Mennonite Church Canada is pleased to announce that Doug Klassen has accepted the call to the position of executive minister. “It is an exciting time in Mennonite Church Canada. I want to help inspire a vision for what it means to be a nationwide church. I firmly believe that congregations are the foundational unit of the church and that congregational revitalization is critical,” says Klassen. “There is a hunger in our culture for a witness to Jesus Christ that is rooted and grounded in love.”
Klassen is currently one of the pastors at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, Alta., and has ministered there since 1998. He was instrumental in establishing the Foothills Mennonite Guesthouse, a home for out-of-town guests visiting friends or family in Calgary hospitals. He formed a Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry book study group that brought together First Nations people and settlers and is chair of a Palestine/Israel resolution working group in Alberta. He has written feature articles for Canadian Mennonite, volunteered as chaplain at Camp Valaqua in Alberta, was on the board of directors of Menno Simons Christian School in Calgary, and is a current Master of Arts student at Canadian Mennonite University.
“We’re thrilled to have Doug join us in the role of executive minister,” says Calvin Quan, chair of Mennonite Church Canada’s Joint Council. “The combination of his experience, drive and love for the church makes him an ideal fit. His passion for working with people, along with a strong history of building highly engaged teams, is a wonderful gift that he brings as we seek new ways to collaborate across our nationwide community of faith.”
Born near Vineland, Ont., Klassen began his ministry in 1992 at St. Catharines United Mennonite Church as associate pastor. He moved to Winnipeg, Man., in 1995 and served as director of young adult ministries with Mennonite Church Manitoba. He pastored at Sterling Mennonite Church and co-taught at Canadian Mennonite University. Klassen also served on MC Canada’s Faith and Life Committee for five years.
“I have lived my whole life inside the extended family of Mennonite Church Canada and have experienced the blessing of a nationwide family of faith,” he reflects. “While I grieve the thought of leaving the congregation that I have loved deeply for 20 years, I look forward to the challenge of this new position and serving alongside the faithful staff, volunteers and members of our denomination as we seek together to be witnesses for Christ in the world.”
Klassen and his wife Rose live in Calgary, near a ranch where they spend time with their horses and bees. Their three young adult children and one son-in-law live in Winnipeg. Klassen is a classically trained singer, a hockey and baseball player and has a deep love for the church. He and Rose will move to Winnipeg when he begins his ministry as executive minister in June 2019.