Edmonton

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Location

For the tourist view of the city, you can go to a variety of websites that will describe in detail the festivals, activities, recreation opportunities, and more available here.  What follows is a view from a different perspective – a view through the eyes of some who desire for true SHALOM to come to Edmonton.

Edmonton is a place of great physical beauty to be found in the parks, the river valley, and even in some of the architecture but not without some ugliness, scars, and wounded people.  Edmonton is a place where “the arts” are celebrated but not always accessible to some of the most vulnerable nor appreciated by the comfortable.  Edmonton is a place of seemingly endless opportunities but also seemingly insurmountable obstacles for those who aren’t part of the more privileged majority.

Edmonton is a place of great diversity: in people, in status, in beliefs.  It is a city of many languages and cultures – mostly tolerated, often celebrated but sometimes isolated and occasionally vilified.  It is a city searching for an identity – longing to be on the cutting edge of progress but often finding itself stuck in the middle of status quo.

Edmonton is a place with an aging population but due to geographic location, also the destination of many trying to obtain a new start, a better life, financial gain.  It is a city where migrants, immigrants, and long-term residents live, work, and play side-by-side but where there are limits to generosity and often an “us vs. them” outlook.  You see diversity is embraced by some, tolerated by others while being seen as a threat by others.

Edmonton is a place where justice is sometimes trampled by the stampede of those wanting to benefit from the economic opportunities afforded by ‘black gold’.  It is a city where the voices of the powerless are sometimes drowned out by the shouting crowd demanding their ‘fair share’ of the prosperity being gained through natural resource development.  It is a city where the disenfranchised are sometimes lost in the crowd surging forward to seize the gold ring associated with oil and gas.

It is into this place that the Edmonton MVSU is calling people to live a different way.  By giving a helping hand to assist the disenfranchised become more engaged in society.  By speaking for those who have lost their voices to ensure they are not forgotten but heard and respected.  By standing alongside those threatened to be trampled protecting them and assisting them to not only survive but thrive as children of God.

Edmonton is a place where adventure awaits you.  It is an adventure that will change your life.  It is an adventure that will help change our world.  Come join the adventure!  But be warned . . . . . you will never be the same!

Unit life

The Edmonton Mennonite Voluntary Service Unit (EMVSU)

Started in 2011, the EMVSU is a small community of full-time volunteers serving in agencies that seek to meet human needs in the Edmonton area. Up to five EMVSU volunteers at any one time share a house, and each person volunteers with a specific agency in the community for a term of one or two years.  EMVSU volunteers also affiliate with the Holyrood Mennonite Church congregation which is the support church for the unit.  The EMVSU receives monthly stipends for volunteers from the agencies where the volunteers work; this money is pooled and used to pay for basic monthly living expenses. EMVSU is intended to be a community where God’s abundant hospitality is experienced, and where the adventure of following Jesus is encouraged. We welcome you to consider a place within the EMVSU unit!

Church

Holyrood Mennonite Church is a wonderfully diverse group of people.  Our inter-cultural and inter-generational congregation of one hundred members is made up of people from around the world.  This includes over one third of the congregation who have recently arrived in Edmonton from countries in West Africa.  

We are united by our commitment to follow Jesus.  Our vision statement reads like this:  “Training apprentices of Jesus to share God’s abundant hospitality with people of all ages and cultures through the power of the Holy Spirit.”   As apprentices, we seek to learn from Jesus how to live.  Jesus calls us to share God’s hospitality, which means sharing God’s concern for peace, justice, reconciliation, care for the poor and vulnerable, and care for creation.  At the same time being hospitable means inviting people to be reconciled to God, and inviting people to follow Jesus with us.  

Our efforts to follow Jesus have led us to various ministries:  sponsoring and welcoming refugees; providing volunteer tutors for two refugee homework clubs; hosting a weekly food bank in our church building; establishing a partnership with Pentecostal churches in Liberia, and supporting their hospitable efforts as they build a school and a hospital; organizing an annual Prayer Walk for Peace; and forming a Mennonite Voluntary Service unit.  

We also value supporting one another as a community of faith.  We gather weekly on Sunday mornings to worship God, and to learn from one another in Sunday School class discussions.  During the week smaller groups of people meet to nurture each other.  Two groups meet in people’s homes; one meets at a restaurant for breakfast. We have a bi-weekly women’s group, and a monthly prayer meeting.  For part of the year an informal group of athletes meets to play squash on Saturday mornings! As well, every month or two we host a community life event for the whole congregation.  It may be bowling, watching a movie together,  or enjoying each other’s gifts at a talent night. 

There is acceptance, a warm welcome and a place at Holyrood Mennonite Church for everyone.  You can also expect to be challenged to grow in your faith, for we take the teaching of Jesus seriously.  We would love to have you join us in the great adventure of following Jesus together!

"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 3:11
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