The board of faith and life (BFL) gathered in Winnipeg Jan. 22–23 for their thrice-yearly meetings. “When questions and theological challenges arise, BFL works through these on the church’s behalf – they ensure the church has a voice,” says Lorraine Dick, board chair.
In the wake of the Christology study conference, the board moved to draft a statement on atonement. The statement, when completed, will be presented to the conference for ratification, then added to the commentary on the Confession of Faith. In addition, the BFL processed written feedback from participants at the 2009 study conference, many of whom requested more room in the schedule for discussion.
In the future, the BFL plans to send out articles and facilitate discussions in advance of the biennial study conferences, to enhance the level of dialogue at the conference and increase the potential of ending with an action plan or statement, which can be affirmed by the membership at the following summer’s Gathering.
The next study conference will be held in Ontario in October 2011.
The BFL is drafting a protocol for church closures to guide moderators and local church leadership through a step-by-step procedure. They are also developing a theological assessment tool to measure the alignment of programs to the Confession of Faith.
With the establishment of a U.S. BFL in 2009, the board is working toward updating the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and the U.S.
A highlight of the meetings was a conversation with Don Peters, Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s executive director. MCC’s new mission statement is more explicit about the beliefs that shape the organization as a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches, and has helped strengthen the board’s relationship to MCC Canada.
The BFL welcomed two new members: the new Ontario conference minister, Richard Martens, and member-at-large Brent Hudson, pastor at River of Life Church, Riverview, N.B.
There are “divergent voices” on the board, says Dick; at the beginning, “we’re not always talking on the same page,” she says, but over the course of discussion, “we come to consensus.”
—Canadian conference release