As I reflect on the year 2020, Jeremiah 29:11 comes to my mind:
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV)
To say 2020 has been a difficult year would be an understatement — from the eruption of violence and racial unrest that our country has never completely overcome, to the worst life-claiming pandemic the world has seen in nearly 100 years, to the nation’s political divisions that have unveiled how divided we’ve long been as Americans. Within Mennonite Church USA, we have felt these pains, plus our internal wounds, as we struggled to do church together despite our differences. But we have a shared vision for MC USA that centers around following Jesus, witnessing to God’s peace and helping people experience the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
As I reflect on the past year and look ahead to new beginnings in 2021, I remain encouraged. I see how we have, for example, adjusted and endured in 2020. Many have adapted to doing church virtually through webinars and church services – embracing technology to remain committed to being a loving, interconnected denomination.
We are focusing on our gospel mission like never before and working hard to equip conferences and congregations in their local work. As we close out this difficult year, I hope that we look forward to the renewal of an even stronger and better MC USA beginning in 2021. We have much to look forward to, such as MennoCon21, our MC USA convention that will take place regardless of the global pandemic. If we are unable to meet in person, MennonCon21 will be virtual. Being virtual doesn’t replace the assembling of ourselves together, but Jesus never intended us to be limited to buildings with walls. Jesus wants us to engage each other and our communities by all means necessary.
Part of experiencing challenges is knowing the pain Jesus endured for us on the cross was not in vain. Through our Lord’s example of rising, we claim the hope that renewed life emerges from difficult times.
Our work has been possible because of you – the conferences, congregations and individual followers of Jesus who make up MC USA. Your continued commitment to the denomination and financial support of the Executive Board’s work has been a constant encouragement to the staff and me.
May God bless you and your family in the coming year,
Glen A. Guyton
Mennonite Church USA