Mission and Philosophy

Mission

Menno Simons Christian School strives to assist students to integrate Christian faith with their experience and with their living. Our school provides a sound academic curriculum taught and modeled by Christian professionals, in a setting where students are nurtured as they learn, question and form life values. Together with the family and the church, Menno Simons Christian School offers an education for life, preparing students for effective participation in the community through Christian discipleship, service and peacemaking.

Educational Philosophy

The overall goal of the Mennonite Educational Society of Calgary is to operate an alternative program in a manner, which is consistent with the guidelines laid down by Palliser Regional Schools, and is in accordance with the teachings of the Anabaptist Mennonite tradition.

Our purpose is to provide a positive Christian environment in which children receive sound academic instruction. Our task as teachers and parents is to present, teach and model the Christian faith, and to invite our students to respond to the call of God and to a living Christian faith.

The following are the foundations for the Christian education alternative, which exists at Menno Simons Christian School. We will integrate faith with sound academics and life experience, provide guiding moral and spiritual development through the modeling of Christian teachers, nurture life values together with the family and the church, and educate for lives of Christian service and discipleship in our global communities.

At our school students can form wholesome friendships with other students as well as meaningful relationships with their teachers. Our program seeks to integrate faith into all areas of life so that students are better equipped to demonstrate Christian commitment in a needy world. The Biblical message determines not only our approach to academic program and curriculum, but also to our methods of instruction, administration and discipline.

Our purpose is to offer an excellent and well-rounded school program which will meet the varying needs of students in a rapidly changing world, and which involves the parents and the church community in the process.

Commitment

What commitment does MSCS make to students?

  • we will create a healthy and caring school climate characterized by respect, care and welcome
  • we will teach effectively and evaluate in orderly classes
  • we will give opportunities for students to participate responsibly in school to strengthen their capacity to lead and collaborate with others
  • we will show genuine interest in students and recognize their individual differences and worth
  • we will model a Christian walk for them and nurture their search for and formation of life values

Expectations

What does MSCS expect of students?

  • to demonstrate high standards of academic and personal effort and achievement
  • to be serious about their learning and to give their best effort
  • to be responsible for participating actively in school and class (coming to class prepared, completing all work, abiding by the dress code)

Who are we at MSCS?

  • MSCS is based on the Anabaptist philosophy and teaching that believes that students need to be nurtured in their faith, ask questions in an open environment, form their own faith within a Christian community, be challenged to have their beliefs demonstrated in actions that build God’s kingdom and learn to see their learning and their living as connected

MSCS is a school that emphasizes:

  • community, service, peacemaking, the centrality of Christ at the core
  • educating the whole child with both classroom and extra-curricular programs as integral
  • valuing, caring for and challenging each child to be their best and pushing students towards quality learning and living
  • operating in partnership with the church and the home and together building a sense of community
  • creating cross-grade experiences so that students learn to form relationships and care with other children and adults across age groups
  • rejecting the use of violence in solving conflicts
  • involving students in service projects in school and in the community
  • creating a joyful, creative and productive learning community
  • committing teachers to a journey of improvement, innovation, creativity and assessment
  • creating rich and varied learning experiences to meet diverse classroom needs
  • using technology as a learning tool
  • exceeding outcomes from the Alberta Learning Curriculum
  • setting a climate of trust and respect

Statement of Faith

Our school's mission and vision statements are grounded in the following affirmations:

• GOD is the creator and sustainer of all that exists. God has given us freedom and responsibility for our own choices as well as the special task of being stewards of the created order. God's loving nature invites us to commit our lives to Him.

• JESUS CHRIST is God's only Son, who lived, died, and rose from the dead in order that people could live in loving relationship with God. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness for people's sins as well as the gift of a more satisfying life today and the promise of living forever with God. Jesus' life is our example and His teachings are to be followed and obeyed in our own experience.

• The BIBLE is our witness of God's revelation to us. The Bible gives us a true account of God's interaction with people in history and acts as a guide to faith and discipleship for the church. God's Holy Spirit uses the written Word to give life to the church and to help people to grow in faith.

