Vol 8 No. 27 Conversations with Members of the Executive Staff: II


Dear Folks,

We continue today with our series of conversations with members of the Executive Staff. Today we
hear from Dennis Stone.

I’ll let Dennis speak for himself, but I did want to let you know just a few brief things before we get
started. Dennis has been a farmer, a theologian, a pastor, and an American born, adopted Canadian.
Dennis has worked in urban, suburban, and semi-rural settings. Dennis leads our settlement process. He
is someone I have the utmost confidence in and in whose company and council I take great delight. On
behalf of us all, he is someone that I would like to thanks for his good and faithful service to the Alberta
area and beyond.

In Christ,




1. Many folk have different personal, vocational, and faith journeys…could you share with us those

Personal: My grandmother was a Seventh Day Adventist Preacher. I was raised on a farm in rural
Montana, the 7th born of 9, one died before I was born in a farm accident. My father died of Lupus
when I was 5. My mother thought his illness was brought on by the death of my brother. Only one of

my siblings was away from home when my father died.

Faith: My story to faith was that one Friday night I attended part of a special meeting series at a church
led by laypeople who shared their faith. With little theology intact I responded to Jesus and had a
hunger for God’s Word. The special energy package given to newborns was true for me spiritually.
From our small town in Montana, two of my friends continue in ministry: one is with the Jesus People in
Chicago and one is the principal of a Christian school in Philadelphia.

Vocation: I did not seek the pastorate. It was my unbelieving neighbour who was first to say that I
should be a pastor. I did my theology training out of a hunger to understand … not really expecting
others to hire me to teach and lead Christian communities. My pastoral roles of 25 years were in
Surrey, BC, in Edmonton, AB and in Claresholm, AB. I have always enjoyed encouraging my colleagues in
ministry, so the work as Regional Minister feeds part of a special pastoral interest of mine.

2. How long have you been in this position? Please let us know about where you are living and maybe
one eccentric detail of life?

I was called to the role of Alberta Regional Minister in the Fall of 2009. Leaving our church in which I
had ministered for 14 years and moving to Edmonton was made easier because all four of our young
adult children were living here. Our home took most of a year to sell and then when it sold we suddenly
had a bit of a bidding war. We lived in our travel trailer for five months while our home was being
finished. The completion date was initially in September, but we did not get in until December 20,
2010. Fortunately we have good friends in Edmonton who took us in. We currently have our 24 year-
old living with us while he is in school for computer science. My wife Anita, myself and our dog, Jace,
make up the rest of the household at this point. I personally love fishing, watching the Edmonton Oilers
(I am a man of faith!), and trips into nature.

3. What is the basic makeup and description of what you do?

As I see it I have four areas of responsibility: relationships with pastors, relationships with church
boards and key leaders, coordinating pastoral settlement for the CBWC, and fulfilling responsibilities as
allocated as a member of the Executive Staff of the CBWC. I am helped greatly by Sharon Onciul who is
my efficient assistant in our Edmonton office. One of the major tasks I undertake is drinking coffee … in
visits and in my office … lots of coffee!

4. Who are the people that you primarily serve and how do you connect with them?

I believe recent count showed we have about 60 congregations in the Alberta Region, 104 pastors
and 14 chaplains. This number fluctuates some every year, but that gives an idea for our work within
our Region. We have five main ministry clusters: Peace Country, Edmonton, Central AB, Calgary and
Southern AB. I seek to attend these cluster/ministerial gatherings whenever I can and get around
to churches and pastors as best I can with the time available. In the area of pastoral settlement, our
denomination sees about 35 vacancies and settlements every year, some requiring more assistance
for this need than others. Emails, Skype and phone calls are my main forms of connecting with people
when distance and time hinder connecting in person.

5. What have been the challenging parts of this last twelve months?

One area of challenge has been implementing some changes in our settlement process and forms.
This is continually assessed, but we have put together 2012 editions of the Ministry Information Profile
and pastoral search printed material. Much has remained the same, but we seek to make the process
better for churches, candidates and our Executive Staff. Recent concerns have been from a few church
members in a couple of our churches that are reading and responding out of conspiracy theory type
material. An outgrowth of this can be judgmental behaviours and a closing off of healthy church
dialogue. I see extremes on both ends of a spectrum in this, but most of our churches and pastors are
reacting, as I see it, with greater interdependence and healthy process.

6. What have been some of the times of celebration over these last twelve months?

Four new churches were added to the CBWC in 2011. This with expanding new ministries in some of our
church families gives me great joy.

7. What are some of the things you have felt were accomplishments this year and what are some of
the on-going challenges that you will face as you go into the fall?

We had a great Alberta Regional Pastors Retreat in February … and people I meet still today echo the
positive-ness of that experience. Into the fall we will be making some adjustments to the Alberta
Regional Advisory Group (ARAG) in terms of personnel and a bit regarding its structure. For me this
means making the ARAG work better around our annual cycle and around how I personally function.
(My thanks to all who have served and continue to serve on ARAG!).

8. Apart from Executive Staff, who are some of the people that you work most closely with month
over month?

By definition the chair of ARAG is to be a personal confidant. Patrick Schoenberger fills that role, and
we are often on the phone or Skype together about concerns of the Alberta Region. There are pastors
within each ministry cluster that I approach for scheduling ministerials and events within cluster zones.
It is also a privilege to meet with the 4B’s, those of four main Baptist groups in Alberta. This group
meets for prayer, mutual encouragement and an annual post-Christmas party. We treasure our ability
to work together for the glory of God.

9. What kind of Sabbath and renewal and break are you going to experience over the summer….for
how long?

My wife and I were recently in Uruguay with Samaritan’s Purse, which was a real eye-opener, but was
certainly not a rest. This has left my wife with little holiday time left with her new work position. She is
a permanent full-time employee at the Edmonton Public Library as of March 2012. We will have a few
weeks to enjoy our travel trailer together visiting family and going fishing. Some of my other holiday
time will involve me in the continued task of fixing up our basement family room.

10. How might we pray for you?

In each and every opportunity with pastors, with churches, with search committees, with Executive
Staff meetings, with decisions that affect the livelihoods of others in ministry … in each of these I ask for
prayer. Not only for the tasks, but also pray for my own ability to be genuinely in touch with God for

11. Is there some kind of blessing or encouragement that you would like to share with us?

Recently, it was a privilege of mine to pray at the Edmonton City Council meeting. These types of
opportunities I do not take for granted. It was a privilege to meet and speak with Mayor Mandel. Every
day is new with new opportunities to be a blessing for God and His Kingdom!

12. Are there any questions that we have not covered that you would like to comment on?

I recently read this statement: “There are only good days and great days of fishing. Great days are when
you catch fish!”