“MCC is an arm of the church; it is not a parachurch organization,” said binational chair Herman Bontrager at Mennonite Central Committee’s binational annual general meeting, June 10–11. The executive directors met with MCC delegates, board members, and staff from Canada and the U.S. in Abbotsford, B.C.
New Wine, New Wineskins
The meeting addressed some of the issues related to the implementation of the New Wineskins (NWS) strategy, a three-year process nearing its end. The restructuring will see MCC binational replaced by MCC US and MCC Canada. Linking the two bodies will be Joint Ministry Council comprised of representatives from MCC Canada, MCC US, and Mennonite World Conference.
To complete this process, bylaws for MCC Canada and US will need approval at the binational meeting this fall. MCC binational will cease to exist after Apr. 1, 2012, its functions and responsibilities transferred to the two country-based MCCs. Some staff positions will be terminated.
Covenants for relationships
The boards are drafting covenants to unite the various iterations of MCC. A “Covenant for the MCCs in the U.S.” sets out the relationship between the four regional MCCs and MCC US. A second (draft) covenant sets out the relationship between MCC Canada and MCC US, to ensure cooperation and avoid duplication with international work. Both covenants were approved in principle, with staff to work on details. A Canadian covenant to reflect changes resulting from the Wineskins process is in process.
Arli Klassen, executive director of MCC, noted strong denominational involvement in MCC in both countries. However, MCC has a weakness in how it relates to congregations, Borntrager said, and pled for retaining a high regard for diversity, focusing on compassion rather than professionalism, and concentrating more on deeds than on words.
The listening committee said MCC, at age 90, needs to move forward. “The train has left the station and we’re not sure of its destination,” said Waldo Neufeld. In his closing prayer, 96-year old Siegfried Bartel prayed “that the constituency stay with us.”