Vol. 51 No. 2 February 2013 - Evangelical Mennonite Conference
Volume 51 No. 2 February 2013
In memory of my dear wife Josefina
Grace and disobedience page 12
Once again angels danced
s the NHL lockout proceeded and ended,
it was disturbing to see how much attention was given to the squabble between
millionaire players and billionaire owners at a
time when desperate needs exist in our world.
It reminded me of
when Christian theologians in the Middle
Ages allegedly argued
about how many angels
could dance on the head
of a pin. The reputation
of theologians has suffered ever since.
As one formally trained and ordained as
a minister—and, thereby, a congregational
theologian—I say that academic theologians fail
when they focus on fringe matters, rather than
on central matters, of Christian faith. They further fail when they focus on their own internal
discussions, rather than on exploring Christian
beliefs with rank-and-file believers or people
who are not yet believers (1 Peter 1:3–5, 3:15).
Equally, some sports reporters can be
criticized for discussing the details of the NHL
owners’ and players’ proposals and counterproposals while failing to squarely face a central
ethical and moral question: whether it is proper
to pay so much to entertainers on ice.
Is the work of hockey
players really more
important than that of
police officers, farmers,
teachers, prison chaplains,
and social workers? To say yes reflects poorly upon
our society’s values. And what of the Church’s
values? Compare Amos 6:4–7 with Acts 5:12–16.
As a formally trained print journalist, I say
that some sports reporters seem, at times, too
close to the culture they report on; they assume
and reflect its values without proper critical
engagement. Society loses when this happens.
– Terry M. Smith
Is the work of hockey players really
more important than that of doctors,
teachers, and social workers?
Take a deep breath
ome of us might prefer a quick fix when
it comes to First Nations people and
change in Canada. But take a deep breath.
Change will take time.
There are perhaps four key factors: the colonial legacy, the residential school history, current First Nations government, and individual
First, no one can become a Canadian and not
be involved in the colonial legacy. It’s said that
our anthem O Canada could include our home
on native land. Though these might not be the
official words, they reflect the unofficial reality.
The victors, it is said, write history. Facing
the “underside of history” is a challenge. Let us
be careful as we write new chapters in Canadian
Second, the Christian Church in Canada
dare not minimize or overlook the Church’s
2 The Messenger • February 2013
involvement in the residential school history. To
do so is to hurt our calling in community and
The Church has sometimes seemed content
to hide behind its being an agent of the government. However, given that the Church has,
in history, often seen itself called to a higher
standard than that of any government, this is a
Third, First Nations government is already
here in part. How prepared, though, are local
and national chiefs both to acknowledge and
to deal with problems posed by allegations of
nepotism and weak band council management?
How will chiefs deal with problems caused by
how some of their members govern today?
Finally, what will be our individual attitudes?
– Terry M. Smith
Table of Contents
With Our Missionaries
With Our Churches
In memory of my dear wife Josefina
Josefina fought a tireless fight against sin
– Pastor Gerhard Walter Rempening Rico
Reclaiming silent retreat
Being, not doing: 10 reasons to take a retreat
– Alicia Buhler
12 Grace and disobedience
The book of Jonah teaches us the power of
God’s grace despite humanity’s sinful heart
– Will Rose
15 Time Table for Today
– Laura Plett Siemens
Ethics in the Presence of Christ and
Raising a Modern-Day Knight
16 Archives Alcove
Matters about marriage
– Terry M. Smith
27 Thinking About
Do they leave because they haven’t
– Ward Parkinson
34 Here and Far Away
“Notes d’Amour” (Love Notes)
– Jocelyn R. Plett
35 Stewardship Today
Practice, practice, practice
– Dori Zerbe Cornelsen
36 Kids’ Corner
To remember is important
– Loreena Thiessen
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 3
Volume 51 No. 2 February 2013
Cost of procrastinating is high
TERRY M. SMITH
Submissions to The Messenger should be sent to
The Messenger is the monthly publication of the Evangelical
Mennonite Conference. It is available to the general public.
Its purpose is to inform concerning events and activities in
the denomination, instruct in godliness and victorious living, inspire to earnestly contend for the faith.
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THE Messenger schedule:
No. 3– March 2013 issue
(copy due February 15)
4 The Messenger • February 2013
I applaud your courage in addressing
issues head-on in your article, “A
Hope for the EMC in 2013” [Jan.
2013]. Many churches struggle with
these exact four issues, liturgy (worship), peace, baptism and culture.
Church culture is hard to separate
from the Gospel and the unspoken
but powerful message is that to be
part of us, you must be like us. Casual
comments and looks subtly expressing
this feeling make newcomers feel
The difficulty is that many in our
congregations are unaware of the
effect on the majority of newcomers.
The result is that we have revolving
front doors, losing most new attenders
in three to six months. It is a disheartening situation.
Those who truly want to impact
their surrounding community in the
next year or two will need to be more
vocally involved in change. The yearly
Guidelines for letters
Letters published are generally
to comment on issues raised in
The Messenger. The magazine reserves the right to edit letters for
length, style, legality, and taste.
Letters by regular mail and by
fax must contain a handwritten
signature with at least the writer’s first and last names and an
address. For letters by e-mail, the
writer’s name and e-mail address
are deemed to be an electronic
signature. The writer’s regular
postal address is to be included
in e-mail correspondence.
The writer’s name and general address are to be published
In sensitive matters, names may
Letters to the editor should
be 250 words or less.
cost of procrastinating is high. Your
article gives good food for thought
and a place for caring people to begin
In an old comic strip Pogo, a character said, “We have met the enemy
and it is us.” The transformation needs
to begin in us. My hope for 2013 is
that many who have remained silent
would learn to speak up on behalf
of those “outsiders” who need to be
transformed by the Gospel.
– Ray Hill
The door remains open
I read with interest, and some consternation, the editorial “Chaplains
serve ‘the least of these’” in your January edition. Serving part-time under
the chaplaincy program in one of our
Manitoba prisons, in a volunteer capacity, I am deeply aware of and grateful for the opportunity and privilege
that is ours in having this open door
for Christian ministry.
The recently revised funding
model for the chaplaincy programs
has in no way affected those of us
who visit prisoners as volunteers.
Being concerned about “Christ’s
words of commendation for those
who visit prisoners” (Matthew 25:40)
surely does not hinge on government
Ms. Roman’s final paragraph
ought to raise some red flags as to our
expectations of what taxpayer dollars
are to accomplish. According to her
deductions, the extent of Christ’s
purpose being furthered in our
country is dependent on government
monies. My understanding of Jesus’
words when he challenges us to serve
“the least of these” is not that we be
reimbursed by our government.
Letters continued on p. 19
Columns • writings shared
Ethics in the Presence of Christ, Christopher R. J. Holmes (New York, NY: T&T Clark, 2012). 176 pp. $34.99
(paperback), $144.00 (hardback). ISBN 9780567491732 (paperback). Reviewed by Henry Friesen, BA, MPhilF,
part of The ConneXion’s (Arborg) leadership team.
olmes’ passion in Ethics is the “moral force
of the present tense concerning Christ’s
person” (viii). He is adamant that the
proper question is not “What would Jesus do?” but
“What is Jesus doing?”
This ongoing presence of Christ is the determinative reality of our world, whatever contrary evidences
and factualities we may observe (2ff ). Holmes is
careful not to discount the value of facts, but he does
distinguish what is factual from what is real (139).
Because of the life and work of Christ as recorded
in scripture and present in our world, we can no longer allow naive facts to limit our vision for what constitutes reality. Christ really does change everything.
A large part of Ethics focuses on two stories from
the Gospel of John (the healing in John 5; trial scenes
in John 18). Holmes is unflinching in recognizing
that Jesus represents judgment, not simply an easy
salvation. The healing is Jesus’ concrete judgment on
a particular expression of evil, and bears witness that
nothing “that distorts, disfigures
and corrupts the creatures whom he
and his Father love” will stand (28).
A strength of this work is an
unremitting insistence on both the
priority of scripture and the ultimate pre-eminence of Jesus as the
Truth before whom no falsehood
can stand (67ff ).
Ethics is profound and provocative. I highly recommend it for those
prepared to wrestle with a text that
is singularly focused on what the
person of Christ means for ethics (life) today.
Note: Dr. Christopher Holmes is an evangelical Anglican who previously taught at Providence Theological Seminary (Otterburne, Man.); he is now a senior
lecturer in theology at the University of Otago, New
Raising a Modern-Day Knight, Robert Lewis (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, repr. 2007).
9781589973091. 208 pp. $14.99. Reviewed by Terry M. Smith, executive secretary, Board of Church Ministries.
obert Lewis is concerned that many fathers
aren’t directly involved enough in the lives
of their sons who, then, face an uncertain
view of manhood; in response, he wants male family
members to develop their own ceremonies to affirm
boys and young men at various stages of life.
Lewis, writing from a Christian perspective,
wants boys and men to be concerned about a
“transcendent cause” (chapter 10). He draws upon
medieval history and knights to propose a model, a
meaning, and a legacy.
The book, first published 15 years ago, has served
a good purpose. Lewis properly identifies a need: to
help male family members to be more intentional
about how they raise their sons, nephews, and
It has three weaknesses. First, as one reviewer
asked, “Was Jesus a knight?” Second, it needs more
thought and examples of how this process should
be intertwined into the regular life
and liturgy of the Church. And,
finally, isn’t there is a place for both
genders to influence both genders?
(To affirm girls and young women
is outside of the scope of the
book, though that need is equally
Lewis, however, leaves individual families and churches
with an important task: to more
intentionally teach and affirm life
passages within our midst. Various
people today are pointing out the
dangers of diverting children from the mainstream of
the church—into children’s church, youth group, and
more. How can we integrate them and, in doing so,
affirm their identity as boys or girls?
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 5
Rempen ard Walter
fter my wife Josefina (Chepina) was
brutally murdered, for
me violence is the terrible abundance of sin in humanity. It is when the multiplication of evil reaches such a degree that sin destroys
and kills innocent victims.
A passage that best describes her life is: “So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box
as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:26–27 NRSV).
6 The Messenger • February 2013
A race against sin
Chepina had a quiet secret in her heart, a race
that she ran throughout her life. She had a clear
goal. Today we are living this tragedy as a result
of violence; there is much pain in our hearts.
This race, her goal, was a tireless fight against
sin. She did not seek to change others, not even
me. She concentrated on herself.
This struggle began in Chepina’s life when
she was 14, when she realized she needed to
make her own the sacrifice of Christ on the
Cross. This was the day she said to God: I want
to apply the blood of Christ to my sin. I want
you to come into my heart. I want to live for you.
She made a covenant for life that didn’t end
there; nor was it a spur of the moment emotional response. She never forgot it.
Her secret was that she lived always aware of
her tendency to sin and ready to repent. There
was in her a deep fear of God. She struggled
against sin in her life. Her joy was serving others, serving God, and being a blessing to others.
This is how she overcame sin and took it out of
Today we ask: When will this violence end?
We want change from the outside. We want the
authorities to do something.
Change in our personal lives
Change begins only in our personal lives; it
is not about a religion. Chepina lived a deep
relationship with Christ, so deep that it touched
Change will only come when God not only
gives to us, not only cares for us, not only is
there to hear our requests. Change only comes
when God touches our sin.
Chepina attacked sin at home. Sin in our
house has always been confronted, but not by
shouting, threats, or religious fanaticism.
She never yelled at me, never raised her
voice. She won the struggle against sin with
humility, restraint, and obedience. Yes, she
spoke, but it was her deeds that could never be
She loved intensely
Another part of her secret was her love. She
I still feel her hand in mine. When she took
my hand, her love ran like electric current
through my body.
