As the executive body of Virginia Mennonite Conference, the duties of Conference Council are:
- Project vision, define direction, and promote unity in coordinating the work of the Conference
- Decide what issues shall be brought to Conference Assembly
- Provide for staffing of Conference
- Facilitate the work of Assembly between sessions
- Receive reports from and evaluate the work of Conference commissions and agencies annually
- Develop plans to meet the financial needs of Conference
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Conference Council 2017 Report
As VMC continues to discern what it means to live in creative tension with our differences, Conference Council and VMC are engaged in two discerning efforts:
First, Conference Council initiated The Polity Task Force. Its intent is to discern the future authority and structure of VMC, the role and function of the commissions and districts in relationship to each other and Conference Council, and the relationship between congregations and the Conference. The Polity Task Force recommendations will help Conference Council propose organizational and polity changes in keeping with our theology and ecclesiology.
Conference Council also formed the Biblical & Theological Task Force on Same Gender Issues. This group is just getting underway. Its intent is to discern how to frame the conversation on same-gender issues to bring greater unity to the church.
Conference Council continued its discernment of revised mission and vision statements for Virginia Mennonite Conference in keeping with the feedback received by delegates at the 2016 Assembly and Winter 2017 Delegate Session. These statements will be presented to the delegates at the 2017 Conference Assembly for approval. We thank James Åkerson, pastor at Beldor Mennonite Church, for his leadership in the task of revising the vision and mission statements.
On Southern District’s recommendation, Conference Council acted, with regret, to release Mountain View Mennonite Church, Lyndhurst, Va., from VMC membership this past fall. In the spring, Conference Council took action, with strong affirmation, on Southern District’s recommendation that Signs of Life, a congregation-in-formation, be granted full membership status.
This past year, Conference Council listened and gave feedback to the Faith and Life Commission’s ongoing conversation with Isaac Villegas, pastor of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship. This spring, Council processed the request from Chapel Hill Mennonite Church, Chapel Hill, N.C., and the Raleigh Mennonite Church, Raleigh, N.C., to transfer their membership to Central District Conference. This transfer of membership will take a year or more.
This spring, Conference Council approved a three-month sabbatical for Clyde Kratz, Executive Conference Minister, to be taken between September and December 2017. We intend to identify an experienced pastor to provide part-time leadership to Conference Council and FLC officers during his absence. The sabbatical includes time for self-care, spiritual formation and professional development. Please keep Clyde in your prayers.