by Garry Janzen, MCBC Executive Director

Going around to MCBC congregations, hearing stories, building healthy connections and encouraging the people is a lot of fun. To hear the missional hearts of congregations and their leaders, as well as hearing their questions is what I have been doing over the past six months. So here are some of my experiences.

When Tim Kuepfer became available again last November, he began to help Vancouver Chinese Mennonite’s English congregation with occasional preaching. Then he helped them with some visioning and imagining a new future. Before long he was called to be their new English pastor. On Sunday, August 20th we celebrated Tim’s installation along with the 40th anniversary of the congregation. The congregational leadership, both Chinese and English, are imagining the potential of their future as a peace church in Chinatown.

In the middle of August, I was able to ride out to Black Creek on Vancouver Island to spend some time with Gerry and Elaine Binnema, and leadership people at United Mennonite Church. I also got to spend a morning hanging out with their Vacation Bible School ministry. They have chosen to do VBS each Thursday morning this summer, rather than putting it all into one week. This has been much less taxing on the volunteers and very refreshing for the parents and their children. Each week they look forward to the change of pace offered by VBS.

Sherbrooke Mennonite Church in Vancouver has just bid farewell to James Wittenberg and Tim Froese as their pastors. Phil Routly has started as their transitional pastor. Phil plans to hear the stories of the people and help them reflect well on both the good and the challenging times of the past years; all this in the hopes of leading them to build healthy connections for the future – with each other and with their neighbours.

First United Mennonite Church in Vancouver is in the process of searching for an associate pastor with a focus on revitalisation. They want some fresh insights for building healthy connections as a church in the neighbourhood.

There are many good stories; there are also some challenging ones that we are engaging. I will just leave you with one more good connection that is coming up. Tim and Sandra Kuepfer have been invited to be our speakers for the MCBC Pastor/Spouse Retreat this year. They want to help us see what love looks like when it is based on the foundation of God’s love for us. Pastors, Spouses, Pastoral Care Reps, be sure to keep November 3-5 open on your calendars for this annual retreat at Squeah. Also, what a great place to set our clocks back for an extra hour of sleep!