Vietnamese Fellowship drops ‘Mennonite’ name

Same-sex decisions by MC Canada spark the move to 'evangelical' instead

Aug 28, 2017 by and

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A name change, effective immediately, heralds a time of direction-setting for the former North American Vietnamese Mennonite Fellowship.

The fellowship held its biennial conference June 30-July 1 at Calgary (Alta.) Vietnamese Mennonite Church, where a name change to North American Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship was approved.

At the recent meeting of what is now the North American Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship, from left, front row: Nhien Pham, pastor of Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Vancouver, B.C., and chair of the newly named organization; and his wife, Lien. Back row: Garry Janzen, MC British Columbia executive minister; and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta area church minister. — Garry Janzen/Canadian Mennonite

At the recent meeting of what is now the North American Vietnamese Evangelical Fellowship, from left, front row: Nhien Pham, pastor of Vietnamese Mennonite Church in Vancouver, B.C., and chair of the newly named organization; and his wife, Lien. Back row: Garry Janzen, MC British Columbia executive minister; and Tim Wiebe-Neufeld, MC Alberta area church minister. — Garry Janzen/Canadian Mennonite

This reflects the fact that some Vietnamese churches have left Mennonite Church Canada over discomfort with recent discussions and decisions around same-sex relationships, while other congregations are currently considering their affiliation with MC Canada.

Twenty-two delegates, representing churches in Winnipeg, Man., Calgary and Edmonton, Alta., and Vancouver, B.C., approved the name change, along with a recommendation to continue working with MC Canada in administration and missions until decisions are made about what to do next.

Delegates from several Vietnamese congregations in the United States were not able to attend the conference. A committee has been formed to study possible denominational affiliations and to offer a proposal at the next biennial conference, to be held in Vancouver in 2019.

After the meeting in Calgary, the Vietnam Reference Committee, which represents Mennonite organizations in Vietnam, met with representatives from Eastern Mennonite Missions, MC Canada Witness and Mennonite Mission Network.

In minutes from the meeting, Gordon Janzen, director of Asia, Europe and Middle East Ministries for MC Canada, noted that structural changes to MC Canada — which had partnered with the fellowship for 15 years to support the growth of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Vietnam — will be made after an assembly in Winnipeg in October, with decentralization of its powers likely.

“The capacity of MC Canada Witness to support NAVEF mission financially, and with staff support for NAVEF, is not clear at the moment, but continuity in partnership with NAVEF will be explored,” he wrote.


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  • Conrad Ermle

    This is to be expected. So-called “Third World” Mennonites are well grounded in Biblical Anabaptist theology and cannot in good conscience accept same sex relationships of a sexual nature to be valid. The so called gay agenda will wreck the church if the Truth is not proclaimed in our pulpits. -Pastor Conrad Ermle

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