Universally appealing core values

Meet Hiro Katano of Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan Member of the Faith & Life Commission.

How do you serve MWC?  

I have been a General Council member, representing Nihon Menonaito Kirisuto Kyokai Kyogikai (Japan Mennonite Christian Church Conference), since 2016. I serve MWC by connecting it with my church conference through correspondence, information, translation and teaching. I also began to serve as a member of Faith and Life Commission in July 2022. 

How do you serve your local church?

I have been a member of Sapporo Bethel Mennonite Church since 1998 with regular assignments of preaching and worship leading. My wife Miwako and I reside at Fukuzumi Mennonite Center in Sapporo. The Center is owned and managed by our church conference to host guests, provide space for worship services, business meetings and other gatherings. I also help my wife with her ministry as a selfsupporting pastor. 

On behalf of Anabaptist/Mennonite churches in Japan, I have been organizing Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) since its launch in 2010. I have had other opportunities to present lectures, workshops, and writing assignments on peace theology both inside and outside of the Mennonite denomination.   

What does it mean for the body of Christ to be unified?

For me it means to keep returning from time to time to our common values as followers of our Lord Jesus.  

Faith: we regularly return to the life, teachings and ministry of Jesus to examine our discipleship.  

Life: we regularly meet in a community of faith to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit for renewal and growth.  

Work: we regularly pursue holistic reconciliation with God, others, self and creation in our daily walk of faithful living.

While my framing is based on the socalled Anabaptist essentials, these core values are universally appealing to other denominations as well.   

What book or podcast have been reading/listening to lately whose insights you would recommend?   

I have been blessed and inspired by “The Jesus Way: Small Books of Radical Faith” series by Herald Press. These 10 books are concise, readable and clearly focused exposition of Anabaptist faith and worldviews. I developed them into booklets to introduce basic Anabaptist faith to Japanese youth.  

What MWC resource do you recommend and why?

Shared Convictions of Global Anabaptists” is worth reading, reciting, reflecting and studying to embody. While our church conference has its own confession of faith, Shared Convictions helps us obtain more comprehensive, additional and communicative elements of Anabaptist faith.  

What We Believe Together by Alfred Neufeld is a helpful guide as we dig into the document. I organized a workshop to explore the Shared Convictions and made a series of sermons based on the learnings. I am now expanding them into a series of video lectures on basic Anabaptist doctrines.

Like the chambers of a heart, the four commissions of Mennonite World Conference serve the global community of Anabaptist-related churches, in the areas of deacons, faith and life, peace, mission. Commissions prepare materials for consideration by the General Council, give guidance and propose resources to member churches, and facilitate MWC-related networks or fellowships working together on matters of common interest and focus. In the following, one of the commissions shares a message from their ministry focus.

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