Anabaptist World Fellowship Sunday (AWFS) is an annual event of Mennonite World Conference to gather together—separately, wherever Anabaptists are —using a common theme in worship to connect with the global Anabaptist family. In addition to AWFS, designated for Jan. 24, 2021, MWC will also host two online prayer hour gatherings January 15 and 16 for Mennonite church members from around the world to pray together.
“Apart and together, we meet in prayer as a global Anabaptist family to encourage each other and share burdens,” says Arli Klassen, regional representatives coordinator. “This year, we offer a special invitation to gather online to participate in a prayer hour together.”
Online prayer hour will open with a welcome, Scripture reading and prayer by MWC’s regional representatives. There will be prayer points from the Anabaptist family around the world.
Participants will then separate into smaller language-based rooms to pray together with a leader in English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Indonesian and Chinese. Please check for language availability: some may only be offered in one session.
“We encourage congregations to celebrate our global Anabaptist family on Sunday, 24 January 2021 – or on any date that suits their worship schedule,” says Klassen.
“During this pandemic time of isolation and inequal distribution of consequences, it is especially important to be together, even virtually, and to share each other’s burdens in prayer,” says Henk Stenvers, Deacons Commission secretary and past prayer hour host.
Those interested in participating should select which of the two meeting dates they wish to attend and register in advance to be assigned to a language room for smaller group prayer. To register: https://mwc-cmm.org/form/mwc-online-prayer-hour-registration
AWFS is a day to observe a common theme in a worship service as an act of solidarity. Many churches choose to celebrate on the Sunday closest to Jan. 21, the date in 1525 when Christians in Zurich, Switzerland, held a baptismal service that launched the renewal movement known today as Anabaptism. In 2021, Jan. 24 is the closest Sunday to Jan. 21.
The theme for AWFS 2021 is “Following Jesus across barriers.” Each year, different churches in the global MWC community prepare guiding material for AWFS. This year, material has been prepared by Asian church leaders on a theme pertaining to the Assembly, which has been postponed to 2022. The material contains prayers, sermon resources and testimonies, and well-loved songs from Asia.
MWC invites churches to collect an offering for the global Anabaptist church on AWFS. Resources may be found at https://mwc-cmm.org/anabaptist-world-fellowship-sunday.