Board of faith and life report, fall 2014


“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.”

—Karla Braun

Find the latest information on study conference 2015 here.

Updated Dec. 16, 2014: link added.

5 Comments on “Board of faith and life report, fall 2014

  1. Alongside of a female perspective at “God, Sex, and the Church,” would it be interesting/just to hear a gay perspective as well?

    • Michael, what exactly do you mean by a gay perspective? Are you talking about hearing from someone who is gay, or is advocating on behalf of gays who feel marginalized, or for the legitimacy of same sex practice? Perhaps something else?

  2. Michael Krause can certainly answer for himself, what he means by gay perspective, but when I read in the report of the need for more female perspectives (plural) on the matter of sexuality, I’m assuming this means we need to have more women speaking into this topic. Whatever diverse perspectives, knowledge,understandings, impacts they might bring to the conversation, just as male perspectives may vary. So I would second Mr.Krause’s suggestion, if in fact he means we need to hear gay persons speaking to LGBTQ matters as they pertain to the church. Brian Cooper, you seem to suggest gay perspective implies a certain position. Rather, I would hope we would allow the multi-faceted perspectives (plural) of gay Christians into our conversation, to rid us especially of the notion that this is about “us” and “them”, or is about an “issue” and not real people.

    • In echoing Dora’s comments, I would love to hear of any or all of the types of perspectives you’ve described, Brian. I feel that the first step in de-marginalizizing a community is to actually simply hear their perspectives and to ask lots of questions. I believe that it will be much more difficult to move forward very meaningfully, from a pastoral perspective, without that.

  3. I’m very late to this discussion but I echo the call for a gay perspective being fairly heard. I believe we specifically need to hear from someone like Matthew Vines who offers a reading of the Scriptures that- on the one hand challenges the status quo- and on the other hand is gaining huge traction in our churches. As long as we have to resort to restating the pro-gay Christian arguments- we lose by default. We will not escape the charge that we are creating straw men we can easily knock down. I think much of evangelical leadership doesn’t realize how unconvincing their case sounds outside the ever shrinking group of those who have already made up their minds in favour of the traditional stance- including those in their churches. I believe we need to rebuild our Biblical grounding in this very complex debate.

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