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Serving the wider church personally/spiritually fulfilling


Working on a Mennonite Church Canada board, council, or committee has its lighter moments, as Sven Eriksson, denominationl minister can attest. But there are also moments of epiphany, says Sue Steiner, chair of the Christian Formation Council. “God’s Spirit is at work in the synergy that develops as Council members and staff share perspectives from across the country. I’m filled with holy awe each time we have a ‘broad strokes’ conversation with Sven Eriksson, our denominational minister,” she says.

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October 4, 2005
-by Dan Dyck

Winnipeg, Man. — Do you know someone or are you yourself eager to release your gifts and talents for the work of the wider church?

If so, Mennonite Church Canada’s Nominating Committee wants to hear from you. The committee is seeking persons to serve on the General Board, Christian Formation Council, Christian Witness Council and Support Services Council beginning in 2006.

While the responsibilities of leadership service are dryly spelled out in MC Canada’s bylaws (see, it’s not the tasks of getting through meeting agendas or making big-picture decisions that stick out in the minds of servants.

Dori Zerbe Cornelsen serves on the Christian Witness Council. She said, “It has been a place to see how the unity of our church works in bringing together people from across Canada, not all of whom share the same ‘faith language,’ but understanding the deep faith of everyone around the table and learning from that.”

Laura Loewen, also on the Christian Witness Council, says it is exciting to see how the work of the wider church is manifested in the pews of her church. “In the past number of years Emmanuel Mennonite has tithed their gym mortgage and given it to a church project overseas. The congregation has studied the book ‘Sharing Gifts in the Global Family of Faith’ and is now desiring to find a way in which we as a congregation can also receive the gifts from the Global Anabaptist family.”

Ed Janzen chairs the Support Services Council – the body that administers the supporting “toolbox” for the MC Canada and the wider church. He finds a discerning community among the people who serve the wider church. “This is one of the few regular opportunities we have to connect directly with the church across the country. When conflicts arise, as they have between B.C. and Ontario, God is able to use these doors to help us understand each other… Every opportunity to connect means growth. Sharing our struggles and understandings helps us to respect each other, and this is spiritual growth,” he said.

Naomi Unger is a long time, dedicated volunteer on with Mennonite Church Canada, having served in several different volunteer capacities over the years. Currently she serves on the Christian Formation Council.

“I especially appreciate the way in which combining worship and work at our meetings opens doors and windows for God's Spirit to guide our words, ideas and actions,” she said.

Sue Steiner chairs the Christian Formation Council. “I count it a sacred privilege and a calling to work with our executive secretary Dave Bergen and the rest of the Formation staff as they give attention to faith formation within Mennonite Church Canada. This is very satisfying volunteer work.”

In addition to positions on the Councils and General Board, gifted servants are also being sought to assist on the Financial Policy & Audit Committee, Program (assembly planning) Committee, Canadian Mennonite Publishing Services Board, Canadian Mennonite University Council, Mennonite Central Committee (Canada) Board, Mennonite Foundation of Canada Board, Mennonite Publishing Network Board, Christian Peacemaker Teams Board and other organizations.

Tim Wiebe-Neufeld co-pastors at First Mennonite Church (Edmonton) and serves on the Nominating Committee. He invites prayers as they meet in November and review submissions and discern persons for each vacancy.

“It's been good to see people using their gifts and contributing to the work of the broader church. I have appreciated watching the enthusiasm brought by the candidates we put forward as a nominating committee.

“I see God at work in the discernment process of our committee, and in the response of people we contact. The call to serve in a position is something people consider seriously and prayerfully,” said Wiebe-Neufeld.

Are you feeling a tug or even a call to serve the wider church? Or do you see in someone else the gifts that would strengthen the wider church? If so, the Nominating Committee wants to hear from you. They invite name submissions of persons in each area conference who have gifts of leadership for serving the national church body. Forward your suggestions to your conference representative or to by November 1:

MCBC - Clare Neufeld; (250) 768-6682;
MCA - Tim Wiebe-Neufeld; (780) 436-3431;
MC Sask - Wendy Harder; (306) 244-2442;
MCM - Ken H. Loewen; (204) 325-8239;
MCEC - Gladys Bender; (519-634-8716;