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Leadership invites counsel: future of Christian Service Ministries


September 8, 2003
-Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man.— Delegates to the Mennonite Church Canada assembly in St. Catharines in July passed a resolution (see Resolution 5 below) seeking alternatives to the cutbacks of Christian Service Ministries. The program was eliminated as a result of difficult budget decisions made last March.

Representatives of a Task Group assigned to study ways of maintaining Christian Service Ministries in MC Canada brought the resolution to the assembly.

The Christian Witness Council is working to respond to this resolution, and is seeking feedback from delegates, pastors, church leaders, and others interested in the issue. A background document and a questionnaire are available. Deadline for submissions is October 6, 2003. An online survey is now off line. To request background documents or the survey in hard copy form, contact; ph. 204-888-6781 or 1-866-888-6785.

Jack Suderman, executive secretary of Christian Witness, said, “We are taking this resolution very seriously, and we are seeking timely responses to the survey. If the future of Christian Service ministry as a program of MC Canada is important to you, then we need to hear from you now.”

A Christian Service Ministries Reference Group has been formed to help discern the future of this program and compile survey results. The Christian Witness Council will review responses and generate a report and recommendations at its October 23-25 meetings, in preparation for General Board meetings November 6-8.

Resolution 5

Be it resolved that Mennonite Church Canada reaffirm its commitment to an ethic of service and its continued participation in "across the street" ministry in Canada and to explore and implement ways of maintaining Christian service opportunities for congregationally based Christian service ministry in Canada.

Be it further resolved that each Mennonite Church Canada congregation be encouraged to pray for and support the well-being of service units in Canada, identify and respond to local community needs, and encourage congregants of all ages to a lifestyle of service and discipleship.