She loved with
everything she had,
loved always, and
knew how to
forgive. What she
had forgiven, she
She allowed herself to be rejected.
If people did not like
her, it hurt, but she was
humble. She got out of the
way. She gave love to those
who allowed it.
She loved it when I suddenly
said to her: Did I tell you that I
love you? She answered: No, you
haven’t said it today. I would tell her
with all my heart, “I love you.” Then she
always said to never stop saying it.
There’s a kiss that I’ll never forget. I had
invited her to the movies and the ticket seller
told us there was a Valentine’s Day promotion: if
we kissed, her ticket would be free. She turned
immediately and kissed me with all her heart.
She would not miss an opportunity to show
her love. I still feel that kiss on my lips. She beat
sin and gave with her heart full of love.
She loved it when I
suddenly said to her:
Did I tell you that
I love you?
She loved God
Her love didn’t stay at home. She loved God
above all else. I was aware that I was in second
place, and I loved it.
Her love flowed in abundance in the church,
not defending a religion, not showing off
knowledge. Yet she defended the truth. She was
a great preacher (her last message was on Oct.
She was a student of God’s Word, memorizing Scriptures, praying. At home she would
kneel, praying out loud, talking to God whom
she loved with all her heart and feared with
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 7
She loved the
aid to love
She saw the
Church for what it
is: the body of Christ.
She knew that God
instituted it, not humans.
She was convinced that
only with her brothers and
sisters could she be transformed. How could she love if she
was not a constant doer of the Word
She was in the church with everything.
She was ready to share what God gave her.
One text she repeated was, “Freely you have
received, freely give.”
She overcame sin and didn’t allow sin
to reign in her life. She was ready to ask for
forgiveness, to recognize her faults. She fought
against any bitterness.
This was achieved only in the body of Christ.
The Ebenezer Church will miss her deeply. She
was there amid trouble, differences, and difficulties. She never turned away. She belonged to the
body of Christ faithfully throughout her life.
She loved her work, students, and directors.
She took every opportunity to pray with someone, to give encouragement. Even in her singing
classes she listened to problems and prayed with
students. It was her joy to say: “Today I could
help someone. I mourned with someone today.”
She was a great friend.
A message for men
Finally, I have a message for all men. There is an
ugly saying that many men have embraced and
practice in their marriage: “Don’t give women all
your love or all your money!”
I want to say to you that to Chepina I gave
all my love, and I know it was never enough. I
should have loved her more.
I avoided making her unhappy, never curtailed my love for her. I lived in a constant effort
to learn to serve her.
I learned to have patience, to let her make a
mistake, be herself with virtues and faults. My
love for her grew every day. We were enjoying
the fruits of our efforts to cultivate love.
Men, do not be afraid to love your wives with
everything. Men, you were not wrong to marry
your wives. We are only wrong when we fail to
8 The Messenger • February 2013
we stop striving
to love them,
when do not honour them, when we
do not serve them.
Today more than ever
I am sure that I did not
make a mistake in marrying Chepina.
This was the secret of Chepina.
We lived 28 years of marriage, and together
Chepina and I fought against the sin that is the
engine of violence.
Today amid pain, Chepina and I invite you
and the entire state of Chihuahua to join us. If
we want this violence to end, start with sin in
yourself, in your home. Begin in your church, at
work, with your friends.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished
the race, I have kept the faith. From now on
there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will
give to me on that day, and not only to me but
also to all who have longed for his appearing”
(2 Tim. 4:7-8). “Blessed are the dead who from
now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit,
“they will rest from their labors, for their deeds
follow them” (Rev. 14:13 NRSV).
Rest in Peace, Dear Chepinita.
Rest in Peace, Dear Elsa.
Rest in peace, Dear Lorraine.
Rest in Peace, Dear Marisa.
Josefina Rempening was murdered in December
2012, along with her sister Elsa and grown nieces
Lorraine and Marisa. Men stopped their car
while the women were en route to a funeral. Her
husband Walter, pastor of Ebenezer Church in
Chihuahua state, Mexico, gave this message on
December 18, 2012, “with much love and deep
pain.” The message was translated by Linda
Shelley, condensed into article form by the editor,
and is printed with Walter’s permission.
by Alicia Buhler
grew up attending retreats. As a child I
attended missions and church retreats
with my family. As an adolescent I would
go on retreat with my youth group.
For me, these retreats were always a
time of spiritual growth. Engaging speakers
challenged me to take my relationship with
Christ deeper and the times of corporate
worship were inspiring. I also enjoyed connecting with friends in these settings. A lot
of energy went into organizing games, missions projects, and other exciting activities.
It only took me one day of silence to realize
that it wasn’t that my life was too busy to
take a retreat; in fact, my life was too busy
not to take a retreat.
As a part of my training to become a
spiritual director I was required to learn and
practice a variety of spiritual disciplines. It
was during this exploration that I discovered
a new kind of retreat.
I learned that while the idea of a silent
spiritual retreat was new to me, the practice
itself is actually ancient. And it’s not just for
monks, nuns, or desert mothers or fathers
either. So in the midst of seminary study,
when I didn’t think that my schedule could
be any more hectic than it already was, I
scheduled my first day of retreat at a nearby
It only took me one day of silence to realize that it wasn’t that my life was too busy to
take a retreat; in fact, my life was too busy
not to take a retreat. And thus began my
practice of monthly retreat days.
Silent retreat time was a regular part of
Jesus’ ministry. In the midst of preaching,
teaching and healing, he carved out time to
go out to a quiet place and pray (Mark 1:35).
Jesus knew that his ministry could not be
sustained without necessary times of rest.
That’s why, even at his busiest, he made time
to be alone with God a priority and taught
his disciples to do the same (Mark 6:31). If
Jesus knew the importance of silent retreat,
practiced it and taught it, how much more
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 9
do we, his disciples, need to listen to the call to
come away and rest a while.
Being, not doing
Solitude and silence are necessary for our
continued spiritual growth and transformation.
This is growth that is not likely to happen in the
midst of our hectic lives because it is not about
doing but being. One of my favourite authors,
Henri Nouwen writes, “In solitude we become
aware that our worth is not the same as our
usefulness” (Out of Solitude, 22).
Silence offers us the opportunity to be
surprised by grace when God shows us that at
our core we are beloved sons and daughters.
God’s love is not based on what we do. The
opportunity for this time of uninterrupted oneon-one communion with God is how I believe
the retreats I grew up with differ from the
silent retreats that I came to appreciate during
While we may understand that times of prayer
and retreat are important to our spiritual lives,
we may not know how to get started so I’ve
provided 10 common reasons that people take
retreats and 10 things to “do” while on retreat.
If you’re not able to visit a retreat centre, I’d
encourage you to consider visiting a park, quiet
coffee shop, or some other quiet place that is
restful for you. And if a whole day isn’t doable
or seems daunting, start with setting aside just a
few hours for retreat.
10 reasons to take a retreat
1. To stop:
Retreats provide a pause in the midst of our
hectic lives. Stepping into a place specifically
set aside for retreat helps us to let go of the
demands of work and family for a while.
2. To rest:
In order to maintain balance, rest is an essential
component to the rhythm of our lives.
3. To reflect:
Reflection reconnects us with our spirit and puts
our life back into perspective.
10 The Messenger • February 2013
Silence offers us the
opportunity to be surprised
by grace when God shows
us that at our core we are
beloved sons and daughters.
4. To become refreshed and renewed:
After a few hours or a day of stillness, many
retreatants observe that they have a deeper
sense of peace and renewed energy with which
to return to their tasks.
5. To receive the health benefits:
Studies have shown that regular times of retreat,
rest and meditation tend to reduce stress, which
might result in an increase in immune function
and decrease in heart disease, chronic physical
pain, and depression.
6. To heal:
In the midst of our lives it is sometimes difficult
to find places safe enough to cry our tears, to
face our disappointment, or express our anger.
Whether songs of praise or cries of lament, a
retreat is a time and a place set aside specifically for you to honor your life-long process of
7. To reconnect:
Nurturing a relationship requires time; our
relationship with God is no different.
8. To prepare:
Some retreatants set aside time in a retreat
setting to prepare for an upcoming event or life
9. To discern:
Quieting ourselves in a period of discerning next
steps may allow us to listen to God at a deeper
level, may open us to creativity, or may help us
settle with new peace.
10. To be:
To enjoy. To love. To simply be.
10 things to ‘do’ while on retreat
Being on retreat is more about being than doing,
more about becoming still than keeping busy.
There is no right or wrong way to take a retreat.
Each person is encouraged to listen to their own
invitation for the day. The following suggestions are not a “to
do” list, but rather suggestions to
help you discover what it is that
your spirit longs for:
The quiet space that a retreat offers is, for many, a call to prayer.
Listening and receiving. Crying
out in lament. Lighting a candle.
Centering. Prayer takes a myriad
Whether Scripture, a spiritual classic, or work of
fiction, many retreatants are fed by the word.
Rejuvenating ourselves and taking care of the
temple of our bodies through the gift of rest can
4:00 PM • SBC CHAPEL
Walking provides a great pace for prayer and
helps us to release our burdens.
Take advantage of walking a
prayer labyrinth if one is available.
A retreat is the
perfect place to
let go and empty
ourselves so that
God may fill us.
Reflection and prayer through journaling is a
R A IS LLEGE
FA S ING
actually be a spiritual practice if entered in to
with this intention.
6. Be in nature:
Connect with the Creator while
being renewed by nature.
How often do we simply sit? Discover what emerges for you when
you curl up with a cup of tea.
A retreat is the perfect place to let go and empty
ourselves so that God may fill us.
9. Meet with a spiritual director:
Spiritual directors are gifted in the art of listening and are trained in a variety of spiritual
disciplines. They can pray with you and provide
suggestions to help you deepen your prayer life
and walk with God.
No agendas. No expectations. No-thing.
Alicia Buhler, BA, MDiv, is a pastoral counselor
and spiritual director in Winnipeg, Man. She
has connections with Pineridge Fellowship
Chapel, currently attends
Fort Garry Mennonite
Fellowship, and retreats
regularly at St. Benedict’s
Retreat Centre. She interned
at Pathways Retreat, a day
retreat centre in Goshen,
Indiana, while studying
at Associated Mennonite
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www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 11
by Will Rose
ow many of us have had the opportunity to share the gospel, but didn’t
because of fear and pride? Even
when we sin against God he still uses us for his
glory. The book of Jonah teaches us the power of
God’s grace despite humanity’s sinful heart.
One question that comes to many of our minds
is: why did Jonah not want to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1–3)? Was it because he was afraid of the
Ninevites? The Assyrians were a brutal people
who tortured their victims and did heinous
things against them. It was better to die in battle
than fall into the hands of the Assyrians.
Jonah lived in Israel in the days of power for
the Assyrians. He saw first hand what they did
to their victims as well as the nations they attacked because Assyria attacked Israel as God’s
tool for punishment for their idolatry (see 2
12 The Messenger • February 2013
Jonah knew that God was more forgiving
than the Assyrians were evil.
Jonah knew how evil they were but Jonah
knew one other thing—he knew how forgiving
God was. It is important to remember that our
God is merciful and not wanting anyone to perish; he wants all to come to repentance in him (2
We see this truth in both the Testaments.
Jonah knew that God was more forgiving than
the Assyrians were evil and we find out in Jonah
4:1 why he really didn’t want to go.
When Jonah preached the good news of God,
God brought about repentance (Jonah 3:3–4:2).
