Mennonite Educational Society

The Mennonite Educational Society of Calgary was formed in 1981 for the purpose of operating a private day school from Kindergarten to Grade Nine, providing a positive Christian environment in which children receive sound academic instruction. The mandate of the Society is to provide policy, leadership and guidance with regards to MSCS’s Statement of Faith, Mission and Philosophy.

In the spring of 2006, the Mennonite Educational Society voted unanimously to join with Palliser Regional Schools as part of the Province of Alberta’s Alternative Schools Program.

Structure of the Society Executive

The Society Executive is made up of membership from the Mennonite Educational Society of Calgary and consists of fourteen members. Nine are elected from within Society membership; three are appointed by current supporting Mennonite churches; the Principal and one staff representative complete the Board. Elected members hold position for three-year terms and meet on a monthly basis during the school year.

Any person, eighteen years of over, who is in agreement with the Biblical faith stance and the Anabaptist Mennonite faith tradition, as expressed in our school’s Statement of Faith and is an active member of a Christian church is eligible to become a member of the Society upon payment of an annual membership fee. All school parents are strongly encouraged to become members of the Society.

Monthly Society Executive meetings are open to Society members except when confidential personnel or school family matters are being considered. An Annual General meeting is held yearly in November and is open to the general public.

Governance

Menno Simons Christian School is operated through a partnership of Palliser Regional Schools and the Mennonite Educational Society of Calgary. While the school division gives support to academic programming, student services, curriculum development and professional development, the Society Executive focuses on maintaining the Christian emphasis and programming and all aspects related to the building.

Affiliations

The Mennonite Educational Society is affiliated with Canadian Association of Mennonite Schools (CAMS).

The Canadian Association of Mennonite Schools (CAMS) offers important opportunities for dialogue and for sharing resources with other Mennonite schools from elementary to college level. CAMS sponsors an annual Administrators’ Conference, and organizes Teachers’ Conventions and Choral Festivals for students.

Funding

The Mennonite Educational Society of Calgary is registered as a charity and the school is operated on a not-for-profit basis. The funds for operating the school are derived from these sources: grants from Alberta Education, Society fees, fund-raising projects, and private donations.

Our school also benefits from the involvement of the business people in our school community. Their expertise, support, and service contributions are highly valued.

What makes a Mennonite?

The “What Makes a Mennonite” content on this page has been developed to give newcomers a general but helpful introduction to Mennonites. For more detailed and inclusive information on Mennonite beliefs and values, see Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.

Mennonites

Some people know Mennonites as “the folks who came into town and helped clean up after the flood that devastated the community.” Some picture Mennonites as rural folk who wear bonnets and travel in horse-drawn buggies. These are some views of Mennonites.

But there’s much more…

Mennonites have been around for almost 500 years. Early leaders rejected the state church’s control over peoples’ lives. Mennonite ideas and insistence on separation between church and state are equally important today, when some governments in the global community attempt to suppress the rights of individuals and non-conformist communities.

Today, you won’t recognize most Mennonites by how they dress. But you will find vibrant Mennonite congregations scattered throughout rural areas, small towns and large cities across Canada, and throughout the world.

What we believe

Mennonites believe in Jesus Christ as the One sent by God to bring reconciliation to a broken world, and believe in the Bible as the central source of inspiration for faithful living. Mennonites share essential core beliefs with Christians of Catholic and Protestant communities. We emphasize the connections between faith, words and actions.

We believe baptism should be voluntary and should be accompanied by a lifestyle that reflects the teachings of Jesus. Inside each of us there is a yearning to understand why we are here. Mennonites believe the answer lies in both believing in and following Jesus, and that peace building is an achievable way of life. Mennonites seek to live out Jesus’ teachings by being active members of church communities who live out their beliefs in the community at large.

We believe that peace and wholeness are real possibilities. It’s how God intends us to live here and now. We use the tools God has given us as we strive for wholeness through our faith in Jesus Christ. Living as peace builders when war comes is not easy because many in our society believe it is foolish to refuse to defend oneself and one’s country in the face of aggression.

Walking the talk

Mennonites have become increasingly recognized as leaders in conflict resolution–even on an international scale. Mennonites have been involved in helping differing groups or factions talk to each other in places like East Africa, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and Latin America. Mennonites were also involved in some of the early developments in victim-offender reconciliation organizations in Canada and the United States, and the promotion of restorative justice as a way of responding to criminal and antisocial behaviour. One of the biggest challenges for Mennonites is speaking out about what we’ve learned along the way. Many are calling for Mennonites to speak more boldly–to talk the walk.

For more information on our peace position and actions see the Liveforpeace.org website.

Mennonites are a global people

In North America and Europe, the majority of Mennonites have been white, rural and middle class–but that’s rapidly changing. We are increasingly multicultural; many congregations worship in languages other than English. In the global Mennonite family people from the global south (Asia, Africa, Latin America) now comprise the majority of members. In Canada, we worship in more than 15 different languages. We believe our emphasis on being a caring community is a positive response to the indifference of a powerful North American culture of consumerism, ongoing violence, and mass media messages.

Mennonites seek community

Mennonites recognize the value in organizing as a wider community of Christians connected through the support of local faith communities of fellow believers. Worshipping together and studying the Bible to hear what God is saying to the church today are very important to Mennonites. We believe the church is called to share the news of Jesus, and to offer a glimpse of what God desires for all of humanity. In community, we seek hope in place of despair, healing instead of suffering, and peace instead of conflict.

Vision: Healing & Hope

God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow as communities of grace, joy and peace so that God’s healing and hope flow through us to the world.

True evangelical faith cannot lie dormant. It clothes the naked, it feeds the hungry, it comforts the sorrowful, it shelters the destitute and it serves those who harm it. It binds up that which is wounded. It has become all things to all people. — Menno Simons, 1539

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has already been established. That foundation is Jesus Christ.
—1 Cor. 3:11

Source: Courtesy of Mennonite Church Canada ”What Makes a Mennonite”