This year’s annual general meeting (during the study conference in Edmonton) began with an update on the Canadian conference’s national ministry review by executive director Willy Reimer, including a brief mention of the executive board’s “sandbox document” that will provide “common language and a common touchstone for our work across the country.” [See “Executive board finds a sandbox at the beach”]
But the main event was the budget, presented by Manitoba moderator Harold Froese. “I’m pretty excited about the story behind the budget we’re about to present,” he said, alluding to the church planting C2C Network and the burgeoning ministry of the Resourcing Churches & Developing Leaders department. [See “Changes in leadership development department”]
Froese also said there was significant collaboration with provinces and other ministry partners in creating the overall budget. Ed Willms, Ontario executive director, spoke “a word of gratitude” from the floor for the financial support CCMBC is providing while the provincial conference goes through “a rebuilding phase.”
$ The board reduced the amount of deposit fund interest that will flow into the national operating budget (which was slowly creeping above 50 percent of the overall budget), lowering the amount to $2.1 million in 2014 from $3.4 million in 2013.
$ In response to the income reduction, CCMBC’s operating budget was reduced by $449,000, impacting agency/partnership support, the executive budget, and the communications budget.
$ The board forecasts a 5–6 percent increase in church and individual support in the coming year. “It’s normal that donations lag in a time of transition,” said Froese, so the modest projection is an indication of hope for the future. “It’s the opposite of how we’ve been trending in past years.”
$ Froese reported that the stewardship review (done in conjunction with independent financial consultants) is progressing well. Froese said the board is now working with Canadian regulatory bodies on compliance issues. In order to meet the costs associated with these compliance activities, the conference has decided to sell several investment properties (worth approximately $9 million) in the coming year. Froese assured delegates that these compliance issues were “ordinary” and not an indication of any unethical activities – they’re simply a reflection of the fact that regulations have become more stringent in recent years.
$ Although conference support for MBBS ($200,000) seemed disproportionately low to some delegates, Froese said the amount represents 25–26 percent of the seminary’s total annual budget. “Their needs may change in the future,” he added, “so it’s something to talk about.”