• The CHURCH is the body of Christ on earth. The church as a community of faith seeks to be a visible alternative in our world by calling people to new relationships with God, and to love and serve each other. The church rejects the use of violence, including warfare, as a means of solving conflict. The church grows in faith, unity, service and witness when it is a caring and loving community empowered by prayer.

• The JOURNEY OF FAITH is a life-long process involving the total person. Our words and actions of faith and hope, as well as our honest seeking, lead us to reconciling relationships with God and with each other.

• CHRISTIAN EDUCATION is a way of being with and relating to children and young people so that, through opportunities for social, academic and spiritual growth, they are encouraged to accept themselves as persons of worth and purpose. The call of Christian education is toward wholesome living in the family, church and community, through lives of obedience to the way of Jesus Christ.

Confession of Faith

Here is the article summary statement of our school's Confession of Faith

1. We believe that God exists and is pleased with all who draw near by faith. We worship the one holy and loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally. God has created all things visible and invisible, has brought salvation and new life to humanity through Jesus Christ, and continues to sustain the church and all things until the end of the age.

2. We believe in Jesus Christ , the Word of God become flesh. He is the Savior of the world, who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and reconciled us to God by his death on a cross. He was declared to be Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. He is the head of the church, the exalted Lord, the Lamb who was slain, coming again to reign with God in glory.

3. We believe in the Holy Spirit , the eternal Spirit of God, who dwelled in Jesus Christ, who empowers the church, who is the source of our life in Christ, and who is poured out on those who believe as the guarantee of redemption.

4. We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation and training in righteousness. We accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for Christian faith and life. Led by the Holy Spirit in the church, we interpret Scripture in harmony with Jesus Christ.

5. We believe that God has created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and that God preserves and renews what has been made. All creation has its source outside itself and belongs to the Creator. The world has been created good because God is good and provides all that is needed for life.

6. We believe that God has created human beings in the divine image. God formed them from the dust of the earth and gave them a special dignity among all the works of creation. Human beings have been made for relationship with God, to live in peace with each other, and to take care of the rest of creation.

7. We confess that, beginning with Adam and Eve, humanity has disobeyed God, given way to the tempter, and chosen to sin . All have fallen short of the Creator's intent, marred the image of God in which they were created, disrupted order in the world, and limited their love for others. Because of sin, humanity has been given over to the enslaving powers of evil and death.

8. We believe that, through Jesus Christ, God offers salvation from sin and a new way of life. We receive God's salvation when we repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In Christ, we are reconciled with God and brought into the reconciling community. We place our faith in God that, by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, we may be saved from sin to follow Christ and to know the fullness of salvation.

9. We believe that the church is the assembly of those who have accepted God's offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the new community of disciples sent into the world to proclaim the reign of God and to provide a foretaste of the church's glorious hope. It is the new society established and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

10. We believe that the mission of the church is to proclaim and to be a sign of the kingdom of God. Christ has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things he has commanded.

11. We believe that the baptism of believers with water is a sign of their cleansing from sin. Baptism is also a pledge before the church of their covenant with God to walk in the way of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believers are baptized into Christ and his body by the Spirit, water, and blood.

12. We believe that the Lord's Supper is a sign by which the church thankfully remembers the new covenant which Jesus established by his death. In this communion meal, the church renews its covenant with God and with each other and participates in the life and death of Jesus Christ, until he comes.

13. We believe that in washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus calls us to serve one another in love as he did. Thus we acknowledge our frequent need of cleansing, renew our willingness to let go of pride and worldly power, and offer our lives in humble service and sacrificial love.

14. We practice discipline in the church as a sign of God's offer of transforming grace. Discipline is intended to liberate erring brothers and sisters from sin, and to restore them to a right relationship with God and to fellowship in the church. The practice of discipline gives integrity to the church's witness in the world.

15. We believe that ministry is a continuation of the work of Christ, who gives gifts through the Holy Spirit to all believers and empowers them for service in the church and in the world. We also believe that God calls particular persons in the church to specific leadership ministries and offices. All who minister are accountable to God and to the community of faith.

