A Fond Farewell

A Fond Farewell

Eight years ago, almost to the day, my family and I moved from Ontario to Alberta with the desire to follow God’s plan for our lives. When we arrived here, we didn’t know anyone, as we had no family or friends in the province. All we knew was that God was calling us here to prepare us for the call He had on our lives. As you can imagine, it was a difficult transition for us, but we trusted in God and He took care of us each step of the way. One of the greatest ways God has shown His care and provision for us was when He led us to a little church in Didsbury -- Bergthal Mennonite Church.

Knowing very little about the Mennonite tradition, we timidly walked through the doors, only to receive the warmest, most sincere of welcomes we had ever experienced from a church. The smiles, hugs and even the couple awkward shoulder rubs, just made my heart melt. It was this hospitality, along with a strong sense of the Holy Spirit at work, that brought us back time and time again. Until, before we knew it, Bergthal had become our people, our friends…our family.

During my time serving as Church Engagement Minister, I have come to learn that what I experienced at Bergthal was a reflection of something that permeates throughout our entire MCA community. The same sincerity and welcome that I experienced at Bergthal, I got to experience again and again as I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the other eleven congregations that together make up MCA.

My time serving as the Church Engagement Minister has been a gift like none other. Though my time in this position has been shorter than anticipated, it has been an absolute honour to serve you all. Words rarely do justice in these circumstances, but, nevertheless, I want to take a moment to offer my sincere appreciation.

Thank you to the pastors, leaders, and members of each of the MCA churches.
Thank you to our immediate church family, Bergthal.
Thank you to the Camp Valaqua staff.
Thank you to the MCA staff team.

I will be eternally grateful to have been able to serve, learn and grow alongside each of you!
I’m reminded of a beautiful sermon I heard many years ago title “Grow – Serve – Launch”. Well, I have grown, I have served, and now it’s time to launch.

My family and I are truly grateful for all your love and prayers as we launch into this next chapter. Though God is calling us back to Ontario, where we hope to be able to connect with our Mennonite brothers and sisters there, MCA will forever be a part of who we are and what we do.

May God continue to work through us all, wherever we are, so the name of our Lord Jesus might be magnified, and Christ’s Kingdom made known here in Alberta, throughout Canada and to the ends of the Earth. Amen!

At the end of July Church Engagement Minister Steven Giugovaz and his wife Emily will be moving back to Ontario where they will be closer to their extended families. Steven said, “It has been such an honour and blessing for my family and I to serve alongside the individuals, congregations, and ministries that make up Mennonite Church Alberta. Even as God calls us back to serve in Ontario, MCA will always be family to us, and your impact on our lives will forever be a part of our ministry.” Their move coincides with Emily beginning a job with Campus Living Centres, which runs campus programs for approximately 30 colleges including many in the Greater Toronto Area. Steven will be seeking a new ministry role within the Mennonite church.

Steven has served with MCA since September of 2021, during which he has shared deeply about his personal experience of God’s presence in his life. In his role he sought ways to connect congregations and individuals to each other and to the ministries we share as the broader church. Executive Minister Tim Wiebe-Neufeld said, “I have appreciated working with Steven as together we lived into what was a new position for MCA. We will miss his contribution to our MCA faith community, and I wish him and his family well as they make this transition.”