MWC Assembly 17

Shortened meetings study unity, affirm new members

As the Muslim call to prayer wafted on the air through open doors, the General Council worshipped, prayed, and considered the global fellowship of churches in Mennonite World Conference. (MWC photo)

As the Muslim call to prayer wafted on the air through open doors, the General Council worshipped, prayed and considered the global fellowship of churches in Mennonite World Conference (MWC). The in-person triennial meetings of leaders of MWC national member churches in Indonesia in early July were cut short as COVID-19 positives put leaders into isolation.

Indonesia 2022 roundup

A music ensemble with members from nine countries led conference goers in songs from the MWC International Songbook, praising God in a variety of languages. (Meetinghouse photo by Kresna Kurniawan)

Mennonite World Conference held its 17th global assembly on July 5 to 10, in various locations in Indonesia. Before this conference, Mennonite-Anabaptist youth and young adults gathered for Global Youth Assembly. Following are reports and reflections about these two events.

A new shepherd for MWC

The presidency of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) transferred from J. Nelson Kraybill (2015 to 2022) to president-elect Henk Stenvers (2022 to 2028) at GITJ Margokerto, Indonesia, as part of Assembly 17. Margokerto was one of the first colonies founded by Mennonite missionary P.A. Jansz for the evangelization of the region. The church hosted a dozen MWC guests for four days during Assembly 17 and broadcast the plenary speaker from this satellite location to the main stage at STT Sangkakala in Salatiga on July 8.

Assembly 17 faces barriers

Barriers of internet access and recording quality, of jetlag and illness, of language and culture stand in the way of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assemblies, but in Indonesia on July 5, they did not prevent God’s people from worshipping together. “This marks a new way of doing assembly, where we can learn and fellowship in satellite locations and gather online in groups and families around the world,” said Paulus Widjaja, right, an MWC national advisory council member. He cautioned against fear, calling it “a great enemy” that causes people to exclude others.

Notes from afar

Participants worship on the opening night of Mennonite World Conference Assembly 17. Hundreds more took part via livestreaming. (Photo by Kresna Kurniawan for Meetinghouse)

In early July, I was in Indonesia—virtually. Like approximately 800 other Anabaptists around the world, I registered as an online participant of Indonesia 2022, the 17th assembly of Mennonite World Conference (MWC).

Ukraine war shakes peace convictions, MWC assembly told

Sufi Islamic dancers participate in a July 6 Mennonite World Conference assembly worship service at Congdut GITJ Jepara, a Mennonite church in Central Java. (Mennonite World Conference photo)

Saying the war in Ukraine has shaken western European Mennonites’ commitment to nonviolence, a French pastor urged Mennonites from around the world to get off the sidelines and work for peace.

Hundreds of worshippers heard her message on July 6, the second day of the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly in Salatiga, Indonesia.

MWC assembly crosses barriers to gather in Indonesia

A group of Javanese dancers perform on July 5 during the Mennonite World Conference assembly’s opening worship service at STT Seminary in Salatiga, Indonesia. (Meetinghouse photo by Kresna Kurniawan)

A colourful display of Javanese music, dance and shadow puppetry kicked off the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) assembly in Salatiga, Indonesia, on July 5.

MWC shifts Assembly 17 to 2022

A band leads worship at Assembly 16 in Harrisburg, Pa., in 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Charles)

In close consultation with the national advisory committee in Indonesia, the host country, the executive committee of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) has decided not to hold Assembly 17 in 2021, as originally announced. Instead, MWC has decided to postpone its next global assembly until July 5-10, 2022. 

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