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Staff reassignments and New Positions at Mennonite Church Canada


Winnipeg, Man.—After much prayer, discussion and discernment, there will be a staff shuffle at the head office of the Mennonite Church Canada, effective this Fall.

Walter Franz will be reassigned from executive secretary of the Ministries Commission to director of Native Ministries. Robert J. (Jack) Suderman will move from executive secretary of the Resources Commission to executive secretary for the Ministries Commission. Dan Nighswander will move from his position as conference minister for the Leadership Commission to Mennonite Church Canada general secretary, replacing Helmut Harder. This leaves two open positions: conference minister and Resources Commission executive secretary.

Franz will fill a new position as program director for Native Ministries. This new position is the result of a comprehensive review of the Mennonite Church Canada's ministry with native people. A three-quarter time position was approved by the General Board in March. An added assignment in itinerant ministries makes this a full-time assignment for Franz.

Franz began as executive secretary for the Native Ministries Board in 1990. After the Mennonite Church Canada restructured in 1994, he became the executive secretary of the new Ministries Commission, which included international ministries, outreach and church planting, and native ministries.

Before coming to the Mennonite Church Canada offices, Franz served as a pastor of Osler (Sask.) Mennonite Church and Altona (Man.) Bergthaler Mennonite Church, and as principal of Swift Current (Sask.) Bible Institute.

Suderman was appointed by the General Board, April 22-24, as the new executive secretary of the Ministries Commission. He first began working at the Resources Commission in 1996 after nine years of mission work in Colombia (1989-1994) and Bolivia (1981-1985), and work as principal of Rosthern (Sask.) Junior College, and teacher at Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in Winnipeg.

The process of decision-making included discussions among commission members and executive staff, and discernment with Suderman and Franz. "We feel that the Spirit has been leading us in this process, and that the conclusions to which we have come together will be blessed by God," said Mennonite Church Canada general secretary Helmut Harder in a memo to staff.

"Pray with us that in the midst of change we may be faithful and God may bless our work," he said.