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Mennonite Church Canada on track with plans
Winnipeg, Man. Mennonite Church Canada is on track with plans presented for delegate approval at last years annual assembly in Abbotsford.
Referring to the flurry of appointment announcements in the paper over the last months General Secretary Dan Nighswander suggests that "it may have looked different to Canadian Mennonite readers, but in fact we have not hired more staff than projected at Abbotsford 2001." Proposals at Abbotsford 2001 projected staff numbers at fifty-nine (not all full-time), while the current staff complement is forty-nine.
As anticipated, said Nighswander, " we have more bodies than we have full-time positions," noting the fact that there are currently forty-nine staff but twenty-four full-time staff and twenty-five part-time staff (including one interim position). At this time last year, Mennonite Church Canada had thirty-two staff. In addition, there are two half-time positions that are not yet filled (Peace and Justice Director, and Resource Development Director for Eastern Canada), and an additional four half-time positions in Mission Partnership and Education. Long-term dreams call for a half-time position for the Young Adult Ministries office and a half-time executive director of National Ministries.
The revised full complement of staff is currently projected to be fifty-five people. This compares with some sixty-five staff Canada supported under the former bi-national structures.
On the mission worker side, Witness Executive Secretary Jack Suderman reports that reorganizing the formerly bi-national mission worker roster (formerly shared by the Commission on Overseas Mission, Mennonite Board of Missions, Commission on Home Ministries, and Mennonite Church Canada) has been a complex and sometimes confusing task.
"There are so many categories of workers," said Suderman. "There are those for whom we are primarily responsible as MC Canada, those we share in partnership with other Mennonite mission agencies, those who are Mission Associates, and those to whom we direct only financial support. When we add them all up, MC Canada is directly supporting 124 international mission workers in forty-two countries. Fifty-four of these are home agency workers, assigned to MC Canada Witness." Mission Associates, clarifies Suderman, are workers who wish to maintain close ties with the Mennonite constituency but whose primary ministry is through another agency.
70 of the 124 workers are supported through partnership with Mennonite Mission Network (the mission agency of Mennonite Church USA). In addition, MC Canada contributes financially to the ministry of twelve local partners in a variety of countries.
Walter Franz, director of Native Ministries, hastened to add that " in addition to international workers, we also support thirteen native ministry workers."
Then there are Christian Service Ministries. Director Shirley Redekop notes there are six voluntary service units in five provinces with nineteen volunteers to administer. Twelve Canadians serve in US-based voluntary service.
All of this activity amounts to a grand total of 207 workers (including staff) actively engaged in mission at home and abroad. That, said Nighswander, is something to thank God for.
"I thank God for agile and adaptable mission workers and staff. The numbers can change fairly quickly, depending on where help is needed, when mission workers change assignments, or when new mission workers are appointed. I am especially grateful for a country-wide church so willing to assume this significant spiritual and financial responsibility. I have great hope when I look at the big picture and see so many people so fully engaged in Gods mission in the world," Nighswander said.
Mennonite Church Canada Staffing at a glance
What's happening in International Ministries
International Ministries partners with 12 other mission agencies
What's happening in Native Ministries
What's happening in Christian Service Ministries