Hope and optimism flavour Quebec rally
Annual meeting of provincial MB conference churches
Representing all 10 Mennonite Brethren churches (known as AEFMQ) in the province, nearly 350 members and adherents met September 7 at Lucille-Teasdale school in Blainville, Quebec to celebrate together.
Soula Isch, former missionary, now part of SIM International’s pastor team, spoke on compassion as an integral part of the divine character, told stories of hope from around the world, and encouraged those assembled to live compassionately with those around them.
Various speakers highlighted activities of Quebec churches, including Hochma, a non-traditional church plant in a working class neighbourhood; L’École de théologie évangelique de Montréal (ETEM); Camp Peniel; MBMS International’s Shine and SOAR Montreal programs; and Maison de Sophia, the only women’s shelter in the Laurentian region.
“Everybody’s working really hard,” says Canadian conference executive director David Wiebe about Quebec pastors and leaders who often sit on numerous key committees, “but there’s a remarkable sense of optimism.”
The Quebec churches are also heavily involved with MCC Quebec, and the event culminated in a fundraising bike ride for MCC peace work.
Charles Martin, provincial conference moderator, presented the vision of Horizon Quebec, a project focused on the development of existing and future churches. To partner with the initiative, Kristen Corrigan, member of the Canadian conference executive board, and her husband Garry will be moving to Quebec. Provincial leaders are excited to see churches from across Canada interested in partnering with them.
“Quebec churches are experiencing growth in numbers and spiritual maturity,” says Wiebe. Église Chrétienne de Ste-Thérèse, after nearly closing its doors, had 15 baptisms last year and is once again “fired up.” Église Chrétienne Évangelique de St-Laurent, despite their own struggles, is sponsoring Hochma, a loving community for those who reject the church.
The rally was also an occasion to honour more than 30 years of service by Robert Dagenais. Robert served as a pastor in the AEFMQ – 11 years at Église Chrétienne Évangelique de St-Eustache, two years at Ste-Anne des Plaines, and 17 years at Ste-Thérèse where he currently ministers. In addition to pastoral ministry, Robert is secretary of the executive committee of AEFMQ and chair of the oversight committee for the conference’s French publication, Le Lien.
Following the service, rally attenders ate a meal together and the bike race was held.