March 18 Dear MC Sask

Dear Mennonite Church Saskatchewan,

When Betty Pries led us through Refresh, Refocus, Renew, she invited us into a space and posture of silent prayer. We would often end this silence with the song, Be Still and Know that I Am God. The practice of silent prayer is meant to open ourselves up to the presence of God, to listen to God’s voice, and to limit our own. In this empty space, we remember our reliance upon God for all things. In some ways, silent prayer is like a mini-sabbath. The Season of Lent also serves this purpose. Lent reminds us of our full dependency on God and invites us to accept, maybe even embrace, the limitations of being human. We “practice” silent prayer, and the journey of Lent, because there will be times in our lives when these “practices” will be called upon to get us through the day, or week, or month.

As we are being asked to self-limit our engagement with one another, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan Executive strongly recommends congregations to cancel all congregational activities (worship services, Lent Services, board meeting, etc) until March 31. The Government of Saskatchewan has declared a state of emergency, banning all public gatherings over 50 people. We will continue to reassess this recommendation as new information emerges. Canceling our gatherings for a short time increases the health care system’s ability to deal with any outbreaks by slowing down transmission. We recognize that many congregations have already made this decision and that some congregations will remain open during this time. We trust that each congregation will make the right decision for their own setting.

We realize that canceling services in a time when we find comfort and solidarity in community is a difficult decision to make. We think of those who already live alone and experience social isolation. We think about all the work we’ve already put into our Lenten worship series. However, we also know that this is a virus that is spread quickly and easily through contact, so part of our Christian witness in and for this time is to be agents of healing in our communities. That means reducing our physical contact with others. Please check our website for information regarding live streaming worship services from Mennonite Church Saskatchewan congregations, as well as a worship service led by Doug Klassen, Executive Minister of Mennonite Church Canada.

MC Sask staff will continue to be here to support you. Please keep an eye on our weekly bulletin as well as our website for updates. Marianne Siemens, Office & Financial Administrator, will be working from home and can still be reached at the MC Sask office phone number and email. I can be reached at 306.980.9939.

Remember, you are not alone. In this Lenten Season, may the presence of God be with you in these wilderness places.

The peace of Christ be with you!

Ryan Siemens

Executive Minister

Mennonite Church Saskatchewan