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Centennial celebration

A Peak Into The Past

In 1960, the Mennonite Brethren marked 100 years with a convention in Reedley, Cal., Nov. 12–16.

On Sunday morning, Reedley MB Church and the Reedley High School auditorium played host to the 6,000 (of whom 769 were delegates) who gathered “to participate in the blessings through messages in word and song,” according to the report book. Sunday’s was “Jesus Christ…The Chief Cornerstone,” Ephesians 2:20b.

At the new Reedley church building, J.A. Toews (president, MBBC, Winnipeg) gave the message at the morning service, B.J. Braun (president, MBBS, Fresno, Cal.) the afternoon, and D.B. Wiens (pastor, Vancouver MB Church) gave a message and report on Russia at the evening service.

Concurrent services were held in German at the old Reedley church building, while at the high school, speakers for the three services were J.B. Toews (executive secretary, board of foreign missions, Hillsboro, Kans.), Lando Hiebert (professor, Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kans.), Frank C. Peters (professor, MBBC, Winnipeg).

The Light Is Still On The Candlestick

Reflections on the centennial conference

F.C. Peters, then professor, MBBC, Winnipeg, and one of the conference organizers, reflected on the centennial conference in a guest editorial in the Mennonite Observer, Nov. 25, 1960. He wrote

“From the first day, I sensed that there was a feeling among the delegates that God would do great things among us during these days.”

“Such questions as, “What constitutes true Biblicism?” were asked with sincerity and the answers which were given were both thought-provoking and humbling.”

“We came to realize our “oneness” is in Christ and not, first of all, in a common project…. We learned that we must concentrate more on the Lord of the harvest than on the affairs of the harvest. When we transcend our man-made, geographic and cultural boundaries, we find that we are strangely one and that without too much effort. “In Christ there is no East nor West, in Him no North nor South.””

“As people who are “in the world and not of the world,” we must speak to the society of which we are a part.”

“If we really desire expansion, we must begin where the barriers are – in our own hearts. To this day, I am not convinced that our name is a real barrier…. People are loved into the kingdom of God.”

“Let us be open in the coming years that God may “do a new thing” among us. The light is still on the candlestick. May it remain there.”

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