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Past Courses

Winnipeg | Fall Session (Wednesdays, October 4 – November 8, 2017)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

The Church in the Global South: What Can It Teach Us?

with Titus Guenther (Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology & Mission)

While the church in the Global North is struggling to stay alive, in the Global South (Africa, Asia, Latin America) it is thriving, currently making up about 70% of world Christianity. How can we understand the dynamic, joyous presence and growth of these churches amidst wide-spread poverty and conflict? What can we learn from their experience? Can the churches in the two worlds (North and South) help each other be more faithful? Because of the instructor's background in South America, the presentations will give a heavier emphasis on this continent than on Africa and Asia.

 

Young Adults Today: How They Think and Why

with Adelia Neufeld Wiens (Student Advisor), Peter Epp (Church Engagement Coordinator), and Guests

This class will explore four dynamics that appear to be significant in the lives of North American young adults today, namely emerging adulthood, a sense of precariousness, mental health, and social media. It will conclude with two classes that consider young adult responses to the church, including a look at young adults who are passionate about the church, young adults who seem to be "on the edges" of the church, and young adults who seem to have fully disengaged from church

 

>> Second Period (10:30–11:30 AM)

Re-Reading the Fourth Gospel: Jesus, Messiah for the World

with George Shillington (Professor Emeritus of New Testament)

The Gospel of John is rich in symbolism and metaphor, which draws the reader back again and again into its literary and theological tapestry. Fresh discoveries come to light with every new encounter. At the heart of this simple yet profound masterpiece stands the figure of Jesus, Messiah for the world with all its cultural diversity in the third millennium after the incarnation of the Word (logos).
 

 

Pope Francis: A Jesuit View of the World

with Michael Caligiuri (Research Fellow, St. Paul’s College)

This course will study Pope Francis, the 266th Bishop of Rome and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, with an emphasis on how his current mission, style and personality have been influenced by his longstanding membership in the Society of Jesus—the Jesuits. At the frontiers and heart of the Catholic Church, members of the Jesuit order are, in the words of their founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, "contemplatives in action." In addition to focusing on the life of Pope Francis it will consider the role of the Jesuits within Christianity, and the tenants which influence the Pope's ideas on a variety of issues such as ecumenism, Church teachings, and international relations. 

 

Winkler | Fall Session (Thursdays, October 5 – November 9, 2017)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

Ephesians: Power for Peace

with Michael Pahl (Lead Pastor, Morden Mennonite Church)

Ephesians is often seen as a summary of the Apostle Paul's teaching. It might be surprising to some, then, to learn how much the letter focuses on "peace." In fact, that's the whole thrust of the book: God's power, which far exceeds any powers of this age, is displayed in the crucified and resurrected Christ and given to the Church, the body of Christ in the world, in order to bring peace throughout the cosmos and among humanity.  Join us as we explore these themes in Ephesians together."
 

 

Reflecting on the Church in Southern Manitoba

with John Klassen (Senior Pastor, Emmanuel Mennonite Church) and area pastors as guest presenters

 

>> Second Period (10:30–11:30 AM)

Clothing the Naked Anabaptist

with John J. Friesen (Professor Emeritus of History & Theology)

In this course, participants will probe the relationship between ideas (beliefs) and context both for the origin of the Anabaptist movement in the 16th century, and for the significance of (naked) Anabaptist beliefs today. Murray's The Naked Anabaptist will be used as a reference for class discussions.

 

 

Deuteronomy as Vision for the Church Today

with Gerald Gerbrandt (President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Bible)

Deuteronomy may have the reputation of being ancient, out-of-date law, or even boring, yet it paints an amazing vision for Israel, one which remains relevant and quite applicable for the church today.  This course will consider the nature of Deuteronomy's teaching for Israel, and how it can be God's word for the church in the contemporary world.

 

Winnipeg | Spring Session (Wednesdays, March 8–April 12, 2017)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

Global Issues in Development

with Willie Reimer (former Program Director of Mennonite Central Committee)

This course will focus on development challenges,  key issues  and opportunities encountered in six different regions of the world including Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. How are international agencies such as MCC engaging the church and local partners in addressing the challenges and issues that people face in their settings. We will examine how religious, cultural, political/ governance and peace, conflict, and migration factors affect the lives of people in these regions. Staff of MCC Canada will join a number of sessions to share recent first-hand experiences, challenges and issues. 

