Events General News News Releases

Ministry workers invited to conference at CMU that will focus on becoming global

“Becoming global congregations” is the focus of an upcoming conference for those in ministry that will be held at Canadian Mennonite University.

ReNew: Resourcing Pastors for Ministry takes place Monday, February 6 to Wednesday, February 8 at CMU (500 Shaftesbury Blvd.). The three-day event will feature stimulating Bible studies, inspiring worship, powerful stories, and enriching fellowship.

Dr. Jonathan Bonk, an expert in missions and evangelism, will appear at the conference as the keynote speaker. Bonk is Executive Director Emeritus of the Overseas Ministry Study Centre in New Haven, CT, a research professor of mission at Boston University, and author of Missions and Money: Affluence as a Western Missionary Problem.

Renew“CMU and its predecessor colleges have a long history of holding conferences meant to resource pastors,” says Andrew Dyck, Assistant Professor of Ministry Studies and one of the conference’s organizers. “We are committed to helping support, encourage, and resource church leaders.”

The Christian Church is the body of Christ worldwide. It transcends geographical and denominational boundaries. Despite this conviction, and despite technology that makes the world smaller, it is easy for congregations to succumb to localism. 

This year’s ReNew conference, titled, “Opening Our Maps: Becoming Global Congregations” will explore questions such as: How might congregations become more global in their worldview, practices, and endeavours? What might it mean to be a globally minded congregation, in relationship with the church in other lands, the church of other denominations, and the ethnically diverse church at home?

Representatives from a handful of churches in Alberta and Manitoba will share stories about what their congregations are doing. The churches range from a congregation doing evangelism in inner city Winnipeg, to a rural church where three different denominations gather together for worship services.

“We’ve worked really hard to include church leaders from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including newcomers to Canada, so that we can learn from their experiences,” Dyck says. “I’m excited to hear what they have got to teach all of us.”

CMU faculty will lead workshops exploring the theological foundations of the Church as the body of Christ; innovative congregational partnerships; indigenous peoples as part of the global church; and more.

“Christ calls us to take the extra mile of welcoming people that we haven’t welcomed before,” Dyck says. “I hope this conference helps all of us reach just a little further and take a little more initiative to extend grace and welcome to people that we haven’t welcomed before.”

ReNew is intended for all who are involved in ministry. For more information and to register, visit

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as graduate degrees in theology, ministry, peacebuilding and collaborative development, and an MBA. CMU has over 800 full-time equivalent students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury and Menno Simons College campuses and in its Outtatown certificate program.

For information about CMU visit

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Going Barefoot III Communications Conference on Oct 14

Going Barefoot III is a one-day communications conference is being hosted at CMU on Friday, October 14.  Well worth signing up, for anyone interested in creative communications harnessed for good in our world.

Everything Old is New Again: Communication and Fundraising in the Digital World.

The presenters are:
 Owen Charters, CEO, CanadaHelps.
Presentation: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Future of Fundraising.
Workshop: Everything Old is New Again: The Fundamentals of Fundraising in the Digital World.

Bill Roberts, President and CEO of Vision TV.
Presentation: Going Barefoot with Boomers: The New Va Va Voom Demographic!
Workshop: ZoomerMedia Limited: A Case Study Overview.

Gayle Goosen, Founder and Creative Director, Barefoot Creative.
Workshop 1: Fund raising or Brand raising? The power of brand in the non-profit sector.
Workshop 2: Fund-amentals. A focused approach to growth-oriented fundraising

(A slate of additional workshops will also be offered.)

The cost is $87 (includes GST, lunch and coffee breaks).
Students: $25 (includes GST, sessions only).
Late registration fee: $97 (After Oct. 3).

To register, CLICK HERE
The past two times, registration had to be closed–we filled up all the spaces. So don’t wait too long . . . .

A note from John Longhurst, Conference Planning Coordinator.
As a by-the-way, what we do in Winnipeg by gathering regularly as church communicators, and holding conferences like Going Brefoot, is unique in Canada as far as I can tell–in my travels, I haven’t encountered any other group of church communicators doing what we do. (Not to mention giving the country its first-ever national conference on faith and the media, held in Ottawa in 1998.) Once again, Winnipeg leads the way!

