I spent the week of October 25 to 31st in Montreal at the board meetings of the Canadian Baptist Ministries.
Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) is a uniting and enabling organization that brings the largest Baptist groups in the country together. These groups include:
∙ United Baptist Convention of the Atlantic Provinces
∙ L’Union d’Eglises Baptistes Francaises au Canada (New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario)
∙ Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec (English Quebec)
∙ Baptist Union of Western Canada (in every province and territory)
∙ Canadian Baptist Women
The Board is made up of approximately 12 members representative of the independent denominations plus executive ministers, Presidents of convention, some invited guests and some senior staff.
Once a year CBM meets in the Toronto Area and once a year it rotates between the areas. We are in Vancouver the spring of 2006, Toronto in the fall, and Moncton, New Brunswick, in the spring of 2007. The Union has made it possible for my wife, Kerry, and I to travel together from time to time. Montreal was one of those opportunities. Denis Casaubon of the French Union (an executive with Liquid Air and a resident Western Canadian for several years in the 1990’s) hosted us most thoughtfully. His colleague, Roland Grimond, the French Union Executive Minister appealed to us to take seriously our commitment to French Canada in particular their heart for church planting.
We discussed governance. We looked at how to prioritize, in a needy world, the almost 10 million dollars CBM raises each year. We looked at how differently we view the complementary demands of evangelism and social justice. It was fascinating to begin to get to know sisters and brothers in Christ from over 1200 churches across this wonderful land. I filmed almost 30 film clips for our new web launch in early November. These clips last between 1 and 4.5 minutes and touch on a collage of ministries and people.
Each of the conventions reported on their work as did Canadian Baptist Women. To give you an anatomy of how we meet (which changes depending on the people) the executive ministers of each region (which are legally separate and constituted denominations in themselves) meet for a day to examine and encourage one another.
The General Secretary of CBM (Gary Nelson, a native of Calgary) joins the executive ministers on that day and both Sam Chaise (our BUWC President from Olivet in New Westminister) and the CBM President Cal Malena (Emmanuel, Saskatoon) joined us for part of the day.
The following day the Executive of the Board meets (around 16 people) and for the last two days all the CBM board and invited guests meet.
The Baptist Union reps on the board (voting and non-voting) are: Cal Malena, Heather Thomson, Alfred Reschke, Tom Mei, Glen Alexander, Jeremy Bell, Faye Reynolds, and Sam Chais.
As you will see from our video clips of the CBM board and the familiar faces of those in our own clan in the Union we are well served by very gifted people. It is a particular pleasure for me to be working with a former colleague in Sam Chaise and with Gary Nelson, a former room mate from summer work in McKenzie. The gratitude for Cal Malena as chair is enormous. Cal “rides herd” on an eclectic, passionate and articulate group; constantly connecting the collective right and left brain. Faye Reynolds led us in one of our morning devotions by not only feeding our hearts in God but also by challenging how we do ministry together.
I hope over time to give you a better idea of our Baptist life together in Canada. This was my first CBM meeting and I am on a steep learning curve.
Please find attached the CBM Ends Statement from May of last year and pray for our collective worship and service in the time ahead.