Pastoral arm listens, prays and encourages

“We are called to be shalom-makers wherever we go. It takes courage, discipline, commitment and, of course, the guidance of the Holy Spirit,” says Andi Santoso, chair of the Deacons Commission. 

What is the Deacons Commission? 

The Deacons Commission* is the pastoral arm of Mennonite World Conference, focusing on the welfare of member churches, particularly in times of distress. The Commission offers listening, prayer, encouragement and support to churches by “walking with them” in their particular need. 

The Commission promotes the attitude and practice of service among member churches by means of visits, teaching and materials. 

What does the Deacons Commission do? 

Global Church Sharing Fund 

The Deacons Commission manages the Global Church Sharing Fund (GCSF), to which MWC member and associate member churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America/Caribbean may apply for a grant of up to US$10 000 for ministries that advance the life and mission of their churches. In 2023, GCSF disbursed more than USD$100 000 to churches in nine countries, on initiatives ranging from church building, translation of Anabaptist documents into local languages, disaster responses, ministry support for disadvantaged groups, to capacity building. 

“It is important for us to continue to support each other so that ‘Those who gathered more did not have too much, and those who gathered less did not have too little’” (2 Corinthians 8:13–15),” Andi continued, “Yet it is equally important that those who receive the gift have the power to determine how it will further God’s mission in their circumstances.” 

Click here to learn about the Global Church Sharing Fund

Prayer 

The Deacons Commission publishes a monthly prayer network newsletter, which raises prayer requests from MWC member churches globally. Along with the regional representatives, the Deacons Commission also hosts the bimonthly Online Prayer Hour, a one-hour virtual meeting for members from around the world to pray for and with each other. 

Sign up for the prayer network email here

Register for the next Online Prayer Hour here 

OPH May 2024

Delegation Visits 

During their in-person meetings, the Deacons Commission agreed to expand the definition of delegation visits to churches facing a prolonged or extremely challenging situation. 

  • a. Virtual meetings with church leaders and other MWC Networks. In 2023, the Deacons Commission met virtually with the Young AnaBaptists (YABs) Committee to learn their priorities and see where the two teams can collaborate. Future plans may include training sessions. 
  • b. Unofficial visits. When Deacons Commission members are invited to speak in a different church or country, they can visit local Anabaptist-Mennonite churches, host a workshop, or be in dialog about the role of MWC in empowering local churches.
    For example, in 2023, Deacons Commission secretary Tigist Tesfaye was invited to India as speaker at the annual All-India Mennonite Women’s conference. She also visited 15 local Anabaptist-Mennonite churches while there, and discussed how women were involved in the work of the church. 
  • c. Official visits: a team of continental delegates, subject matter experts and Deacons Commission members make a formal visit to encourage a member church experiencing distress, challenges or conflict. The last official visit was in 2020 to Burkina Faso.

Plans for 2024 

After a moratorium on travel during the COVID years, the new members of the Deacons Commission held face-to-face meetings alongside the Global Peacebuilding Festival in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA, in June 2023. They reviewed the tasks of the Deacons Commission (Global Church Sharing Fund, Prayer Network, delegations) and made plans for the future. 

“We want to relaunch the Deacons’ delegation visit to the least-supported congregations or those suffering from natural disasters or horizontal conflicts,” says Andi Santoso. 

Plans are also underway to train Deacons Commission’s members on trauma-informed ministry and how to be in solidarity with churches dealing with collective trauma. 

Who are the members of the Deacons Commission? Click here to learn more 


Like the chambers of a heart, the four MWC commissions 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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