Mennonite Church Canada
Mennonite Church Canada (MC Canada) is one of a number of Mennonite groups in Canada. Together with Mennonite Church USA it forms the Mennonite Church. The historical roots of MC Canada reach back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century when several groups and individuals pressed for radical reform and were often referred to as Anabaptists. Their teachings included separation of church and state, believers baptism, and pacifism. After a period of persecution and scattering, the movement drew together under the leadership of Menno Simons, and eventually adopted the name Mennonite.
The formation of MC Canada was the culmination of a process that began in July, 1989 with the decision of two North American church bodies—the Mennonite Church (MC) and General Conference Mennonite Church (GC)—to explore integration. Discussions included the Conference of Mennonites in Canada (CMC), which had congregational and conference ties to the MC and GC bodies. A recommendation to proceed with integration was accepted at Wichita in 1995, with the stipulation that the CMC should be consulted at every step. Intensive consultation followed with the Canadian membership, whereupon proposals were brought to joint GC and CMC sessions in Winnipeg in 1997 and then to a meeting of all three delegate groups—CMC, GC and MC—at a joint assembly in St. Louis in 1999. At the St. Louis assembly, delegates adopted recommendations that led to the formation of MC Canada and MC USA, along with guidelines for partnership between these two denominations.
At annual sessions of the CMC in Lethbridge (2000) and Abbotsford (2001), a new constitution and by-laws were accepted and structures adopted. The birth of MC Canada occurred officially with two decisions in 2001—the passing of the Act of Incorporation by the Canadian government in June of 2001 and the acceptance of the new bylaws by the delegate body in July of 2001. Implementation of the new structures culminated in February of 2002.
In 2004 MC Canada was comprised of about 235 local congregations with about 35,000 members (organized into five area conferences—Mennonite Church British Columbia, Mennonite Church Alberta, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, Mennonite Church Manitoba and the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada). Congregations date back to the beginning of the 19th century, when families of Swiss Mennonite origin came from Pennsylvania to present-day southern Ontario. A large number of the congregations of the CMC originated when German-speaking immigrants arrived from Russia in the 1870s and the 1920s. Today MC Canada includes not only churches of traditionally Swiss and Germanic background, but also churches comprised of Chinese, Hispanic, Hmong, Japanese, Laotian, South Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and First Nations peoples. Meanwhile, people of diverse ethnic backgrounds have also joined congregations that were formerly only Swiss and Germanic.
Three Councils and a General Board attend to the ministry of MC Canada. The Christian Formation Council attends to youth and young adult ministries, congregational and ministerial leadership, publishing and resources, and Christian education and nurture. The Christian Witness Council facilitates and develops programs in evangelism and church planting, national and international missions, native ministries, peace and justice advocacy, and service ministries. A Support Services Council oversees communication, finances, development and constituency relations, human resources, property management, and annual assembly planning. The church paper of MC Canada is the Canadian Mennonite, with offices in Waterloo, Ontario. A General Board oversees the entire work of the church. The General Board and the Councils are accountable to the annual delegate assembly.
MC Canada also relates to several inter-Mennonite institutions by appointing persons to their governance boards (Mennonite Central Committee Canada, and Mennonite Foundation of Canada) or providing funding to its operating budget (Canadian Mennonite University). A women's organization, Mennonite Women Canada (formerly Canadian Women in Mission), is integrally related to MC Canada. MC Canada is a member of Mennonite World Conference and is affiliated with the Canadian Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
In 2011 the conference had 220 member congregations with a total membership of 31,365.
Central Offices: 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 0M4.
Website: Mennonite Church Canada website
Mission Statement of Mennonite Church Canada
As communities of Christian faith, uniting and united under the name Mennonite Church Canada, we desire to express our biblical understanding of faith and life in Jesus Christ within the Canadian context and beyond by extending the invitation to all people of our multi-cultural society to follow Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, that together as the people of God, we may worship one Lord in truth and in holiness, minister together through education, evangelism and service, care for God's creation by making peace and practicing stewardship, and provide leadership and resources to facilitate God's mission in the world, so that all people may find healing and hope in all circumstances of life.
1. Individuals are listed beside the conference at which they were appointed. The position of General Secretary is not appointed annually.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
To cite this page:
MLA style: Harder, Helmut. "Mennonite Church Canada." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. September 2012. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M46607.html.
APA style: Harder, Helmut. (September 2012). Mennonite Church Canada. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M46607.html.