“Good things are happening in the conference,” says Ingrid Reichard, vice chair of the Board of faith and life, affirming “harmonious engagement at BFL and with the [executive] board.”
Events dominated the BFL’s October meetings.
The study conference, “God, Sex and Church: a theology of human sexuality” (Romans 12:1–2) will be held Oct. 21–23, 2015, at Westwood Community Church, Winnipeg.
A discernment team is wrapping up a study paper on the 2013 study conference and questions that arose. “It’s a bridging piece – it looks back, it looks forward,” says Reichard. Projected for release in spring 2015, the paper will serve as the first plenary in October.
Responding to feedback from the previous study conference, the board places high value on interaction and will “enhance” times of Bible study. The planning team is also sensitive to the inclusion of female perspectives.
Ordination has emerged as a “new and lively topic” for the board due to interest from a variety of congregations for reasons pragmatic (e.g., professional designation for ministry opportunities and CRA scrutiny) and theological (rite of affirmation).
“There is value in marking that moment [of being set apart for God’s ministry],” says Reichard.
“Ordination actually brings a larger community to bear on discerning giftedness,” says BFL chair Brian Cooper. By engaging a provincial body in the process, “it’s a reminder that discernment of calling takes place in a larger context than simply the congregation itself.”
The board is engaged in making adjustments to the Pastors Credentialing Orientation – “[looking at] a definition of what ‘the win’ is” for provincial conference ministers, says Reichard.
Credentialing has also been categorized into two types (ministry-portfolio-specific and general) and harmonized across the provinces to facilitate transferability.
The Confession of Faith review remains on the agenda. “I saw fairly high consensus that pastors and leaders were supportive of the Confession,” says Cooper. “We mined the preliminary data and identified areas of rub” that will be explained to constituents after BFL’s January meeting.
The BFL is also working on metrics as part of the CCMBC service model, defining key success factors. “How to quantify elements of spiritual maturity and theological integrity…isn’t as daunting as it sounds,” says Cooper. “What the BFL does is actually fairly concrete.”
Updated Dec. 16, 2014: link added.