New MWC leaders foster relationships

Arli Klassen and MWC Regional Representatives at the Executive Committee meeting in February 2016. Photo: Liesa Unger
Release date: 
Monday, 18 April 2016

Regional representatives and treasurer introduced at Indonesia meetings

Bogotá, Colombia – When the church is suffering in a remote or politically sensitive part of the world, it is the regional representatives who convey the news to the global Anabaptist family. These servants share joys and sorrows, and connect their region with the resources of Mennonite World Conference. MWC has 12 positions in this role to foster relationship between local congregations and the world communion.

MWC regional representatives are part-time volunteer staff responsible for developing and supporting relationships with MWC member, associate-member and potential-member churches; local congregations; and MWC-related partners and agencies.

In the MWC “body,” Executive Committee members from the regions serve as the head, discerning and decision-making with the MWC officers while the regional representations are the hands and feet who visit churches to connect personally with leaders in their region. “This is about bringing MWC relationships closer to the members and their congregations,” says Arli Klassen.

New regional representatives Tesfatsion Dalellew of Ethiopia (Eastern Africa) and Peter and Gladys Siemens of Brazil (Latin America – Southern Cone) joined the team at the February 2016 Executive Committee meetings in Semarang, Indonesia.

Klassen coordinates the regional representatives who also include Francisca Ibanda (Central/West Africa), Kyong-Jung Kim (Northeast Asia), Cynthia Peacock (South Asia), Henk Stenvers (Europe), and Lynn Roth (North America).

MWC is in the process of seeking representatives for Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and three Latin America regions (Andean, Central America, Caribbean).

Additionally, the Executive Committee appointed a new treasurer, Sunoko Lin. This change occurred at the committee meeting following Assembly to allow for a smoother transition.

Lin, raised in Indonesia, moved to the United States to study accounting and, later, theology. He has served as a pastor at Maranatha Christian Fellowship in Northridge, California, since 2006. He also works as a CFO and is a licensed CPA and CMA.

Ernst Bergen completed his term as treasurer (2009–2016), begun in 2009 at the General Council meetings at Assembly 15 in Asunción, Paraguay. A businessman from Paraguay who served as minister of industry and finance in the cabinet of the Duarte government 2005–2007, Bergen was the first MWC treasurer from the Global South.

“These church leaders who volunteer their time as leaders within MWC enable us to serve Anabaptists of the world on a small budget,” says César García, general secretary. “We are so grateful for their work; many thanks, especially to Ernst who volunteered his considerable skills in a challenging portfolio.”

—Mennonite World Conference release


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