Once the Ninevites heard the need for them to
repent or the wrath of God would be poured out
upon them their hearts were humbled, and they
turned to the God who forgives.
They abandoned their idols and worshipped
a God in whom they didn’t believe before this
event. They gave up their pride in the fact that
they were the most powerful nation during this
time. The hearts of the Assyrians were humbled
at the message of Jonah. God moved powerfully
and people repented.
Scripture teaches us the Ninevites believed
God. Around 120,000 people repented and came
to faith in God at the preaching of Jonah. This
was a revival of mass proportions because of
one man’s obedience to God.
the good news of Jesus to share with a world
that is doomed and destined to hell.
The good news is the eternal truth found
throughout the whole of scripture. When Adam
and Eve sinned they brought sin into the world
and corrupted our very nature. We are now
born in sin and we are now subject to God’s just
judgment because of our sinful nature.
We needed a mediator to come between us
and God’s wrath. God sent that mediator on
our behalf. Jesus, who is God’s Son, came to this
earth born in human flesh and lived a sinless life
while on this earth. He then became the sacrifice
that God required to pacify his wrath and fulfill
his judgment against us.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in
When I was right out of high school I took up
this: While we were still sinners, Christ died
racist talk to impress my friends. My friends
for us. Since we have now been justified by
were all non-Christians and, while I was a Chris- his blood, how much more shall we be saved
tian, I wanted to impress them. I made it a bit of
from God’s wrath through him! For if, when
a hobby to learn the racial slurs and use them
we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to
frequently in my vocabulary.
him through the death of his Son, how much
I didn’t really hate anyone, but did it more
more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved
for shock value and to get a chuckle out of my
through his life!” (Romans 5:8–10).
friends. After a few years the Lord convicted me
Jesus went to the cross to pay for your sins
of this sin and helped me to realize how hurtful
and mine. He is our Jonah. Jonah was a shadow
my words were despite the fact that I didn’t
of Jesus when he proclaimed the judgement
mean to be hurtful by them.
of God yet instead of Jesus
proclaiming that judgment
he took the judgment of God
What was Jonah’s response
By the blood that he shed
to their repentance? There
cross we are now
were about 120,000 souls now
of our sins. This is
turned from hell, and Jonah
who place their
was furious with God that he
was compassionate and grafaith and trust in him (John
cious to these people.
In Jonah’s racism against
the Assyrians he would rather
see them endure God’s wrath
If you have not yet received
instead of God’s mercy. Jonah said he knew that
Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, I encourage you
God would forgive them if they repented, and
to pray and seek God through the Bible and
that was the last thing he wanted. He sinfully
Christians you know. Talk to us about the truth
tried to evade his responsibility, and when he
of Jesus and his forgiveness of your sins by faith
fulfilled God’s will he was furious with the
results of the mercy that was shown these murGod wants none to perish, but we have a
choice to come to him or reject him once we
have been awakened to the truth found in the
A message to proclaim
good news of his death and resurrection for our
As those who have experienced God’s saving
grace, we have a message to proclaim. We have
In Jonah’s racism
against the Assyrians he
would rather see them
endure God’s wrath
instead of God’s mercy.
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 13
Jonah and us
There are people around us who need the gospel
message that we have. Let us not allow our fear
or our prejudices to dictate their eternal fate.
Jonah was human just like us. In 2
Kings we read of his devotion to
the Lord in prophesying to the king
of Israel. We also see that just like
all followers of God, he was just as
human as each of us dealing with
his own fears, sins, and rebellions.
When we allow our fear to dictate our decisions we are keeping the good news from people.
God used Jonah despite his hatred to the Assyrians. We are told to love as Christ loved us, yet
we are still human. We still have our prejudices
and pride that only the Holy Spirit can give us
the strength to overcome.
My encouragement to us as a body of Christ
is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts
and lives. Let him convict us of our pride and
prejudices and may we repent of those sins.
There are people around us who need the
gospel message that we have. Let us not allow
our fear or our prejudices to dictate their eternal
Let us proclaim the good news and allow
God to bring them from death to life. Give them
the opportunity to choose and as we proclaim
that wonderful news pray for them to turn from
death to life despite what they or their people
have done to us in the past.
Will Rose is the pastor of Kola EMC in southwestern Manitoba. He is married to Sarah, and
they have six children: Elianna, Apphia, Josiah,
Jonah, Katarina, and
Jeremiah. Will received a
bachelor’s degree in zoology
(Oregon State University)
and a Master’s in Ministry
(Pacific Evangelical School
of Ministry). In 2007 he
and his family moved from
Oregon, where he had
experience as a pastor.
AN EMC YOUTH CONFERENCE
May 17–20, 2013 |
The National Youth Committee
is pleased to introduce Travis
Unger as our speaker for Abundant Springs 2013.
Travis loves God and meeting
Him in the wilderness. He also
loves people and connecting
them with God and each other.
He lives in community in the
core of Winnipeg.
14 The Messenger • February 2013
A family man,
housing provider; this guy’s
life is abundant!
Even in the city!
Please pray for Travis as he prepares to speak at our four main
Time Table for Today
by Laura Plett Siemens
Today I choose to live
Today I choose to love
Today I choose to forgive
Those that I love
And all the others.
Today I want to hold a grandchild
And laugh with his grandpa
Have coffee with my child
Today I choose to work
The jobs at hand.
Today I choose to phone
Someone in need of a visit
Somebody who feels alone
Today I choose to listen
To others—not just to myself.
Today I choose to love
Today I choose to serve
Today I’ll worship God above
The God I love
Above all others.
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 15
Columns • archives alcove
Matters about marriage
by Terry M. Smith
n surveying 17th century Dutch Mennonite
groups, Dr. Karl Koop says all agreed “it was
a grave sin for believers to marry unbelievers.” As well, “For the Waterlanders, inter-Mennonite marriages were acceptable whereas in
the more conservative groups this practice had
not been permissible” (Anabaptist-Mennonite
Confessions of Faith, 131).
The EMC “Church Practices” says, “Marriage pictures the relationship between Christ
and the church…Since it is a lifelong covenant,
those who marry should share a common
Christian commitment. Believers should not
marry unbelievers. Social friendships that tend
toward courtship with unbelievers should be
discouraged” (“The Christian Home”). Paul said,
“Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife
along with us, as do the other apostles and the
Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” (1 Corinthians 9:5,
In 1843 Abraham Friesen, a KG leader, was
concerned about weddings where emphasis was
placed on apparel, drinking, dancing and carousing (Plett, Seeking to be Faithful, 44). What
might Friesen think today?
In 1986 the EMC ministerial agreed that
marriage is sacred and divorce is tragic, but
disagreed on whether remarriage is permitted.
However, as early as 1527 some Swiss Anabaptists allowed remarriage in the case of adultery
(tract Concerning Divorce, GAMEO), as did
some Dutch Anabaptists in 1554.
16 The Messenger • February 2013
The Wismar Articles (1554) in Article Four
said reconciliation is desirable, “but if he be a
bold and headstrong adulterer, then the innocent party is free—with the provision, however,
that she shall consult with the congregation
and remarry according to circumstances and
decisions in the matter, be it well understood”
(Wismar Articles, GAMEO).
An issue in early Anabaptist circles was
whether divorce and remarriage were allowed
for differences of belief (Divorce From Unbelievers, GAMEO). Article Five said “if the nonbeliever wishes to separate for reasons of the faith,
then the believer shall conduct himself honestly
without contracting a marriage, for as long a
time as the nonbeliever is not remarried. But if
the nonbeliever marries or commits adultery,
then the believing mate may also marry, subject
to the advice of the elders and the congregation”
(Wismar Articles, GAMEO). Does “nonbeliever”
mean not an Anabaptist or not a Christian? This
seems, unhelpfully, unclear.
“In marital troubles there is often wrong
on both sides,” said Guy Duty, a minister, “but
when one wrong party commits adultery against
another wrong party, then the case stands on
different ground” (Divorce and Remarriage,
Matthew says Jesus allows divorce after adultery (Matthew 19:3–12), while Luke and Mark
are silent on this (Luke 16:18; Mark 10:2–12).
Duty saw Mark as giving “the general law of
marriage” and Matthew “the exception” with “no contradiction.”
There are, in my view, other circumstances of marital breakdown equal to
adultery or desertion: physical abuse
(marital “break down”) and addiction
(a form of desertion). Yes, God “hates”
divorce (Malachi 2:16), but the verse
also says “I hate” violence.
What other marital matters might
the Church be concerned about?
Living together is neither preparation
for marriage nor protection against
divorce, and annulment seems underexplored in evangelical thought.
With Our Missionaries
A tribute to
You will be receiving these wishes
for a wonderful Christmas celebration in your new home. Neither you
nor I expected you to be moving so
soon, leaving behind your husband
Walter, your daughter Jenypher, your
son Walter, and a host of people who
loved and appreciated you.
And, yes, you left me too, your
dear friend, your sister, your confidante, your co-worker of almost two
decades. I am trying to picture you
in the presence of your Saviour Jesus,
and that, and only that, vision begins
to reconcile me to the reality of our
You became a Christian as an
older teenager and immediately began
to study the Bible. You memorized a
lot of Scripture as a young Christian,
and you were able to recite any number of verses later while teaching or
Josefina (Chepina) Rempening
preaching. You became strong in your
faith, always an example of consecration and dedication to the Lord and to
You did have your weaker moments, when you despaired with
yourself. I listened to your frustrations
and you listened to mine. Thank you
for being a safe sounding board. We
needed each other then, but now you
are so totally whole and complete in
We sang together; our signature
song was probably “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The shivers came as a result of the
words, not our blended voices. I had
been thinking that we should sing
again during my next visit to Mexico,
because it had not happened during
my visit in 2011. Will we sing praises
We taught Sunday School and
DVBS together; we planned meals for
church functions and camps together.
Together with the Lord and your husband, we worked diligently at planting
the Ebenezer church in Cuauhtémoc,
Chihuahua. We shared so many
blessings, and, yes, difficulties and discouragements as well. We were always
drawn back to the promise, however,
that the Lord would ultimately build
We knew each other so well that
you trusted me to shop for clothes for
you on my trips to El Paso, Texas. Better yet were the times we were able to
make the trip out together. You always
needed a latte at least once during
those days! What will be your delight
in your new home?
You also enjoyed cooking wholesome meals for your family, canning
pickles and peaches, laughing, seeing
the comical side in situations, praying,
preparing lessons and sermons.
Chepina, wife, mother, pastor, music teacher, friend, missionary, church
planter—this is my last letter to you. I
am missing you so deeply, but we will
meet again in the Father’s house when
death will have been swallowed up in
– All my love,
Josefina Rempening of Cuauhtémoc,
Chihuahua, Mexico, who was murdered on Dec. 12, 2012, together with
her sister and two nieces when they
were on their way to a relative’s funeral. Alvira Friesen has spent 20 years
in Mexico as a leader and a worker
under the EMC Board of Missions.
Note: Josefina and Walter Rempening
attended our 2001 EMC Convention
in Tillsonburg, Ont., where they
shared their musical and singing gifts.
Josefina also spoke at the women’s session with Darlene Olfert translating.
All are welcome to join us for these evening seminars
at Steinbach Bible College:
What is the Future for Pacifism?
Thurs. Feb. 21, 7-9:45 pm, with Dr. Terry Hiebert
This seminar will gather panelists from the EMC,
EMMC, and CMC churches to discuss the state of the
Why Did God Choose Abraham?