Again, hope to see you at GB III!
John Longhurst
Director, Resource Management
Canadian Foodgrains Bank


Refreshing Winds 2011 audio

Refreshing Winds, Here in This Place, Worship in Context

Brian McLaren’s plenary sessions on Naked Spirituality

Worship always takes place, some place, some where, at some time, in some location… The theme was inspired by the title of a well-known hymn based on Genesis 28:16-17. It reminds us that God is found in surprising places. “This place” is many places, and any place on our planet, wherever people are open to being surprised by God’s presence. And wherever that place is, we are called to live our faith mindful of the culture in which we are located.

Our goal is to recognize the importance of context and culture in our worship, to explore and understand how our culture impacts us, what culture means in our theology, and how worship is embodied in location.

Keynote Speaker: Brian McLaren
An author, storyteller and theologian. Primarily known as a thinker and a writer. His public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, evangelism, leadership, global mission, spiritual formation, worship, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, ecology, and social justice.

McLaren’s topic for Refreshing Winds was ‘Naked Spirituality,’ also the title of his next book. He suggested that personal spirituality typically develops in a cycle containing four stages – simplicity, complexity, perplexity, and harmony, which becomes the new simplicity as the cycle continues. For each stage, McLaren provided three spiritual practices that he thinks are particularly valuable in our experience of God. To hear Brian’s talks, listen to the audio files, below.

Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7:00pm
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 1: Simplicity
Download here

Friday, February 4, 2011, 9:00am
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 2: Complexity
Download here

Friday, February 4, 2011, 7:00pm
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 3: Perplexity
Download here

Saturday, February 5, 2011, 9:00am
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Stage 4: Harmony
Download here

Saturday, February 5, 2011, 4:00pm
Plenary: Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality, Part 5: Conclusion
Download here

Sponsored by CMU’s Institute for Theology and the Church

Student Projects

Refreshing Winds video

Refreshing Winds, Feb 3-5, 2011

Refreshing Winds, A Biennial Conference on Worship & Music
Here in This Place, Worship in Context
With Brian McLaren and Steve Bell



Refreshing Winds with Brian McLaren as keynote speaker

Refreshing Winds at Canadian Mennonite University

Brian McLaren, one of evangelical Christianity’s most popular and provocative voices, will be the keynote speaker at Canadian Mennonite University’s biennial music and worship conference this year.

The title “Here in this Place,” reflects the conference’s focus on worship within the context of place and culture.

“‘This place’ is many places, and any place on our planet, wherever people are open to being surprised by God’s presence. And wherever that place is, we are called to live our faith mindful of the culture in which we are located,” explains Abe Bergen, chair of the conference organizing committee.

“We were looking for someone who could help us think about our place in time, our place in the world in which we live, and we thought McLaren would be helpful,” says Irma Fast Dueck, who is also on the planning committee. “He’s done a lot of thinking on contemporary culture. He’s paying attention to a shifting worldview.”

McLaren is a hugely popular and at times controversial thinker, speaker and writer on the subjects of Christianity, culture and the emergent church. In 2005 Time magazine ranked McLaren among the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. Church leaders across Canada and the U.S. are reading McLaren’s latest book, A New Kind of Christianity (2009). In it McLaren discusses the ways in which he believes Christianity needs to change. McLaren’s previous books include A New Kind of Christian (2001) and A Generous Orthodoxy (2004).

CMU president Gerald Gerbrandt says he’s excited to hear what McLaren has to say. “I am very much looking forward to the conversation with Brian McLaren. His stimulating style has the potential to generate productive dialogue among followers of Jesus as they serve his mission,” says Gerbrandt.

A conference on worship and music would not be complete without the contributions of those skilled in the musical and visual arts. Steve Bell—a Juno-award-winning singer and songwriter who writes music for the purpose of worship within the context of his community at Saint Benedict’s Table in Winnipeg—will be performing and, together with McLaren, leading worship during plenary sessions.

Other gifted musicians, theologians and artists will also be contributing to the conference by leading worship, teaching workshops and creating works of visual art. Among them is Doug Gay from Scotland, along with Christine Longhurst, Allan Rudy Froese, Marilyn Houser Hamm, Jon Ted Wynne, along with CMU faculty members.

The plenary sessions will take place in a “tabernacle,” a portable tent of worship that travelled with the Israelites through the wilderness, and stories of the Israelite journey will be reflected on throughout the sessions. Participants will also have an opportunity to visually engage the Refreshing Winds theme of “Here in this Place” through an art exhibition organized by Ray Dirks in the Mennonite Heritage Gallery.

