- by Terry Smith
Conference council delegates on Nov. 27, 2015, approved a budget with a 2.8 percent decrease, opted to maintain home delivery for The Messenger along with further analysis, considered “member care” for mission workers, and received a summary of EMC’s results in the Global Anabaptist Profile project.
Moderator Abe Bergen welcomed delegates. Andy Woolworth, pastor of Heartland Community Church, focused on John 18:1, where Jesus travelled into the Kidron Valley, a garbage dump with a stream that carried the blood of sacrificial animals that Jesus would soon replace. As we follow Jesus, he will lead us beyond our comfort zone, into difficulties, and ultimately a place of rest, Woolworth said.
The General Board is looking at how to reimagine our conventions, with a committee making recommendations. The board will now meet four times a year and the executive as needed.
With the loss of the government grant for The Messenger, three plans were proposed: to maintain home delivery (preferred by the BCM); to save up to $4,600 by changing paper stocks and ink; or to shift to bulk mailing to churches, which might increase readers and connections, but save little. Council decided to continue home delivery for now, that analysis to be done of how churches use the magazine, and proposals be presented at July’s conference council.
Board of Missions vice chair Alvira Friesen said “member care” of missionaries is being strengthened to equip and empower workers for sustained ministry. A survey found that workers need to have a safe place, apart from the administrative team, to be heard. Ken Zacharias, foreign secretary, said we should be encouraged about what our missionaries are doing.
After 12 years Ron Penner is stepping down as EMC representative to Mennonite World Conference. Layton Friesen will serve as our EMC representative, the moderator said.
Don Peters, executive secretary for MCC Canada, said that $34 million has been spent on the refugee crisis and there is “no end in sight.” Assistance is needed for people where they are; MCC staff members are also working hard to assist resettlements. He reminded delegates that MCC is involved in 45 other countries.
Delegates discussed the proposed 2016 budget. One delegate said that a budget is a statement of what we think of as important. The budget of $2,061,000 was passed (down $59,000 from 2015).
Ward Parkinson, conference pastor, said the Statement of Faith review team is distilling responses and identifying where study is needed. He encouraged prayer for churches going through struggles.
Moderator Abe Bergen, said the MWC’s Global Anabaptist Project is to provide information to guide the church in its mission and priorities. The results are not an official theological position, but could lead to study. The survey topics reflect MWC’s seven Shared Convictions. The EMC was one of four conferences in North America surveyed, and the results are available to churches.Tweet