Wed. Mar. 27, 7-9:45 pm, with Dr. Arden Thiessen
How should the dynamics of the ancient family
drama between Ishmael and Isaac impact our
attitude to the current Israeli/Arab conflict?
Why Young Adults Stay or Leave the Church
Thursday, April 11, 7-9:45 pm, with James Penner
Join author and researcher, James Penner, for a
presentation of a new Canadian report on church
youth and discussion of ways to reverse the trend
in our communities.
All seminars are free of charge to the general public.
Donations for the Hemorrhaging Faith seminar are welcome.
50 PTH 12N Steinbach, MB R5G 1T4
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 17
With Our Missionaries
A tribute to Aldo
Aldo Gonzalez Esparza from Chihuahua, Mexico, passed away in the early
morning hours of. Dec. 29, 2012.
Aldo, 43, was the pastor of the
Fuente de Vida (Fountain of Life)
church in Chihuahua city. In 2001
he took over the pastoral role of this
small congregation in a lay minister
role. Previous to this he served as
the lay pastor of the Ramiro Valles
church, also in Chihuahua city.
He and his wife Rebeca had spent
the past eight years working as school
teachers in the
rural community of Oasis with
the local CME
(Evangelical Missionary Conference – German)
on the weekends to pastor. Aldo also
spent many years on the CEMM
(Evangelical Missionary Conference
of Mexico) national council, including
several years as president.
Aldo was a humble servant and a
passionate preacher and teacher. He
was a student of the Scriptures and
had a heart for the lost and found it
a joy to disciple young believers. He
loved to sing and always did so with a
loud and confident voice. Comfortable
in front of people, he was a down-toearth fellow who enjoyed fellowship,
laughing, and visiting.
Aldo was born on Sept. 18, 1969,
and grew up in the small village of El
Picacho, the same area where EMC
Missions planted its first church in
the late fifties. His father passed away
when Aldo was just 14 years old.
Together with his mother, one brother
and nine sisters, he and his family
leaned upon the Lord for strength
through those difficult years.
After graduating from high school,
Aldo entered the labour force, working at a factory in Chihuahua city until
he became a teacher in Oasis.
Aldo died of complications from a
minor surgery he had several months
ago. His funeral was held on Sunday,
Dec. 30, 2012, in El Picacho. A number of fellow pastors from the CEMM
churches led the service. Pastor Aldo
Gonzalez will be missed by the church
and the conference that he
served so well.
Aldo leaves to mourn
Rebeca, whom he married in
1997. Please keep Rebeca in
your prayers, as well as her
family and Aldo’s family.
Because he had grown up
in El Picacho, and served in
Chihuahua, most of our EMC
missionaries to Mexico have
had the opportunity to work alongside
Aldo through the years. When I was a
rookie missionary in Mexico, serving
in youth work, I got to know Aldo well
during a period of three years.
My friendship with Aldo carried
on even after I returned to Canada.
There was also a chance to reconnect
with Aldo and Rebeca when our
family served with EMC Missions in
Mexico for five months in 2007.
These past couple of months have
been difficult for the CEMM in northern Mexico. With the tragic death of
Josefina Rempening, a pastor’s wife,
and now Aldo, two of the 14 congregations have been left to ponder
where they go from here. In facing
these many trials, our brothers and
sisters in Mexico need our prayers.
– Gerald D. Reimer
Aldo was a humble
servant and a
18 The Messenger • February 2013
Rebeca and Aldo
(18 de septiembre, 1969
a 29 de diciembre, 2012)
El 29 de diciembre de 2012, Aldo
González Esparza desde Chihuahua
Aldo, de 43 años, era el Pastor de
la Iglesia Fuente de Vida en Ciudad
Chihuahua. En 2001 se hizo cargo de
la función como pastor de esta congregación pequeño, como ministro
laico. Antes de esto se desempeñó
como pastor laico de la Iglesia Ramiro
Valles, también en Ciudad Chihuahua.
Él y su esposa Rebeca había pasado
los últimos ocho años trabajando
como maestros en una escuela en la
comunidad rural de Oasis con los
niños de una Iglesia local de CME,
(Conferencia Misionera Evangélica
– Alemán), mientras que pastoreaba
cada fin de semana en Chihuahua.
Aldo también pasó muchos años
en la Directiva Nacional de CEMM
(Conferencia Misionera Evangélica de
México), incluyendo varios años como
With Our Missionaries
Aldo era un siervo humilde y un
apasionado predicador y maestro. Era
un estudiante de las Escrituras y tenía
un corazón para los perdidos y se gozó
en discipular creyentes nuevos. Le
gustaba cantar, y siempre lo hizo con
una voz fuerte y confiada. Cómodo
delante de la gente, él era un hombre
con los pies en la tierra, que disfrutó
el compañerismo, riendo y visitando.
Aldo empezó su vida en el
pequeño pueblo de El Picacho, la
misma área donde la Misión de EMC
plantó su primera iglesia en los últimos años de los cincuentas. Su padre
se falleció cuando Aldo tenía sólo 14
años de edad. Junto con su madre, su
hermano y nueve hermanas, la familia
se apoyaba en el Señor a través de
estos años dif íciles.
Después de graduarse de la escuela
secundaria, Aldo entró en la fuerza
laboral, trabajando en un maquilador
en Ciudad Chihuahua hasta llegar a
ser un maestro en Oasis.
Aldo se murió por complicaciones
de una cirugía menor que tenía hace
varios meses. El funeral se llevó a cabo
el domingo, 30 de diciembre, en El
Picacho. Varios pastores de las Iglesias
CEMM dirigieron el culto. El pastor
Aldo González será extrañado mucho
por la iglesia y la conferencia que el
sirvió tan bueno a través los anos.
Aldo deja a lamentar Rebeca,
quien se casó en 1997. Por favor,
mantenga Rebeca en sus oraciones, así
como a su familia y la familia de Aldo.
Debido que había criado en El
Picacho, y sirvió en Chihuahua, la
mayoría de nuestros misioneros a
México han tenido la oportunidad de
obrar junto con Aldo a través de los
años. Cuando yo empezó en la obra en
México, sirviendo en el trabajo con los
jóvenes, desarrolló una amistad muy
fuerte con Aldo durante un período
de tres años.
Mi amistad con Aldo continuó
incluso después de regresar a Canadá.
Hubo también una oportunidad para
volver a conectar con Aldo y Rebeca
cuando nuestra familia servimos en
México por cinco meses en 2007.
Estos últimos dos meses han sido
dif íciles para la CEMM en el norte
de México. Con la muerte trágica de
Josefina Rempening, la esposa de un
pastor, y ahora Aldo, dos de las 14
congregaciones se han quedado para
reflexionar dónde ir desde aquí. Con
tantas aflicciones, nuestros hermanos
y hermanas en México necesitan
– Gerald D. Reimer
Letters continued from p. 4
As further clarification on the new
funding model, it is only the parttime chaplains who will no longer
receive financial support from the
government. This simply means that
we, as the church, will have more opportunity to support the ministries we
believe are beneficial to the inmates of
Reviewing recent decades of
church history, we see an ever-increasing dependence on government
funding for a large variety of Christian
based ministries. Aside from some
disturbing consequences this brings
with it, there is also a loss of blessings.
I appreciate the work that MCC
continues to do in the restorative
justice program, and am glad to hear
(according to the article by MCC
Canada) that they will not abandon
their services, in spite of the recent
cutbacks. May we all remain faithful
to Jesus’ words commending us to
serve “the least of these,” and be grateful for the ongoing open door to our
– Barbara Plett,
I believe it does matter
Many of the letters that you have
received concerning the creation
articles last year leave the impression
that it does not really matter how God
created the earth and humans, just
that he did. Whether God took six-24
hour days, six thousand days or years,
or even six billion years does not seem
to be important.
I believe it does matter. It is the
backbone to our Christian faith; otherwise, we are saying there was death
before sin. Was there?
Evolution believes in a very old
earth, and that it took eons of time
for man to develop to his present
day form. For this to have happened
requires millions and millions of
deaths. The Bible teaches that death
came as a result of sin: “for when you
eat of it (the fruit) you will surely die”
(Genesis 2:17) and “sin entered the
world through one man, and death
through sin”(Romans 5:12)
As Christians, we believe that
Adam’s sin brought death on all creation, and Christ’s resurrection brings
victory over death.
Now we have a problem. If death
existed before Adam, then death is
not the penalty for sin. So why did
Christ die for our sins?
“If death is not tied to Adam’s sin,
then life is not tied to Christ’s death
and resurrection, and the Christian
faith is all in vain” (ICR, “Days of
Praise,” Dec. 22, 2012).
Therefore it really does matter
what we believe about Genesis.
– Heidi Plett
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 19
With Our Churches
Island Gospel Fellowship
Burns Lake, B.C.—It’s been a long
time since there has been anything in
The Messenger from British Columbia’s north.
In the first place, it seems hard to
believe a year has passed since Pastor
Ed and Ruth Anne Peters came to us.
It’s been a year full of difficulty and
stress for the whole area. In January
2012, Babine Forest Products, the
town’s largest employer, exploded and
burned to the ground, leaving two
people dead, many injured, and a lot
more unemployed. This always brings
a lot of work for people like pastors
and other caregivers.
It has not all been bad! There were
five baptisms at family camp in June,
which is always positive. We have also
seen several new families join our
congregation, bringing more joy and
new ideas with them.
There have also been difficult
times as several of us have family
members that have gone home to be
forever with the Lord, leaving pain
and heartache behind, but we have a
PHOTO COURTESY RUTH ANNE PETERS
A year of difficulties and blessings
Pastor Ed Peters with five baptized persons: Teresa Bueckert, Shaelyn Wiebe, Rachel
Driedger, Michael Driedger, and Connie Scott.
very great church family that gives us
support and strength, for which we
give God the glory.
The year ended with a Sunday
School program one morning and a
Christmas supper for us all, which
were very much enjoyed.
We have so much to be thankful
for. We really appreciated the love,
support, and encouragement Pastor
Ed and Ruth Anne have provided
along the way. To God be the praise
– Anne Fehr
Integrating Faith and Business in Planning for Succession
|| STEINBACH BIBLE COLLEGE
A seminar for Christian business and farm owners
MARCH 1-2, 2013
WITH DR. STUART MURRAY
Author of “The Naked Anabaptist”
Early Bird (by February 19) $50/person
Registration (a�er February 19) $60/person
Webinar registration: Call for details.
Friday, 7:00-8:45 pm
Saturday, 9:00-2:30 pm
ONLINE REGISTRATION IS PREFERRED.
20 The Messenger • February 2013
Saturday, April 6, 2013, 9:00 a.m. at Blumenort EM Church
• Biblical foundations in planning for succession
• Family communication and conflict resolution
• Charitable gifting options and strategies
• Legal and taxation perspectives
• Full schedule available at www.emconference.ca
Registration fee ($40 for first registrant, $30 for spouse or business partner) is due onsite. Register with Len Barkman ([email protected] or 204-355-4854). Seminar is
sponsored by Project Builders, EMC, CMC, and EMMC.
With Our Churches
Many Rooms Church Community
Winnipeg, Man.—Whew, 2012 felt
like a beautifully intense year for our
church. The year included the new
and the familiar with a bit of the
aforementioned intensity sprinkled
The new included the start of another church, the fourth house church
under the MRCC umbrella. Early in
the year, my wife Jennifer and I were
blessed by MRCC to join the leadership team and begin the new church
in our home.
In February we invited our neighbours to join us on Sunday nights for
food, worship, and a time of talking
about God and life. Ben and Christina
Kroeker have joined us and have been
absolutely amazing in helping out.
