There’s nothing like talk of peace to stir up conflict. Fifty-seven pastors and conference leaders heard presentations on Mennonite Brethren history, the church, and pastoral ethics at the Pastors Credentialing Orientation (PCO) at MBBS-ACTS in Langley, B.C., June 8–11. But it was Doug Heidebrecht’s second session on the Confession of Faith, dealing with article 13, “love and nonresistance,” that awoke lively discussion in the sleepiest time-slot of the day.
Every spring, the Canadian Conference of MB Churches and the board of faith and life (BFL) host PCO to orient new pastors to the conference. Attended by executive director David Wiebe, church ministries director Ewald Unruh, Leadership Development staff person Cam Priebe, and members of the national BFL, the event also allows new pastors to mingle with conference leadership.
Heidebrecht, director of the Centre for MB Studies in Winnipeg, presented on the core convictions of the Mennonite Brethren, then surveyed changing resolutions on and interpretations of the peace position for Mennonite Brethren. Questions and remarks flew about the practical outworkings of this theology. An MB Mission and Service International worker highlighted how a peaceful witness for Christ opens doors for sharing faith in restricted access countries.
At the closing session, pastors expressed thanks to presenters and conference staff for their thorough teaching and humble example. “I’ve felt like a fish out of water in the MB church,” said one new pastor; “after this week, I feel more in the water.”