- Living every day is a miracle
- “We are peace-loving Mennonites”
- Hope takes action in despair
- Hope was never lost
- “If we do not give up…”
- Deep faith fills Bowls of Hope
Word from the editor
Partake in this global communion
What a joy to be together!
This issue of Courier features Renewal 2023.
Three years after it was first planned, this special event took place in British Columbia.
Renewal is a series of events to remember the birth of the Anabaptist movement in 1525 and to look forward to who and what the Anabaptist-Mennonite church is becoming around the world today and for the future.
Mennonite World Conference initiated this series of events in 2017, the year Lutherans were commemorating their church’s 500-year anniversary. Each year, alongside the Executive Committee, MWC and local member church hosts organize a local event where MWC’s international guests from each continental region share inspiring stores of God at work through the church today.
“We sang together, we prayed together and we heard testimonies from sisters and brothers from different places and different contexts on how they experience Jesus Christ, our hope. Testimonies that made us realize that even when we are one, our circumstances are very diverse. And that is the beauty of Mennonite World Conference; although our context is very different, we are one in Christ. We are one in our hope that it is Christ that reaches out to us and says, ‘follow me’! He reaches out: it is on us to grab that hand and live in hope.”
Those were president Henk Stenvers’ words to the Anabaptist-Mennonites who gathered in Abbotsford, B.C., Canada in March 2023. He had just returned from visiting Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches in Peru and Colombia and he brought greetings from those brothers and sisters to the ones in Canada.
“Mennonite World Conference is the living witness of that hope, bringing people together in one communion, over borders of nationality, colour, language, economic circumstances and culture. Just like God wants to bring people together, Mennonite World Conference wants to break walls down so that we can be a communion that is a gift from God.
“It is important for churches to know that we are part of a bigger communion: that sisters and brothers around the world know about them; share our triumphs and challenges; and pray for each other. My experience in visiting churches in many parts of the world has taught me that being part of a big, global communion gives hope, especially for churches that are isolated, or that experience conflict and persecution. The felt solidarity, the prayers, the visits, sometimes financial help, that all lifts up the hearts of the people in the churches.
“Mennonite World Conference is us all,” Henk Stenvers says. “And I want to encourage you to be part of the daily life of MWC. To stay informed about what is happening with our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world.”
As you read the stories in this Courier, you are taking part in MWC. You are witnessing how our hope in Jesus Christ transcends barriers, uniting us as one body. Please share these stories with one another, and share your stories of following Jesus Christ with us.
—Karla Braun is editor of Courier and writer for Mennonite World Conference. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada.