With only 10 more months to prepare, and gathering limitations still in place, the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly 2022’s Indonesian planning committee presses on training volunteers virtually.
In May 2021, the committee coached 60 people (20 per synod) as volunteer trainers, with the hope that each trainer would teach another 20 to 60 volunteers about how to welcome guests and communicate in a multicultural setting for next year’s global gathering.
“We recruited trainers who are already conversant in English,” says Lydia Adi of Jemaat Kristen Indonesia (JKI). “This training is designed to enhance their knowledge of situations they are likely to face during Assembly. Scenarios include welcoming guests, giving directions, expressing agreements and disagreements, and explaining an emergency situation.”
The training program consists of six modules to be covered in 20 interactive classes, developed jointly by the national planning committee and volunteer English professors at Duta Wacana Christian University.
Each synod then determines how the classes run. JKI, for example, is already scheduling weekly classes on Zoom, while Gereja Injili Tanah Jawa (GITJ) is making plans to hold some classes in person.
Another challenge faced by the national planning committee is how to bring more awareness about MWC and Assembly 2022 at a time when their ability to visit churches is limited. Training volunteers to promote the event in their local churches has become a creative solution.
Pastor Janti Diredja of Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia says: “This training is also intended to equip the volunteers as assembly ambassadors. We provide them with knowledge about Mennonite World Conference, the rationale behind Assembly, and what people can expect from the event, so they can convey those messages in their own churches.”
Assembly 2022 volunteers come from all three Mennonite synods in Indonesia. Many are active members in churches that will host “Assembly Scattered.”
“By training them early, they get to know each other and have a lot of time to learn about MWC, the Assembly and being culturally adept,” says Tri Gunanto from GITJ. “We hope they will then equip their home church to be good hosts for our brothers and sisters. These are skills that will be useful beyond Assembly.”