The conference begins on Thursday evening, February 3 and wraps on Saturday, February 5 with a communion service. Participants can register at For more information contact Diane Hiebert at

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For information, contact:
Nadine Kampen CMU Communications & Marketing Director; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621


Peace It Together Conference Returns

Performer Ted Swartz among key presenters at March 2011 event
For release November 25, 2010

Youth and their leaders from across Canada will gather at CMU in March 11 – 13, 2011 to discuss how each can bring their own “pieces of peace” to a world in need of healing, peace, and justice.

Peace it Together (PIT) was held for 31 consecutive years until last year. “It was time to step back and assess its future,” says Abe Bergen, director of Enrolment Services at CMU, who was centrally involved in the planning of PIT for the past 10 years. “After talking to stakeholders across Canada, the message was clear – CMU needs to continue to nurture a vision for peacemaking among the youth in Canada. This conference will invite high school students into a faith commitment to Jesus Christ and challenge them to grow a faith that embodies understanding, reconciliation, and service.”

“We are excited about the return of PIT and the increased opportunities for our own CMU students to be involved in this event.” says PIT Steering Committee Co-chair Lisa Kelly. “PIT offers a great opportunity for our youth to benefit from sessions with some really dynamic and creative presenters, both from within the CMU community and without, and we will all learn and grow from contributions from our youth as they reflect on the theme, ‘Pieces of Peace.’”

PIT takes place at CMU’s campus in south Winnipeg. The program will feature drama from Ted Swartz ( ) and presentations by CMU speakers Adelia Neufeld Wiens, Dan Epp-Tiessen, and Jarem Sawatsky.

Actor, playwright, and storyteller, Ted Swartz has been enacting faith stories to audiences across the U.S. and Canada for over two decades. Swartz and the late Lee Eshleman, through their company Ted & Lee TheaterWorks, developed such plays as Armadillo Shorts, Fish-Eyes, Creation Chronicles, Live at Jacob’s Ladder and DoveTale . Swartz continues to write and perform plays with a number of artists. He brings humour and imagination to the re-telling of familiar faith stories. His presentations at PIT will include a drama called, “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy.”

Neufeld Wiens is the coordinator for student advising at CMU. Before coming to work at CMU, she served as a guidance counsellor in Nairobi, Kenya at Rosslyn Academy, a Christian International School run by three denominations.

In her time in Kenya, Neufeld Wiens learned that conflict is “interpersonal, cross-cultural, and interreligious.” Her presentation at PIT 2011 will draw on her interest in building bridges, both physical and metaphorical.

“I will speak about how relationships with each other help us to build peace,” says Neufeld Wiens.

PIT presenter Dan Epp-Tiessen also served overseas, serving in the Philippines with his family from 1982 to1986 through Mennonite Central Committee.

Epp-Tiessen, associate professor of Bible at CMU, will talk about how we can open ourselves personally to God’s healing and peace so that we can become part of God’s agenda for healing and peace in the larger world. He will draw on his experiences of being father to Tim, who lived with multiple disabilities and who died of cancer at the age of eight.

For Jarem Sawatsky, some of his earliest memories were at peace rallies, fasts, and protests, so he was “born into the peace movement,” he says.
Along with being a professor of Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies at CMU, Sawatsky is co-director of the Canadian School of Peacebuilding, a school of CMU. Sawatsky has extensive experience lecturing on restorative justice and on peacebuilding locally and overseas.

“I plan to discuss loving our enemies and the various contexts in which we’re called to do that,” says Sawatzky, who will speak on this in relation to his own personal journey and in relation to foreign policies.

The cost to participate* in PIT is $100 if registered by Jan. 31, 2011 and $125 if registered after Feb. 1, 2011. (* includes registration, food and lodging at CMU)

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is a Christian university offering undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences, business, communications and media, peace and conflict resolution studies, music, music therapy, theology, and church ministries, as well as graduate degrees in Theological Studies and Christian ministry. Located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, CMU has over 1,700 students at its Shaftesbury Campus in Southwest Winnipeg, at Menno Simons College in downtown Winnipeg, and enrolled through its Outtatown discipleship program. CMU is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) .
For PIT information, contact:
Lisa Kelly, PIT Steering Committee Co-chair, CMU Assistant Director of Enrolment;

For CMU information, contact:
Nadine Kampen, Communications & Marketing Director ; Tel. 204.487.3300 Ext. 621