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30 more delegates required to meet quorum: Charlotte 2005

   
 


At Assembly 2004 in Winkler, Man., 596 people gathered to worship, discern, and play. Of those who registered, 401 claimed delegate status.

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May 10, 2005

Winnipeg, Man. — Registration numbers for the joint MC USA /MC Canada Assembly at Charlotte NC suggest that congregations may have transferred loyalties and taken on ownership of Mennonite Church Canada faster than leaders might have anticipated.

The decision to meet jointly with Mennonite Church USA was a “part of the deal” made in St. Louis at the last joint assembly of Canadian and American delegates at the joint General Conference, Mennonite Church and Conference of Mennonites in Canada. At that meeting delegates agreed to separate into two national church bodies that would meet together every four years. The original plan was to host Mennonite Church USA in Canada in 2003.

Since the 1999 decision new realities have re-shaped the plans. For example, planners learned that Canadian meeting facilities capable of handling 10,000 Mennonites cost considerably more in July (Canada’s high tourist season) than comparable meeting places in the American South for the same date – their low tourist season.

The response to the 1999 decision thus far seems to be manifesting itself in significantly reduced MC Canada registration numbers for Charlotte 2005: as of May 10, a total of 284 adults were registered – 196 of them as delegates. Bylaws state that 226 delegates are required to meet quorum. Since 2000, Canadian assemblies have averaged 582 total registrants (417 delegates).

While there is a plan to adjust proceedings if quorum is not met, leaders remain hopeful that another 30 delegates will register by the time the assembly starts on July 4. Pam Peters-Pries, lead assembly planner for Mennonite Church Canada, says, “A few very early reports of unavailable lodging may have dampened response. However, our MC USA planning partners have assured us that there will be sufficient lodging made available for all who come.”

Leaders are encouraging congregations who have not yet registered their delegates to do so soon. “The issues we will be discussing this year are very important to our identity and ministry” said Dan Nighswander, general secretary. “We need to hear the voices of the church in order to discern where God is leading us and how we will participate in God’s work.


Sidebar: Need lodging in Charlotte?

Special arrangements for additional accommodation have been made at the Omni Hotel ($79 USD/night) 2 ½ blocks away from the Charlotte Convention Centre. To reserve a room:

  1. Register for the assembly at www.mennonitechurch.ca/events/charlotte/. If you are already registered, you can skip this step.
  2. Contact Karen Peters (1-866-888-6785 or kpeters@mennonitechurch.ca) and provide your:
    1. Home contact information
    2. Travel plans (flight number, etc.)
    3. Registration confirmation number for the assembly
    4. Credit card number for hotel booking
    5. You will be contacted by MC Canada with a hotel confirmation number that allows you to check in.

Sidebar: Top 10 Reasons to attend Charlotte 2005:

  1. Celebrate God’s activity in the church.
  2. Expect worship times to inspire you and your walk with God.
  3. Participate in shaping the national and international ministries of the Canadian church.
  4. Get a glimpse of the wider church through the lenses of our church family south of the border.
  5. Hear inspiring speakers: Michelle Hershberger (Hesston College), Nelson Kraybill (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary), Peter Stucky (Colombia), Barbara Green (founder, Philadelphia Mennonite High School), Ray Aldred (Swan River Cree Nation, Alberta), Bishop L.W. III and Pastor Natalie Francisco (Bishop, Virginia Mennonite Conference).
  6. Study the Bible: Jesus’ Peace Theology; Come Gather ’Round; “Can’t Keep Quiet,” Acts 4:20; Reading the Bible from a Missional Perspective.
  7. Engage in topical seminars. Here are a few picks out of the over 50 seminar topics available:
    1. Between God and Caesar: Taxes and the Christian Conscience
    2. Cultivating a Culture of Call in the Congregation
    3. Faith and Culture
    4. Growing the Church Naturally
    5. Healthy Leadership Teams in the Congregation
    6. Witnessing to Muslims in a Post 9-11 World
    7. Standing With the Persecuted Church
    8. The Missional Journey in Mennonite Church Canada: What Can We Say?
  8. Enjoy concerts, coffee houses, and comedy (House of Doc, Thirstborne, Ted & Lee, and more)
  9. Play at the Thursday afternoon family festival
  10. Select the best options from programs for all ages.

Visit www.mennonitechurch.ca/events/charlotte/ for more details.