HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam – After six years of training and preparation, the Vietnam Mennonite Church (VMC), a Mennonite World Conference member, ordained 26 pastors in Ho Chi Minh City on 5 December 2015.
Pastor Nguyen Quang Trung, president of VMC, officiated at the ordination service for 26 Mennonite pastors who had come from provinces and cities all over Vietnam. Approximately 120 Mennonite leaders and believers joined the festivities.
Trung, who celebrated 50 years of ministry in the Mennonite church in Vietnam this year, was keenly aware of and grateful for God’s blessing on the church throughout years of both hardship and opportunity.
In the ordination service, Trung charged the 26 pastors, most of whom had gained their Ministry Certificates and were serving in pastoral positions in Mennonite churches, to share the gospel with godly passion, take care of the people, be a role model, and carry on the work of the church.
The Ministry Certification Program was taught by VMC pastors, Gerry Keener – a non-resident missionary with Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) – and Dr. Palmer Becker. Three of the ordained persons were 2014 graduates of the Bachelor of Theology class.
One by one the pastors knelt to receive a blessing and charge as Trung, Keener, and pastors Tuyen Nguyen (Philadelphia, Pa.), Lee, Hong An, Nghia and Khoa commissioned them with the laying on of hands and prayer.
Following the service Trung said, “This event is very meaningful for the Mennonite church; it is an additional opportunity for the church to continue to push forward and develop the Lord’s work in all parts of Vietnam.”
Pastor Minh Dang reminisced about his own ordination five years earlier in March 2010, when he was one of 26 pastors ordained at that time. He reported that since then the VMC has established 25 new places of worship. There are now 52 ordained pastors and about 6,000 new believers.
Among the ordained people were three Kor, two Bahnar and 10 Stieng pastors – all from minority tribal churches. Eleven pastors were from Kinh or ethnic Vietnamese churches.
When asked what significance this occasion has for him, Pastor Chien from Hai Phong declared, “I am happy to commit myself to a lifetime of service because of His great love!”
Pastor Minh Dang, when asked what pressing needs the church has, said, “We need more leaders and unity.”
-Article by Emily Jones and Gerry Keener, News Release from Eastern Mennonite Missions.