Mennonite Brethren leaders from around the world met online June 23-25 for the 2021 International Community of Mennonite Brethren annual summit. The leaders were joined by ICOMB staff and guests for fellowship, to make decisions and to share how God is working in the global MB family.
The group heard reports from the national conferences and emerging church groups and also from Multiply, Mennonite World Conference and other areas of work.
“We expanded the ICOMB structure, confirmed leaders for next season and ended our time together with the Lord’s Supper,” writes ICOMB executive director Rudi Plett. “We are thankful we could do this online and hope to meet in person next year.”
One agenda item was the introduction of a new ICOMB logo. In his description of the newlogo in the July ICOMB e-newsletter, Plett says, “We are a community of people from different countries, nations, cultures and continents. We are united through the salvation work of Christ and are being led by him. And God’s written Word is the base of our understanding of his will for his church and humankind.”
The July Prayer Update also included comments from a variety of national conference leaders about the 2021 summit.
“I received two things in my heart that are going to help me in my personal life and ministry,” writes Robert of Uganda. “First, I perceived that ICOMB is not just a denomination but an earthly pattern of what a heavenly family should look like – not perfect, as there’s no one perfect on earth! I sensed a spirit of belonging as I heard most people sharing their hearts. This is something that I personally treasure in our ministry and am blessed to know that ICOMB has that divine family nature!
“Second, I gleaned, especially hearing from my African and Asian brothers, that even when we have similar challenges as we serve our Lord, we still can be a blessing to the rest of the world—we are stewards of heavenly mysteries! Our cultural backgrounds must not be a hindrance for us to serve God.”
Estevan Gonzales, from the Anabaptist Missionary Church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, writes, “It was a true joy to see fellow servants from around the world online and to be able to celebrate the unity of the church and refresh the vision that God has entrusted to us: multiplying disciples in all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). It was nice to be able to enjoy communion, even if it was through digital media.”
Juan Garrido, of Uruguay, says it was encouraging to and a privilege to be part of a “great global family.” He says, “It was very edifying to hear each of the reports released by the different conferences and their various realities. At the same time, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our great God continues to be proclaimed through our beloved servants and pastors throughout the world.”
Marques Mente, of Portugal, describes the summit as inspirational. “It was wonderful to see the very diverse body of Christ united and focused on Jesus and the gospel. Even though all went through an intense year of challenges with the pandemic, all seemed encouraged to carry on with the good news of Jesus Christ. The stories of salvation and baptisms showed how God is merciful and still working. Even in difficult times like this he continues to operate his salvation. God is good!”
When asked by the CL to comment on the 2021 ICOMB summit, USMB national director Don Morris says, “I enjoyed seeing so many people on the screen from various countries around the world as we gathered as the larger MB family. It’s a reminder of the breadth of the work God is choosing to do through Mennonite Brethren in so many different contexts. I was especially encouraged by the perseverance of many of our brothers and sisters who serve Jesus in places where COVID-19 is rampant or there is intense political upheaval. Their strength and passion for continuing to spread the gospel, when life itself poses so many challenges, is truly inspiring for me.”
Connie Faber joined the magazine staff in 1994 and assumed the duties of editor in 2004. She has won awards from the Evangelical Press Association for her writing and editing. Faber is the co-author of Family Matters: Discovering the Mennonite Brethren. She and her husband, David, have two daughters, one son, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and two grandchildren. They are members of Ebenfeld MB Church in Hillsboro, Kansas.