Emmaus Mennonite Church Publicly Imagines Peace

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Southwest Booster (used by permission) - A peaceful reminder will greet motorists along Highway #4 near Wymark after the unveiling of a billboard by the congregation of Emmaus Mennonite Church.
Imagine Peace It Is Possible

This past Sunday, members of the congregation gathered at the site of the newly installed billboard with the message “imagine peace it IS possible.”

The Genisis of the idea dates back to 2008 when Ray and Sylvia Friesen along with Marvin and Louise Wiens attended the Mennonite Church of Canada Assembly in Winnipeg. The assembly featured a number of messages of peace, sharing peace in the world, and how the church can make a difference for peace.

“We began dreaming, imagining, should we do something as a local congregation over and above just saying something? Doing something tangible that would send a message to our community that our church stood for promoting the message of peace within our community, within our schools, within our families, throughout the world,” Marvin Wiens said. “It’s not just peace in Afghanistan we’re talking about. It’s no bullying in the Wymark School. It’s families getting along, loving one another. It’s everyday life. Peace starts one person at a time.”

They continued to pursue the idea, working with the landowners Jim and Donna Anderson, the Municipality, the Hamlet of Wymark, plus the Highways Department to make the billboard a reality.

“We wanted to declare it to everybody that drives by,” Pastor Ray Friesen said. “We wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t sort of hit people in the face who might disagree with us on questions of war, but would in some positive way encourage people to think and, well, as the sign says, imagine what’s possible in our world.”

The public message also encourages individuals seeing the sign to back up the message of peace with actions.

“We’ve now staked our reputation, so it becomes an inspiration to us. How do we live in our relationships, because peace is as small as me and my neighbour, or me and my wife , or me and my kids. And it’s as large as Canada and the Taliban. Iraq and the U.S,” Pastor Friesen said.

“As we go by everyday it will remind us that we really need to do what we can to promote love and peace among our community and our neighbours and our families. And it seems like such a simple thing, and yet it’s such a difficult thing in our world. You look at all the unhappiness and hatred and things that are happening, and it’s one person at a time that can make a difference,” Wiens added.