The 2014 convention of the Saskatchewan Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches (SKMB), held Mar. 12–15, 2014 at Forest Grove Community Church, Saskatoon, marked the end of a long chapter in the book of SKMB churches: Ralph and Grace Gliege’s ministry. Conference minister since 1992 and local pastor in Hepburn, West Portal, and Woodrow before that, Gliege has been a fixture in the conference provincially and nationally, and has been regarded not only as a mentor but as family by generations of Saskatchewan pastors.
The convention’s Friday night session was devoted to farewelling Gliege who will continue to serve until June 2014 alongside Terrance Froese, the new director of church ministries affirmed and commissioned the next day. For Gliege’s final formal address to the assembly of churches and delegates, he spoke the words of 1 Timothy from memory.
Celebrate the past and future
- Despite a $6,244 deficit in 2013, delegates approved an ambitious 2014 operating budget of $619,980, drawing heavily on transfers from the reserves. “We’re in a position to take strong steps forward for Christ – we ask you to join in the journey,” said director of finance and congregational services Pat Dergousoff. To meet the needs of the C2C Network arm, the budget anticipates an income of $40,000 through fundraising.
- Having already been discussed at prior leadership forums, a new governance structure and constitution was approved with little discussion albeit a handful of opposing votes. Under the new governance, the executive board – answerable to the churches – sets the policies and bylaws for the director of ministry. In turn, staff and volunteer ministry (development, C2C-SK, ministry support, pastor and church health) are accountable to the director of ministry.
- The Saskatchewan church extension arm Harvest Saskatchewan completes its transition into a C2C Network regional team.
Director of ministry commissioning
With an 88 percent approval vote, Terrance Froese was commissioned as the new director of ministry.
Gliege drew on the 2 Kings text of Elijah passing his mantle to Elisha as he blessed Froese to continue the ministry. “Some say Terrance has big shoes to fill,” said Gliege. “But he doesn’t; I’m keeping my shoes.”
Froese acknowledged the way Gliege “threw his cloak” over him and blessed him to “do things very differently.”
“I’m a different leader with different priorities and values unique to this time,” said Froese, identifying four priorities that will inform his leadership.
- Shaping the staff team “to function like a Stanley Cup-ready hockey team.” Staff will work together in one location instead of three separate home offices.
- Moving forward with systems congruent with 21st-century communication. This will include an improved web presence and more modes of online communication.
- Cultivating not only “excitement for prayer,” but mobilizing pray-ers in each church to discern and intercede for local and national concerns.
- Partnering with the Canadian conference “as an equal partner at the Lord’s table,” facilitating conversation, and finding unity of purpose at the local and national level.
Froese called on “good theological thinkers” to help the conference with “theological debates challenging us to the core.” Above all, he called for a “gospel-centred” movement: a conference that exists to inspire, empower, model Jesus in making disciples, molding leaders and multiplying missional churches.
Karla Braun is the associate editor of the MB Herald