Mennonite World Conference

MWC Commissions strengthen bonds of communion

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Antonio Gonzalez, a member of the Faith and Life Commission from Spain, and Adriana Belinda Rodriguez, a member of the Peace Commission from Honduras, chat during the MWC commission meetings in the Netherlands earlier this year. (Photo by Vikal Rao)

Approximately 40 leaders and members of the four Mennonite World Conference (MWC) commissions met together in the Netherlands for three days in late June for a time of face-to-face discussion, reflection, worship and strategic planning to advance the mission of MWC.

Move to Canadian office 'a blessing'

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César Garcia, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference is pictured in his Kitchener, Ont., office, where he has been working for the past seven months. (Photo by Janet Bauman)

For César Garcia, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference (MWC), relocating to office space in Kitchener has “been a blessing.” He shares the office with four staff, some of the 40 people who work and volunteer for MWC around the world. MWC shares space at 50 Kent Avenue with staff from a variety of other Anabaptist related organizations.

A global conversation through books

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Korean translations of Mennonite books are a boon to seminarians and lay leaders in Anabaptist house churches, but they also appeal to other Christians in Korea. (Image by Free-Photos/Pixabay)

“Although each congregation has its own history and social and cultural background, it is common to experience the same sorts of conflicts, troubles and situations,” says Ellul Yongha Bae, a Mennonite church leader and publisher in South Korea.

Expect to have your worldview challenged

North American delegates to GYS 2015 are pictured from left to right: Chris Brnjas of Canada, Rianna Isaak-Krauss, Andrea De Avila, Larissa Swartz and Trent Voth. (MWC photo by Emily Ralph Servant)

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A small group discussion with GYS delegates and participants in 2009. The conversation includes Kristina Toews of Canada, second from left, and others from North America, Europe and Asia. (MWC photo by Liesa Unger)

Are you over 18 years old with a love for your regional, nationwide and global Mennonite church?

Mennonite Church Canada is seeking representatives from each of the five regional churches to represent their respective communities at the next Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Global Youth Summit (GYS) in Salatiga, Indonesia, in 2021.

Militia lays down arms in Congo

Militia members enter the Congolese city of Tshikapa in a truck to lay down their arms on January 29. (Photo by Joseph Nkongolo)

(Photo by Joseph Nkongolo)

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Joseph Nkongolo leads a literacy training session. (Photo by Zachary Cooke)

(Map by Betty Avery)

As truckloads of militia drove into Tshikapa to lay down their arms, Joseph Nkongolo went to meet them. Nkongolo—Coordinator of the Service and Development Department of the Mennonite Church of Congo—spoke of militia members saying they want to re-enter civil life. “Pray for us,” they said to him, “we have done horrible things; forgive us for what we have done.”

MWC census shows increased numbers

‘Anabaptists around the world’: A 2018 map. (Mennonite World Conference)

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Worship at a Uganda Mennonite Church congregation. ‘The Mennonite Church Uganda is quite happy and honoured to be member of the global family of the MWC,’ says Bishop Simon Okoth, national coordinator of Uganda Mennonite Church. (Uganda Mennonite Church photo)

“Uganda is ripe for evangelism and the church is growing,” says Bishop Simon Okoth, national coordinator of Uganda Mennonite Church. The new Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member church, accepted by the Executive Committee in 2017, grew from 310 members in seven congregations in 2015 to 553 members in 18 congregations in 2018.

World Fellowship Sunday: A communion of 500 years

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From the World Fellowship Sunday worship resources: Venezuelan migrants welcomed to the Iglesia Menonita de Riohacha, Colombia. (Photo by Iglesia Menonita de Riohacha)

Every year on the Sunday closest to January 21, Mennonite World Conference (MWC) invites its 107 member churches to join in a celebration of World Fellowship Sunday. (See the 2019 worship resources here.

Japanese Mennonites consider ‘Shared Convictions’

Japanese Mennonites used the ‘Shared Convictions’ of Mennonite World Conference to reflect on the faith and practice of global Anabaptists. (Photo by Atsuhiro Katano) 

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At the annual Peace Missions Centre seminar, members of Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kyogikai (Mennonite church) in Japan used the “world café” discussion method to reflect on MWC’s ‘Shared Convictions.’ (Photo by Atsuhiro Katano)

A quiz on global Christianity and Anabaptism (including MWC statistics) prepared participants from Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kyogikai (Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference) for a discussion of the “Shared Convictions” of Global Anabaptists.

