MC Canada 2025 Gathering announced for Kitchener, ON

Theme focuses on I Peter 4:10; gathering will lean on more delegate discernment

Winnipeg – Mennonite Church Canada’s 2025 Gathering will meet at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, Ont. from July 2-5, 2025.

The Intercultural Steering Committee (ICSC) proposed the theme “Each has a gift.” The theme is based on I Peter 4:10: “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” (NRSV)

The ICSC was established in 2021 to help MC Canada address unmet diversity goals outlined in the 2017 restructuring.  The goals desire more diverse representation on councils and committees, but also a deeper integration of new Canadians into the life of the denomination.  “Each has a gift” highlights that each person, whether from a Eurocentric background or from another place in the global church, has gifts to bring to the ministry of the church.  

Gathering 2025 will enact some recent decisions by Joint Council to adjust how regional churches and the nationwide church conduct business together.

For example, Gathering 2025 will feature a return to regional and congregational delegates for discernment of nationwide agenda. As per the restructuring in 2017, nationwide discernment was shifted to annual gatherings of regional churches. The aspirational goal did not pan out as hoped.

In an address at MC Canada’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on June 22, Bruce Baergen, Assistant Moderator, confirmed that “… it has been too difficult to expand the Regional Church AGMs or truncate the Regional Church agenda to make space for congregational discernment on nationwide agenda.”

Gathering 2025 will use a forum model to create space for delegate discernment of nationwide agenda.  Delegates will be appointed by congregations as well as regional churches to discuss vision and priorities. Delegate wisdom will then guide the Joint Council in its decision-making. “The forum model would function in a way that discernment wouldn’t be at cross purposes with the Regional Churches,” said Baergen.

On the opening evening of the Gathering, attendees will celebrate 500 years of Anabaptism and mark 100 years of Mennonite World Conference ministry. Plans are underway to bring together Pastors, Chaplains, and Spiritual leaders for a Leadership Day (July 2). Planners also hope to bring together leaders from the Indigenous Relations and Climate Action working groups from each Regional Church.

Over the coming months, Joint Council will ‘live into’ further changes announced at the June 22 AGM.  These include how Joint Council decisions are implemented in Regional Churches, and how we acknowledge the way global, binational, and Canada-wide ministry partners give shape to the nationwide church.

In addition to adjusting functions from the 2017 restructure that have not worked as envisioned, Baergen noted that some changes have worked very well. He pointed to improved communication between regional churches, and achieving a common web site platform for MC Canada, regional churches, and congregations.

MC Canada’s Joint Council includes representatives from all five regional churches.