Something else new was the creation of our inaugural church budget
and all the work that came with our
first full year of charitable status.
Several hardy souls took this task on
and were especially instrumental and
invaluable in pulling it all together.
Year 2012 also saw the return
of the familiar in the way of annual
church celebrations. We partied in
June at our barbecue covenanting
service, kicked back in September
during our retreat at Beaver Creek
Bible Camp, cheered in October during our parent/child dedication, and
blessed our neighbourhood by helping
organize and participating in winter
and summer block parties.
The past twelve months also
saw the church and leadership team
struggle with a lot of intense questions and difficult conversations. Is
our house church model sustainable
long term? How can we make it more
How should we support those
in ministry who are a part of our
PHOTO: DALLAS KORNELSEN
Questions and conversations continue
The Many Rooms Church Community is now a little too big for only one living room.
community, especially Travis and
Stephanie Unger? Do we want or need
paid staff? If so, in what capacity?
What’s important to us as a church?
In 2013 we will see these questions
and conversations continued by the
fine and fun loving folks of MRCC.
We appreciate your prayers.
And finally, we also want to
acknowledge Sara Walker and the
past three years of her participation
with the MRCC leadership team. Sara
stepped down from the leadership
team this year with the MRCC’s blessing and appreciation. Thanks, Sara.
– Dallas Kornelsen
MEDINA – to Miguel and Tamara Medina of
Winnipeg, Man., a son, Osias, on Mar. 22, 2012.
MUNUZ – to William and Renelda Munuz of
Winnipeg, Man., a daughter, Raquel Ruth, on
Apr. 16, 2012.
JACOBSON – to David and Mandi Jacobson of
Winnipeg, Man., a son, Liam Joshua, on June
GIESBRECHT – to Donavon and Ashley
Giesbrecht of Winnipeg, Man., twin daughters,
Noa Claire and Arlo Everley, on Aug. 17, 2012.
BERENS-RODRIGUEZ – to Evan Berens and
Dana Rodriguez of Winnipeg, Man., a son,
Alexios Maximilian Edmund Lee, on Aug. 22,
BARTCH – to Henry and Samantha Bartch of
Picture Butte, Alta., a daughter, Sophia Enns, on
Aug. 31, 2012.
HIEBERT – to Jordan and Debbie Hiebert of
Winnipeg, Man., a son, Aiden William Randolph,
on Sept. 19, 2012.
REIMER – to Isaac and Tina Reimer of Picture
Butte, Alta., a daughter, Delilah McKenzie, on
Oct. 24, 2012.
KLASSEN – to Abe and Eva Klassen of
Lethbridge, Alta., a daughter, Rachel Johanna,
on Oct. 27, 2012.
DOERKSEN – to Brent and Kayla Doerksen of
Winnipeg, Man., a daughter, Haddie Elisabeth,
on Nov. 21, 2012.
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 21
With Our Churches
Picture Butte Mennonite Church
Picture Butte, Alta.—The months
from September to December always
seem to be the busiest months of the
year for us here at PBMC.
September may not be the first
month of the year, but it does mark
the beginning of many things for our
“church year” such as Bible studies,
youth events, young adults ministry,
and Sunday School.
Christmas, however, is a highlight
for everyone, no matter how busy we
seem to be. Celebrating the birth of
our Saviour brings joy and draws us
This past year, our Sunday School
children put on a play called “A Night
in Bethlehem” where a young man
confronts many people throughout
the town searching for the baby Jesus
who was said to have been born in
Bethlehem. In the end, he finds Jesus,
wrapped in a manger in a stable.
The end of the play was a
wonderful scene where many
small children all gathered
around the manger and sang
praise to their Saviour. It was
a wonderful reminder of how
we need to always be looking
and searching for Jesus in our
own lives, not just at Christmas, but always.
Over the past year, our
church family has experienced
a lot of change, but also a lot
of growth. We look forward
to the changes that God will
bring in the New Year and
pray that he will use us to
bring about love and unity
within our families and our
– Desiree Krahn
PHOTO: DESIREE KRAHN
’Twas the Season at PBMC
Sunday School children with their “sheep” gather
around the manger.
Portage Evangelical Church
Portage la Prairie, Man.—”By knowing those names, we know Jesus. By
knowing Jesus, we know His love.
By knowing His love, we share it.
And what better time of the year to
share the perfect love of Jesus than at
That was the message shared by
Portage Evangelical Church at their
annual Christmas Concert. “Blessed
Be The Names of Jesus” was presented
to the congregation as an unique way
to take in the Christmas season.
By presenting the names of Jesus
22 The Messenger • February 2013
through song and scripture,
the congregation was presented with the significance.
Jesus knew the significance
there was to a name.
The Bible is full the
names Jesus used to help
lead others to the Father.
He knew they were missing
God in their lives. We are all
hopeless and undone without the name of Jesus. We
Children sing during PEC’s Christmas concert.
are saved through His name.
– Christopher Kitchen
PHOTO: CHERYL RONALD
Sharing the names of Jesus
With Our Churches
A year at a glance
Winnipeg, Man.—So what was happening at Crestview in 2012? Well, the
ladies met Friday mornings for Bible
study and the men had their time of
Bible study on Friday afternoons.
June was a busy month with
Love Winnipeg, an event
where the church showed its
love to the community.
Men’s breakfasts were enjoyed in
February, April and October, and the
men took the opportunity to prepare a
tasty brunch for the ladies in May.
June was a busy month with Love
Winnipeg, an event where the church
showed its love to the community
with a free garage sale, car wash and
parking lot barbecue. A men’s golf
day, the Sunday School picnic, and
campout also took place in June.
Our youth ministry group, under
the direction of youth pastor Kevin
Pauls, is known as “The L.O.F.T.” (Living Our Faith Together). This group
of young people meets once a week to
explore God’s Word, share with each
other, and serve God because of what
Jesus has done for us. Kevin is assisted
by a number of faithful youth leaders.
We said farewell to Pastor Vern
Knutson and family on July 1. The
Knutsons moved back to Saskatchewan where Vern will be continuing
his religious studies. While we wait
for the Lord to fill this vacant spot,
we have been blessed with a variety of
Aug. 12–16 had the children on
a Vacation Bible School High Seas
Expedition. I’m pretty sure the adults
enjoyed it just as much as the children.
In September a number of ladies
attended a conference in Portage la
Prairie. The music was amazing, the
speakers inspiring and the fellowship
was a true blessing.
We gathered together for a
Thanksgiving meal on Oct. 21.
The Sunday School Christmas
program was held on the afternoon
of Dec. 9. What a joy to watch these
young children share the Christmas
Dec. 23 we met in the church
basement for a lovely breakfast and
then gathered in the sanctuary for a
time of worship and reflection. It was
fun to hear childhood memories of
Christmases past and be reminded
once again of why we celebrate this
season. As one speaker shared: Christ
came to earth to become like us so we
could become like him.
– Sharron Straub
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www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 23
With Our Churches
Fish Creek Christian Fellowship
Calgary, Alta.—Over the Christmas
season, Scott Koop, pastor of Fish
Creek Christian Fellowship, encouraged the congregation to think of
those in our community who are less
fortunate and give accordingly to our
local food bank.
Gift wrapped boxes were prepared
and set at the front of the church each
Sunday as a way of remembering. By
the time Christmas arrived, we had
collected 100 kgs of food.
During Christmas, we reflect on
the “gift” that Jesus gave us, coming in
the form of a baby, dying on the cross
for our salvation, and willing to give
eternal life to those who accept him.
This reflection makes it easy to give to
others during this season in any way
possible. Will that same spirit of giving be as evident throughout the year?
Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is generous to the poor
lends to the Lord, and he will
repay him for his deed.”
1 John 3:17 says, “If someone
has enough money to live well
and sees a brother or sister in
need but shows no compassion,
how can God’s love be in that
Hebrews 13:16 says, “And
don’t forget to do good and
share with those in need. These
are the sacrifices that please
May we all remember to
give gifts to those less fortunate,
every season of the year!
– Joyce Landis
PHOTO: JOYCE LANDIS
Generosity to those less fortunate
Pastor Scott Koop (foreground) with donated food.
PHOTOS: NAOMI KLASSEN
New members and a new tradition
The Singing Hills perform a guitar duet
24 The Messenger • February 2013
Taber, Alta.—On Nov. 18, 2012, we
were pleased to baptize three young
people in our congregation and accept
a transfer of membership.
John Dyck and Alex Loewen were
baptized by pastor Dave Wiebe and
accepted into membership. Lennea
VanHornfeld was accepted into
associate membership and plans to
be baptized at a later date. Benita
Neufeld also transferred her membership to Taber.
It is always exciting to have new
members join our church family.
With our new, larger building we have
It is always exciting to have new
members join our church family.
gained much needed space to accommodate new members.
A new tradition we have started
in Taber is to have the baptism and
membership candidates choose a
member of the church to be their
sponsor. The candidates choose
someone who is close to them, and
the job of the sponsor is to pray for
and encourage the candidate as they
With Our Churches
take this step forward in faith. The
candidates also receive a candle from
their sponsor as a symbol of their
Christian light in the world.
On Dec. 9 we were blessed to have
the Singing Hills perform a concert at
our church. We enjoyed hearing some
great gospel music as well as some
We were also entertained by two
married members of the group who
performed an entertaining duet on
one guitar. It was wonderful to have
them back again after having them
here two years ago for our annual
Thanksgiving community supper.
On Dec. 16 we held our Sunday
School Christmas program, which
was followed by a potluck supper.
The two- and three-year-old classes
performed poems and songs, and the
older grades put on a full musical.
The junior youth group also
performed two skits that helped us
all to refocus on the true meaning
of Christmas. It is always wonderful
to watch the children perform and
always interesting to
hear the one child
that is too close to the
This year has been
a year of growth and
change in Taber and
we look forward to
another year full of
new challenges and
adventures as we seek
to reach the people of
Taber with the gospel
– Naomi Klassen
Ministerial members, baptismal candidates, and sponsors: Pastor Dave Wiebe, deacon Jake Heide, Issac Dyck, John
Dyck, Lorena Neufeld, Lennea VanHornfeld, Alex Loewen, Abe Klassen, Lincoln Peters, Benita Neufeld, and deacon
Abe Klassen. The two deacons were responsible for teaching the Christian life class taken by the candidates.
Join us as James Penner, author of the report Hemorrhaging Faith, leads us in wrestling through the trends that have
developed and the challenges that need to be addressed.
Visit SBCollege.ca to register for this 1 credit weekend course
Thurs. & Fri. 7:00 - 9:45pm, Sat. 9:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday evening offered to the general public
as a “Refresh” seminar.
The Radical Followers
of Jesus DVD series,
produced by the
Fellowship, is available
from the EMC office
($11.20 each, plus
mailing). To order, call
204-326-6401 or email [email protected]
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 25
With Our Churches
Pleasant Valley EMC
PHOTOS: MARILYN KORNELSEN
Anniversaries, new members, and service
Children raised funds for people in need of chickens and goats.
Rosenort, Man.—The Pleasant
Valley Church couples have had an
interesting and fun time celebrating
Each month Darren and Pearl
Plett, our pastoral couple, invite all
couples of the church who celebrate
an anniversary that month over to
their place for the evening to share
highlights of their courtship and wedding day. This is an on-going activity
that they started in September, the
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26 The Messenger • February 2013
New members by transfer: Karly Eidse, Brad and Katherine Penner
with pastoral couple Pearl and Darren Plett.
month of their 25th anniversary.