 

Authority: Canon, Creed, Church, or Me?

with Gerald Gerbrandt (President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Bible)

Most denominations have some kind of statement on the authority of the Bible. But how does this work practically? In this course we will review how the Bible came to be, and then ask what this might teach us about the authority of the Bible. In this process we will also consider how this authority interacts with, or relates to the authority of the creeds or confessions, the church, or other contemporary authorities.

 

>> Second Period (10:30–11:30 AM)

Disorientation and Delight: Biblical Wisdom and the Presence of God

with Gordon Matties (Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies & Theology)

How does the wisdom literature of the Bible—Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes—imagine the presence of God? If the editor of the book of Ecclesiastes is correct in suggesting that “the sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed” (Eccl 12:11), perhaps these books also present the character of God as “like goads, and like nails.” This short course will explore how it might be possible to affirm that God is present in what is trusted and secure (nails), just as God can be experienced as hidden, elusive, and even absent (goads). 

 

Introducing Hutterites Today

with Kenny Wollmann (Hutterite graduate student at CMU)

Hutterites, part of the Radical Reformation along with the Amish and Mennonites, are among the world's longest-running communal society.  This course will attempt to give students an experiential glimpse into today’s Hutterite communities. The leader will give a brief history and theological account of what it means to be a Hutterite. Modern issues that Hutterites struggle with will be identified and discussed. The course will also include accounts from members of the community, men and women, representing different roles and expertise that make the community function.

 

Winnipeg | Fall Session (Wednesdays, October 5–November 9, 2016)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

Church Practices and Christian Imagination

with Irma Fast Dueck (Associate Professor of Practical Theology)

The most vital and subtle lessons of the Christian faith and life are conveyed in the practices, rituals, and gestures that the church engages in. What makes them powerful is that they are embodied theology that refuses to separate the mind, heart and body. The practices of the church function as a prism, enabling Christians to view the world with a particular imaginative lens—at their best, with the imagination of Christ. This course will examine particular practices of the church and see what they reveal about what it means to be Christian and part of the Body of Christ. Special attention will be given to baptism, communion weddings, and funerals.
 

Decolonizing Our Hearts: Pathways and Theologies for Truth and Reconciliation

with Deanna Zantingh (Keeper of the Learning Circle for the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre) and guests

Our shared colonial history in Canada has affected diverse groups of people quite differently. How do we understand ourselves, our communities, and the Christian story amidst the complexity of the harms inflicted on Indigenous communities? In what ways do we need to re-examine Christian doctrines, and in what ways are our theologies resources for reconciliation? This course will be an opportunity to examine the on-going processes for truth and reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, as we enter together with a willingness to both speak from one’s heart and listen with one’s heart to the variety of teachers who enter to share their journeys and wisdom about pathways for right relationship.

>> Second Period (10:30–11:30 AM)

Jesus, James, and Paul: Cherished Identity under Pressure

with George Shillington (Professor Emeritus of New Testament)

Jesus engaged in a restoration movement within the traditional land and people of Israel (Matthew 10:6; 15:24). His brother, James, carried forward the vision of Jesus centred in Jerusalem and Temple. Traditional Jewish identity was then tested profoundly when Paul extended the vision to include non-Israelites from the world in the community of Jesus Messiah without requiring the marks of identity that Jesus, James, and Judaism took for granted.
 

 

Clothing the Naked Anabaptist

with John J. Friesen (Professor Emeritus of History & Theology)

In this course, participants will probe the relationship between ideas (beliefs) and context both for the origin of the Anabaptist movement in the 16th century, and for the significance of (naked) Anabaptist beliefs today. Stuart Murray’s The Naked Anabaptist will be used as a reference for class discussions.

 

 

Southern Manitoba | Fall Session (Thursdays, October 6–November 10, 2016)

All classes at Emmanuel Mennonite Church, 750 15th St., Winkler, MB

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

1 Corinthians

with Michael Pahl (Lead Pastor, Morden Mennonite Church)

A church divided over sexuality and marriage, spirituality, and worship and mission. Factions within the church, each with its favourite theology, its own preferred leaders. Underneath it all, questions over how to faithfully follow Jesus within a diverse and changing culture. This was the church in Corinth in the middle of the first century C.E., yet it could be any Mennonite church in Canada today. In this course we will explore Paul’s charge to a fractured and flawed church to unite around the crucified and risen Jesus—a powerful word for the church today.

