A shared sense of encouragement prevailed among members of the board of faith and life (BFL) of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches at their meeting Jan. 25–26 in Abbotsford, B.C.
The BFL affirmed that it will act upon the executive board’s request to review the denomination’s confession of faith. Board chair Brian Cooper said the 2011 study conference brought attention to the confession, indicating that a review would be appropriate. Cooper said the review would be a general one, and not focused on any particular issue.
“We are open to the possibility of revision if necessary,” he said, “and we will do some research into what changes might be helpful.” He added that the board does not want to see a piecemeal review, but feels that a systematic study, done periodically but infrequently, is good practice. Cooper said the review is “not about changing what we believe. But we want to ensure our confession expresses as well as it can what Scripture is
Another issue raised at the study conference – the makeup of the board of faith and life itself – will also see action this year. As the BFL replaces departing members, it will focus on ensuring its membership increasingly reflects the ethnic and gender diversity of the Canadian MB constituency. The board tasked Cooper and vice-chair Terrance Froese to develop a list of qualifications for board members in order to assist in drafting a roster of recommended candidates in time for the next board meeting, scheduled adjacent to the biennial Gathering in July.
The BFL set up a committee to organize the 2013 study conference, but deferred a decision on its topic. Cooper said feedback from the 2011 event was positive. Delegates praised the increased role of Bible study, greater opportunity for dialogue, and expertise of Mennonite Brethren presenters. The board hopes for a similar result in 2013. “The 2011 conference reminds us that we have a real treasure trove of quality people in our midst,” said Cooper.
The January meeting marked the first opportunity for the board of faith and life and the executive board to work more closely together, acting on a decision made last autumn. Members of the two boards met both informally and in structured discussion. “There was a real sense that this is something our people want to continue to do so we can transform Canada with the good news of Jesus Christ,” said Cooper. “It’s something both groups need.”