June 8, 2019, MB Seminary announced a financial gift of $250,000 per year for two years that enables a reversal of personnel cuts previously indicated.
“We are pleased that both Bruce Guenther and Pierre Gilbert have agreed to rejoin our faculty team,” said MB Seminary president Mark Wessner and board chair Ron Penner, in a release to constituents. “In addition, we expect to be able to balance the 2020/21 seminary budget.”
On April 3, the MB Seminary board announced it would terminate the positions filled by Bruce Guenther and Eugene Klassen and cease funding for Pierre Gilbert’s secondment to the seminary. This was an attempt to ensure sustainability in response to four years of declining financial support and deficits financed by drawing on reserves.
“This decision led to deep sadness and pain for those who love the people, ministries, and mission of our seminary,” said Wessner and Penner. “However, especially during times of uncertainty, God still moves, often in unexpected ways.”
“As a CCMBC executive board, we are committed to support and work with Mark Wessner and our MB Seminary board in its role as a catalyst and tremendous resource to assist the local church in multiplying healthy leaders and disciple-making churches, locally, nationally and globally,” says Bruce Enns, moderator of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
“MB Seminary plays an important role in that vision, especially as it relates to our Anabaptist convictions. This ministry is a cornerstone of our conference and of particular importance to the executive board and the collaborative model that we are developing together,” says Enns.
“The group of donors who made this money available to the seminary want to see it used to rejuvenate the seminary as a centre of Anabaptist studies and leadership development for the Canadian MB family,” says Dan Unrau, transitional pastor and spokesperson for the donor advocacy group.
“This project-based funding is intended to renewed emphasis on a denominational seminary that values conversations within and among the constituency, community hermeneutic as a mode of biblical interpretation, and theological input from our scholars,” says Unrau.
The donor group raised this money “to help support a seminary and Canadian conference that would lean in on those three principles.”
There is still great need for increased ongoing financial support for the seminary from across the country, says Wessner. “We look forward to continuing to work with our MB family to provide ministry leadership education and training in the years to come.”