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MB Herald’s top 10 news stories of 2011

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Canadian conference executive director Willy Reimer began his national ministry in March. In a unique twist, Reimer maintains a role at SunWest Christian Fellowship in Calgary, continuing to preach and provide vision for the congregation – all for the purpose of staying connected to the local church setting.

What are the implications for a small provincial conference when a key leader dies? Quebec churches, leaders, and schools (ETEM) are trying to regain their financial and emotional footing, following the loss of professor Eric Wingender in October.

ICOMB’s Global Higher Education Consultation in June wasn’t on the radar for most people, but the event brought together MB leaders and professors from around the globe to talk about how schools and churches can work more closely together. This type of event signals the growing importance of international partnerships.
César García of Bogotá, Colombia, was named general secretary of the Mennonite World Conference. The significance? It’s the first time a Mennonite Brethren has served as general secretary of this international organization – and the first time someone at the helm of MWC has hailed from the Global South.

The board of faith and life’s study conference in late October on the topic of the atonement brought greater clarity around what Jesus’ death on the cross means for Christians – and how MBs view it. The courteous tone of the meetings was encouraging.

Church planting took centre stage in 2011, with the June appointment of Gord Fleming as national church planting director. Fleming’s focus on training and mentoring will likely see more new churches succeed in coming years. He also oversees C2C, an all-Canadian church planting network, which deliberately partners with other denominations.

MBBS-Canada got a fresh start with the appointment of interim president Bruce Guenther in January. “Partnerships are an important part of our strategy. We need to have multiple delivery strategies for our training programs,” said Guenther. Watch for creative ways seminary education will be brought to Canadians over the coming months!

MBMSI got a new name – MB Mission – in early 2011. Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of this story was how little commotion the rebranding caused within the denomination.

There’s no “donor fatigue” here. Mennonite Brethren responded with generosity and compassion – often through MCC or MDS – to several natural disasters that occurred throughout the year: Japan earthquake (March), North Dakota flooding (June), and East African famine (July).

Pull out the balloons and streamers! Over the year, we celebrated several significant milestones: 75 years for Columbia Bible College; 75 years for Clearbrook MB Church; 50 years for the Quebec conference; 50 years for Willingdon Church; 50 years for Killarney Park MB Church; 75 years for Portage Avenue Church.

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