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MC Canada VS program may continue

   

April 7, 2003
-by Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man.— New funding will buy time for MC Canada’s Christian Service Ministry as it prepares to wind down operations in Canada.

And even though preparations are being made to wind up the program, a simultaneous effort will be launched to look into other alternatives for recreating and sustaining the program over the long term.

The new money was confirmed only after announcements to close the program had already been made. The funding, totaling $46,000 CDN, comes in the form of a Mennonite Voluntary Service designated bequest from an American donor, and a contribution from Mennonite Mission Network (Elkhart). The prospect of available money was brought forward by Network staff.

The funding will allow Brad Reimer to remain on staff until January 31, 2004. He has been charged with ongoing administrative support of the Mennonite Voluntary Service and Service Adventure in Canada (other short term service opportunities such as Youth Venture and Group Venture will be dropped).

The new money will allow existing units (Hamilton, Winnipeg, Lethbridge, Montreal) to continue receiving centrally coordinated administrative support (travel, medical, and VISA issues) until Jan 31, 2004. Units in Riverton and Edmonton are currently vacant. New applicants will continue to be accepted although their administrative support will end on January 31-04 unless alternatives are found in the interim.

New units planned to open in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary have been informed and will be discerning their plans in the near future. The Calgary unit had not planned to open before January 31, 2004.

Reimer will work closely with Network staff on revising administrative policy and prepare and lead a plan to sustain voluntary service possibilities in Canada over the long term. Anyone with ideas or counsel on how to sustain a voluntary service program over the long term is invited to contact Brad Reimer (1-888-885-2565; breimer@mennonitechurch.ca).

“The (original) short deadline didn’t allow for proper closure. With this funding, we are hoping to give the VS program a better transition,” said Jack Suderman, executive secretary for MC Canada Witness.

“We felt it was important to try and give it a little more time.”