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30 more delegates required to meet quorum: Charlotte 2005
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:
Sidebar: Top 10 Reasons to attend Charlotte 2005:
Visit www.mennonitechurch.ca/events/charlotte/ for more details.