Executive board meetings, Jan. 23–24, 2013
The Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC) executive board met Jan. 23–24 in Phoenix, Arizona, hearing reports from the conference’s primary ministry areas including leadership development, C2C (church planting), communications, finance, and human resources (HR).
Leadership development director Ron Toews said he’s working closely with provincial leaders, sending out surveys and hosting regional summits to determine what types of programs and resources are needed to best equip church leaders. Toews would like to see every MB pastor engage annually in some type of spiritual renewal, theological training, or leadership capacity building opportunity.
He would also like to see resources available in a variety of languages. “Surveys suggest we serve English speakers better than any other language group,” asserted Toews. “While this is perhaps understandable, it’s unacceptable. If we hope to be on unified mission among all Canadians, we must meet them in and through their language.”
New board member
The board welcomed Howie Wall of Saskatchewan as member-at-large. Wall currently serves as president of Bethany College, Hepburn, Sask. Prior to joining Bethany in 2010, Wall was director of operations and maintenance for the University of Saskatchewan. He is passionate about servant leadership, and seeks to encourage mission in the local church.
“We’re excited about the financial and strategic expertise that Howie brings to the board,” said chair Paul Loewen. “He is well-respected among our constituents and has a tremendous servant heart.” Wall and his wife Judy live in Saskatoon and are members of Forest Grove Community Church.
Financial ministries announced that the conference’s transition to a fiscal year beginning Jan. 1 is going well and that CCMBC experienced positive financial results to the end of 2012. Budgeting for 2014, which includes provincial input, will begin shortly.
A comprehensive financial review – to which the executive board earlier committed – is underway. “Considerable work has already been done and progress has been made,” said finance chair Harold Froese.
BFL and seminary reports
The board of faith and life (BFL) also reported to the executive regarding its meetings held Jan. 22–23. The BFL has appointed a subcommittee to begin a review of the Confession of Faith (COF). “There are several things we’ll be looking at,” said chair Brian Cooper, “including language that may be outdated, as well as the length of the confession. Is it too broad in scope? Do we adequately understand our core statements of faith?
“Overall, the BFL wants to see churches engage with the confession,” said Cooper. “Is it sitting on the shelf? And is it accessible to our Chinese and French-speaking congregations?”
Paul Lam, pastor of Burnaby (B.C.) Pacific Grace Church, was welcomed onto the BFL as a member-at-large. “We thank God for calling Paul to the BFL,” said Cooper. “He brings both analytical insight and intercultural awareness to our conversations. His theological outlook is both astute and irenic.”
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (MBBS) said they are looking for broader church representation on their board. MBBS’s board currently has the capacity to appoint 6 more members.
Supporting U.S. brothers and sisters
Following the executive board meetings, several participants attended a study conference hosted by the USMB board of faith and life, entitled “Kingdom citizens in a world of conflict.” The study focused on two related articles of the Confession of Faith (Articles 12 and 13, which pertain to peace and nonresistance) around which U.S. MBs do not have consensus.
“We felt it was critical to show support for our American sisters and brothers,” said Loewen. “That’s the reason we chose Phoenix, rather than a Canadian city, as the location for our January board meetings.” Loewen also noted there was a considerable cost savings by combining several events in one place.