16. We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is one body with many members, ordered in such a way that, through the one Spirit, believers may be built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

17. We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to discipleship , to take up our cross and follow him. Through the gift of God's saving grace, we are empowered to be disciples of Jesus, filled with his Spirit, following his teachings and his path through suffering to new life. As we are faithful to his way, we become conformed to Christ and separated from the evil in the world.

18. We believe that to be a disciple of Jesus is to know life in the Spirit . As the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes shape in us, we grow in the image of Christ and in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is active in individual and in communal worship, leading us deeper into the experience of God.

19. We believe that God intends human life to begin in families and to be blessed through families. Even more, God desires all people to become part of the church, God's family. As single and married members of the church family give and receive nurture and healing, families can grow toward the wholeness that God intends. We are called to chastity and to loving faithfulness in marriage.

20. We commit ourselves to tell the truth , to give a simple yes or no, and to avoid the swearing of oaths.

21. We believe that everything belongs to God, who calls the church to live in faithful stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us, and to participate now in the rest and justice which God has promised.

22. We believe that peace is the will of God. God created the world in peace, and God's peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who is our peace and the peace of the whole world. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing nonresistance, even in the face of violence and warfare.

23. We believe that the church is God's holy nation, called to give full allegiance to Christ its head and to witness to every nation, government, and society about God's saving love.

24. We place our hope in the reign of God and its fulfillment in the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will gather his church, which is already living under the reign of God. We await God's final victory, the end of this present age of struggle, the resurrection of the dead, and a new heaven and a new earth. There the people of God will reign with Christ in justice, righteousness, and peace for ever and ever.

School History

Education has historically been a high priority for Mennonite people: they have consistently sought ways to link literacy and faith. Since the days of Menno Simons, a Reformation leader to whom they trace their name, Mennonites have believed it essential to have a literate community whose members could read and understand the teachings of Scripture. Through almost five centuries of Mennonite history, education has been an integral part of the life of the family, the church, and the community at large.

Scripture study and learning, faith and literacy, have flourished when the family, the church and the school were closely bound.  In the years following the upheaval of World War II, the public school system in Alberta — as the rest of Canada — came under increasing pressure to be neutral with respect to faith and to certain moral teachings of the home and church. Restricting the teaching of faith and morals to the home and to the church, thus excluding it from the school, undermined the Mennonite understanding of Christian community.

In 1980, when the Friesen Family Foundation from Winnipeg proposed that a Mennonite elementary school be established in Calgary, interested parties from several Mennonite churches responded to the challenge. The Foundation offered money on the condition that matching funds be raised within the Calgary Mennonite community. The Mennonite Educational Society was formed in 1981 for the purpose of operating a private day school providing instruction from Kindergarten to Grade Nine.

Menno Simons Christian School opened its doors in September 1983, with fifty-six students and five teachers. Since then, our school has moved several times, grown in student numbers and significantly expanded its program. In the summer of 1997, we purchased our own land and building in northwest Calgary. Our school quickly out grew the building and once again plans were made to move — this time permanently. We purchased land in Springbank Hill and built our dream, a 38,000 sq. ft, state of the art facility. Classes began on September 4, 2001, following 128 days of construction. We are thankful to God for providing for us in the past and trust Him to guide us into the future.

In January of 2006 our school approached Palliser Regional schools to begin exploring a partnership whereby Menno Simons would become an Alternative Program within the jurisdiction. We were looking for an arrangement whereby our core values and philosophy could remain the same while at the same time receiving the benefits of being in a larger system. In the spring of 2006, the Mennonite Educational Society voted unanimously to make this partnership official.

This educational venture has depended on the continued support of a community committed to passing to the next generation a living tradition of literacy imbued with faith. The volunteer efforts of many, their wisdom and experience, their interest and joyful involvement, have brought together the family, the church, and the school to provide excellent comprehensive educational experiences for many students.

We believe that our school is providing a needed educational alternative for young people in our city and we look forward to the future with confidence.

What makes an Alternative School?

Menno Simons Christian School is a public school with an alternative program in the Palliser Regional School Division. Our school has been able to maintain our identity as a Christian School, teaching from an Anabaptist Mennonite perspective. The alternative program represents the Christian Education teachings that all of our students and members of our community receive.