Immigrants and Refugees, Then & Now: A Common Story?

with Kevin Drudge (former Pastor, Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Winkler) and guests

Mennonites arrived in southern Manitoba as immigrants and refugees, in the 1870s, 1920s, 1940s, and later. Their arrival affected local, especially indigenous, communities. In the past 25 years many German and Russian immigrants have moved into the same area. Now southern Manitoba is welcoming new immigrants and refugees from the Middle East (especially Syria), Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. Each arrival brings further changes to local regions. What common threads weave our stories together, helping us build communities of hospitality and friendship? How does biblical faith inform our response to the experience of being, or welcoming, the stranger? Representatives from different immigrant/refugee groups, past and present, will share stories as we together reflect on what we might learn from each other.

>> Second Period (10:30–11:30 AM)

The Church in the Global South

with Titus Guenther (Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology & Missions)

While the church in the Global North is struggling to stay alive, in the Global South (Africa, Asia, Latin America) it is thriving, currently making up about 70% of world Christianity. How can we understand the dynamic, joyous presence and growth of these churches amidst wide-spread poverty and conflict? What can we learn from their experience? Can the churches in the two worlds (North and South) help each other be more faithful? Because of my background in South America, the presentations will give a heavier emphasis on this continent than on Africa and Asia.
 

Suffering Loss and Death

with Harry Huebner (Professor Emeritus of Theology)

We all experience suffering and loss and we all face death. As we age we lose much: our jobs, the place that has given us power and meaning, our treasured physical, mental, and spiritual capacities, our place in the family order, to name only a few. Also, we observe these changes in our friends. How do we understand these notions in an age when medicine promises to relieve us from suffering, and death is viewed more and more as liberation? Moreover, not all suffering is due to illness or personal loss; war, poverty, and racism are perhaps more stark today than ever. And Jesus suffered and died through which we believe we find our salvation. How might Christians think about this set of issues and how does it help us today to face suffering, loss, and death?

 

Winnipeg | Spring Session (March 9–April 13, 2016)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

The Gospel of Luke

with Sheila Klassen-Wiebe (Associate Professor of New Testament)

All four Gospels tell the story of Jesus. This course will look at Luke’s distinctive version of that story, with attention to several of the Gospel’s characteristic themes and unique texts. We will explore Luke’s version of Jesus’ birth story, Jesus’ mission of salvation, his practice of table fellowship, his teachings on discipleship and wealth, and his death and resurrection. Our study will lead us to a renewed appreciation for Luke’s literary artistry and the significance of his portrait of Jesus for the church today.

The Jewish People: Their Story, Faith, and Practices

with Harry Huebner (Professor Emeritus of Theology), Gerald Gerbrandt (President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Bible), and guests

Mennonite and Jewish peoples have interacted with each other in southern Manitoba, and previously in the Ukraine. We have related socially, commercially, and in many other ways. We are alike in that we both have strong ethnic and religious identities, we are scattered throughout the world, and so on. We are also quite different. And in most cases we do not know each other very well. This is an opportunity to hear several Jewish leaders on how their stories, practices and observances shape their self-understanding as Jews, how scripture functions for them as a worshipping people, how the state of Israel has been helpful and problematic in defining them, and what it is that they would like to say to the Mennonite people. The focus here is on how we might gain a richer understanding and appreciation of each other.

>> Second Period (10:30–11:30 AM)

Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel Beyond the West 

with Jonathan Bonk (Research Professor in Mission, Boston University and Director of the Dictionary of African Christian Biography project)

This course will survey emerging forms and demographics of Christianity around the world. Readings, reports, stories, and documentary videos will be used to create a collage of the new faces of Christianity. Implications for traditional Christian beliefs and practices will be explored.
 

 

The Life, Work, and Thought of Martin Luther King 

with Brian Froese (Assistant Professor of History)

In addition to surveying the life and work of Martin Luther King (e.g., bus boycott, Promised Land speech), this course will explore the theological and historical context within which he worked. Emphasis will be placed on the intersection of his theological thought concerning the church and society and the social-historical setting of America in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

Winnipeg | Fall Session (September 30–November 4, 2015)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

"I will not let you go unless you bless me": Explorations in Biblical Spirituality

with Gordon Matties (Professor of Biblical Studies & Theology)

"Spirituality," it can be said, is life at the interface of the divine and the human. Jacob, who wrestles with the divine stranger (Genesis 32), embodies his new name, "Israel." His experience becomes a pattern for ancient Israel's ongoing encounter with God. This course offers participants an opportunity to explore that text, along with a variety of other models of spirituality in the Bible as those are reflected in the diversity of narrative and poetry, exemplified in characterization and plot, and shaped through tradition and imagination. Sessions will include reflection on Old Testament and New Testament texts, themes, and practices.

