Mennonite World Conference

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Remembering the Reformation

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

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.

Heeding the call

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)

Members of the Mennonite World Conference executive committee, MWC general council commissions, and Young Anabaptists Committee pray for César García, kneeling, following his appointment as general secretary-elect at their 2011 meetings in Taipei, Taiwan, in May. (Photo by Byron Rempel-Burkholder)

As one amateur Mennonite historian likes to point out, the only real Mennonite name is Menno Simons.

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