Celebration and welcome: World Fellowship Sunday and MWC team changes

Bogotá, Colombia – “How will the church respond to the different needs we hear and see around us?” The European Mennonite churches asked this question, especially relating to the refugee crisis, as they prepared the worship materials for Mennonite World Conference’s World Fellowship Sunday (WFS), 22 January 2017.

“My Cry is Heard” is the theme of 2017’s package, redesigned with a more engaging format. It contains prayers for the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) family and liturgies for worship, song suggestions, notes for sermon preparation, stories of European Mennonite churches’ radical welcome to refugees, and recipes.

“World Fellowship Sunday is our opportunity to remind our people that we belong to each other as sisters and brothers in God’s household,” says MWC general secretary César García. “Each local congregation belongs to a global community of faith that transcends language, nationality and culture. We are here to support each other, to uphold those who are suffering and being persecuted and to learn from each other.”

The Sunday closest to 21 January is designated WFS to remember the first Anabaptist baptism in 1525; however, congregations are encouraged to celebrate the global Anabaptist family on a date that suits their schedule. Click here to see the World Fellowship Sunday 2017 Worship Resource.

MWC fosters relationships within the Anabaptist family year round through its communications department and the regional representatives who are part-time volunteers responsible for developing and supporting relationships with MWC member, associate-member and potential-member churches, local congregations and MWC-related agencies and partners.

In September 2016, Pablo Stucky joined the team as regional representative for the Andean Region of Latin America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela). Stucky lives in Bogotá, Colombia, where he serves as director of CEAS (Coordinación Eclesial para la Acción Psicosocial), a ministry of the Mennonite, Mennonite Brethren and Brethren in Christ churches of Colombia. CEAS resources local congregations to minister emotional, social and spiritual support to victims of armed conflict and other expressions of violence in Colombia, and fosters opportunities for transformation and reconciliation among churches and perpetrators.

Coordinator Arli Klassen is grateful for the work of the 10 regional representatives, and hopes to gain representation for the Caribbean and Southeast Asia regions.

Danielle Gonzales became web communications coordinator for MWC, working in Bogotá, Colombia, as a participant in Mennonite Central Committee’s Service and Learning Together program (SALT). Born to binational parents, her mother from Mexico and her father from the USA, Gonzales grew up living between two distinct cultures in Los Angeles, California. She studied theology and focused on human rights and women’s issues. Her passion for justice has given her the opportunity to work with migrants from Mexico and Central America at the USA-Mexico border and in her own city. Through SALT, she is following her dreams of living in South America to acquire Spanish language and broaden her understanding of human rights in the Latin American context.

 Pablo Stucky and Danielle Gonzales

—Mennonite World Conference release