Linda Dibble is the Moderator for Mennonite Church USA and the Mennonite World Conference North American representative for the United States. She attends Albany Mennonite Church, in Albany, Oregon, where she formerly served as the leadership chair. She is also a retired chaplain. Linda and her husband, Rob, have four adult, married children and six grandchildren. Linda graduated from Western Christian (Mennonite) School, Linfield College, and Portland Seminary. Linda enjoys gardening, riding a recumbent bike, reading, adult coloring books, learning watercolor painting, driving to the Pacific Ocean and puzzling.
During the first week of December 2022, the Executive Council (EC) of Mennonite World Conference (MWC) met to finish the business that they had begun in Indonesia in July. The EC meeting in Indonesia had to be postponed mid-event, due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the officers and executive committee people. Of the twelve people on the EC, four of us were new to our positions, and thankfully, we were able to spend a good deal of time on the first day becoming acquainted with one another and sharing our faith journeys.
As we shared our faith stories and prayer requests, it became apparent that, while we are from different Anabaptist denominations, our faith in Christ holds us together. MWC could serve as a model for the North American churches that find themselves torn by political, ideological and theological differences. The vision of Mennonite World Conference is to link Anabaptist-related churches to one another, through fellowship, worship, service and witness.
We join together for the well-being of the global church.
The entire Anabaptist world has approximately 2.126 million baptized believers. MWC has 1.472 million members, from 109 participating Mennonite and Brethren in Christ church groups. Ethiopia contains the largest Mennonite conference. The Executive Council currently has representatives from Germany/Switzerland, the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico, Bolivia, Canada and the United States.
I found it refreshing to sit at a table where people representing several Anabaptist Mennonite traditions were able to speak candidly and share concerns. Fernando Enns, a theologian who teaches systematic theology and ecumenical studies at Hamburg University and Vrij Universiteit in Amsterdam, led us in worship each day. Fernando was joined by Andrés Felipe Pacheco Lozano, an external Ph.D. candidate and faculty of religion and theology, texts and traditions, in Amsterdam. Our worship time centered on Fernando and Andrés’ eight-year “Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation and Unity.” They shared stories from their travels, along with Scripture, poetry, reading a creed, singing and praying together. The theme was “A Spiritual Journey,” with three “vias” – light/blessings; wounds; and transformation.
At these meetings, we were able to affirm nominations for several open positions, as well as discuss implications for the strategic plan and how global economic conditions affect that plan.
Toward the end of our session about caring for the global church, we decided that one of our tasks would be to ensure that we have a healthy financial outlook. MWC has a fair share formula in place that provides a recommendation for member churches’ contributions to MWC. The 50-year old formula takes into account membership of individual denominations and relative wealth of national denomination, and it has been adjusted periodically to allow for changes within churches. In order for Mennonite Church USA’s fair share contributions to be accounted correctly, we ask that individual donors send checks directly to MC USA, denoting that the donation is for MWC, or donate online.
As I’ve become acquainted with the MWC team, it has become clear that individuals are excited about serving the church and ministering to the world with the good news of Jesus, the Christ.
I am excited to continue to learn, share and grow in this connection with the broader Anabaptist community.
Mennonite World Conference (MWC) is a worldwide communion of Anabaptist national churches, including Mennonite Church USA.
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The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.
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