Canadian Baptist of Western Canada

The Gathering 2017 Roundup

Running the business sessions were then-President Laura Nelson, Recording Secretary Shelby Gregg, and Moderator Axel Schoeber.

It feels like half a year past, but it was really just over a month ago that CBWC delegates and staff swarmed Calgary for the biennial Gathering. Last month’s newsletter we talked about the vote to adopt UNDRIP as a framework for (re)conciliation, and shared a few photos from the event. But a lot more than that happened. Here’s a roundup:

Serious business is conducted on those colourful hard plastic Sunday School chairs.

Underneath all the speakers and coffee breaks, art installations and votes on bylaw changes, the Gathering is really the embodiment of community-based decision making. Local church autonomy is a core characteristic of Baptist churches, and the Gathering is the place it’s most strongly engaged. Delegates from every member church meet to review the work of the denomination and vote on its future direction.

CBWC is powered by and answers to its member churches. The reports submitted for The Gathering (and for the online Assembly in alternate years) are like a family Christmas letter of sorts, but with the underlying purpose of accountability. The CBWC Board, Executive Staff, Regional Ministers, all the various ministries, and the Foundation each submit an annual report. Financial statements from CBWC, the Foundation, and Carey Theological College are all submitted for approval, as well as budgets for future years. If you’re curious for details, the whole package is posted here:

The CBWC Board brought recommendations to the gathered delegates to be approved or rejected by vote. The following motions were brought, discussed, and ultimately all of them passed.

  • CBWC adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation. In 2015 Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 calls to action to various stakeholders. Among the calls was a request to faith groups to “formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.” On Saturday, May 27, 2017, the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada voted to do just that. For CBWC churches to adopt these rights as a framework for reconciliation means that we agree these rights ought to be realized by the Indigenous peoples in our regions. As CBWC churches throughout western Canada engage with our Indigenous neighbours, we commit to acknowledge and support these rights.

    Board member Jason Johnson answers questions about one of the motions that was brought for a vote.

  • Carey Hall moved to delete some of its by-laws with the intention to streamline, reduce redundancies and make current the requirements of the Carey Board. Among the changes are that the President shall hire the Registrar, without the previously required approval of the Board. The Board no longer is required to approve faculty hires, whether adjunct or full time. Finally, Carey is exiting the library agreement with Regent, so requirements of librarian involvement were deleted. The motion was accepted.
  • Changes to the military chaplaincy credentialing bylaws will make it easier for volunteer military chaplains to transition between postings with wider Canadian Baptist approval.
  • Nominated the new CBWC Board. Six representatives were renewed for a second or third term, seven were elected as a first term. The delegates meet the board members, ask questions and ultimately vote to accept or reject the nominations. This year all nominations were ratified. A similar process is followed for our representatives to the CBM Board, and the Carey Hall Board. Keep a lookout for future articles introducing the Board members!
  • Changes to the bylaw that controls the Nominations Committee. This Committee proposes nominations to the CBWC Board (on behalf of the Board and Assembly), as well as CBWC representatives to partner Boards like, Canadian Baptist Ministries and Carey Hall. The bylaw changed three things: some seats on the Committee will be nominated by the Board, and some nominated by the Assembly (currently all are nominated by the Board); the two-year term limit was expanded to a four-year term limit for Committee members, with the exception of the CBWC Board Past President (who will hold a two-year term); and finally, the Committee will become more involved in the recruiting process for new Board members.
  • CBWC’s budgets for 2017 (remainder), 2018 and 2019 were approved. Includes expected income from church contributions, and other revenue streams which fund the work CBWC does. Areas for spending are: kingdom growth, leadership development, alleviating poverty and suffering, resourcing local churches, and governance of the denomination.

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