Both the board of faith and life (BFL) and the executive board met in Saskatoon Oct. 14–15 and Oct. 17–18, respectively, bookending the 2009 study conference.
The BFL reported they will conduct a review of programs falling under the Regenerate 21-01 umbrella later in 2010. The review will explore adjustments needed to align programs more closely with the theological identity of Mennonite Brethren. The plan is expected to address new programs first, existing ones later. The board envisions all conference staff participating in the assessment.
In addition to reviewing the Regenerate 21-01 mission, the BFL discussed measures to uphold the vision for identity, such as encouraging training and continued development of pastors within the evangelical-Anabaptist framework.
In a similar vein, the measures committee, a sub-committee of the executive board created to monitor and assess the effectiveness of Regenerate 21-01, presented a five-point strategy to track adherence to the conference mission and vision.
Regarding the MCC New Wine/New Wineskins process results, both boards strongly affirmed Mennonite Central Committee’s purpose to serve “in the name of Christ” as well as their new identity statement: “MCC is a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches.” However, they expressed concerns, including the prioritization of overseas interfaith partnerships, and a need for more clarity in personnel policies which require upper-level leaders to demonstrate an active and committed Christian faith.
In addition, there is apprehension that justice and peace-building activities of MCC increasingly promote engagement in the political arena, involvement historically avoided by Anabaptists. Also addressed was the need for continued work on role descriptions and reporting pathways within the new structure.
The BFL gave final approval of a job description for a theological director to staff the strategic service “upholding biblical and ethical integrity.” However, the executive board continues to examine the implications of the director’s authority level, and has not yet signed off on the position.
During their meeting, the BFL convened with the newly formed BFL of the U.S. MB conference to discuss the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), drafted upon the dissolution of the General Conference in 2002. The board leaders talked about revising the protocols for making modifications to the North American Confession of Faith.
The governance committee of the executive board reported that the Charter revision is still in process at Parliament. The General Operating Bylaws approved in 2006 will require further amendments to reflect key adjustments in our new governance structure. Delegates will be given 90 days to consider the documents, and approve the changes at the July Gathering 2010 in B.C.
After considerable deliberation, the executive board approved the proposal that the MBBS Fresno campus become a satellite school of Fuller Theological Seminary, pending USMB, MBBS, and Fuller board final approvals. A task force will evaluate how MBBS-ACTS and the Winnipeg Centre for Ministry Studies meet Canadian MB requirements for seminary education.
CFO John Wiebe presented a positive quarterly financial report to the executive board. Church giving has increased over last year and Stewardship Ministries is working to match expenditures with income.
Finally, the executive board expressed a desire for a regular summit between national and provincial lead staff. This will provide time for dialogue, and will “enhance and complement the ways we serve our churches,” says executive director David Wiebe.
The boards will next convene January 22–23 (BFL) and January 29–30 (executive board) in Winnipeg.
—Canadian Conference of MB Churches release