Renewal: Awakening to a global family of faith

“Transformation in the Bible is always communal, not individual,” said César García at Renewal 2024* in Curitiba, Brazil. It requires dialogue in the community, where diversity of position enables us to correct mistakes of the past to deepen our relationship with God in the years to come.” 

In this spirit of dialogue and unity, members of three Anabaptist-Mennonite national churches worshipped together with international guests at Igreja Evangélica Irmãos Menonitas do Boqueirão – Cruz Verde in Curitiba, Brazil, 6 April 2024 for Mennonite World Conference’s Renewal event.  

It occurred at the end of two days of workshops for church leaders and pastors of Mennonite churches in Brazil, where they discerned together how to continue working closer together in the future. 

“MWC’s Renewal 2024in Curitiba is timely: Renewal is always timely,” said Paul Dück, representative of MWC member church COBIM (Convenção Brasileira das Igrejas Evangélicas Irmãos Menonitas).  

“Most of us think about our local church. Then we think regionally: our national church. Only after that do we think of an international communion. The Renewal 2024 evening showed us different realities of being followers of Jesus: the suffering, the joy, the growth and opened our eyes that God’s work knows no barriers. As our churches become more diverse, we need to work more on jointly discerning God’s will. We are God’s work in progress.”  

Inspiring speakers 

Throughout the evening, MWC representatives from around the world shared how God is bringing people into communion with each other and with God.  

Valentina Kunze (YABs Committee chair) from Uruguay shared that despite secularism in her country, God continues to show how God is real. At a beach summer camp, “I had the privilege of helping one girl say the repentance prayer and came to her baptism several months later.” 

Southeast Asia regional representative Agus Mayanto from Indonesia shared a testimony of fostering 120 underprivileged and abused children. “Since we are saved by grace, we have this passion to have others experience this grace,” he said.  

speakers photos
Valentina Kunze - Agus Mayanto - Danisa Ndlovu - Amos Chin

From Zimbabwe, regional representative Danisa Ndlovu, shared how a funeral service became a revival meeting when many shared how the deceased woman touched lives. She embodied Romans 14:8 “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord.” 

Executive Committee member Amos Chin shared about the civil war in Myanmar. “Yet, in the midst of extreme hardship, our members lived the Anabaptist teaching not to engage in armed violence. And God is at work – there’s no slowdown in church growth.” 

“MWC brings people into one communion,” said Henk Stenvers, MWC president. “This communion is a gift from our God who wants to bring people together.”  

Igreja Evangélica Irmãos Menonitas do Boqueirão – Cruz Verde in Curitiba, Brazil
Igreja Evangélica Irmãos Menonitas do Boqueirão – Cruz Verde in Curitiba, Brazil. Photo: Irma Sulistyorini

Mennonite World Conference creates opportunities to bring people together in prayer, fellowship and worship together through its publications, networks, worship events and online prayer hour. 

“My father and grandfather were involved in building this church,” said Karin Pankratz, who came with her mother that evening. “To see people from all over the world coming together and sharing stories in this church is remarkable.” 

“Hearing directly the testimonies from around the world breaks down walls and gives us the opportunity to look beyond our borders. We can read these testimonies in MWC Info and Courier, but when the people are here, connecting directly with us, we remember and we learn more,” said Paul Dück. 

* Renewal 2028 is a series of events commemorating the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. Each year, local churches host the event in a different region of the world. 

Renewal 2024 photos

Church visits allowed for more intimate conversations 

Following Saturday’s event, 52 MWC guests attended 12 local Mennonite congregations in and around Curitiba. They preached, shared testimonies from their home countries, and responded to questions about MWC or about faith and life in another country. 

“Everyone, especially our younger members, were touched by the visit and their testimonies. The vast majority of us did not have an idea of what MWC is, but after the visit everyone felt like they belonged in this global family.”  
—Marcos Assis, pastor of Igreja Evangélica Menonita Porto Amazonas 

After the service at Igreja Evangélica Menonita Porto Amazonas, many young people spontaneously asked to join the MWC guests for lunch at the pastor’s house. “Meeting people from another place and hearing about their country, their family, their church and how they live their faith caught everyone’s attention.” 
—Dietmar Kliewer, AIMB vice-president; interpreter at Igreja Evangélica Menonita de Imbituva 

“We really enjoyed hearing what God has done in Mennonite churches around the world. I’d mentioned it other times, but with someone from the outside speaking it, church members are awakened to learn about how MWC works. They want to learn more about Mennonites at global level. The message shared was profound and brings us hope.”  
—André Mendes, pastor, Igreja Evangélica Menonita de Imbituva 

church visit
Some MWC staff and Regional representative visited AEM Conference, Brazil, in April 2024.


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