The conference convened 29 October 1959, at Rosthern for its first annual delegate session and applied for incorporation in December 1960. It was preceded by the Ministers and Deacons Conference, which met annually from 1934, and the Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization (SMYO), formed in 1940. The purpose was to link congregations to the Conference of Mennonites in Canada, General Conference Mennonite Church, and Mennonite Central Committee, and to provide a base for a broad spectrum of programs, both existing and new developments. At its sessions reports are heard from the conference pastor; Rosthern and Herbert Nursing Homes; Rosthern Youth Farm; Shekinah, Elim, and Rosthern camps; Saskatchewan Mennonite Youth Organization; hospital chaplaincy; corrections chaplaincy; Person-to-Person (prison ministry); mediation services (offender-victim reconciliation); Asian Ministries Outreach Services (Chinese, Vietnamese, and Laotian outreach); radio ("Wings of the Evening"); music library; education workshops; family ministries; church planting outreach; Rosthern Junior College; and Swift Current Bible Institute.
Since 1959 notable changes have come. The language of worship services has changed from predominantly German to almost exclusively English. Pastoral leadership by men in a non-salaried, lay ministry of multiple preachers and a single bishop, or elder, has been replaced with salaried professional clergy, including women. Some congregations have paid pastoral teams. Highly trained professional lay people contribute significantly in all areas. A strong emphasis on mission and song festivals shifted and waned, but efforts have been made to revive these areas. An annual Bible conference has been added. Emphasis has shifted to community involvement and dealing with issues prevalent in society: family relationships, conflict resolution, health-care needs of an aging population, and problems of youth.
In 2001 the Conference of Mennonites of Saskatchewan changed its name to Mennonite Church Saskatchewan in recognition of the transformation of the Mennonite Church and General Conference Mennonite Church into Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada (formerly Conference of Mennonites in Canada). Instead of relating to a bi-national and national denominational structure, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan now was affiliated only with a national body. At that time (2001) the conference included 39 congregations with a total membership of 4,547.
In 2009 the conference included 32 congregations with a total membership of 3,485. In 2010 the following congregations were members of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan:
CMC Directory 1998. Winnipeg: Conference of Mennonites in Canada, 1998: 89.
Conference of Mennonites of Saskatchewan, Yearbook containing minutes, church directory, conference organization, for the 28th annual session, Feb. 27-28, 1987.
Funk, Henry. "Reflections," a paper given at the 25th annual session of the Conference of Mennonites of Saskatchewan at Rosthern, Sask., Feb. 24, 1984 (7 pp. typescript).
Handbook of Information 1988, (1988): 109-110.
Mennonite Directory 2001. Scottdale, Pa. : Faith & Life Resources, 2001: 28-31.
Reimer, Margaret Loewen. One Quilt, Many Pieces. Waterloo, Ont.: Mennonite Publishing Service, 1983: 51.
|Date Published||July 2013|
Cite This Article
Patkau, Esther. "Mennonite Church Saskatchewan." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2013. Web. 2 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Church_Saskatchewan&oldid=115190.
Patkau, Esther. (July 2013). Mennonite Church Saskatchewan. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Mennonite_Church_Saskatchewan&oldid=115190.
Herald Press website.
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