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MCEC Delegates Approve Motion to Accept FDTF Final Report

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MCEC Delegates Approve Motion to Accept the Future Directions Task Force Final Report
Unity Amidst Difference

“This is truly a celebration of unity at the end of the day,” says David Martin, MCEC Executive Minister, of the vote by delegates to accept the Mennonite Church Canada Future Directions Task Force final report this past weekend. The motion put forward by the MCEC Executive Council, after being fine-tuned on the Annual Church Gathering floor, garnered the support of 141 delegates while 5 voted no, for a 97% approval.

“I became aware of God’s presence as I prayerfully witnessed the huddling of the ‘Three Amigos’ (Tom Yoder Neufeld, Willard Metzger and David Martin),” says Paul Adams, pastor of Tavistock Mennonite Church. “I could see that they were being diligent to prepare a motion that would be received and accepted by the delegates. It made me very thankful that we have these choice servants giving us careful direction.”

As Yoder Neufeld, Metzger and Martin worked together around one table, lively discussion continued from the floor. “I want to represent you well,” said Paul Wideman, MCEC moderator, in response to a question about trusting the process. “Your concerns are my concerns and I bring those to the conversation, building trust across MCEC as well as with our sister Area Churches across Canada who also bring their concerns.” He continued by expressing the responsibility he feels to represent MCEC well in the Future Directions Task Force conversations. “We hear your concerns about process and commit ourselves as an Executive Council to represent those concerns as this moves forward.”

As a participant wrote in their evaluation, “I was encouraged by how thoroughly people questioned an assumed course of action that may change the viability of the national assembly, without further development and confirmations of the strategy. The Spirit was leading key individuals to draft wording on the floor which allayed the concerns that had been raised. The overwhelming affirmation of the new motion appeared to reflect that the 'right' thing had been done and most people saw it.”

Delegates voted in favour of the following motion, a revision of the original motion and the addition of the last paragraph:

"The Executive Council moves that MCEC adopt the directions set by the Future Directions Task Force Final Report and collaborate with MC Canada and the other Area Churches to develop a proposal for the creation of a newly reconstituted national body along the lines envisioned in the task force final report and the feedback to it, with its purpose being the resourcing of the Area Churches so that they can better respond to God's call to equip our congregations for the living out and sharing of the peace of Jesus Christ with our local and global neighbours.

Further, the MCEC Executive will provide congregations with opportunities for ongoing consultation and review and an opportunity to vote on a more fully developed proposal no later than July, 2018."

“Although there were many concerns and differing opinions,” reflects David Martin, “the strong vote for the Future Directions Task Force motion brought us to a place of unity.  I plan to continue consulting with constituents.  In the weeks prior to the Annual Church Gathering I met with six regional groups in consultations attended by over 150 people.  I think that this is the type of engagement delegates have asked us to continue throughout the transition.”

The next step for the Future Directions Task Force recommendation is a vote at Mennonite Church Canada’s Annual Assembly, July 6-10 in Saskatoon.