We had a time of rejoicing on
November 25, 2012, when Brad and
Katherine Penner and Karly Eidse
(daughter of Darrell and Bonnie
Eidse) shared their faith stories and
joined the Pleasant Valley covenant
community by transfer.
Savannah Brandt, daughter of
Kerry and Barb Brandt left for YWAM
Mazatlan for six months. We will miss
her involvement and leadership in our
Sunday morning praise and worship.
Our prayers go with her as she serves
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Sunday School children
KAMARA – OTHMAN: Issa Kamara and
Haja Othman were married on Sept. 8, 2012,
at Immanuel Fellowship of the Evangelical
Missionary Church, with Rev. Deborah
Olukoju, Rev. Philemon Bawa, Rev. Dr.
Akin Olukoju, Rev. Andrew Bawa, and Rev.
Ken Otieno officiating. The couple lives in
exceeded their December offering
goal, raising money to buy chickens
and goats for Compassion Canada and
the Samaritan’s Purse.
– Marilyn Kornelsen
Mennonite Heritage tour of
Trace the footsteps of the
Visit Warsaw, Gdansk, the Vistula Delta
and the Elblag villages in Poland. Then
see how the Mennonites settled along the
Dnieper River in Ukraine, with visits to the
Molotschnaya and Chortitza colonies.
May 21 to June 7, 2014
Email: [email protected]
Call now to reserve your seat.
For more information
call Len Loeppky: 1-204-326-2613
or Holiday Travel: 1-800-376-1303
More tour details at www.holiday-travel.ca
Columns • thinking about
Do they leave because they
haven’t been taught?
recent issue of Faith Today (Sept.–
Oct. 2012) featured a significant and
revealing study of Canadian teens and
twenty-somethings who are, it appears, leaving
the church in droves.
The report says that evangelicals lose onethird, Catholics lose half, and mainline Protestants lose two-thirds of their young people. The
report is based on 72 one-on-one interviews
and an Angus Reid survey of 2,049 young adults
from across Canada who previously indicated
they were raised in the church (Rick Heimstra,
The study Hemorrhaging Faith: Why and
When Canadian Young Adults Are Leaving,
Staying and Returning to Church (www.hemorrhagingfaith.com) was conducted by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
EMC conference youth minister Gerald
Reimer gave highlights of the report to church
delegates at Conference Council in November
How to stop the bleeding? It is an important
issue that our pastors and youth pastors are
fools not to grapple with.
young people leave the faith because they have
not really been taught the faith in the first place?
Lewis uses the analogy of arithmetic. If we
discovered that young adults are consistently
having trouble with sums and subtractions, we
could explain it by noting when the elementary
schools stopped adequately teaching arithmetic.
We would not need to blame the external influences of current society.
Likewise, Lewis concludes, “If the younger
generation have never been told what the Christians say and never heard any arguments in defense of it, then their agnosticism or indifference
is fully explained... And having discovered that
the cause of their ignorance is lack of instruction, we have also discovered the remedy.
“There is nothing in the nature of the
younger generation which incapacitates them
for receiving Christianity. If anyone is prepared
to tell them, they are apparently ready to hear”
(Hooper, ed., The Business of Heaven, 1984).
What do you think? Is Lewis too simplistic?
If he isn’t, what does this mean for our homes,
our Sunday Schools, and our youth groups?
by Ward Parkinson
Our conference is blessed with great youth
and young adult ministers who are working
hard to stem the tide. And national youth events
like Abundant Springs (May 17–20, 2013) are
important pieces in the solution.
An admitted C. S. Lewis fan, I came across
a snippet of his writing that brings a simple,
but important question to the conversation: do
PHOTO: REBECCA ROMAN
How to stop the bleeding? It
is an important issue that our
pastors and youth pastors are
fools not to grapple with.
Conference youth minister Gerald Reimer reports on the Hemorrhaging Faith
study at the November 24, 2012, Conference Council meeting.
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 27
Three ways to peace
What can we learn from each?
SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia—Mennonites have interpreted the
biblical call to peace in various ways throughout history
and around the world. Recently, I was struck by living
examples of three strands of Mennonite peacemaking
evident around Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
First, some favour a separate, community-based way of
life. Members of Low-German speaking colonies of Bolivia
believe they need to live simply and peaceably in closelyknit communities separate from the world. There are
about 60,000 colony Mennonites in the eastern lowlands of
Bolivia in some 70 colonies.
PHOTOS COURTESY ADRIENNE WIEBE
members actively reach out to their neighbours, responding to spiritual and material needs. The churches operate
a wonderful daycare centre that supports poor and singleparent families.
They are also concerned about the increased pressure
for youth to fulfill obligatory military service, and wonder
how they as a church should respond to this given their
belief that Christians should not participate in war.
Third, there is a form of engagement in the world. In
the past few years, MCC workers have begun to take steps
to be more actively engaged in peacemaking in the current
context of inter-ethnic and regional
social conflict in Bolivia.
To participate in dialogue and
conflict transformation, MCC has
supported the formation of the Plataforma por la Paz (Peace Platform), a
space for civil society organizations in
Santa Cruz to share, learn, and work
together for peace in the region.
While I was there, the Plataforma
held a two-day workshop on urban
violence and possible responses. This
is an example of peacemaking that is
more active and engaged in the wider
world than has been common in
Mennonite circles in the past.
Adrienne Wiebe with two colony girls
Daycare Centre: Guardaria Samuelito, operated by
Maybe we can learn from these
forms of peace-living and peacemaking. Colony Mennonites remind us
They live out their vision in farming communities that
not to get caught in the material, secular world and the
reject “modern” conveniences such as electricity and cars.
importance of living in community in an increasingly
Faithfulness in their daily lives includes simple church
services, producing their own food, modest clothing, basic
Evangelical Spanish-speaking Mennonite churches
levels of schooling, and refusal to participate in military
demonstrate the importance of cultivating inner peace and
individual ways of life that bring peace to those immediSecond, there is an individual way of living within
ately around us. Engaged peacemakers highlight the need
society. Spanish-speaking Mennonite churches in the
for active intervention for peace in the contexts of conflict
Santa Cruz area were started by MCC service workers in
within which we live.
the 1970s, and later supported by missionaries from North
What form of peacemaking fits with your perspective
America and Argentina. There are now eight churches
and way of being in the world? What can we learn from
there with a strong evangelical perspective.
others who live out their convictions in alternative ways?
Attending a worship service and conversing with
– Adrienne Wiebe,
church leaders, I noticed a strong emphasis on individual
MCC Latin America
peace with God and with family and neighbours. Church
28 The Messenger • February 2013
LeBlanc: all creation needs redemption
‘Salvation means creation healed’
Gnosticism that views the
physical world as “evil” and
the spiritual as “good,” he
said. “This led to the theory
we must ‘escape’ the evil
world—that the Rapture
will take us all away.”
The Bible says that all
creation will be restored, he
said. “We are partners with
God in restoring creation
to what it was meant to
be.” The Garden of Eden is
restored at the age’s end by
“the tree in the centre”—the
cross which becomes the “tree of life.”
“Salvation means creation healed,” he said. “This is the
original intent of God.”
– Doris Penner
OTTERBURNE, Man.—The aboriginal peoples of Canada
have a lot to teach colonialists, says David Johnson, interim
president of Providence University College and Theological
On Nov. 14, 2012, the annual public lectures brought in
Dr. Terry LeBlanc to address aspects of indigenous biblical
theology. LeBlanc, of Mi’kmaq-Acadian descent, is the
director of the North American Institute for Indigenous
“The gospel is more than only salvation of humans,”
said LeBlanc. Western Christianity focuses on relationships between God and man, and person to person, ignoring human relationship to the natural world, he said.
“God is in all of creation—He is omnipresent,” he said.
LeBlanc said a lack of belief that God was “in everything”
was evident when European missionaries arrived in
Canada and encountered the “savages” to save and baptize
them as if God was completely absent.
The western understanding of nature is similar to
Arli Klassen appointed to MWC fundraising role
‘We need each other,’ she emphasized
KITCHENER, Ont.—Arli Klassen of Kitchener, Ont., will
Klassen’s earlier experience includes four years of MCC
serve as Development Manager for Mennonite
binational executive director (2008–2012), eight
World Conference (MWC) until May or June of
years (1999–2007) as Executive Director of
2013, she will work half time with responsibiliMCC Ontario, Assistant Director of the MCC
ties for MWC fundraising and donor relations in
Africa Program, Connecting Peoples Resource
North America. Then her role could become full
Person with MCC and a time of service in
time with fundraising responsibilities not only
Klassen said she is looking forward to talkin North America but also in other parts of the
ing with people about the value and importance
of global relations that are made possible
“I am passionate about the global church,”
through MWC—not only through the large
commented Klassen. “We don’t understand God
assemblies every six years, but through many
fully,” she added, “until we get to know people
other points of contact. “We need each other,”
from other cultures and hear about their undershe emphasized.
standing of God.”
When announcing Klassen’s appointment, César
García, MWC General Secretary, said he was pleased and
MWC represents 100 Mennonite and Brethren in Christ
excited to have her join the staff team. Arli’s “availability to
national churches from 57 countries on six continents.
listen to the global church and her interest in it is something I appreciate and welcome in our global family.”
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 29
SCHS concerned about proposed legislation
Bill 18 ‘might erode religious freedom’
STEINBACH, Man.—Steinbach Christian High School
(SCHS), an independent, faith-based school, has recently
expressed concerns regarding proposed government
legislation and how it might erode the religious freedoms,
independent governance and operations of their school.
Of concern is Bill 18: the Public Schools Amendment
Act (Safe and Inclusive Schools) recently proposed by the
Government of Manitoba.
“SCHS believes that all students are to be respected
as persons created by God,” states SCHS principal
Scott Wiebe, “and all must be afforded a safe learning
However, concerns raised by SCHS regarding the
legislation pertain to religious freedoms of its school. The
wording currently proposed in the legislation might limit
SCHS’s faith distinctive teachings and restrict the school’s
ability to direct student-led activities and groups.
SCHS has met with the Department of Education to
express its concerns.
SCHS will be holding an Information Meeting and
Prayer Forum at its facilities on Highway 12 North in
Steinbach on Feb. 24, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. The community at
large is encouraged to attend.
Maria Peters Neufeld
Marie Peters Neufeld passed away on
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at the Westman Nursing Home in Virden, Man.,
at the age of 82 years.
Marie Peters was born on June 24,
1930, in Steinbach, Man., to Jacob and
Maria Peters. On May 13, 1951, she
married Arthur Peter Neufeld. They
lived in Steinbach until 1957 when
they moved to Butler (Kola), Man.
There they farmed and started
a residential construction business,
30 The Messenger • February 2013
as well as became the first minister
couple for the first and only EM
Church in the area.
Marie was predeceased by her
parents, brother Edmar in childhood,
brother Henry Peters, brother-in-law
Albert F. Reimer, brother-in-law
Menno Kroeker, and sister Tina
(Mrs. Elmer Reimer) of Newton,
Kansas. She was also predeceased
by her brother-in-law Bill Neufeld of
Sherwood Park, Alta.; brother and
sister-in-law Harry and Tina Neufeld
of Steinbach, Man.; and sister-in-law
Margaret Toews of Winnipeg, Man.
Marie was also predeceased by
her beloved husband Art Neufeld in
She leaves to mourn her passing,
son Don (Jan), their children and
grandchildren Miles (Maria), Zeke,
Tydus; Nicole (Warren), Kelis, Victoria; daughter Diane, her children and
grandchildren, Blair (Tracy), Ashton,
Coleton, and Georgia; Brock; Shanley
(Marqus), Thor; son Chuck (Denine)
and their children, Kaila and Chad.
