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CCMBC and USMB statement on the Multiply review

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Updated November 17, 2020

Greetings MB Churches,

In keeping with our commitment to update our constituencies on the developments related to Multiply and after communicating with the Multiply Executive Lead Team, Global Lead Team and Multiply global staff, the following is the latest information for your reflection and prayer. As previously communicated, both the USMB and CCMBC conferences have appointed new board members to represent each national Conference’s ownership in Multiply.

The Canadian appointed representatives are Chris Stevens (ON), Bill Seinen (BC), Wendi Thiessen (MB), and Maryanne Berge (SK). David MacLean (BC) is also a Canadian representative but appointed by the previous Multiply Board. The U.S. appointed representatives are Yvette Jones (CA), Aaron Halvorsen (KS), Vivian Wheeler (WA), and Fred Leonard (CA). Additionally, Ed Boschman, current ICOMB Treasurer, will be the ICOMB representative to the Multiply Board, and Don Morris (USMB) and Elton DaSilva (CCMB) represent the National Directors of the owner conferences.

At its first board meeting, November 9 – 10, 2020, the Multiply Board chose to operate with a co-chair system with each chair representing USMB and CCMBC, respectively. On day one, the board was orientated on Multiply’s current structure, including governance, finance, and current areas of work. On day two, the board formed committees and spent most of the day wrestling with the 18 recommendations submitted previously by the Multiply Review Task Force. In addition, elected Multiply Board officers which will comprise the Multiply Board Executive Committee are David MacLean (co-chair), Fred Leonard (co-chair), Wendi Thiessen (chair of FAC) and Aaron Halvorsen (secretary).

On day two, a motion was passed to accept and implement all 18 recommendations, including the recommendation to transition Randy Friesen out of the role of President of Multiply. The board chairs communicated this decision to Randy, which Randy graciously accepted and responded with the following,

“After processing the Multiply review task force recommendations and your decision to transition to a new leader, I am supportive of your discernment. My prayers are with the board as they lead us into the next season of fruitful ministry together.”

There is an extraordinary meeting scheduled for December 1, 2020, to create a transition process that is both honoring to Randy and beneficial for Multiply as an organization.

USMB and CCMBC wish to express our sincere gratitude for the many years Randy has served as President of Multiply.

With the Multiply board’s permission and after communicating with Multiply staff, we are releasing the 18 recommendations from the Task Force Review. They are as follows.

Board

1) That the role of the Board Chair be redefined to include qualifications of a person capable of leading a complex organization.
2) That a new Board Chair be appointed who has the qualifications and time to lead the Board of a complex organization.
3) That the composition of the Board be carefully discerned to ensure that members understand their governance responsibilities and have both the capacity and experience to exercise them. That the Board consist of a blend of experienced/ successful business leaders, veteran missionaries, invested pastors, those with financial acumen—all strongly committed. With the number of positions currently open, that the opportunity provided by term transitions be used to work at this Board reformation so that continuity and new skillsets can be balanced.
4) That the Board implement a Board Executive Committee to help lead the Board and provide regular and timely Board connection/continuity/accountability with the President.
5) That the Board seek professional development coaching.
6) That the accountability measures and acknowledgment to the CCMBC and USMB conferences be reviewed and strengthened. That there be regular (e.g., quarterly) agreed-upon reporting, structured for each Conference.

Leadership

7) That the Multiply President/CEO job description be re-worked to include expertise in organizational leadership, team health, and stakeholder relationships.
8) That Randy Friesen be released as President of Multiply and a new President be sought as the ​next s​tep in transition. (The current board would like to add this note that we appreciate Randy’s investment in Multiply over his term and are committed to a transition that cares for Randy and Marjorie and the future health of the Mission)

Governance

9) That there be a review of the executive limitations of the Multiply Board, clarifying what items must be ratified by the Owners (currently not in Bylaws)
10) That there be strengthened regular reporting and accountability to the Owners – ie. Quarterly reports designed for each Conference.
11) That the Board member nomination process be reviewed and clarified – the role of the national bodies in the nomination process and that of the Board Governance Manual appear to be in conflict. A defined Nominating Committee needs to be determined.
12) That Board member term limits be considered (currently not in By-laws)
13) That an ICOMB representative be officially included as an ex-officio member of the Board in order to ensure international voices are available pertaining to decisions made on behalf of global ventures.

Culture

14) Close attention being paid to the concerns of owners, team members, and constituency.
15) Balanced, honest disclosure in its communications.
16) Attention to the bias impacts of having its headquarters in one region.
17) Doing regular cost and risk analysis around decisions.

