Bogotá, Colombia - Leaders of Mennonite conferences in Europe and international guests met in Buhl, France, for their annual gathering of planning and fellowship 23-25 October 2015. The assembled leaders drafted a statement to express their concern about the refugee crisis in Europe.
“The refugees of our time remind us of biblical stories of power and fragility and the constant possibility of a new beginning…. In these people, fleeing now, we recognize the vulnerable face of God himself…. In the people entering, we see an unexpected future moving our way….
“Despite all our global differences, we all believe in a God who will be with all human beings, wherever they go. We believe in Jesus, who, in life and suffering, taught us to stand with the poor and helpless, with those who have no voice at all. We believe in the Holy Spirit, binding where humans divide, healing where people devastate. We believe in people, reaching out to each other and living together despite all differences. We believe that peace is the only way.”
Recognizing the tensions that arise from an influx of people and the tendency to divide into “us” against “them” when resources seem scarce, the leaders wrote:
“We appeal to the compassion in all people of Europe. Look. Really look at each other. Take care of each other. Listen to each other. Do not immediately jump to conclusions, but listen. Everybody has a story, everybody has a heart, eyes, hands. Not just the refugees, not only the open-hearted, not only the troubled. We are not powerless, even though it may feel that way. We are not powerless as long as we have a voice to tell our stories, as long as we have ears and hearts and souls to listen to each other. We are not powerless as long as we are willing to live with each other: fellow men.”
Read the full statement, signed by 21 leaders of 9 European Mennonite conferences, Mennonite Central Committee, the International Community of Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite World Conference, by clicking below.
Click here for the full statement in English.
Click here for the full statement in Dutch.
Click here for the full statement in German.
European leaders began planning for upcoming commemoration events for Radical Reformation anniversaries. Click here for high resolution photo.
Joël Nussbaumer (centre) gave a devotional at the meeting of Mennonite conference leaders in October. Click here for high resolution photo.
Click here for a high resolution photo of twenty-one leaders of nine European Mennonite conferences, MWC and two international agencies gathered for annual meetings in France, October 2015.