More MC Canada staff changes

Tim Froese replaces Janet Plenert as head of Witness

By Dick Benner | Editor/Publisher

Tim Froese, former executive director of Mennonite Church Canada’s International Ministries program, has assumed the position of executive secretary of Witness, filling the post vacated by Janet Plenert, who resigned on April 21. Froese’s former position has been phased out as part of MC Canada downsizing, and his responsibilities as Mission Partnership facilitator for Latin America have been transferred to colleague Hippolyto Tshimanga.

With his assumption of those responsibilities, Tshimanga’s position as Mission Partnership facilitator for Europe, Africa and Latin America will become full-time. He will share the European portfolio with Gordon Janzen, Mission Partnership facilitator for Asia and the Middle East.

Plenert succeeded Robert J. Suderman as executive secretary of Witness, when he became general secretary of MC Canada in 2005. With prior international ministry experience in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil, she received “wide affirmation,” according to a staff news release, as she provided overall leadership to Native Ministry, International Ministries and Multicultural Ministry, and worked with area churches in regards to evangelism and church planting.

Plenert also oversaw numerous MC Canada relationships to organizations such as Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Mennonite Disaster Service, Mennonite Women Canada, Mennonite Men, Mennonite Voluntary Service Adventure and the Global Mission Fellowship of Mennonite World Conference (MWC). Her appointment as MWC vice-president continues.

Some staff in discontinued positions have accepted alternate or altered roles, and some have declined those offers and will end their employment:

  • Vic Thiessen will step into an altered position combining the responsibilities of executive secretary of Church Engagement and the newly created chief administrative officer role. The position of chief operating officer previously held by Thiessen has been eliminated.
  • Elsie Rempel’s position as director of Christian Nurture will end on July 31. She has accepted a newly created part-time position as Christian formation consultant.
  • Norm Dyck completes his role as executive secretary of Church Engagement on June 30.
  • Samson Lo will conclude his half-time position as director of Multicultural Ministry on July 31.
  • Anna Rehan will conclude her position as Youth Ministry Facilitator on July 31.
  • Val Pankratz, executive assistant of Witness, has declined an altered position, creating a vacancy after July 31.
  • Lois Friesen Wiebe, executive assistant to the chief operating officer and general secretary, has declined an altered role. This position will be filled by existing staff.

In addition to these changes, several additional full-time staff have accepted increased responsibilities in their job descriptions, and some staff will increase their time to take on added responsibilities. Unrelated to these reductions, Neill and Edith von Gunten, co-directors of Native Ministries, have retired.

Of these changes, general secretary Willard Metzger says, “We recognize the human impact this has had. I invite prayers for those experiencing unexpected job changes. Despite these changes, our calling as a church remains the same. We will continue to grow leaders for the church, become a global church, and form a people of God.”

From MC Canada staff reports.


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