One in the Spirit of evangelism and service

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Members of Mennonite World Conference’s Global Anabaptist Service Network and Global Mission Fellowship pray together around a large world map during meetings in Kenya. (Photo by Barbara Hege-Galle)

People who are involved in service are typically practical, caring people; in other words, people of action. Of course the motivation for doing service is to follow Jesus and his teaching, to reach out to the weak, to the orphans and widows, and so on, according to Jeremiah 22:3 and James 1:27.

Anabaptist Peace Network creates space for relationships

In April 2018, the steering committee of the emerging Global Anabaptist Peace Network met for its first face-to-face meeting, in Limuru, Kenya. From left to right: Pascal Kulungu, Fulco van Hulst, Andrés Pacheco (Global Anabaptist Peace Network coordinator), Wendy Kroeker, Andrew Suderman (Peace Commission secretary). (MWC photo by Karla Braun)

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he meeting between Ricardo Esquivia (left) and Wendy Kroeker (right) exemplifies the pertinence of a network that enables peacebuilders to meet face-to-face. (MWC photo by Karla Braun)

Coffee breaks at the triennial Mennonite World Conference (MWC) General Council, Commissions and networks meetings in Kenya, April 2018, allowed Colombia peacebuilder and human rights lawyer Ricardo Esquivia to share with an old friend his vision for the Global Anabaptist Peace Network (GAPN): to build networks supporting peacebuilders in the field and communicating with the broader Mennonite c

Education equips Ethiopian leader to serve

Distance education director Tigist Alamirew, standing, with students in class at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of Tigist Alamirew)

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Distance education director Tigist Alamirew at her desk at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. (Photo courtesy of Tigist Alamirew)

“With the grace of God, I escaped many deaths throughout my journey in Christ,” says Tigist Alamirew. Born to an Orthodox family in Finote Selam, she now serves as distance education director at Meserete Kristos College in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia.

Transmission of love and peace at European Mennonite gathering

In a cooperative effort, Mennonites at the 2018 European Mennonite Conference packed relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Claude Nardin)

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Indonesian pastor Danang Kristiawan (right), who participated in MERK as a guest of the Dutch Mennonites, meets Mennonite theologian Fernando Enns. (Photo courtesy of Danang Kristiawan.)

“We can’t keep our story. We must share.” That is the message Danang Kristiawan brought home after attending the European Mennonite Conference (known by its German acronym MERK), from May 10 to 13, 2018.

The gathering of European Mennonites that occurs every six years was bigger than ever, with a total of 2,300 people attending some part of the program.

A supportive space

At recent meetings in Limuru, Kenya, the Mennonite World Conference General Council delegates raise orange cards to show consensus. (Photo by Len Rempel)

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Alexander Neufeld of Germany, left, and Joji Pantoja of the Philippines, chair of the MWC Peace Commission, right, lead prayer for Alphonse Komuesa of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Wilhelm Unger)

The mission of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) is to create space for the global Anabaptist family to meet together. Much of the time, it is fulfilled virtually, on social media or through email connections across continents.

Global Anabaptist family celebrates the Holy Spirit

Kenyan children perform a poem, with song and dance at Renewal 2027 at Kisumu, Kenya. The Mennonite World Conference event focused on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. (Photo by Len Rempel)

At Renewal 2027 at Kisumu, Kenya, Oscar Suárez addresses the assembly in Spanish, with the help of translator Riki Neufeld. (Photo by Len Rempel)

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Members of the global Anabaptist family gathered for songs, testimonies and biblical reflection as they celebrated the Holy Spirit at Mennonite World Conference’s Renewal 2027. (Photo by Len Rempel)

Eighteen Masai women from a Mennonite fellowship slept the night on the grounds to attend the event and perform a traditional dance. (Photo by Len Rempel)

As a local band played “You are the most high God,” international guests from the global Anabaptist family swayed and sang at this year’s Renewal 2027, “The Holy Spirit transforming us.” They met at Nyamasaria Primary School’s auditorium in Kisumu, Kenya, and headquarters of Kenya Mennonite Church (KMC).

