Saturday Morning Decision Making Session
Gathering 2014 ended with a time of discussion, discerning and deciding together.
Board of Faith and Life (BFL)
- BFL member Ingrid Reichard said there’s been good response to a survey about the Confession of Faith sent to pastors, with 140 responses currently received and more expected. Initial results indicate 85% of pastors affirm the Confession of Faith, and approximately 90% use it as a tool in ministry. Based on the results they’ve received, the BFL does not anticipate a need to entirely re-write the confession.
- The BFL said a long-overdue French translation of the Confession of Faith is currently in the works.
- The finance committee acknowledged its need to communicate more details about CCMBC Legacy Investments Inc. (a separate entity for managing investments and mortgages), but “we can’t say a lot more at this point because of the legal nature of this recommendation. The creation of this entity was driven by our desire to improve our compliance to the law, reduce risk and streamline governance.”
- In response to a question raised during the earlier breakout session regarding CCMBC staffing costs, finance committee chair Harold Froese said that the number of conference staff has remained consistent at approximately 58 people for 2–3 years. “We don’t see it as staffing costs,” said Froese. “We say it’s a staffing investment in the kingdom.”
- “We just heard some compelling stories from the International Community of Mennonite Brethren (ICOMB), and they’re working from a tight budget. I wonder about the wisdom of decreasing our support to ICOMB [from the 2015 budget]. That’s something we need to wrestle with.”
– J Janzen, Highland Community Church, Abbotsford
- In response to J Janzen, Harold Froese commented: “[The budgeted amount for ICOMB] in no way signals a reduction in support. What we’re trying to do is allow other countries to step up to the plate. We don’t want to be seen to be directly or indirectly running ICOMB. But if there was a great need, we wouldn’t walk away.”
- “I understand there are unknown/unexpected expenses [during a time of financial transition]. But if we’re in a deficit position [with our current budget], that concerns me.”
– Bruce Guenther, Bakerview MB, Abbotsford
- In response to Bruce Guenther, Harold Froese said, “Sustainability is always in the background of our thinking. [Our new investment entity CCMBC Legacy Investments Inc.] may generate more or less revenue. We just don’t know about the level of profitability it will have. At this point, the investment side has grown faster than the demand for mortgages. But, as we heard, God is leading us to the heart of the city, which leads to higher costs – higher ‘investments.’ There are many unknowns.”
- Delegates passed the motion to approve the 2015 budget by an overwhelming majority.
- Parliamentarian Reg Toews thanked the board and conference presenters for their humble attitude. “And thank you delegates for your questions and your tone. It says a lot about what God is doing in us.”