Engaging with the C&MA family at General Assembly 2018 in Calgary

Engaging with the C&MA family at General Assembly 2018 in Calgary

The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada’s biennial General Assembly — held at Calgary’s First Alliance Church June 5–9, 2018 — was an opportunity for Ambrose University to connect with almost 1,000 members of the C&MA family from across the country.

“It was a great experience and another touch point for Ambrose,” says Marva Goertzen from the Alumni and Parent Engagement Office. “We were able to connect with many alumni, continue to build our relationships with them, and encourage them to stay engaged with the university.

“Several alumni had also been to one of our All Roads Lead Home events, and many of them stopped by to say hello.”

Ambrose had a high profile throughout the week, from providing the lanyards to all delegates to taking part in several different activities.

Greeting attendees at the Ambrose booth

Draws, giveaways, smiling faces and more drew many people to the Ambrose booth, which featured a different theme every day. “Many faculty, staff and alumni were involved,” Goertzen says. “We were able to connect with different churches, and also showcase many Ambrose initiatives, like the Flourishing Congregations Institute and the Canadian Poverty Institute.”

Communicating scripture creatively

Val Lieske, Associate Director of Ambrose’s Acting program, wrote, directed and performed — with alumni Johanna Giebler and Chelsea Friesen — two short drama pieces intended to get people talking and thinking. One was a light portrayal of what it looks like to give 100 per cent of yourself to something (by showing what might happen when you don’t do that in a marriage or job), and the other was a scripture reading broken into three voices. “They went over very well and we had lots of positive feedback,” Lieske says of expanding the use of arts beyond music. “It was a way to share the messages creatively, and also, I hope, to get people to look at ways they can communicate the scripture more creatively in their own churches.” (Lieske offers additional thoughts on incorporating the arts more widely into worship in the Fall issue of Ambrose’s Anthem magazine.)

Offering cool, sweet treat

Nothing can put a smile on more people’s faces than ice cream, and the Ice Cream Social sponsored by Ambrose was well received by attendees at the end of a long business day. “We started by showing our Ambrose Alliance Alumni video, which got people laughing and cheering,” Goertzen says. “Then everyone went outside for ice cream, and came back inside to continue with business.

Inspiring at the Power Team dinner

President Gordon T. Smith and Marva Goertzen both spoke about the importance of staying engaged. While Smith shared words of encouragement with retired Alliance workers as they enter the next phases of ministry life, Goertzen encouraged alumni to stay in touch. “A great thing about being an alum is you never retire,” she says with a laugh. “You can always be involved and engaged with Ambrose by getting in touch with the Alumni Office.

That message wasn’t lost on Goertzen herself, who is arguably an “alumna” of the Assembly itself. “This was my first time going as an Ambrose delegate and being there with the school,” she notes. “I was a preacher’s kid and started attending Assembly when I was six years old. It was nice to see everyone I went with a long time ago, and to see all of us continuing our involvement with our own denominations.”