by Apostle Art Smith
At our recent mission centre conference I announced that we’re planning to move to a “volunteer mission centre president team” leadership model in the near future for Canada East Mission.
Much of the USA church moved to a volunteer leadership model for mission centres a few years ago. At that time declining world church budgets led to the withdrawal of funding for mission centre presidents and financial officers in the worldwide mission budget. We didn’t immediately make that transition in Canada.
Initially, in both Canada East and Canada West, we began funding our mission centre presidents out of our mission centre budgets. But our income was not sufficient to sustain this long term. In Canada West, we spent down a significant percentage of our reserves trying to maintain the fulltime paid mission centre president as long as we could. In Canada East, we recognized that much of Kerry’s leadership was focused on the innovative revitalization project funded in partnership with the Shaw Family Foundation. So we were able to fund a significant part of Kerry’s position from the project budget.
Meanwhile, in other places, we’ve seen how positive and effective volunteer leadership teams have been for mission centres. Our volunteer mission centre president teams have brought fresh vision and a grassroots energy. The new team in Canada West Mission officially assumes responsibility for their mission centre on November 1st and I’m very excited for how that is going already.
Here in Canada East, conversations with Kerry have led us to realize that it is time to focus his position on planting new expressions of the church. I’ll have more to announce about his new role soon.
Based on our current income projections, hiring a new fulltime mission centre president would lead to the same depletion of reserves that we experienced in Canada West. In addition, as we have embarked together on our All Voices: Discerning Across Canada journey, we have sought to be entirely open to where the Spirit leads. The All Voices process will ultimately result in a new strategic plan for Community of Christ in Canada. But the details of that plan are not preconceived. Committing to a new fulltime hire in this moment would limit our flexibility and our potential for creative innovation.
We will still have staff support. The Canadian church office will continue to operate with the excellent support that they provide. Melissa Freer will provide support to the new team and will keep working on camping support. The communications team will continue keeping us informed and sharing about our mission with the world. The projects supported in partnership with the Shaw Family Foundation will continue, including Troy’s work on Creating Connection and David Lloyd’s work on leadership development.
Next week, I plan to share with you the position description for the Canada East Mission Centre President Team. We’ll be looking to identify a team of three to five leaders from around the mission centre to serve on a volunteer, part time basis, alongside our staff, to bring leadership to our mission centre.
You are invited to prayerfully consider this opportunity. Do you feel a nudge of the Holy Spirit to get involved as a team member? Is there someone you might encourage to consider taking this on for a time?
The new MCP Team will not only bring important leadership to the mission centre in this pivotal moment, but will work with me and the entire Canada leadership as we continue our discernment journey towards a new strategic plan for Canada.
Community of Christ in Canada has so much to offer to the world. Wonderful things are emerging. It’s an exciting time to get involved.
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537