Release from the Mission and Ministry Board: Executive Session Report

Following is a release from the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board, reporting out of an executive (closed) session held as part of the group’s Spring 2012 meeting:

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Pastor Paul Mundey preaches at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. The denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board during its Spring meeting worshiped with the Frederick congregation. The events on Sunday, March 11, 2012, also included a lunch provided by the host church, and an afternoon session that Mundey led for the board on “Developing Leadership Skills for Turbulent Times.”

Recognizing the importance in the life of a board for generative time, the Mission and Ministry Board entered into executive session on Sunday afternoon, March 11, at the Frederick Church of the Brethren.

As a board development component of the afternoon, Frederick pastor Paul Mundey led the board through a seminar on “Developing Leadership Skills in Turbulent Times.”

General Secretary Stan Noffsinger brought a progress report on the New Windsor Conference Center closure and potential retasking of conference center facilities.

The board then entered into a conversation about how best to communicate with each other and with the wider church. The board focused on decisions made in the past year regarding BVS [Brethren Volunteer Service] project approvals. Specifically, the board spoke about the approval of the Brethren Mennonite Council’s BVS project application. The timeline and the process that led toward the decision was shared by the General Secretary and the board Chair.

In January 2011, the Executive Committee discussed the approval process for BVS projects in general and potential placements with BMC in particular. The Executive Committee affirmed that all BVS volunteers must be engaged in service consistent with the values of the Church of the Brethren as articulated by Annual Conference statements and policies. The Executive Committee further affirmed that any project placement meeting this criterion and not involving advocacy against Church of the Brethren positions should receive consideration. The Executive Committee then instructed the General Secretary and an Executive Committee member to engage in conversation with BMC representatives to determine whether potential BMC placements could meet those criteria and, if so, consider such placements. The General Secretary determined that the BMC project met the criteria articulated by the Executive Committee.

The board agreed that, going forward, all BVS projects should be reviewed periodically to assure that they meet these criteria.

The board acknowledged that the Executive Committee could have communicated this decision and its rationale more effectively with the wider board and the larger church and expressed regret for the confusion and pain that resulted.

Given that experience, the board committed itself in the future to find ways to communicate more effectively with the larger church. The board seeks in all of its work to be a unifying force that is respectful of all members of the Church of the Brethren.

The board ended its closed session in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and guidance in its role in providing leadership for the Church of the Brethren.

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