Pastors gather for retreat

November 16, 2023 | News | Volume 27 Issue 23
Keith St. Jean |
Hope, B.C.
Pastors and their families gathered at Camp Squeah in November. (Photo by Keith St. Jean)

Twenty-seven Mennonite Church B.C. church leaders and their families gathered at Camp Squeah from November 3 to 5 for a weekend of renewal and relationship-building.

Four worship and discussion sessions were framed around the centred-set church model, from the work of Mark Baker. Baker was the guest presenter at the 2023 MCBC annual gathering and LEAD conference.

Worship was led by John Williams (Peace Mennonite), Kevin Barkowsky (Sherbrooke Mennonite), Bless Len (Living Hope Mennonite), Andrew Haak (Level Ground Mennonite) and Joshua Kuepfer from Camp Squeah.

Newly-installed executive minister Shel Boese asked four questions of the group:

  1. What does it mean to be Jesus-centred and how is that lived out in our lives and the lives of our congregations?
  2. What has to change in terms of our view of God if we are to lean into this idea that Jesus is the centre of our faith?
  3. What has to change in our formation practices to create a more Jesus-centred practice?
  4. How does our view of life and transformation change if we are Jesus-centred?

These questions were discussed in detail as the participants wrestled with how to achieve unity without demanding unanimity. Boese then presented four Jesus-centred commitments from the resources on unity created by the Central Plains Mennonite Conference:

  1. Jesus is Lord.
  2. The authority of scripture is rooted in the authority of Jesus. We are people of the crucified and resurrected Christ, and the Bible is our anchor.
  3. The Confession of Faith as it points us toward Jesus and a life lived in Him.
  4. Prayerfully seeking and attending to the Holy Spirit, understanding that the Spirit will never lead us into ways that do not reflect or echo Christ.

Two statements ended the sessions. The first was that love is the final unifying element in our theology, faith and practice. The second was that Jesus can handle all of us, together, at the same time. This idea, stated Boese, has the ability to revolutionize how we think about unity and identity. 

Pastors and their families gathered at Camp Squeah in November. (Photo by Keith St. Jean)

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