Transitions August 2015
The 110-year-old Mennonite Brethren congregation in Herbert, Sask., changed its name in 2015 from Herbert MB Church to Grace Community Church. The members are motivated for the name to reflect “a family of love and caring.” On July 2, 2015, the congregation welcomed Lyndon Epp as pastor. He has a BA in Christian ministry from Briercrest College, Caronport, Sask., and previously served 4 years as youth pastor at Rosenort (Man.) Fellowship Chapel. Lyndon and Candace have 2 children.
MBBS Canada welcomes Keith Reed as associate director of extended learning effective Sept. 1, 2015. In this new role, Keith will facilitate the development and delivery of non-formal, life-long learning resources and training opportunities. MBBS believes these capacity-building initiatives will help people to love God more deeply and serve him more effectively. Keith recently served as associate pastor at Jericho Ridge Community Church in Langley, B.C., where his primary responsibilities included discipleship, pastoral care and administration. He has a BA in communications from Trinity Western University and an MA in Christian studies from Trinity Western Seminary. Keith and Melissa and their 2 preschool-aged children live in the Langley community. Adding Keith to the team in this role will help MBBS take important steps toward reaching Canada and the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
MB Mission welcomed Doug Penner to their lead team as a resource person to global program and operations June 1, 2015. Doug comes to MB Mission with a servant heart and a strong background in strategic and operational leadership, and will be working closely with MB Mission’s regional team leaders. Originally from Westwood MB Church, Prince George, B.C., he has served as executive director of Every Nation Ministries (2003–2007), and CEO of Impact Nations (2009–2012), and in 2012 founded Vookani, a task communication app for remote project leaders. Doug and Heather have 4 children.
Cam Stuart begins as lead pastor at Sardis Community Church, Chilliwack, B.C., Sept. 1, 2015. Since the death of Sardis lead pastor Hugo Reimer in 2014, L2L transition pastor Dan Unrau served as interim pastor. Cam was pastor of adult ministries at Mountain Park Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C., for 17 years, concluding in July 2015. He has a BA from Briercrest College, Caronport, Sask., an MA from Regent College, Vancouver, and is currently pursuing a DMin with Carey Theological College, Vancouver. Cam and Michelle have 4 children.
Ray Harms-Wiebe began as preaching pastor at Willingdon Church, Burnaby, B.C., Nov. 1, 2014. Ray has an MDiv from FPU Biblical Seminary, Fresno, Cal., and has previously served with MB Mission, for 10 years as lead team member in the Abbotsford office and for 18 years on the field in Brazil before that. Ray and Judy have 3 adult daughters.
With the transition of Northside Community Church, Mission, B.C., into an off-site campus of Northview Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C., the latter has changes in their pastoral staff. Ezra Okoti, pastor of prayer and discipleship since 2010 has become campus pastor for the Mission congregation. Moving into the discipleship portfolio is Kyle Meeker, pastor of high school ministries since 2011. Kyle has a BA in world religions, University of Rochester, N.Y.; a ThM in New Testament and systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, Texas; and recently completed a DMin at Talbot School of Theology, L.A., Cal. Kyle and Rebekah have 2 children: Kaden, Karis. Ron Friesen, director of youth work at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, since 2006 and Northview youth pastor before that, returns to the church to serve in youth ministry. He has an MA in youth ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill. Ron and Nancy have 4 children.
Reid Cooke began as lead pastor at Orchard Park Bible Church, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., March 2015. He studied at Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale), Toronto; Mount Allison University and University of Waterloo. Reid served in pastoral ministry for decades, most recently at Redeemer Bible Church, Niagara Falls, Ont., and as a chaplain. He continues to serve as a chaplain and teaches periodically at Torchbearers school in Greece. Reid and Esther have 2 adult children. Pastor since 2005, Jim Evans concluded his ministry at Orchard Park in December 2014. He is pursuing other ministry opportunities.
Kevin Carrigan completes 3.5 years as pastor of young adults and worship at Culloden MB Church, Vancouver, in August 2015. Kevin and Melanie will be participating in MB Mission’s 10-month TREK program.
After 9 years at Ross Road Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C., Craig Thiessen will conclude as associate pastor of student ministries on Sept. 3, 2015. Craig’s trajectory at Ross Road began as a volunteer, followed by 2 years as an intern, then 6 years on full-time staff. He will be completing MA studies at ACTS and seeking God’s direction for future ministry.
Long-time church planter, pastor, regional director and ministry mentor, Dwayne Barkman concluded his work as regional director of the C2C Network in Saskatchewan May 31, 2015. From 2008 to 2011, Dwayne served as director of Harvest Saskatchewan (to inspire churches to multiply disciples, leaders and churches) and ReFocusing facilitator; he transitioned to the role of C2C regional director in 2012. He previously served as pastor of West Portal Church, Saskatoon, (1989-2008) where he shepherded the planting of Living Hope (2001) and Faith River (2005). Dwayne and Irma also planted Millwoods MB Church (now Sunrise Community Church), Edmonton, under the coaching of Marvin and Eunice Schmidt, in 1979.
Planted in 2000 largely by members of Waterloo (Ont.) MB Church with a vision to incarnate church in the multicultural, multi-economic Victoria Hills neighbourhood of Kitchener, Ont., The Dwelling Place officially closed in 2015. However, the outreach activities of the church – including English conversation classes, family fun events, an annual soccer summer camp and pastoral prayer and care – continue under Waterloo MB’s Barnabas Ministries, where TDP community pastor Mary Ellen Tierney now serves as director of Barnabas Ministries, Victoria Hills. A bi-monthly Sunday evening gathering (with food and discussion on the intersection of faith and life) in the Victoria Hills Community Centre was launched “to bridge people into a worshipping community,” says former TDP leader Rich Janzen.
New Hope Community Church, Calgary, held its last service Feb. 28, 2015. Officially accepted in the Alberta conference in 2003, the church was planted as part of Key Cities Initiative with Kevin Carruthers commissioned as church planter in 2001. By 2011, attendance was more than 200 and the meeting place was changed from Sundays at a school in Bridlewood to Saturday nights at Covenant Church in Millrise. In January 2015, Kevin resigned, and after processing and discussion, the congregation voted to close the church. The celebration service Feb. 28, 2015, included baptisms and the telling of faith stories extolling God’s goodness. Pastoral staff Derek Field and Steph Haskey are seeking new ministry opportunities.