The Mennonite World Conference (MWC) executive committee met in Heredia, Costa Rica, in early April to carry out the work of MWC. Two representatives from each global region manage the finances, authorize programs, approve task forces, articulate the vision and mission, and develop long-range plans. Some of the things discussed included:
Mennonite World Conference
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.”
“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.
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 used the ‘Shared Convictions’ of Mennonite World Conference to reflect on the faith and practice of global Anabaptists. (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.
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.
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)
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
Distance education director Tigist Alamirew, standing, with students in class 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.
In a cooperative effort, Mennonites at the 2018 European Mennonite Conference packed relief kits for Mennonite Central Committee. (Photo by Claude Nardin)
“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.
At recent meetings in Limuru, Kenya, the Mennonite World Conference General Council delegates raise orange cards to show consensus. (Photo by Len Rempel)
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.
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)
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)
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).
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
César García, at the podium, greets the Sung-Chiang Mennonite congregation in Taipei, Taiwan, in May. To his right are outgoing MWC general secretary Larry Miller, and Joshua Chang, Sung-Chiang pastor and former MWC general council delegate. (Photo by Byron Rempel-Burkholder)
Pictured from left to right are MWC general secretary-elect César García, his daughters María and Paula, and wife Sandra Báez. (Photo by Tangie Sheets)
As one amateur Mennonite historian likes to point out, the only real Mennonite name is Menno Simons.
I have never met César García, but I am impressed with his story as told by Meetinghouse freelancer Kathy Heinrichs Wiest on page 4. García is the general secretary-elect of Mennonite World Conference.