"These are teaching tools," said Pastor Anita Retzlaff as she counted 15 MCC posters on bulletin boards in the Nutana Park Mennonite Church in Saskatoon. JOANIE PETERS
Saskatoon congregation seeks to make a difference through MCC
January 15, 2008
SASKATOON, Sask.—Posters promoting MCC programs and events can be found on every bulletin board in the Nutana Park Mennonite Church here.
“These are teaching tools,” said Pastor Anita Retzlaff as she counted 15 MCC posters on the bulletin boards. “We are an ordinary congregation but people here are passionate about MCC.”
Church leaders play a key role in promoting the work of MCC, said Retzlaff, who has been a member of the congregation for over 30 years and part of the pastoral staff for 12 years. About 500 people call this church their home church.
Every week she spends about three to four hours processing mail. This amount of mail gives her a large selection of information that could be shared with the congregation.
Retzlaff makes a conscious choice to highlight the work of MCC. “We need MCC and MCC needs us,” she said. “MCC provides the structure and opportunities and we participate with cash and our own resources and energy.”
Some of the older people in the church have firsthand memories of assistance provided through MCC. The challenge, explained Retzlaff, is to pass on this passion and enthusiasm for MCC through engaging youth in the work of MCC.
Youth, she said, have a social conscience and are interested in MCC activities relating to the environment, racial tension, peace building and justice.
“I believe our younger adults consider their lives within the realities of the world around them,” she said. “They are aware of the pain in this world and hopeful that they can make a difference.”
Young adults from the Nutana Park Mennonite church participate in the Menno Mile—a five-kilometre run or three-kilometre walk to raise funds for the MCC Saskatchewan relief sale. They also work in thrift shops, raise funds for MCC projects and sponsor a child through MCC’s Global Family Program.
During the past 30 years the church has sponsored 29 families through MCC Saskatchewan’s refugee assistance program. “When we hear that another family needs sponsors we always have a group of individuals who meet the challenge,” said Retzlaff.
She describes her church’s relationship with MCC as a marriage relationship—“a flexible relationship where there is give and take. Sometimes the church provides direction to MCC and other times the church waits for MCC to provide direction.”
In addition to individuals supporting MCC financially, the church also includes MCC in the church budget. Nutana Park Mennonite Church is a member church of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan as well as Mennonite Church Canada.