A Communications Update

A Communications Update

A year ago, October 2019, I was standing and watching the tide come in at Reversing Falls in St. John, New Brunswick. The St. John River flows into the Bay of Fundy and, twice a day, as the tide rises, the bay fills up and the water is pushed upstream, reversing the flow of the river. Salt and fresh water mingle together.

We prairie people are particularly mesmerized by water so I happily stood and watched as protruding rocks were gradually covered and then uncovered by water. I watched the water swirl and change directions. I learned that the water is calm for a mere 20 minutes, a period known as “slack tide”. During this time, boats can safely pass through the gorge during slack tide. My friend, a New Brunswicker, who was standing beside me, called slack tide “perfect, but short”.

As I’ve thought about communications in our wider community of faith, I thought of Reversing Falls. Sometimes the communication flows one direction, sometimes the other. Occasionally, it’s “perfect, but short’.

Most of my work thus far, seems like disseminating information one direction — from MCA and MC Canada to you. Sending out information to those who subscribe to the MCA Communiqué and those who read their church’s bulletins — whether in paper or email form.  I gather information from various people and pass it on. That said, understanding communication as passing on information isn’t the intention of MCA Communications. Our intention is that our communication tools reflect that we are serving God together, that the readers of the Communiqué see themselves as Mennonite Church Alberta not as getting information from Mennonite Church Alberta. Likewise, Mennonite Church Canada. We are Mennonite Church Canada.

When asked what my goals were for this position, one of my responses was to invite more of you to participate in the process of MCA communication, to encourage the flow going the other direction. That, instead of focusing on what we need to tell you, communication would shift to who we are together. Together, as both salt and fresh water, we are MCA. And it is this ebb and flow, this mixing and sharing, that makes MCA a vital faith community.

June Miller began the Menno Minutes column in the Communiqué. Last week we began a new series of short articles, Our Stories. Both are vehicles for reversing the flow. Both have potential for sharing what you have to say with others in MCA.

As I’ve often said in the past three months, a favourite question of mine (thanks to a former spiritual director) is “How have you seen God working today?” Pastors, congregational leaders, administrators and others — don’t wait for me to ask you to write a Menno Minute, volunteer. Don’t wait for Community Building to ask for a story from your congregation, contact them. Menno Minutes and Our Stories happen every day, we just need to keep our eyes open for them. And, at a time when we are all looking for hope, faith, love, encouragement, if you see some, please share.