there be programs or activities for youth?
Yes! Young people are heartily invited to attend. Activities are being planned for youth ages 13 - 18 for Friday and Sunday evening. On Saturday they will be bussed to Camp Squeah for an overnight stay, which includes worship and camp activities. They will be bussed back for lunch on Sunday.
12) What about children?
Activities are being planned for children ages 5 to 12 and childcare will be provided for children 4 and under during the plenary sessions and workshops.
13) How can I pray for Gathering 2019?
Pray for the Theme Planning Committee as they continue identifying Firestarter and workshop presenters, for Heidi Epp who leads the local planning team, and for God to inspire Elaine Heath as she prepares her presentations.
14) Where can I find the event schedule?
A detailed schedule for Gathering 2019 is available online at www.ignitegathering2019.ca/schedule.
15) How can I get more information and updates about Gathering?
Gathering 2019 information and updates will be posted regularly on the Gathering website: www.ignitegathering2019.ca.
16) Where and when can I register?
Registration is online and open! Be sure to read the guidelines for registration at www.ignitegathering2019.ca/registration, before clicking the registration link on the same page.
17) Who can I contact with any further questions?
Please contact Katie Doke Sawatzky, the communications officer for MC Canada. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.