Senior-Level Leadership Culture (prior to demerger)

18) Inviting challenge and critique rather than seeking to intimidate into compliance.

The Multiply board has agreed to keep its owner conferences updated with quarterly reports. Please remain in prayer for Multiply, our global workers, and its supporting staff as we enter a season of transition.

In humility,

Elton DaSilva (CCMBC National Director)

Don Morris (USMB National Director)

October 7, 2020

For over 100 years, the Mennonite Brethren Church in North America has been obedient to the call of reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus. We are a part of a rich history of dedicated women and men who, forsaking everything else, have spread the gospel of peace across the globe. Multiply serves as the mission arm of the U.S. and Canadian MB Churches and has been the primary mechanism for our global mission endeavors.

In the last two years, Multiply has experienced turbulent waters. The merger and the consequent demerger with C2C Network have become a painful and confusing chapter in this historic ministry’s life. Subsequently, a task force review team was formed at the request of the Multiply board, and appointed by the Executive Boards of both U.S. MB Conference (USMB) and Canadian Conference of MB Churches (CCMBC). This task force, composed of four members from Canada and four members from the U.S., engaged the service of Dr. John Radford (Transpectives Consulting Inc.). Dr. Radford’s role was to conduct an in-depth analysis of Multiply’s culture, board functionality, and senior leadership. Informed by Dr. Radford’s report, the Multiply Review Task Force made 17 relevant recommendations. These recommendations include, but are not limited to:

  • changes in governance (to allow for greater input from the constituency)
  • changes in board composition
  • changes in qualification for board chair (determined skill sets)
  • changes to senior leadership style
  • changes as it relates to culture

The Executive Boards of both USMB and CCMBC have received and affirmed these recommendations and have instructed the Multiply Board to work toward implementation. At its last meeting, the Multiply Board has confirmed its affirmation of the recommendations presented to them. The U.S. and Canadian conferences are grateful for the passionate work that the current Multiply Board members have undertaken during difficult times.

As the first step towards fully implementing the Multiply Review Task Force’s recommendations, the U.S. and Canadian boards will be immediately appointing new Multiply board members to replace outgoing board members who have finished their term or have resigned. This new board will work with present senior leadership to facilitate further changes recommended by the task force.

Multiply’s President, Randy Friesen, has shared the following response:

“We have welcomed the outside review and believe the Lord is using it to make us healthier and more effective as a mission. I am thankful for the dedication and care shown by each member of the outgoing Multiply board. We are committed to working with our new board in implementing the recommendations and partnering with our conferences for God’s glory.” 

Both the U.S. and Canadian MB Conferences are committed to the continuation of global mission for the purpose of reaching people with the gospel and seeing more people come to know Jesus. The ultimate goal is to see Multiply increase its capacity for this mission, both locally and abroad. We ask that you remain in prayer, bringing all things before God so that His perfect will be accomplished in all of us.

In humility,

Elton DaSilva (CCMBC National Director)

Don Morris (USMB National Director)

For media inquiries please contact us at  communications@mbchurches.ca.

6 comments

6 comments

Janessa Nayler-Giesbrecht October 7, 2020 - 12:08

Where can we access all 17 recommendations?

Reply
Carson Samson October 7, 2020 - 14:10

Janessa – We couldn’t release all 17 recommendations at this time. The Multiply board will be evaluating and discussing them soon, we hope to release more information following that.

Reply
Terry Sawatsky October 8, 2020 - 06:56

Appreciate the release of information. Given one of the objectives of the report is a focus on connections within the constituency, would it not be helpful to release the full report as soon as possible? As it stands, we have been told there are recommendations but they will be discussed by the Multiply Board before the general public for this report sees the actual report. If the Multiply Board had a broad range of input, would that not be beneficial to their discussion?

Reply
Carson Samson October 9, 2020 - 15:14

We are grateful for and encouraged by the many responses we have received from concerned readers of CCMBC and USMB’s statement on the Multiply review. Understandably, these responses include requests for access to all 17 task force recommendations. Unfortunately, we cannot release this information at this time for the following reasons:

1. The new Multiply Board has not yet had the opportunity to review all recommendations.
2. Some recommendations are of human resource in nature; releasing them to the public would violate privacy legislation.

We intend to release more information on how the Multiply Board processes the review in the weeks ahead.

Reply
Janessa Nayler-Giesbrecht October 15, 2020 - 18:02

Thanks for the update and the explanation. I appreciate knowing the reasons why and that we can expect further information in the future. All the best. J

Reply
Carson Samson October 16, 2020 - 09:52

You’re welcome.

Reply

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