The international Mennonite Brethren community, now a body of 280,000 believers, presently worships in 18 countries. This year, national conferences around the world are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the MB Church.
The MB church in India celebrated the 150th anniversary Jan. 17 on the hospital grounds at Jadcherla, Andhra Pradesh. Nearly 2,000 gathered for a day long program, which included a presentation on Anabaptist history; the launch of Knowing and Living Your Faith, a study guide to the ICOMB confession of faith, just printed in Telugu; the Lord’s Supper, a ground-breaking for a monument to mark the occasion and a meal.
Panamanian Mennonite Brethren celebrated 150 years of Mennonite Brethren worldwide and 50 years of the Panama MB Church at the United Evangelical Church (MB) convention Feb. 26–28 in Chepo. Most of the 643 guests came from the 13 Wounaan/Embera congregations and were joined by former missionaries and International Community of Mennonite Brethren and MBMS International representatives. Peter Loewen of Canada gave an overview of church history up to the birth of the Mennonite Brethren, former missionary John Goertz shared the Panama conference’s history, and Alina Itucama described the church today and its vision for the future.
This year, the Japan Mennonite Brethren conference marked 60 years since the first MB missionaries came to Japan. Some 800 guests attended the April 29 anniversary service held at Nakanoshima Chuou Kokaido, where evangelistic meetings had been held to follow up the MB mission board’s gospel radio program. Stephen S. Friesen, who planted Meguminooka MB Church and Komaki Hope Chapel, was the main speaker. Yuri Mori, a well-known Japanese gospel singer, was guest musician.
A series of events May 13-24 comprised this global celebration. An ICOMB symposium exploring the history and theology of the MB Church held in Oerlinghausen May 13-14 drew about 200 participants. Participants toured Mennonite heritage sites in Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine. A Pentecost Missions Conference attended by European Mennonite Brethren and international guests was held May 22-24 in Lemgo-Brake and Detmold.
The Portugal church, one of the youngest Mennonite Brethren conferences, gathered at a 200-year-old farm June 5 to celebrate both the development of a 2005 church plant into an established congregation and the international MB church’s 150th anniversary. The celebration included baptisms, promotion of the ICOMB Confession of Faith study guide and a report on the 150th anniversary celebrations in Germany.
Canadian and U.S. churches celebrated together July 12-18 in Langley B.C. with a consultation on Renewing Identity and Mission, evening worship services, binational and international ministry reports and a closing rally.
The Brazilian MB conference will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the MB church Nov. 12-15.