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Executive board grapples with critical issues

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Conference unity, our MB identity, and seminary education were several critical issues  the executive board of the Canadian MB conference addressed at their April 17-18 meetings in Winnipeg.

The issue of unity emerged from concerns raised by one of the conference churches about the denomination’s theological direction. After considerable discussion, the board agreed to continue the informal dialogue already begun with the congregation’s leaders, and then assess the matter further.

Concerning identity, the board had asked executive director David Wiebe at its January meeting to articulate in the strategic plan a clearer sense of “who we are” (the “being” alongside the “doing” of our identity). The board discussed and accepted the addition of “virtues” or conviction statements as part of the document’s mission, vision, and values.

The MB Biblical Seminary has initiated a task force to address “what is the face of seminary in Canada.” MBBS chair Jack Falk posed a series of questions for the executive board as a “straw poll,” and received strong affirmation that “we value MB-distinctive graduate theological education.” The board appointed Herb Suderman to serve as its representative on the task force.

In its governance role, the board received reports from executive conference staff and took several steps to ensure more accountability to the constituency.

The Regenerate 21-01 program initiatives are going well, said David Wiebe. He further presented a first draft of the Key Cities/Communities Initiative (KCI) evaluation. The board appointed two members to review and complete the evaluation. Results will be released at Gathering 2010, to show how learnings from KCI are being applied to Regenerate 21-01.

The board also appointed a “measures committee” to develop appropriate measuring tools of effectiveness – in both qualitative and quantitative aspects – for Regenerate 21-01 and other conference programs.

Chief financial officer John Wiebe reported to the board that the overall financial picture is stable, with revenues keeping pace with expenses. Two notable cost overruns were reported. The blending of Christian Press and conference payrolls resulted in a one-time additional tax ruling by the government, he said, and Kindred Productions experienced significant losses in the third quarter. Changes have been implemented to address this shortfall.

“It was a good meeting,” David Wiebe reported. “We could really ‘dig in’ as a board and the meeting felt balanced. We did planning and governance and grappled with
some significant issues.”

—Canadian MB Conference release

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