Greetings Assembly delegates and partners in ministry,
This past year has felt like a rugged cross country road trip. The terrain has been marked by bumps, curves, potholes, inclines, and descents, all exacerbated by the pandemic. Although the destination has remained in focus what has lurked around the next corner has been unsettling and at times even unnerving. These are uncharted times to give leadership.
Gratefully, when we look in the rear-view mirror, we see indisputable traces of God’s amazing presence and guidance. He has been at the wheel for every twist guaranteeing a thrilling ride.
If I were to highlight a few key moments this past year, I would probably note some of the following: I recall a board meeting last summer where we discovered our Working Genius and began to consider how we might lean into those gifts. I reflect on the tireless efforts of our governance team who have sought to position our conference for health and success. I recall the days of PCO – Pastor Credentialing Orientation – where we had 30+ leaders interacting and learning together, including three Indigenous leaders. I think of several ‘wellness’ seminars we offered to support and build our pastors. I’m reminded of the support both prayerful and financial from our churches. I reflect on a most moving ‘celebration of life’ when we said farewell to one of our colleagues – Greg Allen. I marvel at the addition of a new Ministry Director – Ryan Jantzi – adding a new level of depth and energy to our team. I’m amazed by countless stories of God’s activities in and through our churches- es.
At the same time, the ride has often been difficult. There have been more than a few conflicts simmering and bubbling to the surface. Those moments have been great opportunities to listen, learn and grow. One experience shared nationally was the painful discovery of residential school graveyards. We have been ‘listening and lamenting’ with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and continue to seek pathways forward together. We gathered online for Equip 2021 and were encouraged to resist the tendency to fall prey to the ‘enemy-making machine.’ We have read books like: ‘A Church called TOV’ and determined to press into being that type of a witness in our world. In humility, we admit that we can and must do better, as we increase our self-awareness and embrace the Spirit’s purifying of our hearts and actions.
As we look ahead, we are thrilled to again be meeting face to face. We will attempt to incorporate the lessons learnt during this pandemic season as we focus our attention and hearts on the Road Ahead – the mission that has been set out before us. We will enrich and develop four robust teams to serve our churches better: The Faith & Life Team, A Missional Expression Team, A Leadership Development Team, and An Organizational Health Team. Additionally, we will re-engage our strategic plan that was put on hold during the pandemic. For the fall we are dreaming of a Pastors Retreat to pour into our leaders.
We are so grateful that we can be on this journey together. God’s spirit at work among us emboldens us for what lies around the next curves on this trip of a lifetime.