How can it be August already? Summer is fleeting in Canada, the winters so long in many parts that we cling to every hour of warm weather. This summer has been sweltering, with temperatures in the mid to high thirties and little rain in sight. Forests are ablaze, communities face water shortages, and farmers are seeing their crops shriveling up in the fields.
If the physical environment weren’t hot enough, we also feel the heat from COVID-19 related conflicts. Voices on both sides of the quarrel clamour to be heard. Whether it be vaccination, mask-wearing and personal rights and freedoms, the threat of dividing congregations feels eminent. In Seeking a Post-COVID peace (page 6), Phil Gunther opines: Phil Gunther opines: “In my tenure as an MB pastor and Conference minister, rarely have I seen a greater need for peace and reconciliation within our own house.” With the help of Wendy Sawatzky and Scott Siemens, Gunther identities the issues splitting churches and presents a roadmap to reconciliation.
Today the word reconciliation doesn’t so much bring me hope as it does hurt. Over the summer, we have awoken to numerous gruesome discoveries on the grounds of former Canadian residential schools. How can we as a country reconcile hundreds of years of inflicting pain and suffering on the Indigenous people, whose land we claimed, and whose culture we tried to extinguish. I am no expert, but I pray that we wholeheartedly seek forgiveness from our neighbours and God. Navigating this road of reconciliation requires wisdom greater than I possess. It requires a mighty effort to build relationships with people we fail to understand. As in most cases, love is the marrow of healing and forgiveness.
This issue of the MB Herald Digest is a little lighter than usual; in addition to regular columns, you’ll find Joe Welty’s first-person adventure into entering a pastoral role at the heart of the pandemic (page 10). Canadian missionary to Mexico, Joan Goddard, speaks to the richness and diversity of the family of God in An open table (page 12). She and her husband Trevor have recently returned to Canada, bringing with them a heart for acceptance and belonging that so richly graced the community at the Matthew Training Center.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer; may they be a blessing to you as you consider the road ahead.
MB Herald Editor / CCMBC Communications Director