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Missional Church Vision Travels Coast to Coast


October 26, 2001
Winnipeg, Man.—With only three months left before the February 1, 2002 deadline, the former bi-national mission agencies have been hard at work educating their constituencies about the upcoming changes. One of these efforts has been the aggressive travels of Willard Metzger, Development and Church Relations Associate for Commission on Overseas Mission (COM). This one-year assignment for Metzger, which began in January 2001, has sent him across Canada into congregations of every area conference.

"The missional church vision has really caught fire among the grassroots of Canadian Mennonites," stated Metzger, "from west to east, people are sensing the prevailing winds of renewed vision."
Metzger has taken his assignment seriously, helping to create excitement from Black Creek United Mennonite on Vancouver Island, to Petitcodiac Mennonite in Petitcodiac, New Brunswick. This represents the most western and most eastern points of Mennonite Church Canada congregations.

"I felt that in this time of developing a Canadian Mennonite missional church vision, that there was something importantly symbolic about linking the west and east with a common excitement," explained Metzger. He believes congregations across the country have been responding very positively to the presentations. As a southern Manitoba pastor wrote, "After a talk like that you just know it's a good time to be a pastor who is a part of Mennonite Church Canada."

Metzger will continue his role until January 31, 2002, when the work of COM, as well as other agencies such as Mennonite Board of Missions, Mennonite Board of Congregational Ministries, Commission on Education, Commission on Home Ministries and others, will be continued by Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA. It is important to note that these agencies will continue their international programming until that period, and will rely on the steady support of congregations and individuals.

Then, beginning February 1, 2002, that same support will be needed by Mennonite Church Canada, in order to assume responsibility for what was formerly bi-national programming.
With the increasing excitement and the deep historical commitment of Canadians to international ministry, Metzger feels that Mennonite Church Canada will be well positioned to assume its new responsibilities.

"This is an exciting year of transition," explained Metzger. "This is the year to discover anew what God can and wants to do through the faithful witness and sacrificial living of God's people."

Willard Metzger's enthusiasm for the missional church vision made him a natural candidate to travel across Canada representing COM. Metzger is currently the senior pastor at Community Mennonite Fellowship in Drayton, Ontario, and the Chair of the Mission & Service Commission of Mennonite Conference of Eastern Canada.

As the new Chair of the Christian Witness Council, Mennonite Church Canada, Metzger also has a keen interest in helping people understand the February 1, 2002 changeover, when Mennonite Church Canada becomes responsible to continue the work of COM.