Mennonite World Conference commemorates birth of Anabaptism in 2025

On 29 May 2025, Mennonite World Conference (MWC) will welcome guests from around the world to The Courage to Love: Anabaptism@500. The day-long celebration commemorates the birth of the Anabaptist movement in Zurich, Switzerland. Following workshops, concerts, a panel discussion and self-guided historical walking tours, participants will gather for an ecumenical worship service at the Grossmünster cathedral.  

The symbolic beginnings of the Anabaptist movement date to January 1525, when a group of young people gathered in Felix Manz’s home to commit a subversive act: adult baptism. Conrad Grebel baptized George Blaurock, who baptized several others on confession of their faith.  

Their reading of the Bible convinced these early reformers that baptism was a symbol of a conscious decision to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ only adults can make. Their radical act put them at odds with the established church, which had been baptizing infants for a millennium.  

As an act of peacebuilding and a testimony to recent reconciliation, MWC is inviting leaders of world communions (e.g., Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed) that were once sharply at odds with the Anabaptist movement. “On this day, Anabaptists will become visible in the streets of Zurich,” says Liesa Unger, MWC Chief International Events Officer. All events are within walking distance, and the worship service will be conducted in English and translated into French, Spanish and German. 

“The event will have a strong historical component that makes it clear why we are gathering in Zurich. But an even stronger emphasis will focus on the future,” says historian and MWC Renewal 2025 coordinator John D. Roth. “The Anabaptist movement continues to be dynamic, diverse, and creative in sharing the gospel in many different cultural settings.”  

Today, about 2.13 million believers in more than 80 countries identify as Anabaptists. MWC is preparing to receive hundreds of guests on 29 May, including from the five regions it serves: Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Musical ensembles from each region will perform, as well as an international ensemble – just like at MWC’s Assembly Gathered events.  

Those attending MWC’s celebration can make the most of their trip to Switzerland with an Anabaptist heritage tour.  

TourMagination, North America’s premier provider of Anabaptist Heritage Tours, has planned three group tours with expert leaders visiting significant sites in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria.  

Historian and former Hesston College professor John Sharp will lead the 15-day Celebrate 500: Classic Anabaptist Heritage Tour, May 19 - June 3, 2025 

Dutch Mennonite Ayold Fanoy will lead the 15-day Celebrate 500: Anabaptist Story in Europe Tour, May 19 - June 2, 2025 

Mennonite Archivist Conrad Stoesz will lead the 13-day 500 Years of Anabaptist Faith, Art & History Tour, May 28 - June 9, 2025 

TourMagination helped Conrad Grebel University College organize an alumni and friends tour that is already fully subscribed. They’re also assisting Eastern Mennonite University with a tour. 

“We are committed to keeping the Anabaptist story alive by taking Anabaptists to the sites where their ancestors lived, loved and died for their faith,” says Audrey Voth Petkau, President of TourMagination. “Collaborating with MWC on Anabaptism@500: The Courage to Love event is a wonderful opportunity to serve the Anabaptist community.”  

Zurich tour info

Zurich 2025


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