She also leaves to mourn her
sisters, Annie (Mrs. Albert Reimer) of
Steinbach, Man.; Aurelia (Mrs. Menno
Kroeker) of Riverton, Man.; Ellen (Ed)
Penner of Kola; brothers Jake (Rose),
Ert (Shirley), Gilbert (Ann); sister-inlaw Linda (Mrs. Henry Peters), all of
Steinbach. She also leaves brotherin-law Elmer Reimer of Newton,
Kansas; sister-in-law Lorraine (Henry)
Hiebert; brother-in-law Wayne
(Moira), all of Steinbach; sister-in-law
Elma Neufeld of Sherwood Park,
Alta.; brother-in-law Henry Toews
(Elisabeth) of Winnipeg, Man.; and
numerous nieces, nephews, and many
Her funeral took place at Kola EM
Church on Nov. 16, 2012. Interment
was at the Kola cemetery.
– Her Family
Diedrich P. Thiessen
Dick Thiessen was born October 1,
1926, to Peter and Katherine Thiessen
on their farm near Steinbach, Man.
Farming remained the interest of
his life. It was on a farm, as a teenager
on a threshing crew, that he met the
love of his life, Jessie Brandt.
This love grew and they were
married on October 19, 1947. Their
love remained constant for 65 years
and their unwavering faithfulness has
been a shining example to us.
Together they started their
farming career, first on his father’s
farm, and then on a dairy farm near
Steinbach. With limited land available
for expansion, and also with a desire
to begin a church in a new area, the
young couple moved their family to
the Ebor area. Here they were able to
establish a successful mixed farm and
raise their family of 10 children.
Dad’s faith was always the guiding
force in his life. He put a high priority
on serving his God and he put a lot of
time and energy into his church. He
was baptized on the confession of his
faith in 1945 in the Steinbach EMC.
It was the Heron EMC that became
the focus of commitment for much of
his life. He helped found the church in
the early 1960’s and served as deacon
and treasurer for many years.
He served in many capacities faithfully and whole-heartedly. One of his
gifts was visitation and through the
years Mom and Dad sought out many
needy, lonely and elderly people and
blessed them with a visit.
When Dad was 50 he had an accident that changed his life dramatically.
He lost his left arm, which changed
how he could do his farm work.
It was during his recovery that he
mentioned how due to the accident
he had received a strong and fresh
impression of God’s love. This was
evident in his loving service in his
church and in the community—working with Farmers with Disabilities, as
a chaplain in Fairview Nursing Home,
and in leadership and maintenance at
several Bible camps.
In 1994 our parents retired from
the farm and moved into Virden, Man.
For many years Dad thrived on going
for coffee at the Central and in keeping their lawn in immaculate condition. Eventually his heath deteriorated
to the point about three years ago he
was moved into the Westman Nursing
He passed away peacefully only
half an hour after Christmas Day. He
left behind his wife Jessie, children
Kathy (Richard Klassen), John
(Adella), Ken (Debbie), Stan (Cory),
Irene, Delbert (Elfriede), Ruth Sullivan, Bruce (Martha), Sylvia (Brian
Prysiazniuk), Melvin, daughter-in-law
Helen (Don Stuart), 36 grandchildren,
and 24 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his
daughter-in-law Sherry, his parents,
and all of his brothers and sisters.
We rejoice that Dad was able to
finally go to be eternally with the
One he loved and served all his life.
We look to the day when we will be
reunited in the presence of God.
– His Family
Marie (Doerksen) Klassen
Marie was born to David and Susanna
Doerksen on Aug. 19, 1927, in Saskatchewan, close to Gouldtown.
Marie met Albert Klassen at 17
years of age. They were both baptized
and then married on Oct. 5, 1946.
They raised five children: Audrey,
Rosalie, Donald, Marvin, and Glen.
Her hobbies were gardening, crocheting, sewing, reading her Bible, and
doing word search puzzles. Marie
and Albert worked countless hours
on blankets for needy people through
MCC for overseas relief.
Church family involvement was
always a priority. She often quoted
Scripture and was a person of prayer.
In her eighties, Marie began
falling and struggling mentally, and
tests showed she had a brain tumour.
Downsizing became necessary, but it
was a huge adjustment for her.
In May 2011 Marie moved into the
Pines where she received the care she
needed until her peaceful passing on
Aug. 5, 2012.
Marie was predeceased by her
parents, David and Susanna Doerksen; her stepdad George W. Dyck;
her brothers and sisters, Henry, Pete,
Susie, Kay, Annie, Abe, Dave and
Helene; and one great-great grandson,
– Her Family
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 31
Tini (Katie) Klassen (nee Peters)
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Tini (Katie)
Klassen (nee Peters) of Portage la
Prairie, Man., on Thursday, Jan. 10,
2013, at the age of 85 years.
Mom was born on March 9, 1927,
to Peter and Helena (Klassen) Peters
in Saskatchewan. When she was a
child during the Great Depression,
Mom moved with her parents and siblings from near Hague to Swan Plain,
both in Sask., to homestead.
When her father died suddenly in
1937, he left a widow with nine children. These were tough times. Later
the family was moved to Chortitz,
Man. She married Peter Klassen on
Dec. 13, 1947.
Mom worked hard all her life. She
was an excellent cook and a very good
sewer. Mom worked at the Manitoba
Development Centre in Portage la
Prairie, Man., as a cook and stayed for
13 years until she retired.
Mom also liked to travel. She lived
to visit relatives in different provinces.
Later on, though fearing heights and
water, she even traveled to Bolivia,
South America, to visit her brother
Peter Peters. She even got to see the
plane’s cockpit by personal invitation
of the captain. She was really proud of
herself for traveling so far from home.
She really enjoyed herself in Bolivia.
She also loved to bake. We kids
and grandchildren will really miss her
sour cream cookies. Nobody makes
32 The Messenger • February 2013
sour cream cookies like Grandma.
They were a must for any get-together.
Mom also loved to sew and quilt.
She helped to make many a quilt
at the MCC store in Portage. One
Christmas she made a quilt for each of
the granddaughters and jean quilts for
Mom loved to go for coffee with
her buddies Elma and Evelyn, first at
Chicken Delight and then to Chicken
Chef. She attended services at Portage
Evangelical Church, where she is
remembered for occupying the same
seat for years.
Tini is lovingly remembered and
will be deeply missed by her five children: Judy (Peter) Wieler of Ethelbert,
Man.; John of Winnipeg; Ben of
Portage; Jim of Dauphin; and Willie of
Portage; 12 grandchildren, 17 greatgrandchildren; and three great-great
grandchildren. She will be missed by
many nieces and nephews.
Also surviving are her sisters, Susie (Peter) Thiessen; Helen Doell; Eva
(George) Giesbrecht; brothers Jakob
(Mary) Peters; Peter (Betty) Peters;
sister-in-law Betty Peters; and Mom’s
coffee buddies Elma and Evelyn.
Tini was predeceased by her parents, Peter Peters and Helena Klassen;
her beloved husband Peter Klassen in
1995; brother Bill Peters; brothers-inlaw James Aimoe, Jakob Klassen, and
Dave Doell; and sisters Betty Aimoe
and Mary Klassen.
Mom’s funeral service was held
at the Portage Evangelical Church on
Jan. 18, 2013, at 11 a.m. with Pastor
Glenn Loewen officiating. Interment
followed at the Sommerfelder Cemetery, Austin, Man.
Pallbearers were Benji Klassen,
Adam Klassen, Scott Klassen, Jake
Klassen, Danika Klassen, and Tana
Forbes. The honorary pallbearers were
all of Tini’s great-grandchildren and
– Her Family
Living as Kingdom People
EMC Convention 2013
Speaker: Tim Geddert
La Crete Christian Felllowship, La Crete
Cutting Edge Anabaptism
SBC Leadership Conference
Speaker: Stuart Murray
Steinbach Bible College
Integrating Faith and Business in
Planning for Succession
A seminar for Christian business
and farm owners
Blumenort EMC, 9 a.m.
Rooted: Abundant Springs youth event
Briercrest Bible College, Caronport
The Messenger does not sell advertising,
but provides free space (classified and
display) to enhance our Conference, its
churches, boards and ministries; interMennonite agencies and educational
institutions; and the wider church. Ads
are not to be for monetary benefit. To
place an ad (150 words or less), e-mail
[email protected] or call 204-3266401 and ask for Rebecca Roman or
Terry Smith. Ads will run twice unless
other arrangements are made.
*With any applications for EMC church pastoral
positions, candidates are expected to also register
a Ministerial Questionnaire with the EMC Board of
Leadership and Outreach, which can be obtained
through Erica Fehr, BLO Administrative Assistant,
at [email protected] or 204-326-6401.
Fort Garry Evangelical Mennonite Church is seeking a
full-time senior pastor for an established, dynamic
urban congregation with an average Sunday attendance of 225 people. We are an inter-generational,
ethnically diverse congregation, located in Winnipeg,
near the University of Manitoba, with programs for
all age groups, and a strong ministry to international
friends and university students.
Working out of their own commitment to the
Lordship of Christ, the ideal candidate is a collaborative and inspiring team leader and gifted speaker.
They possess a reputable theological education at
the graduate level and are committed to a theology
shaped by Anabaptist tradition.
Submit queries and résumés to [email protected]
gmail.com by February 28, 2013. Projected start date
is September 2013.
Christian Fellowship Church (EMC) in Birch River,
Man., is currently seeking a part-time pastor. We
are a small community church located 500 kms north
of Winnipeg, Man., next to the Porcupine Provincial
Forest, which lends itself to excellent hunting, fishing
and camping opportunities.
We are a friendly congregation with approximately 40 attendees and a vibrant community youth
program. We have a history of long-term pastors
with a heart for our community and varying levels of
We also have strong ties to Steeprock Ministries,
which runs a Bible camp that touches the lives of 300plus children from local First Nations communities
Interested applicants may apply by sending a
resume to Greg Thiessen at [email protected];
to Greg Thiessen, Box 224, Bowsman, MB R0L 0H0; or
La Crete Christian Fellowship Church (EMC) seeks a
full-time associate pastor.
La Crete, located in NW Alberta, offers rural
lifestyle and a progressive outlook. With a range of
family-oriented amenities, it’s a great place to raise
a family. LCCFC is a vibrant church of approximately
500 regular attendees who desire to spread the Word
through a variety of ministries.
The associate pastor will provide direction to
our care giving and outreach ministries as well as
work closely with the pastoral team to strengthen the
parishioners’ personal connection and commitment
to Jesus Christ. The applicant should be committed to
a personal Christian faith, a disciple of Jesus Christ, a
willing and teachable leader, and a person whose love
for the Lord is reflected in their ability to work well
If the Holy Spirit seems to be inviting you to
pursue this further, please contact Bill Neudorf at 780814-1439, [email protected], or www.lccfc.ca.
New Life Christian Fellowship in Stevenson, Ont.,
seeks a senior pastor who has a heart for people
and loves the Lord. We are an evangelical church
located in Stevenson, Ontario. The church is mostly
young families with average attendance between 80
and 100 people. The majority of the people attending have a Low German-speaking background. We
seek a pastor who has the heart of a shepherd and a
desire to see our church grow. He should have strong
preaching and teaching skills and ability to develop
leaders. Pastoral experience is preferred. He must be
in agreement with our constitution and statement of
faith. Anyone who possesses these qualifications and
is interested in this position can forward their resume
to [email protected]
Ridgewood EMC is looking for a full-time senior
pastor. This multi-generational family oriented rural
church is located north-east of Steinbach, Man., with
over 200 in attendance on Sunday mornings.
