Boundaries Commission Update, President Cari Copeman-Haynes

Dear Friends in Christ,

I now have another opportunity to provide you with information about the conversations in BC Conference following the release of the Interim Report of the Boundaries Commission on January 10.

Last weekend, two members of every Presbytery, one representative from the BC Native Ministries Council, with President-Elect Jay Olson, GCE Rep Graham Brownmiller, myself and our Executive Secretary Doug Goodwin of the BC Conference Executive, gathered for our third annual Presbytery Consultation, facilitated by Allison Rennie.

Top of mind and heart for all present, of course, was the Boundaries Commission report that had just recently been released, so we spent significant time on Friday airing all perspectives. Though building consensus was not the goal of the consultation (and that group has no governance authority), there was a strong and clear consensus opposing the proposed division of BC Conference into two Regions.

The unified negative response to the proposal was based on its disruption of established relationships, its disregard of geographical divisions (such as mountains), and the complications that would arise for access to resources (both financial and people) if we are divided. Those present also worked to see the proposal from the angle of opportunities – what might we learn by considering having two Regions? Throughout the conversations, those present maintained an attitude of concern for the support of congregations and the mission of the church.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, the Conference Executive gathered by electronic means to consider our response to the report as the governors of the Conference. Again, there was a strong consensus that dividing the Conference into two Regions is not our desired outcome, though we noted some positive observations by some in our congregations in the Interior of the province that a distinct interior region might serve the rural church in supporting mission in that context.

In order for our church to stay focussed on its mission and ministry, it is the clear position of the Conference Executive that we not enter into a time of reorganization into two Regions, which will distract our church from mission at a time when we are deeply challenged by decline and secularization.

Currently, members of the Executive are drafting a motion that will be considered at our second electronic meeting, scheduled for Thursday, January 25. As soon as the motion is passed, we will publish it on the Conference website. Our staff are working to create a webpage devoted to the sharing of motions by Presbytery Executives and Congregational Boards and Councils, so please send your motions to Doug Goodwin or me so that they can be posted and shared. Check back as the “mind” of our church in BC on this question continues to emerge. Please remember that the deadline for submissions to the Commission is January 31.

Finally, a word on “purpose.” All ministry is about relationships. A situation such as we find ourselves in now tests our capacity to trust one another, especially when we are at a distance from one another. I invite us into an intentional attitude of humility, prayer for one another (especially those with whom we disagree), and curiosity.  This could be a time of acrimony and dissent… or it could be a time when we recognize our deep bonds and care for one another.

May the grace of Christ attend us in this kairos time.

Cari

President Cari Copeman-Haynes

BC Conference