European Mennonite leaders hold annual meeting

Representatives give updates, share concerns for Ukraine and anticipate upcoming events

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Twenty-five members from 14 conferences and partners attended the 2023 meeting of European Mennonite conferences. Photo: José Arrais

European Mennonite leaders and partners gathered October 13-14 at Marti Colodar Residence in Barcelona, Spain, for their annual meeting, hosted and organized this year by the Spain Mennonite Conference (AMyHCE).

Twenty-five members from 14 conferences and partners attended the meeting, including representatives from Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Switzerland, Austria, Germany (AMBD, BEFTG, VMBB), Netherlands, United Kingdom, MCC Europe and Mennonite World Conference (MWC). Mennonite Brethren conference representatives came from Portugal, Germany (three conferences) and Austria.

Delegates from European Mennonite conferences share updates at their 2023 annual gathering.

Gathering all day Friday and Saturday until lunch, representatives shared country reports about activities during the 2023 year. After every report members prayed for that country “in a sense of solidarity and love for each country,” says José Arrais, European coordinator of Mennonite Conferences and MWC Europa regional representative.

A common focus of the updates was the situation in Ukraine and how European conferences have supported Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian Conference was not able to attend due to the continuous situation in their territory, says Arrais.

The representatives also learned more about two upcoming events. MWC gave an overview and update on the Anabaptist 500th anniversary event that will be held at the end of May 2025 in Zurich. European Mennonite conferences will play a very important role in the Zurich event.

The Netherlands Conference gave an update on MERK 2026, an European Mennonite Regional Conference that brings together members from all European Conferences for three days. The last one was in Montbeliard, France, in March 2018.

There was also a very relevant presentation by MCC Europe related to their latest efforts in Ukraine and the Middle East, specifically Syria and the current conflict between Palestine and Israel.

The 2024 gathering will be hosted by the Anabaptist Mennonite Network UK in the United Kingdom.

Volunteers cook the “paella” for Sunday lunch.

On Sunday all the European and partner representatives were able to attend a church service in a Barcelona church followed by a homemade “paella” with a great fellowship time with the church members.

Report provided by José Arrais, European coordinator of Mennonite Conferences and MWC European regional representative.

 

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