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Boschman affirmed as bold leader

Footwashing symbolizes "how much we appreciate you"

By Connie Faber

Ed Boschman, USMB executive director since the fall of 2007, was honored during the closing business session of the National Convention for his 40 years of service as a pastor and conference leader. Boschman retired following Conection 2014.

Steve Schroeder, Leadership Board chair; Gary Wall, Pacific District Conference minister; Larry Nikkel, Board of Faith and Life chair; and Terry Hunt, North Carolina District minister, pastor and former Leadership Board member, reflected on Boschman’s ministry. All four speakers affirmed Boschman’s leadership gifts.

“One of the reasons I am standing before you is because of Ed,” said Schroeder. “Ed was my youth pastor. He inspired us.”

Nikkel said, “Ed is a leader, and he’s not afraid to lead. Because of that, a lot has happened over the course of the last couple of years. You’ve helped us (the U.S. Conference) arrive at the point (organizationally) we are at today.”

Wall referred to Boschman as a bold and godly leader who will continue to be the “evangelistic conscience” of the Mennonite Brethren. “You remind us often that unless Jesus saves and transforms a lost soul, we’re missing the mark of what it means to be a faithful people,” said Wall.

Boschman was “one of the first leaders I met that made me feel as if I was a leader,” said Hunt. 

Saying he wanted Boschman to know “how much we appreciate you,” Hunt invited Boschman to the stage. The Grand Ballroom was silent as Hunt washed Boschman’s feet and then prayed for Boschman and his wife, Carol. The crowd expressed their appreciation to Boschman with a standing ovation.

In his address Saturday morning, Boschman (pictured right) talked about the foundation for his faith. “If Jesus didn’t live, die and rise again, we wouldn’t have much of a story. It all depends on Jesus…. He is the reason I love pre-Christians the way I do.”

Boschman addressed the delegates from selected passages of the Gospel of John. Taking what he called a “pastoral moment,” Boschman urged his listeners to pursue unity. “Some of us are not so very good at loving each other,” said Boschman. “We are better at critque, at holding grudges—sometimes against people and sometimes against leadership teams. It’s time for us to grow out of that malady.”   

Boschman said that living in unity will bring people to faith while “not living in unity calls into question whether we are living our faith.” He asked the audience to take a moment to reflect on where there are relationships in their lives that need repairs.

Boschman closed by reminding his listeners that, “We are a mission to make disciples. We have the right message for this time. We’re Bible-believers. We’re Jesus centered. We’re Spirit led. We call people to repentance. We are agents of reconciliation and peace. We are a covenant community. We are what our neighbors need.”

Read an interview with Boschman about his ministry as the USMB executive director.

Photos by Steve Wiest

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