The USMB Leadership Board spent significant time discussing issues that emerged in various reports, while also acting on recommended appointments when it met April 1-2 in San Diego, Calif.
The board approved Sam Panderla, Hanford, California, as the USMB representative to the Mennonite World Conference youth gathering and affirmed Yvette Njalae, Fairfield, Ohio, as the Mennonite Central Committee representative. Darren Rempel, Hillsboro, Kansas, Gaven Banik, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Jared Pulliam, Sellwood, Oregon, were affirmed as nominees to the Leadership Board. Elections will take place at USMB Gathering 2022 in July.
Luke Haidle, Leadership Board chair, informed the board of recent steps taken in efforts to resolve conflict between the leadership and executive boards of the U.S. and Canadian Conferences (CCMBC) that emerged as the two boards addressed issues related to Multiply, the North American Mennonite Brethren global mission agency. Consultant John Radford provided mediation and the national conference leaders have extended apologies and forgiveness, restoring the relationship. CCMBC and USMB will be sending constituents a letter about the restoration.
As part of the process of deepening relationships between the two national conference boards, the USMB Leadership Board met with Elton DaSilva and Ron Penner of CCMBC via Zoom. Three members of the Leadership Board joined the CCMBC Executive Board the following week for a portion of their meeting.
The Leadership Board reviewed the memorandum of understanding for the Historical Commission, which is jointly owned by USMB and CCMBC. The board affirmed the importance of HC publications upholding the Confession of Faith.
The board discussed Congolese Task Force strategies to integrate the 10 USMB Congolese churches into the U.S. Conference. Plans include developing a campaign for USMB congregations to sponsor a Congolese pastor’s attendance at USMB Gathering 2022 and a program to assist Congolese churches in pastoral training and procuring facilities.
The board heard an extensive report from USMB staff Don Morris, national director, and received a financial update and information regarding this summer’s USMB Gathering 2022 from Donna Sullivan, USMB staff accountant and event planner. Morris’ report covered his sabbatical plans, various pastoral support initiatives, church planting and progress made by the Christian Leader Editorial Committee.
Kyle Goings gave USMB Youth and Leadership Pipeline updates, and Tim Sullivan reported on recent Board of Faith and Life events, including the National Pastors’ Orientation held just prior to the board meeting.
Xavier Pina described activities of the Pacific District Conference Hispanic Council and district ministers Jordan Ringhofer, PDC; Terry Hunt, Eastern District; Rick Eshbaugh, Central District and Tim Sullivan, Southern District, gave updates on their districts and ministries.
Galen Wiest, representing Multiply, and Jon Wiebe, president and CEO of MB Foundation, also reported. Both reports included updates on providing financial and relief aid to Ukraine.
USMB staff members Janae Rempel, administrative assistant; Connie Faber, Christian Leader editor; Lori Taylor, webmaster; and J.L. Martin, social media coordinator, provided written reports.
Asked about the board meeting, board chair Haidle says, “I greatly appreciate the wisdom and diversity of the board and that we have great unity and freedom in conversation that is so important for groups like this. We are excited to see God glorified and the church strengthen.”
The Leadership Board meeting was the last in a series of USMB gatherings held in San Diego the last week of March. The week began with the National Pastors’ Orientation followed by the Board of Faith and Life meeting. The NPO and board meetings were held at Island Palms Hotel and Marina on Shelter Island in San Diego, California.