Nepal church celebrates growth

Pastor Bhagan Chaunde reads Scripture at the Surunga Church inauguration service before the ribbon cutting. (Photo by Henk Stenvers)

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At the inauguration service, the youth group of Surunga BIC Church led the worshippers in singing and praising God. (Photo by Henk Stenvers)

In 2000, the Brethren in Christ (BIC) church board of Nepal sent Bhagan Chaunde to Surunga, Jhapa, Nepal, to plant churches. The passionate evangelist shared the gospel and planted a church. Starting with one new believer, Surunga Church has grown to 120 baptized members and has planted three daughter congregations with 40–50 baptized members each. 

New network to encourage, support and connect peacebuilders

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People converse at a dialogue organized by the Anabaptist Network in South Africa in Cape Town. (Photo by Andrew Suderman)

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) member churches around the world act out of the belief that the Spirit of Jesus empowers them to become peacemakers who renounce violence, love their enemies, seek justice and share their possessions with those in need through local congregations, national churches and related ministries.

Generous love amid war in DRC

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It the city of Kikwit, Congolese survivors of violence talk with MWC Deacon Commission chair Siaka Traoré of Ivory Coast, foreground left, and Daniel Geiser of Switzerland, centre. (Photo by J. Nelson Kraybill)

Loving the generous people of the Democratic Republic of Congo is not difficult, but evil happening in the rural Kasai region of that lush country is hard to comprehend.

Swiss Mennonites speak against nationalism

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University of Zurich ethics professor Pierre Buehler addresses attendees of a public forum on human rights and faith, organized by the Mennonite conference in Switzerland. (Photo by Samuel Cacciabue)

“Nationalism is on the rise in many parts of the world,” says Juerg Braeker, general secretary of Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz/Conférence mennonite suisse (the Swiss Mennonite church). “Mennonites, because of their view of the relationship between church and state, should be better equipped to point out the dangers of nationalism.”

MWC responds in solidarity to disasters

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The Mennonite World Conference delegation is pictured with local members of the Mennonite Brethren church in Nuevo Horizonte, Peru. Following the floods, ‘our hearts were left totally destroyed . . . but thanks to MWC, who have come to visit us and have given us this uplifting and encouraging word, a word of hope and love,’ says Antonio García Dominguez, right, the leader of Conferencia Peruana Hermanos Menonitas. (MWC photo by Joanna Chappa)

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and Mennonite organizations collaborated to live out their faith with unified action in response to disasters that struck members of the global Anabaptist family in 2017.

World Fellowship Sunday resources now available

The annual Mennonite World Conference (MWC) World Fellowship Sunday—normally held on the last Sunday in January—is an opportunity to help congregants around the world become aware of what it means to belong to a global Anabaptist faith community. Churches in the Global South are especially attentive to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. World Fellowship Sunday 2018 worship resources have been prepared by regional representatives from Africa.

Remembering the Reformation

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In 2007, then MWC president Nancy Heisey presented a framed image of Anabaptist martyr Dirk Willems to Pope Benedict XVI. She told the story of Willems, who was captured, tried and convicted, but escaped from prison in 1569. Willems fled across the thin ice of a pond, but when the guard who pursued him broke through the ice, Willems turned back and rescued him. Willems was recaptured and soon burned at the stake. (Photo by Servizio Fotografico De L.’O.R.)

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. According to tradition, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on Oct. 31, 1517, thereby starting the chain of events that gave birth to the Protestant churches and destroyed the unity of western Christianity.

Lenore Mendes at Mennonite World Conference, 1990

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Photo: Mennonite Heritage Centre/Mennonite Archival Image Database

Lenore Mendes of Guatemala addresses Mennonite World Conference 12 in Winnipeg in 1990. She thought she would be speaking to a few hundred people, but was surprised to see thousands. The Winnipeg gathering was the biggest to date with 13,000 registrants.  Her sermon in Winnipeg was an important stepping stone to her election to the Executive Committee of MWC.

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