(Mennonite Church USA)—Since 2005, Mennonite Church USA has been cultivating a relationship with the Church of God, a Pentecostal denomination based in Cleveland, Tenn. After several years of conversations between scholars and pastors, senior leaders from both churches are now engaged in conversation and relationship. Last year, Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, and Virgil Vogt of Reba Place Fellowship, Evanston, Ill., spent a day in Cleveland, Tenn., meeting with Church of God General Overseer Raymond Culpepper and his executive committee.
This July, Stutzman, Vogt and André Gingerich Stoner, director of interchurch relations, were guests at the Church of God assembly in Orlando, Fla., where they met with various Church of God leaders, including incoming General Overseer Mark Williams.
(below, l. to r.) Sue Richie; her husband, Tony Richie, a pastor and professor and the liaison from the Church of God to Mennonite Church USA; Cheryl Bridges Johns, a professor at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tenn.; Ervin Stutzman; Virgil Vogt; and Jackie Johns, Cheryl’s husband. Tony Richie and Virgil Vogt are giving leadership to this relationship. Cheryl Bridges Johns has been a guest speaker at both Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. After attending the Church of God assembly, Stutzman commented, “I think we have a lot to learn from our brothers and sisters in the Church of God. I hope they can help us re-examine the role and power of the Spirit in the life of our own church.”