2022 National Assembly

Moderator's Report

When our Lord shared his parting words with His disciples, He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NIV. The Holy Spirit has come and “we are now continuing be His witnesses” around the globe.

Our mission is expressed as follows: To cultivate a community and culture of healthy disciple-making churches and ministries, faithfully joining Jesus in his mission.”

Our primary work as National is to serve as facilitator of our joint work, as monitor of our progress, as encourager of one another, and as steward of our theological unity and clarity.

Our agencies also provide direct support for our provinces and churches – Legacy through its financial services, MB Seminary through it educational and equipping events, Multiply through its expertise and connections in mission work, CCMBC national staff through their communication and events work, and the Historical Commission through it records, research, and publications work.

 

Progress on Collaborative Model

Several years ago, our churches, provinces, and ministries worked to focus our efforts in four areas which now form the key goals for our Collaborative Unified Strategic Plan (CUSP):

  • Spiritual Health and Theology,
  • Leadership Development,
  • Mission, and
  • Organizational Health.

Over the past several years, we have pursued the development of a collaborative model in which we agree and partner together in order to accomplish more together than we can alone.

Together we have crafted Bylaws, created new Teams (National Ministry Team consisting of senior leaders from all Provinces, and National Ministry Agencies; National Faith and Life Team), and developed new venues in which we shape plans together (National Council consisting of Board reps from all Provinces and National Ministry agencies, as well as National Townhalls in which any church members have opportunity to speak into plans and policies).

Our National Assemblies continue to be the place in which we make “big decisions together,” but now include Board members reps from our National Agencies (Legacy, Multiply, and MB Seminary) as delegates to the National Assembly.

This year, we bring several Agreements to you for approval:

  • Canadian SPA – The SPA represents our goals and commitments among our conferences and partner agencies to jointly pursue implementing our CUSP goals.
  • Two revised MOUs articulating our general working relationship between ourselves and two of our Partner Agencies: Legacy, and MB Seminary. Two additional ones remain to be redone: Multiply, and Historical Commission, which we intend to have ready for June 2023.

 

Partner Ministries

Our National Ministry agencies, Legacy, MB Seminary, and Multiply have each gone through major challenges over the past several years.

  • Legacy has largely moved through a good transition, and we appreciate the leadership that Jason Krueger (President) is bringing to the ministry. Legacy has its own reports and we will see their Financial Statements and Audit Reports; they are doing well.
  • MB Seminary has weathered significant financial difficulties in the past several years and now looks forward to a balanced budget. Your Executive Board annually reviews the MBS Financial Statements and Audit.
  • Multiply has gone through a major review led by USMB and CCMBC and is now led by a new Board of Directors and soon to be led by a new General Director. We look forward to a joint working group from USMB, CCMBC, and Multiply to implement the major recommendations for change arising from the Review as well as update the major documents guiding Multiply (Bylaws and MOU).

Partnerships

On your behalf, we continue to uphold memberships and participation in a number of organizations:

  • Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC),
  • Canadian Council of Anabaptist Leaders (CCAL),
  • International Council of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB),
  • Mennonite World Conference (MWC), and
  • Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

Over the past year, leaders of USMB and CCMBC have worked through concerns around our working relationship around Multiply and have reaffirmed our partnership. We are also committing to strengthen our care and partnership for one another. We have reinitiated invitations for representatives from our respective conferences to be guests at our National Conventions. We hope to see that occur for this upcoming National Assembly.

Finances

We first wish to express our thanks to the churches and conferences for continuing to support our joint national cooperation and ministries, and we are thankful that we have ended the 2021 fiscal year with a surplus. We have used that surplus to continue reducing the amount due to Legacy stemming from the separation of CCMBC and Legacy in 2020. We also wish to express our thanks to Legacy for several significant donations toward reducing the amount due.

Several years ago, the Executive Board tabled Our Financial Story and Keeping our Promises, explaining how we had gotten into financial troubles, along with a series of promises. Here are a few updates:

  • We are pleased to tell you that our agencies are continuing to operate in compliance with our regulatory requirements.
  • Major financial policies and investment policy statements have been approved and implemented. A comprehensive Policies & Procedures manual was approved June 28, 2021
  • We publish regular financial updates on our website. In fact, we will have a brand new Website in place by the time of our National Assembly.
  • We have implemented the use of National Councils and National Townhalls for people to informed and given voice in the shaping of our plans.
  • Our conference and related agencies are operating “within our means.”
  • Progress is being made on disposing of investment properties. Significant interest from multiple parties has recently been shown in the largest property.
  • We have a commitment to establish a Reserve fund of 5% once our debts are fully repaid.

Staff Appreciation

We express our deep appreciation to our staff who work very hard to help us pursue our mission and goals. So, our thanks to Elton DaSilva our National Director, Ken Esau, our Interim Director of National Faith and Life, Bertha Dyck, our CFO, Carson Samson, Director of Operations and Communications, Kara Friesen, Executive Assistant, and Holly Hannigan, Communications.

Ingrid Reichard has been on medical leave from her role as Director of the NFLT since March 2021 and is still recovering. Special thanks to Ken Esau for stepping into an interim director role.Please continue to pray for Ingrid’s continuing recovery.

A special note that Bertha will be retiring this October following 32 years of service; we thank your and wish you well Bertha!

Board Thanks

We greatly appreciate the care and expertise of many Board and Committee members who serve us all as stewards and trustees.

Thanks to outgoing EB members:

  • Karen Grace, Pankratz MAL
  • Kerry Dyck, MAL
  • Ruth Schellenberg, MBCM Moderator’s Rep
  • Karen West, ONMB Moderator’s Rep
  • Rob Dyck, MB Seminary Rep

We are now part of an international MB Family consisting of about 22 national conferences, over 2500 churches and almost 500,000 people involved. Multiply is involved in 70 countries. A number of our churches and hundreds of our “family members” are in war-torn or mega-stressed countries – let’s not forget them!

A New Era

The past two years have been challenging in some many ways – from health concerns around COVID, to conflicts stemming from measures to dealing with COVID, as well as the economic and mental health challenges stemming from restrictions.

Alongside, we have found new ways to keep in touch with one another, new ways to share ministry (eg. Online), and new ways to meet (eg. Zoom). Hard times have helped us become inventive; now we need to keep being creative and committed. We anticipate continuing to make our events and resources accessible and affordable through the use of online or hybrid media.

We have much work to do, and we look forward to tackling it together!!

For the Executive Board

Ron Penner

Moderator

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