By Caleb Allen, MC USA
CINCINNATTI, Ohio (Mennonite Church USA) — A diverse group of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) pastors, leaders and youth came together in Cincinnati on Jan. 16-18 as the Worship Planning Committee for the upcoming 2021 MC USA Convention. The convention, MennoCon21, will take place at the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati, July 6-10, 2021. This specially formed committee began developing the theme and worship experience for MennoCon21.
“Just like convention, the Worship Planning Committee includes an amazing mix of new and experienced voices,” said Scott Hartman, director of MC USA Event Planning. “It’s always exciting to get a new committee together and turn them loose to imagine where the worship sessions might take us during convention.”
The Worship Planning Committee is planning MennoCon21 around the theme #BringThePeace. #BringThePeace is MC USA’s call to action for individuals and congregations to extend peace in their communities. It is grounded in MC USA’s Renewed Commitments, which reads, “We are called to extend God’s holistic peace, proclaiming Christ’s redemption for the world with our lives.”
“#BringThePeace is a timely theme for 2021,” said Hartman. “As a historic peace church, we must emphasize the ways that we are continuing to join the work God is doing in the world today.”
The planning committee spent time at its meeting reflecting on scriptures and considering feedback collected from the previous convention, MennoCon19. Feedback was largely positive about the intergenerational worship services introduced at MennoCon19. Adjustments at MennoCon21 will include offering an additional quieter worship space without the lighting and sound levels of the primary worship hall.
The planning committee also spent time considering speakers for worship and touring the Cincinnati Convention Center. The Worship Planning Committee will gather once more in 2020 to further develop plans for worshiping at MennoCon21.
“We are excited to journey toward peace and toward God together.” said Shannon Dycus, planning committee member and dean of students at Eastern Mennonite University. “Like a spiral, our planning group will return again to this conversation with God in more detailed and concrete ways until the July 2021 convention when we experience the fullness of what God imagines for us.”
The MennoCon21 Worship Planning Committee members are Tim Blaum, User Support Specialist at Everence Financial Services; Chris Cox, youth pastor at Calvary Community Church; Seth Crissman, long-term missionary through Virginia Mennonite Missions; Joanne Dietzel, Conference Minister for Atlantic Coast Conference; Shannon Dycus, Dean of Students at Eastern Mennonite University; Ana Alicia Hinojosa, Immigration Education Coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee; Hendy Stevan Matahelemual, Pastor of Formation and Communication for Franconia Mennonite Conference; Kay Schroeder, Pastor of Congregational Life at Hesston Mennonite Church; and Curt Weaver, Pastor of Children and Youth at Portland Mennonite Church.
The purpose of MC USA’s convention, which takes place every two years, is to gather MC USA for community, worship and faith formation.
Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 530 congregations and 62,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 86 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org