Poverty and Homeless in Winnipeg: Its Roots and Realities 

with Andy Wood (Pastor, Winnipeg Centre Vineyard and Founder of Vineyard School of Justice)

Participants in this course will explore the roots of poverty and homelessness in Winnipeg and beyond. We will peel back the data to look at the complex web of contributing factors people living in poverty face. This course will explore Biblical and meaningful responses to injustice, set in a rich tapestry of stories and real-life examples.

>> Second Period (10:30-11:30 AM)

The Church in Turmoil

with ​Rachel Twigg Boyce (Founding Pastor, House Blend Ministries)

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?" Isaiah 43:19

When you consider the many changes that are happening in the local church do you fear we are heading for disaster? Are you having a hard time see the new thing God is doing? Come explore these changes in a way that will inspire you to view the future of the church with both confidence and hope.
 

Suffering, Loss, and Death

with Harry Huebner (Professor Emeritus of Theology)

We all experience suffering and loss and we all face death. As we age we lose much: our jobs, the place that has given us power and meaning, our treasured physical, mental, and spiritual capacities, our place in the family order, to name only a few. Also, we observe these changes in our friends. How do we understand these notions in an age when medicine promises to relieve us from suffering, and death is viewed more and more as liberation? Moreover, not all suffering is due to illness or personal loss; war, poverty, and racism are perhaps more stark today than ever. And Jesus suffered and died through which we believe we find our salvation. How might Christians think about this set of issues and how does it help us today to face suffering, loss, and death?

 

Southern Manitoba | Fall Session (October 1–November 5, 2015)

>> First period (9:00–10:00 AM)

The Gospel of Mark 

with Michael Pahl (Pastor, Morden Mennonite Church)

The Gospel of Mark has often been ignored by Christians—it is, after all, the shortest of the Gospels, and most of its contents are duplicated in Matthew or Luke. However, it is almost certainly the earliest of the Gospels, possibly the first story of Jesus ever written. In this course we will explore this important Gospel: why it was written, what it tells us about Jesus and God's kingdom, and how it can shape the way we think about following Jesus in the 21st century.
 

Ukraine: Its Challenges, and Current Mennonite Initiatives 

with Dave and Hildie Regehr (Canadian Directors for the Mennonite Centre in Molochansk, Ukraine) and guests

The history of Ukraine is a fascinating story of "tug-of-war" between western and Russian influences, politically, culturally and spiritually. The Mennonites entered that story in the late 1700's but were mostly removed from it again a century and a half later. Since its declaration of independence in 1991, several Mennonite initiatives are once again active in southern Ukraine midst the growing unrest in Crimea and the Donbas. Along with representatives from some current initiatives we will explore this story and Mennonite responses.

>> Second Period (10:30-11:30 AM)

Forgiveness (Person-to-Person) and Forbearance

with ​John H. Neufeld (President Emeritus)

Forgiveness is considered to be one of the twelve practices of the Christian faith, yet it seems to get relatively little attention as a dimension of Christian discipleship. How important is forgiveness, particularly person-to-person forgiveness? How is forbearance different than forgiveness? What experiences call for forbearance rather than forgiveness? This course will consider the role of forgiveness in our never-ending conversations with ourselves, about our relationships and our understanding of the Bible and the Christian life. We will focus on person-to-person forgiveness and distinguish between forbearance and forgiveness. Personal experiences, memories, biblical and other narratives, as well as insights from research will be used to explore the challenge and complexity of being forgiving and forbearing.

Seeing Scripture with New Eyes

with Gerald Gerbrandt (President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Bible)

For Christians Scripture is the primary resource and authority for how to understand our world, and how to live in it. But does this require that it be treated as a book of history and a book of laws, the primary categories we have tended to use when approaching Scripture? This course will explore an alternative approach which allows Scripture to be life-giving in the 21st century.