Delegates to the 2014 annual convention of the B.C. Conference of MB Churches at Cariboo Bethel Church, Williams Lake, May 2–3, 2014, were challenged to live out Jesus’ love and to keep Christ as their focus as Mennonite Brethren partner with others in His ministry. Regular times of concert-like prayer led by MB Mission prayer intercessor Esther Corbett infused the annual gathering, guiding delegates to gather in small groups to pray on a variety of directed topics.
Of B.C.’s 106 MB churches, 44 were represented; however, some delegates left the Saturday session to attend the Vancouver memorial service for the late pastor Carlin Weinhauer.
Keynote speaker Laurence East, lead pastor of Kelowna’s downtown Metro Community Church, challenged delegates on the love of Christ as Luke outlines it in 6:27–36. East shared stories on Metro’s ministry to the people who are disadvantaged and marginalized in the neighbourhood. As a church, “we need to go further.”
“Who is exhorting you daily to keep your heart soft?” East asked. “Jesus is talking about being a community, living it out together…[or] you’re not obeying the Sermon on the Mount.”
“When we love the unlovable and press deeper into the kingdom community, the Lord overwhelms us with unexpected riches – here, today!”
Michael Dick, Bakerview, Abbotsford, moderated convention business. A member of the conference board of management, he will complete the provincial moderator term of Ron van Akker of Central Community, Chilliwack, appointed in April as BCMB assistant conference minister.
- Three new B.C. church plants – Victoria’s Beacon Communities, Vancouver’s Christ City, and Kelowna’s Epic City – were formally welcomed into BCMB. Delegates formalized the closure of City on a Hill, Victoria; Emmaus, South Surrey; and South Hill, Vancouver, and two earlier closures: Urban Journey, Vancouver, and East Ridge Community Fellowship, Maple Ridge.
- A budget ceiling of $1.6-million, the current target, won delegate approval. The conference finished the year 2013 in the black, thanks to an unrestricted donation. Betty-Ann Dykshoorn, director of administration, said that without that donation, the year would have ended about $100,000 short of the budget target.
- Canadian Conference executive director Willy Reimer introduced the results of a reworked vision statement, updating the document that was last revised in the mid-1990s. He said, based on wide consultation, it has been edited many times and will undergo further work before final approval. The conference exists to help local churches – “If it doesn’t help the local churches, it doesn’t help,” said Reimer.
“We share an expectation that God wants to work through us,” he said. “We must be abundantly clear that this is about Jesus.”
- Ron Toews, director of Resourcing Churches Developing Leaders, said the development work on Leaders2Learners is complete. “Today we can talk about what is,” he said.
- Chris Douglas, C2C Network B.C. regional co-director said in addition to the three new church plants in 2013, C2C collaborated with planters from the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and the Anglican Church to start new churches. “Thank you for partnership also with C2C in ministry,” he said. C2C plants have seen more than 200 people baptized in B.C.
National C2C director Gord Fleming said, “Church planting is a small portion of what the Lord is doing. What would the Lord do that we could be an influence globally?”
He said C2C is working with 13 denominations, adding he has never seen MBs in Canada collaborate and partner the way they are doing now.
“Mennonite Brethren is the one denomination that it seems everyone can work with,” said Fleming. “That’s because we put Christ first, not our theological differences.”
The convention ended with song and thanks.
Barrie McMaster is the B.C. correspondent for the MB Herald