As the spiritual overseer, the senior pastor is the
shepherd and guardian of the congregation. This
ministry is accomplished by studying and teaching,
praying and preaching, and visiting and visioning on
the basis of the Word.
Ridgewood EMC members strive to be a people
that minister to the whole family, worshipping God
together, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in love,
responding to needs around, and cultivating a culture
of Biblical discipleship, prayer and fellowship—all for
the glory of God.
Applications along with a cover letter should
be sent to Stan Hamm, [email protected], or Stan
Hamm, Box 140, Blumenort, MB R0A 0C0.
Do you enjoy fishing? How about quiet community
living? If you are God-fearing with a deep personal
faith and seeking a full-time pastoral position,
Treesbank Community Church (EMC) could be the
place for you. We are a small country church located
in southwestern Manitoba, between the Souris and
Assiniboine Rivers. If you are interested in this position, please contact Leonard Plett at 204-824-2475 or
at [email protected]
If you love teenagers, consider this: Arborg Youth for
Christ is seeking a director to lead an active youth
centre in Arborg, Man. It is a cool environment where
staff and volunteers build relationships with youth.
You can be the lead person and be an integral part of
setting its future direction.
The role involves ministry visioning and supervision; volunteer recruitment and training; community/
church relations; fundraising, and administration. This
exciting opportunity includes a committed team to
support, guide, and back you up.
Qualifications include a love for teens, drive,
determination, creativity and an ability to work independently. The ability to handle administrative and
financial duties will also be required.
Arborg is a vibrant community located just 60
minutes north of Winnipeg, Man., Canada.
Contact Information: Keith Tarry, 333 King Street,
Winnipeg, MB R3B 0N1; [email protected]; 204669-4205, ext. 204.
Inner City Youth Alive seeks an administrative assistant to provide reception services for all ICYA staff and
programs, and to provide assistance to administration
Time commitment: permanent, full-time, Monday
to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Supervision: administrative
manager. Key duties: Provide courteous and welcoming Reception services: greet incoming visitors and
route incoming phone calls; process incoming mail;
process voicemail/email inquiries. Provide administrative support. Provide accounting support as required.
Essential skills: Reading, oral communication,
problem solving, computer use, writing, working
with others, decision making, job task planning and
organizing, continuous learning. Salary range: To
be discussed. How to apply: contact Dory Richards,
[email protected] Further description at www.icya.ca.
The board of governors of Providence University
College and Theological Seminary seeks an energetic, experienced, and accomplished leader who has
gained distinction in academia and organizational
management to be the next university college and
A full opportunity profile is available at http://
prov.ca/presidentialsearch. Please direct all inquiries,
nominations, and applications in confidence to:
Libby Hanna, Chair of the Providence Presidential
Search Committee, c/o Marla Williamson, Providence
University College and Theological Seminary, 10
College Cres, Otterburne, MB R0A 1G0; or by email to
[email protected] Electronic submission of
materials is strongly encouraged.
The search will remain open until the position is
filled, with the appointment to the presidency expected to take effect June 2013. Providence is committed
to employment equity and all qualified candidates
are encouraged to submit an application. For more
information about Providence, please visit its website:
Brightwood Ranch, near Edmonton, Alta., is a
Christian camp providing a summer camp experience
for kids from single parent, foster and group homes.
Summer positions are paid and include room and
board: four-month positions: program directors,
secretary, wranglers, program directors, wranglers,
maintenance and Horses of Hope staff. Two-month
positions: nurse, kitchen staff, counselors, unit
leaders, and wranglers. Full-time position: horses
of hope wrangler starting March 1, 2013. For information go to: www.brightwoodranchcamps.com; email:
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 33
Columns • here and far away
“Notes d’Amour” (Love Notes)
by Jocelyn R. Plett
’ve learned in only 10 years of marriage
that it is important to intentionally turn
our minds again toward the person we love,
and to focus on the things we love about them.
Remembering these aspects and giving Josh
verbal or written affirmation for them, is not
only beneficial to him, but for myself.
Remembering is a major biblical theme. The
Israelites were instructed to practice remembering, to celebrate with feasts and to retell what
God had done in their history. They were to list
again the attributes of God and praise Him for
them, thereby reminding themselves that He
had done great things and will surely continue
to do so.
Last year Josh and I made a practice of
leaving love notes for each other every day for
the month of February. In the morning I would
In the morning I would descend to
the kitchen and look eagerly for a new
sticky-note stuck on the fridge.
PHOTO: JOCELYN R. PLETT
descend to the kitchen
and look eagerly for a new
sticky-note stuck on the
fridge, written by Josh the
night before or earlier that
morning while he breakfasted in the wee hours
prior to an early flight.
I looked forward to
those notes with such
anticipation. They were
a booster shot in my love
life with my husband.
Because Josh is generally
a reticent communicator,
the notes at times spoke
of things I never knew he had thought
about or noticed.
My own notes to Josh were a blessed
challenge for me as after a week or so we
34 The Messenger • February 2013
had both used up the standby words of praise
we usually gift to each other. I was required to
really contemplate what I loved about this man
who shared my life. This daily practice of praise
brought a subsequent surge of thankfulness and
appreciation for him.
It wasn’t just the two of us who saw our
fridge littered notes. One evening we had our
non-Christian neighbours over for dinner. As
they helped bring the plates to the kitchen the
man remarked at all the notes.
“Notes d’Amour,” I explained to him, “love
notes” between Josh and I. By that time I had
ceased to see them, our month-long note exercise having come to an end.
The love letters we have received from God
are so similar. In certain seasons of life I rush to
read what He has to say to me, and I remember
what He has done in my
own life. I write Him love
letters of my own and describe His attributes and
how I appreciate them.
While I may enter
seasons where the intentionality of my reading
and writing love letters
wanes, when my mind is
turned again to my first
Love, the Words are there
to re-read. I am reminded
again of what He has done
and I give Him praise
once more. My love is
renewed, while His never
“The Bible never seems
to tire of exhorting us to
remember. God seems
to be aware that we are
by nature a flighty and
forgetful people” (Cepero,
81). Remembering and
giving praise gives us a seasonal love booster shot.
Columns • stewardship today
Practice, practice, practice
love the piano in our living room. The small
Wurlitzer fits nicely into the proportions
of the room and often provides a good
platform for seasonal decorations and whatever
celebration cards may come our way.
Sadly, I hate to admit that our piano is not
played all that often. The piano was my mother’s
instrument and I didn’t develop her ability to
play in great part because, as my piano teacher,
she grew tired of nagging me to practice.
I don’t blame her. I remember having some
of those same tussles with my children during
their days of piano lessons. So, our piano looks
good in the living room, but it was made to be
so much more.
Our society packages almost everything for
sale, but there are some things that can only be
acquired through practice. I believe this is true
We can’t buy a mindset of generosity, especially if we only give from what is left over or because we need to assuage our guilt of affluence
for a time. We can, though, practice generosity
by making ongoing, intentional choices of giving.
By making a habit of these choices, generosity can grow from simple, discreet activities to
an essential way of life.
Generosity as a way of life fills much of the
Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew.
Jesus encourages hearers to give to anyone who
asks, to be compassionate as God is compassionate, to give to the needy without need for
recognition, to avoid hoarding treasure on earth,
to choose service between God and money, and
to resist worry.
In order for his hearers to become proficient
in a life of generosity, Jesus ends the sermon
with this challenge: “Therefore everyone who
hears these words of mine and puts them into
practice is like a wise man
who built his house on
the rock” (Matthew 7:24,
by Dori Zerbe
Our society packages
almost everything for
sale, but there are some
things that can only be
acquired through practice.
According to author Craig Dykstra (practicingourfaith.org), Christian practices are more
than spiritual activities or duties of obedience.
Practices are patterns of action that create openings in our lives into which the grace, mercy and
presence of God can enter. When we practice
generosity, we can be transformed by God’s
mercy to become who we were really made to be.
Several weeks ago at a gathering in our home,
a young musician sat down at our forlorn piano
and with only a few notes his practiced hands
brought incredibly beautiful sound into our
living room. As I witness in my work at MFC,
there is an incredible beauty in practiced lives of
May we all hear Jesus’ words encouraging
generosity and put them into practice.
Dori Zerbe Cornelsen is a stewardship consultant at
the Winnipeg, Man.,
office of Mennonite
Foundation of Canada (MFC). For information on implusive
generosity, stewardship education, and
estate and charitable
gift planning, contact
your nearest MFC
office or visit www.
www.emconference.ca/messenger • The Messenger 35
Columns • kids’ corner
To remember is important
ow much can you remember?
Close your eyes and try to
remember everything you have ever
seen. Think about all the people you know, your
family, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers,
all the houses you have seen, places you’ve
visited, streets you have walked along,
animals, words, numbers, books
It may take awhile but
you can do it. There’s no end
to all that you are able to
Eventually you would get
bored. You want to do something else, play a game, meet a
friend, play in the snow, go skating. But
remembering is important. How can your
mind do it?
Think of your brain like a library filled with
shelves of books, or stored items in files on your
computer. You take out a book when you want
to read it.
You retrieve or open something stored on
your computer, like a game, a homework assignment, or a Facebook page. In a similar way
whenever you want to remember something the
correct drawer or file opens and whatever you
want to recall comes to your mind.
There are three kinds of
memory. Basic memory is
Activity: Recall a memory
information you get from
everything around you, im1. Recall a favorite memory.
mediate things you see and
2. Take out an item that reminds
hear, snow falling, how cold
you of that memory; a stuffed
it feels, the wind rustling
animal, book, or a photo.
leaves, the sing song of the
3. Write up the memory of that
robin, chirp of the sparrow,
time, event or place.
the bark of a dog. Your
4. Draw a picture of that event,
brain stores this informaplace or person.
tion for a few seconds.
5. Share your memory of that
Another kind of memoevent, place or person with
ry is short-term memory.
your family or a friend.
This is the information you
are thinking about right
36 The Messenger • February 2013
now, whatever you pay attention to. Your brain
stores this for 20 or 30 seconds.
Whether or not you will remember it for
a long time depends on how much attention
you give to it. If you focus on something really
well it will be stored for a long time. Your brain
does this automatically. When you
need it you can recall it, take the
information out and use it. This
is long-term memory.
For example, when cooking you may use or read a
different recipe each time,
but you will know from last
time what to prepare before you
begin. You take out the
right pots and pans, turn on the oven,
or check the stove top, maybe some basic
ingredients, like flour, depending on what you
will make. This is long-term memory.
When you open to the right recipe page and
read to see how much flour, how many eggs you
need and you go and get it, this is short-term
Can you forget something? Yes. If you don’t
pay attention to something you may not remember it. If you get hurt, like in a bad fall, your
brain can be damaged.
Can you help your brain? Yes, you can. What
you eat can help. Foods like blueberries and
oranges, potatoes and spinach can help you
Exercise helps too, like walking to school.
Playing games like Memory and chess, doing
crossword puzzles, math exercises, playing with
play dough and knitting all help your brain. All
your body’s parts are connected; using one part
affects them all.
God knows all about your body. He has made
you. He has created you to able to remember.
Read Psalm 139:1–4 and 13, 14.
When God’s people reached Canaan, the
Promised Land, they promised to serve only
God. A stone was set up to help them remember
their promise. Read Joshua 24: 24–27.
Evangelical Mennonite Conference
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