The theme for the gathering is “At the Crossroads: Promise and Peril” and the text for the event comes from Deuteronomy 4:1-9. Participants will focus on the task of being a faithful community of God amidst the many challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
“The book of Deuteronomy is especially suited for use in such a summit,” says Jack Suderman, general secretary of MC Canada. “It is directed at God’s people as they move into the land God has allowed them to possess, where they face important questions like why does God work through peoplehood even when that people is not deserving? What does covenant mean and how does that inform our questions of faithfulness? What are the temptations of God’s people in the land in which they live? Where do God’s people find security as they live in the land and are tempted by wealth, power and ownership?”
Mennonite Church USA identified similar questions at its convention in San Jose, Ca. when it passed a resolution calling for “resources that help us live faithfully in Christlike ways, sometimes at odds with our national culture, acknowledging that no culture is either completely redeemed or completely fallen.”
Ron Byler, associate executive director of Mennonite Church USA says, “We will be looking to further our work in response to our delegates with this upcoming event. For me, an important part of our theme is what it means to live as a contrast community.”
Plenary worship speakers are Tom and Christine Sine of Seattle, Wash., April Yamasaki of Abbotsford, B.C., and Tom Yoder-Neufeld of Waterloo, Ont. A variety of workshops and activities and time for visiting and recreation will round out the event.
The People’s Summit was announced in July 2007 at the Mennonite Church USA biennial convention in San Jose, Calif., and the MC Canada annual delegate assembly in Abbotsford, B.C. The two denominations last met together at a joint convention in Charlotte, N.C., in 2005 where delegates strongly supported continuing to meet together.
The gathering will begin the evening of July 8 and continue through the evening of July 10. Attendees are invited to make a vacation of the People’s Summit and visit Manitoba attractions such as the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Whiteshell Provincial Park and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.