May 2011

Dear IAMS Family:

Greetings to you from your executive! I am pleased to report that our meetings, conducted by email and by teleconference, have been productive, and plans for the 13th Assembly scheduled for August 15-20, 2012 in Toronto are proceeding well. In the interest of clarity, here is a bullet-point review of what has happened since my January letter to members.

1.      Four members of the executive met in Toronto from April 13-15 for three intensive days of planning with Ann Chow (our conference manager) and key members of the hosting committee. Because of the urgent need to carefully steward our financial resources, only four members of the executive took a direct part in this meeting, with the rest contributing at a subsequent teleconference on May 9.

2.      We agreed on a formula for processing sponsorship applications from IAMS members to enable their participating in the Toronto assembly. A full sponsorship will cover the cost of a coach, round trip airfare and conference expenses; but not visa application expenses or travel within the country to the international airport. We are budgeting an amount that would cover 30 full sponsorships, estimated at $2,200 each, for a total of $66,000. This money needs to be raised, of course. Since some will require only partial support, we expect that as many as 40 (20%) of the estimated 200 attendees will receive assistance of some kind. Here are the salient features of the formula that will be applied to the applications for sponsorship:

  1. Financial sponsorship will be granted in proportion to the number of active, paid-up members in a given country. Inactive members who apply for scholarships will be considered only if no active members are eligible.
  2. Travel for all full scholarship recipients must be arranged through Menno Travel, to control costs, to simplify the financial exchange, and to ensure that tickets are reasonably priced and represent the most direct coach, roundtrip flights from the country of destination. Personally arranged, multiple-stop flights will not be covered by IAMS.
  3. Those applying for a partial scholarship are also advised to book their tickets through Menno Travel.
  4. Visa expenses are the responsibility of members and/or their hosting institutions.
  5. The executive will make the final decision on subsidies and will also approve all flights booked through Menno Travel. In order to ensure enough time to consider your application, to book your flights with Menno Travel, and to apply for your visa, you are urged to submit your application to the Secretariat not later than January 31, 2012.

3.      We met with Ms. Mau’veen Dayrell-Johnson from Canadian Border Services. She serves as Regional Coordinator of the International Events & Convention Services Program. On the basis of this very helpful conversation we have put in place protocols for IAMS members who require visas. The total current membership of IAMS is 523. Based on membership by country, only 105 of our current members would require visas for admission to Canada. The protocols are designed with these members in mind, to save them embarrassment, confusion, or potential disappointment when they are trying to enter Canada.

IAMS members applying for a Canadian visa will need to carry with them the following four documents, on official letterhead:

§  Official letter of invitation from Wycliffe College.

§  Official letter of invitation from IAMS, outlining the nature and duration of the conference, and your role in it.

§  A letter from Mau’veen Dayrell-Johnson will ensure that IAMS delegates from being detained at Canadian customs when they arrive.

§  A letter from your employer or denomination, indicating that they support and recommend your attendance at this IAMS 13th assembly.


4.      The final concern that needs to be addressed is the issue of paid-up membership. As you can see from the chart below, out of 555 registered IAMS members, only 120 have paid their annual dues and are up-to-date. This puts the organization in unnecessary financial straits, and makes planning for the Toronto assembly difficult. Since scholarships will be considered only from applicants whose membership is current and paid-up, I would urge you to check to see whether your membership dues have been paid.

deceased members


honorary members


inactive members


Paid up members (excl Hon. Members.)




5. Given my previous communications, a word on finances is in order. At the present time, IAMS has approximately $56,000 (US) in total reserves. If all 403 inactive members of IAMS were to pay their dues this year and again next year, our funds would be in much better shape, we could possibly provide more scholarships and bring down the per participant cost of the Toronto Assembly. As the IAMS website indicates, members may choose to pay dues for one year (€30), two years (€60), three years (€90) or four years (€120).  If just 200 members were to pay their dues for this year, IAMS revenues would increase by €6000. If those same 200 members were to pay dues for two, or even three years, the advantage would be obvious.

6. The budget for the Toronto assembly has been set at $241,000 (Canadian). This is approximately $100,000 less than was budgeted for our last assembly, due largely to the fact that this will be a shorter conference, and the cost of food, facilities rental, and ground transportation for this conference is substantially less than it was for Lake Balaton. This comes to just under $1,205 per delegate, if we are able to find sponsors to fund full scholarships for at least 30 deserving delegates.

Writing as your President, I can assure you that the executive-all of whom are volunteering their time, energy and resources to honorably discharge your trust-are greatly encouraged to know through your active memberships that we are not toiling in vain!

Grace and peace to you,

Jonathan J. Bonk

IAMS President, 2008-2012