The global Anabaptist world is coming to the U.S. in 2015
By Connie Faber with files from MWC Communications
Looking for an inexpensive way to tour the world? Consider attending the 2015 Mennonite World Conference Assembly 16 to be held July 21-26, 2015 in Harrisburg, Pa.
Organizers are expecting around 6,000 Anabaptists from around the world to gather in Harrisburg in two years for the 16th MWC Assembly. Organizers say that the site, the Farm Show Complex (pictured left), can handle up to 11,000 and that they will have a better idea of numbers once registration begins in August 2014.
Mornings at Assembly 2015 will begin with music and singing accompanied by an international choir. Morning sessions will include a presentation and small international discussion and friendship group meetings. Each afternoon, participants will choose from a variety of sessions: workshops, service opportunities, sports, local tours and visiting the Global Church Village, a central meeting point throughout the Assembly that features displays from each continent and a performance stage. The evening worship service will focus on a different continent each day.
The Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Executive Committee met in Akron, Pa., May 23-28 to tour the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., to select a theme and to select members of the Program Oversight Committee.
After several rounds of intense discussion, the group agreed on “Walking with God” as the assembly theme. The Executive Committee also appointed the members of the Program Oversight Committee for the 2015 Assembly and heard plans for the Global Youth Summit—for youth age 18 and over—which will be held July 17-19, 2015, at Messiah College near Harrisburg.
Liesa Unger of Germany will chair the Program Oversight Committee. Unger serves part time with MWC and also co-pastors the Mennonite church in Regensburg along with her husband Wilhelm.
Egon Sawatsky, of the Mennonite Brethren Church of Paraguay (Vereinigung der Mennoniten Brüder Gemeinden Paraguays), will lead the children and youth program. He has worked for 10 years in youth programs, leading Bible studies, organizing programs and mentoring young baptismal candidates. “Some of my passions are to connect with other people, make connections for other people, meet different cultures and have communion with them,” says Sawatsky.
Other members of the Program Oversight Committee are Don McNiven, from Canada and executive director of the International Brethren in Christ Association, who is responsible for music and worship; Vikal P. Rao, from the Mennonite Church in India, who is responsible for the Global Church Village; Marius van Hoogstraten, from the Algemene Doopsgezinde Sociëteitof the Netherlands and the Arbeitsgemeinchaft Mennonitischer Gemeinden of Germany, who is responsible for workshops; and Thobekile Ncube, Zimbabwe, from the Brethren in Christ Church in Zimbabwe, who is responsible for morning theme and small group discussions.
Mennonite World Conference is a communion (Koinonia) of Anabaptist-related churches linked to one another in a worldwide community of faith for fellowship, worship, service, and witness. MWC membership includes 101 Mennonite and Brethren in Christ national conferences of churches with 1.3 million baptized members.
Read a full report on the May MWC Executive Committee meeting.