When Mennonite Church Canada’s Assembly 2012 drew to a close, so did my four-year term as Moderator of Mennonite Church Canada.
I accepted the call to serve as Moderator when I understood that the nominations committee had the support of the area church leaders, and were able to outline why my gifts matched the needs at that time. After consultation with family, church friends, and church leaders, I felt that this was a calling of the church and of God to serve in this role. My observations of Mennonite church history are that church leaders (pastors, scholars and volunteers) usually accept the request to serve, not because they seek the role or feel confident in their abilities, but because the calling of God through the church is a compelling and sacred calling.
In my daily prayers I paraphrased young King Solomon’s response to God’s call as recorded in 2 Chronicles 1:7: “Lord you have called me to a leadership role in Mennonite Church Canada. Give me, and the General Board, the wisdom and knowledge needed to lead this people.”
Periodically, people would say that they were praying for me, prompting emotions of gratitude to surface. I believe that the prayers of the church are needed, and they guide our leaders. When David Martin accepted the calling to serve as the Executive Minister of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada he asked that each person pray for him and MCEC daily. I made a commitment to honour his request, and I kept it.
My daily time of Bible reading, prayer and reflection includes prayer for our pastor(s) and congregational leadership team, the area church staff and Executive Board, Mennonite Church Canada staff, Councils and General Board, and Mennonite World Conference leaders. In addition I pray for the leaders of our church related organizations. It is amazing to me the number of people who give generously and vulnerably of their gifts to support the work of the church as it does Kingdom work.
At Mennonite Church Assembly 2012 in Vancouver, we called Hilda Hildebrand to serve as our Moderator and Aldred Neufeld to serve as Assistant Moderator. Along with Willard Metzger, Executive Director, this team will give leadership on the General Board to the many important parts of our church body—including Witness, Formation and Church Engagement and the more than 25 church relationships we have with related organizations—and guide the work of our national church. I have great confidence in their gifts and abilities to lead us at this time.
All parts of the church need our prayers. Our prayers support our leaders and they change us. Thank you for praying for church leaders locally, and in Area Churches, Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite World Conference. I am very grateful for your prayers for me over the past four years for the “wisdom and knowledge to lead the church.” I needed it in the role of Moderator. I encourage you to let Hilda, Aldred and Willard and other church leaders know you are praying for them too.
Andrew Reesor-McDowell was on the General Board for 12 years, first as Moderator of MCEC then as the General Board representative to the MWC General Council, and the last four years as Moderator of Mennonite Church Canada.